“They say that kids don’t come with an owner’s manual. The other thing they don’t come with – an exit plan.” – Toph
I remember it like it was yesterday. The day we brought our daughter home from the hospital and I thought, “Holy Shit! What do we do know? How does this thing work? Where is the volume switch? Why does she keep screaming? Will we ever sleep again?” Pretty standard stuff for most parents. Shortly after you experience this emotional cocktail of panic, desperation and defeat, some wise old sage will come along and say, “Kids don’t come with an owner’s manual.” Thank you captain obvious.
It’s rough but the good news is 4 out of 10 parents survive this tectonic shift in their life. After a while, you figure it out, find a routine and get into a groove. Now and then, it almost feels easy. Lest you be filled with too much hubris, you have another surprise coming. It happens in a blink. Flash forward 20 years…
You send the kids off to college. Life is finding a new normal. You’re getting to know your wife again, discovering rooms in your house you had forgotten existed. In a nutshell – you can see the finish line. One word of advice: duck!
Here comes the boomerang. College is over and you are getting a new roommate! Oh yeah, and all their stuff too. Over the past 3-4 years they have been operating their own home and now that home is coming to reside inside your home. So much for getting the car in the garage.
Kids are great. We love them, love to see them and love to have them around. But it is interesting to have adults living in your house. As I was waiting in line for the washing machine the other day, I was reminded of that wise old sage. I’d like to ask him, “Forget the owner’s manual, what is the exit plan?” I’ll have lots of time to think about it as I wait for the bathroom.