Mom’s Summer Lecture Series

Graphic via Newport Navalog

Graphic via Newport Navalog

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home after running errands on base with our daughter and said, “Wait ‘til you hear this one.” Knowing my 16-year-old’s goofball tendencies, I knew that anything was possible. “Go on, tell her,” my husband ordered our daughter, who was giggling uncontrollably.

Eager to relay the story, he took over. “So, I’m driving down Peary Street, and I pull up to that mailbox that’s by the coffee shop there …” He shook his head for maximum effect. “Then I give Anna the exterminator payment envelope and tell her to go mail it …” So far so good, I thought. “And do you know what your 16-year-old daughter does?”

“What?!” I demand impatiently.

“She gets out, and proceeds to walk around the mailbox three times, looking totally confused. I am motioning to her to open the little door and deposit the envelope, but she just stands there holding the envelope, shrugging her shoulders … at 16-years-of-age mind you! Who knew, our daughter has absolutely no clue how to put an envelope into a flipping mailbox!”

“Seriously?” I ask my daughter whose giggling had escalated into convulsions of silent laughter.

I walked away from the amusing exchange chuckling to myself, but midway through folding a basket of laundry it dawned on me: I have completely failed as a mother.

My eyes bugged out as panic gripped my soul. If our 16-year-old cant even figure out how to mail a letter, then how on earth can our 19-year-old son be expected to survive when he goes off to college at the end of the summer?

In an instant, I knew I had to act fast. With only six weeks left before Freshman Orientation, I instituted a mandatory practical education class, much to the consternation of our three teenagers. Knowing that there was no way to sugar coat what would surely be received with eye rolling and long sighs, I bluntly named my crash course “Mom’s Summer Lecture Series.”

The children mustered for their first lesson –“How to launder your clothes without turning every garment into a pastel pink size 00” — reluctantly as expected. But before the excruciating half hour was up, we covered detergent measurement, water temperature, color-fastness, stain removal, and the perils of dryer lint. I was going to go over folding as well, but the kids looked like they might internally combust if they heard another word, so I decided to save that for another day.

This week, I have planned a stimulating tutorial on how to boil spaghetti, and next week’s topic is all about warding off fungal growth. I’m keeping it a surprise, but future lessons will cover balancing checkbooks, reading bus schedules, disinfecting bathrooms, and my personal favorite: making your bed and lying in it. Oh, what fun!

Thank goodness I realized the error of my ways, and have been given this chance to make amends. I may have failed my children over the course of the last decade, but I am now completely dedicated to helping my kids to help themselves.

As someone once said, “If at first you don’t succeed, do as your Mother told you.”

laundrylabel

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Comments: 6

  1. jody worsham July 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm Reply

    Could you go a little slower. I’m trying to take notes. Many many years ago,during the Age of Drip Dry,In kindergarden there was a laundry center. My child didn’t know what an iron or an ironing board was.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari July 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm Reply

      I remember getting a little electric iron and ironing board for Christmas one year and thinking it was DA BOMB. Not to mention a light bulb powered oven, and various other household toys. Kids today have no clue!!

  2. Bonnie Rice July 14, 2014 at 12:38 am Reply

    Spaghetti? Is that the advanced class. Mine had barely mastered Ramen noodles in the microwave when I sent them into the world. I hope their girlfriends don’t hold it against me.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari July 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm Reply

      HA! So true! Ramen has become an American teenage staple food.

  3. Patrice July 13, 2014 at 7:43 am Reply

    Great story Lisa – of course, now I am in panic mode too! It reminded me of the time that I asked Thomas to put his dishes in the dishwasher and he put them in the sink….I repeated that he needed to put them in the dishwasher and he put them on the other side of the sink….one more directive from me and he looked at me with tears in his eyes…..he had no idea what a dishwasher was….at least he was only 6, but I felt the way you did with Anna! I would love your syllabus!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari July 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm Reply

      Oh Patrice, learn from my mistakes and start now before Thomas turns into an adult! What have I done…

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: