Monday, January 26, 2009

Forward Planning

My youngest turns twelve on Friday. You may recall her thirteen-year-old sister had a rather eventful (to say the least) disco for hers. But Abby, tomboy as she is, isn't much into disco's. I asked her if she might like to go to the cinema with a couple of her friends, and perhaps go on for a meal after?

She thought about this for a minute. "You know, what I would really like is for us all to have a special family meal together. Can I pick what we have?"

(Awww, how lovely! It warmed the cockles of my heart she preferred to celebrate with us.)

"Sure, that would be great," I said, "Where do you want to go?"

"Oh no, I want you to cook it, can I have my favourite?"

Gosh, what a treasure this kid is, I'm now grinning from ear to ear. "Course you can, what do you want?"

"Your leek and potato soup, mmmn, it's creamy - and a big squishy chocolate cake, for afterwards!"

Sometimes I can't believe how sweet this kid is. She continues unloading the dish-washer whilst I put the groceries away.

"I don't think I'll get a dish-washer when I leave home.."

"Well, you probably won't need one if it is only you."

She stops, brows furrowed. "No, I'll be sharing with Beccy and Matt."

Such a statement of fact, she has it all worked out. I realise she is serious, she truly believes she and her older Sib's will automatically set up house together when they fly the nest. Having no university on the island, I have schooled them from an early age to expect to move out at eighteen. (Besides, I have an ulterior motive, I already know of far too many adult children refusing to leave the coop. Once they are eased out, I have vague hopes their next return will be for visits only..)

"Well, um, sweetie, Matt and Bec - they might not live in the same town, you see, it depends where they end up."

But where will they live?"

"What do you mean?"

"We're all going to live in the flat in London, where else can we go?"

I am trying hard not to laugh now. Sheesh, she really does have it all worked out. Because hubby lives half his time there, we keep a small two-bed flat in Putney, complete with lodger to help meet with the cost. It will have to be sold when he retires, there is no way we will afford to keep it up.

It's suddenly dawning on me I may not be preparing my kids as well as I'd hoped.

Like when Matt volunteered to help push the extra trolley round for the Christmas food shop, at the rate he was flinging the stuff in, I truly believe he thought all this gear was up for free. Mortally offended he was, when I made him turf it all back again. The guy eats for Britain, I swear he has hollow legs, where else can he possibly store it all? Student life is going to be such a rude awakening.

Take when he had his Epiphany Student/Tutor dinner the other week, it never even so much as crossed his mind we wouldn't cough up for a new outfit. one he'll likely never wear again.

(And he was right too, wasn't he?)

As for Beccy, the only time she tells me she loves me is when she is after fleecing me for some cash. She was mortified to have had her monthly allowance sliced in half until her attitude at school bucks up. She then had the mistaken idea this should also half the amount of any weekly chores she is allocated - God loves a trier, eh?

All the kids have their monthly pocket-money paid directly into their bank account, in efforts to encourage them to learn a little budgeting. Once it is spent, it is gone. It's gradually starting to sink in. I live in hope.

But this little princess here of mine seems to be growing a sense of entitlement, believing as she does that want equals need. Rectifying it is putting a severe strain on our relationship as of late. (Sigh.)

The only one seemingly oblivious to materialistic craving seems to be our Sweet Sam (although it needs to be said, in fairness, our little Abby does follow close behind) - we know and expect to make provision for Sam's future, sadly, that is a given. But he doesn't give a hoot about designer clothes, not for him any personal lavish expenditures. It's the time spent one on one that lights a smile to his face, that such as feeding the ducks, or a simple trip to watch the ferry leave port.

Sometimes I think he is the wisest one amongst us.

I have a sinking feeling that these other babes of mine have a harsh reality a-coming soon. It's going to be a rude awakening to enter the real world. I'm gonna' need to bore them with endless tales of my early penury, groom them to expect a wee bit of hardship ahead.

There has to be a financial cut-off at some point, surely? (Says me, note of hysteria to my voice.) Hate me for it as they will, and love them as I do, I have no intention of enabling them to remain tied forever as adults to our financial apron-strings. Outside of being plain wrong, the road to self worth and high esteem is to earn their own way in the world, not to rely on hand-outs from us, their parents, to get by.

I predict stormy weather ahead!


Suldog said...

It took me many years of NOT getting money from my Dad before I realized any sense of responsibility. Some just "get it" before others. I'm afraid, no matter how many lessons are given.

Fine looking bunch there, by the way. Some of them will no doubt be able to get by on their looks if times are a bit tough :-)

Carol said...

Oh what memories you have resurected in me! My proudest achievement is that I raised three awesome adults who
" take care of themselves".I explained early and often, that they would have no choice other than, "to do it". However, I know many not so fortunate as I.You are a very smart women to put them on this path, it will turn out best for you and them ! They are beautiful children, they'll do well.

Akelamalu said...

First off your offspring are all so beautiful/handsome!

Mine are 38 and 32 and still treat us like a bank! They do actually pay us back though now!

Les Becker said...

Financial Apron-Strings... in my case - my Dad wore the apron. Only to be severed when he died.

Growing up is hard to do. Sigh...*

~Babs said...

Aaah, such beautiful kids!
It's a rocky road, yes it is,,,but rest assured you are doing a FINE job of showing them that the roots of the money tree are in their own yard.
I remember all too well this road. Biggest lesson learned when 'my' Beccy asked me to get out of 'her' car. I promptly reminded her who's car it was,,retrieved the keys,,,,and she was hoofing it, and begging rides from friends the rest of the year. Tough love.
We paid college,although she worked part time for spending money ,and she's never asked for a dime since.
Yours will do well,,,,you are a great Mom!

*Goddess* said...

LOL! I love Beccy's way of thinking:)

Poutalicious said...

That was so great; you have a lovely family. Thank you for sharing. This is written beautifully. I've managed to raise 2 sons to be helpful members of society and the 3rd and last is well on the way. Thank God, it's a tough row to hoe.

Robin said...

but they're so precious, how can you tell them no?

the "bank of parents" is the lenient in history and often offers very convenient payback terms.

kind of hard to pass that up!

i think it's very sweet of abby to assume she will be living with her brother and sister....and who knows? maybe that will end up being the most economical way - plus, you'll always know what they're up to!

Alex L said...

They'll do fine, and like a few people have said they can just fall back on their looks, christ whats in the water up there, you have the prettiest family I've ever seen.

Maalie said...

Are they the wood nymphs in disguise?

Shrinky said...

I guess you are right Jim, I still wonder how all four of mine have been baked to the exact same recipe, but have turned out so different from each other..

Carol, do you ever stop holding your breath with your kids? You seem to have navigated well enough by the sounds of it, but do you ever, ever really truly relax?

Akelamalu, seems to me that is the best you can wish for, I'd be happy enough to settle for that!

Oh Les (hugs), what our kids never realise is that all of us are still kids inside. You thanked your dad for all the fish, he knew how much you loved him hon.

Hey Bab's (smiling) not only do you also have a Beccy, she even spells it same way - high five girl! Ah, our eldest resits his test in a week or so - I am already calculating how much this is going to cost us in petrol. Good on you for the "grounding", seems she has grown knowing boundaries and respect, something that will put her in great stead throughout her life.

Goddess, much as I hate to admit it, and don't you dare to tell her, but I have a sneaking admiration for it too. The reason she drives me so bonkers is because out of them all, she is the one most like me. Sigh.

Poutalicious, I love the new photo! Thanks for the kind words, I value that (grin). Sounds as though you know exactly where I am coming from, it's reassuring to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Robin, are you kidding me? My eldest has already picked out my future nursing home - I jest you not, he's shown me the brochure!

Alex, truth is, there is a lot to be said for airbrushing, isn't there? (Wink.)

One of them is, Maalie! Grin.

Pat Houseworth said...

Great family tales Shrinky...your Sam like our Anissa, will have needs post our lives...we must(and have made)'s the family way.

Shrinky said...

Yeah Pat, (hugs) I know exactly what you are talking about, it makes me sleep easier in my bed at night knowing plans are laid down to ensure his future well-being, as I am sure you do too, knowing your precious girl will be cared for and happy long after you are done treading this earth.

Jay said...

What lovely kids! Yes, even the Princess. LOL!

I think it usually takes moving out for some reason to really bring home to them what looking after themselves really means, and until they understand that, they don't really understand - not really understand - what it means to look after someone else, as we do for them.

Both my boys grew up a great deal in their first year or two away from home, and I was amazed at how responsible they became. They youngest is now apt to complain about 'kids of today' and he's only mid-twenties himself!

Anonymous said...

Abby has the future all planned... The London flat would be perfect for newly released fledglings. (giggle) All the nightlife & clubbing, culture, fashion, etc.

CJ said...

Your children are beautiful!

My parents sent me off to school when I was 18 and had me live on campus, even though it was only 7 miles away. I hated it a first but now am very grateful they encouraged me to live away. I'm sure yours will enjoy their independence once they get a taste of it!

SJ said...

A flat in London does sound great. Though having sibs around might not be much fun - not mine anyway ):>

Shrinky said...

Hi Jay, haha, kids of today, eh? It'll be fun what he'll think when his own kids come along! I had a dream (nightmare) last night Matt was hellbent on marrying although he is only 17! Arghhhhhhh..

Bah, Chewy, far too distracting! They have studies to attend to - the partying can come later.

cj, your parents had the right idea, they raised themselves a decent kid! I've no doubt mine will take to independence, I'm just worried about this imaginary trust fund they seem to believe is due to support them there!

sj, both my sisters did move in with me when I was single (my bruv' did too, despite being kicked out three times!) - we worked together too, it had it's up's and downs, but was mainly a hoot, we look back on all our adventures with fond nostalgia.

Fireblossom said...

Happy birthday to your Abby.

Shrinky said...

Thanks Shay.

Sandi McBride said...

It'll all turn out okay. You may have to support them til they're thirty or so, but by that time you'll be to old to make a living and they'll realize that they are on their own...when that happens, you can throw away the walkers and ditch the rascal wheelchairs and go about your business of
No, really...your kids are great...and

Casdok said...

Intersting to hear their thoughts! Very big happy birthday to Abby for friday.

FHB said...

Well, happy birthday to her!

Scott from Oregon said...

Methinks they all need a nice Marylin sweatshirt...

Shrinky said...

Hi Sandi, yeah one day, huh? (Fingers crossed!)

I'll tell her casdock, thanks for that!

Oh Scott, don't even THINK about it!

Shrinky said...

Cheers Jeff!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

you must be very proud of your beautiful brood!!!

CrazyCath said...

Yes but you'll weather the storm Carol and in the end, they will thank you for it.
Beautiful children you have there. A bunch to be proud of.

Shrinky said...

They all have their moments, FFF, don't they all?

Hey cath, where have you been hiding yourself? Welcome back, bonny lass!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

I had typed sumthing clever, then Daddy cayme in an nikt the laptop off me. 9 hours layter I get to come bak heer at larst. Can I remember wat I typed? No. Thares me an Mummy thinkin the laptop waz for EVRYWUN to yewz. It's enuff to mayke a Bear growl.

Nose hugs, Shrinks!


Mmm said...

beautiful kids there!!

That soup sounds so yummy too. Mmmm.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

""You know, what I would really like is for us all to have a special family meal together. Can I pick what we have?""

No child talks like that at such a tender age. Who did she murder?:) And those breathtaking eyes....... My wife said (she reads over my shoulder to help me pronounce the big words) "Perhaps we can run over there and snatch her away then quick run home?" and then became so unruly she had to be subdued. All I said was, "Fraid not. Nobody would believe she was ours, being so opposite you and all.:P"

"I predict stormy weather ahead!"

Yes, and all of that atop the broken heart you try to hide so they won't see you cry and call you an old fuddie duddy as they walk out the door. It's completely unfair, I tell you! Unfair!!

I predict they will grow be fine examples of love gone right. They had the best tutor in the world...:)

Shrinky said...

Hi there bob, ooh, that is a locking up offense that is, denying lap-top access! Glad you managed to wrestle it back again, eh? Nose-hugs.

Mmm, ah, they'll do, guess I'll keep 'em for now (wink).

Oh, tell me about it Dan! Kids have no idea of the careless hurts they can inflict. Do you know, at Christmas, my eldest daughter presented me with a box of lotions labelled "Bad Mother"? It was like a slap in the face! 'Course, she was completely oblivious as to why my thanks was less than enthusiastic.. horrible urchin that she is. Sigh. (Hey, maybe your wife might like to have her for a bit?) Grin.