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#14 - A Baby Boomer Real Story Series about Helicopter Parents -------- by Nancy Geiger

September 20th, 2008
Apparently Brittany has started cleaning her room at school. I don’t remember her cleaning her room in the 18 years she lived with me.

Brittany Learns to Clean
by Nancy Geiger

Apparently Brittany has started cleaning her room at school. I know this because several times when I’ve talked to her on the phone she’s mentioned the fact.

I don’t remember her cleaning her room in the 18 years she lived with me. I thought the reasons she didn’t was one of two things: either kids just don’t do that nowadays, or she knew I was such a neat nick I’d pick up after her all the time, so why should she bother?

I got the first idea when we went to a Young Life fundraising dinner at the Country Club a few years ago. The title for the evening was “Welcome to My World” and guests had to make their way into the dining room stepping over teen’s clothes and shoes scattered on the floor. We all felt right at home.

I also thought it could be the second idea because, well, it’s true, I am a neat nick. I have a friend who has had what she calls a “Nancy” drawer for several years. She still only has one because apparently it’s just too much to keep up.

My neighbors will entertain you with stories (somewhat exaggerated) about the lengths I go to keep my yard groomed. And Brittany has her friends convinced I vacuum the roof. (I don’t.)

Last Christmas when I hosted our Sunday School Christmas party I bought a new red tablecloth big enough for our ping pong table, which gets more use as a buffet table then for it’s original purpose. John offered to iron the folds from the packaging out of it for me. Later I saw that being a master at elimination of extra efforts, he had ironed the cloth while it was still on the ping-pong table.

I was pretty sure that wasn’t a good idea.

After the party I saw that sure enough the table had whitish marks all over the surface. John promised to “do something about it.” Finally on New Year’s Day morning he told me that he had fixed it.

He had pledged it.

And it was very shiny.

That same day Brittany’s friend from college came to visit and they decided to play ping-pong. (Something she has maybe done once in her life, so why that day of all days?) Later she told me that after one serve her friend laid down his paddle and doubled over laughing, saying, “Brittany! Seriously! Your mom waxes the ping pong table?” (May I just insert here: no, No, NO! It wasn’t me! But, that’s the reputation she has given me with her friends!)

So why is she suddenly cleaning her room? Has she finally discovered I am someone to emulate? No. She’s “discovered” the Dollar Store and has had a great time buying all kinds of fun cleaning supplies. With Brittany it’s all about having the cool tools.

We plan on paying her a visit for her sorority’s Parent’s Weekend later this month, and I’ll be anxious to see if her investment in cleaning supplies has been worthwhile, or whether they have only added to the clutter of a college room.  Somehow a mess 200 miles away doesn’t bother me near as much as one in my own home.  (Who is making progress here?)

Oh, and before anyone asks, since one of my friends already has: no, the ping-pong ball doesn’t seem to bounce higher, faster or farther on a waxed table. And yes, the shininess does eventually wear off.

It takes about a month.

Nancy Geiger and her husband are Baby Boomer empty nesters with their daughter Brittany (their only child) now a junior at college. When she left home Nancy started writing a monthly column for their local weekly paper about parenting a college student long distance. After 17 years as a travel agent for American Express, Nancy decided to commit herself to freelance writing and starting an online store, 2 blogs, a website and LOTS of volunteering! She even just published a cookbook called A Brides Cookbook or surviving the First Year.

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