How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

My father had no compunction about hating on my friends, sometimes going as far as kicking some of them out of the house. At the time, I assumed he was being a straight up tool just for the sheer joy of it, but now I sort of understand.

Our house is often the setting for regularly occurring flash mobs. In the beginning, I thought it was sweet. I took pride in the idea that our kids and their friends feel comfortable enough around us to want to spend time here, especially because  of my own experiences growing up.

Nevertheless, it is August, and we have been enduring a grueling flash mob schedule since June. This is because of our proximity to our kids’ place of employment — a residential sailing/windsurfing camp that enjoys an almost cult like devotion from campers, camp alumni, and staff alike.

Our sons were campers and are now staff. Thing 1 is in his fourth summer on staff, and Thing 2 was just hired this summer. These camp kids are unbelievably close friends. They visit one another over the winter. And when they are together, they talk camp endlessly.

One would think that with the kids working at a residential sailing camp, My Royal Consort and I would seldom see them during the summer, but the fact is, they turn up with surprising frequency. Their work schedule is confounding and I have yet to figure out how it is organized.

Just to be safe, I never go downstairs without a bra and eyeliner because for all I know, the clown car could arrive at any moment and start disgorging its contents in the driveway. Forget about the wild sex in every room of the house that I naively thought we might enjoy once we had said goodbye to the kids in June. No, despite the fact that the kids are “away for the summer” I still have to act all responsible and mom-like because who knows when the cars will come steaming up the driveway.

I am torn. On the one hand, I want to be friendly and accommodating to our sons and their friends. This is their house, and they have every right to come home and have friends visit them. On the other hand, having six or seven kids that I may or may not know plotzing on our porch for an entire Sunday, playing cards and talking camp stuff  gets old really quick.

Why should I care that there are all these kids in my house? Our house is plenty big, the kids are almost always polite and they usually arrive with their own food, but there is the That Feeling I get.

That Feeling I get stems from the fact that the kids have the same agenda as My Royal Consort and I — enjoy each others’ company, party, and do whatever, whenever. The problem is, as parents, we we were supposed to renounce those youthful  pleasures the moment I expelled Older’s placenta, but we didn’t. Also, in our capacity of parents we are duty bound to prevent anyone under 21 from partying, which is boring and stressful for us.

That Feeling I Get is the same as That Feeling The Kids Get: Please leave so we can just be ourselves.

So, there we all are, ardently, yet politely, wishing that the other group would be taken up by The Rapture.

My Royal Consort simply disappears into the barn, but I am left to wade around in That Feeling, because there is so much of it that it swirls around the atmosphere and  pools on the kitchen floor.

I vacillate between boldly staking my claim, or fleeing. My conscience veers between the charitable desire to create a hospitable environment for our kids and their friends versus the less charitable alternative. In the end, I reach a wobbly compromise in my own head that  barely stays intact. By the time they all leave, I am delirious with relief.

It’s not that my activities are all prurient and illicit. Often, they are perfectly innocent. For example, one of the few things that I can still do comfortably is sit on the stone patio, skootch around on my butt and pull weeds from between the flagstones. When I do this in the presence of a flash mob, I am a little self conscious that they might be judging me to be easily amused and/or lazy. If there is going to be a Greek chorus in the house, I want to be sure I am doing something worthy and cool, like welding, or brewing beer.

I am also really hung up on how often I am witnessed cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. I love to cook, and while it hurts to stand, I do it anyway because it is productive and entertaining. I worry that they think I am some kind of Stepford wife. I feel self conscious about my choice of music. And,  I worry that they are judging my clothes.

What this self consciousness and insecurity boils down to is that the kids are young, beautiful and cool, while I am only an ordinary mortal with lumbago. In order to exchange a few pleasantries with my own children, it is necessary to clamber up that Mount Olympus of youth and rub elbows with the other deities. In the presence of other mortals, I feel I am holding up quite well, but with the young gods and goddesses, I feel exposed and  slightly pathetic for even trying to fraternize with them.

Of course, my self consciousness and feeling of intimidation are completely unfounded because I know on an intellectual level that as an ordinary mortal, I am invisible. These kids, including my own, do not give a rat’s ass about what I am doing. Like children with Asberger’s they have all been trained to feign interest in others for the sake of civility, but they are only going through the motions.

Just two more weeks to go before camp is over for the summer, and with luck, our own two Gods will descend to our level and join us for dinner.



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