Sometimes, emails and texts can be a dicey area. You can answer immediately, but that’s unwise. Parents generally use the luxury of several versions before they push the send button, and rule No. 1 is “Never, ever send your first draft.”Say you have a daughter in college. Perhaps she has new boyfriend. Thanksgiving is approaching and unexpected negotiations are underway.
Daughter: “Hey mom and dad! College is so cool and I am in love! I met Zach at a local pizza place where he is a waiter and sometimes delivery guy. I think he will have to work on Thanksgiving so I might just stay here instead of coming home. You don’t mind, do you? I mean, the whole family will be there, so you won’t really miss me. I wouldn’t want him to feel abandoned! Hugs, Suzi”
Your first response: “Oh, that’s just perfect! You have a college full of business or engineering majors to date and you find a waiter? What about us feeling abandoned and no, it is not OK for you not to come home. Thanksgiving is for family and unless something changed, you are still part of this one. Besides that, I need your help to feed that family! Be on that 3 p.m. bus Wednesday, missy!”
Your final response: “Suzi, sweetie. How nice that you have met a new friend. Your family is really looking forward to seeing you this weekend, so do reconsider coming home. You would be missed. Love, mom and dad”
Daughter: “Hey Mom. Gee, you’re right. I do want to come home and Zach can get off after all. Can you send me some money? Zach needs something to wear when he comes home with me. We can sleep in my room, and his two friends can use the guest room … and, oh yeah, he really likes Heineken beer so be sure to stock up on that. And, so you know, Zach’s a vegetarian, John is lactose intolerant and Sally has to be gluten-free. Can’t wait to see you. Smoochies, Bridget”
Your first response: “Are you out of your mind, young lady? Does this look like a boarding house? Do I look like a short-order gourmet cook who does tofurkey and salad for Thanksgiving, never mind three separate menus? And when do you think your father and I quit caring about appropriate behavior? Couples cohabiting? Not under this roof! And just when do they plan to drink all this beer? Would that be when they are lying around hogging the TV? By the way, tell Zach to ask his own parents for that new three-piece suit or pair of jeans.”
Your final response: “Gosh. What a surprise to hear you are bringing all of your new friends home. Won’t their families miss them? We will work out sleeping arrangements once you get here. I have some cots I can set up in the garage. I know you will all enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving dinner that we serve every year. Can’t wait to see you on that 3 p.m. bus.”
Way to go, mom.