Making Gandhi Proud


makinggandhiproudI was so happy when my daughter, the always delightful Fangette, graduated from high school last week. Finally. All the bullshit was over. Or, so I thought.

She’s home this summer. She’s working here and there at her movie theater job, but she’s home more than she’s not home. I know that come August 22nd when we deposit her and her belongings in Burlington, Vermont, I’ll miss her terribly. Right now, though? Not so much.

At the moment I’m putting up with lots of demands for egg salad sandwiches and runs to the mall. She cannot seem to ever find a beach towel (or a regular towel) when she needs one. And don’t even get me started on where her favorite sandals are. I hope that her roommates can keep better track of her stuff than I can. I hope that they have mastered boiling an egg. I wonder if there’s a place for these skills on the roommate matching forms?

Probably not. This is likely part of the reason that they go away to college at all. In addition to the academic component of a university education, I’m guessing that keeping track of her own shit and learning to make a sandwich will be among the things, along with organic chemistry, that she will learn to master while she’s away at college.

Knowing Fangette as I do, though, I’ll bet she surrounds herself with people who will do these things for her. She’s a person that just naturally gathers minions. For the last 18 years, I’ve been one of them. I cannot wait until August 22nd.

It feels like a release date — from prison or from the mental institution where I’ve been languishing for years. It really does.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to teach my daughter to do things for herself. I have. And I’ve been successful in some areas. She knows what she has in the bank to the penny. She can shower and dress herself. And she’s timely. She gets her schoolwork done. Tardiness of any kind irritates her. She gets that from me.

Unlike me, but much like her father, she cannot make an appointment — for car service, for the dermatologist — to save her life, although I’ve noticed that she has no trouble scheduling mani-pedis. Luckily she won’t have her car on campus next year. She has to find a dermatologist though — we’ve spent years and buckets of money keeping her acne at bay. I suppose that I could take some comfort in the fact that if she doesn’t attend to her skin, at least her nails will look nice. I’m sure she’s already Yelped the best nail salons in Burlington, VT.

She likes to carry on about becoming an independent woman. I’ve told her that doing her own laundry would be a step in the right direction. As would procuring her immunization records from the pediatrician.

I think she’s done one load of laundry from start to finish in her life. As for the immunization records, I know I’ll have to get them. They’re just as important to me as they are to her, given that they are a necessary component to my release date.

The other night on one of our many trips to the mall to secure this, that, and the other thing, we enjoyed dinner together. She told me that she was bothered by all of the injustice in the world, that she hoped to find a way — during or after college — to use her skills to make a difference in the world. That’s admirable.

I told her that she might want to start by making a difference in my world — picking up after herself, making her own pasta, buying her own strawberries. She rolled her eyes, which was her way of saying, “Mom, you don’t get it. I’m talking about saving the WORLD here!”

I got it. I really did. She’s always on me about being a better housekeeper, a more organized person. I took this opportunity to quote Gandhi. I told her that she should “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. She looked at me like I was crazy. She asked me if I thought that I wasn’t diminishing Gandhi by using his words to get her to do something as pedestrian as laundry.

I can’t be sure, not having known Gandhi myself, but I’ll bet he would be supportive of my efforts. I’m pretty sure he had teenagers. I’ll bet they rolled their eyes at him, too. I told her to go ahead and find me a picture of Gandhi in a dirty and/or wrinkled sari. I’m still awaiting that piece of evidence.

In an effort to be the change I wish to see in my world, I’m going to do a little cleaning and organizing today. After all, I want to make Gandhi proud. (Don’t we all?) I can’t start on it right away though. I have to get on the phone with the pediatrician’s office and the car dealership and straighten some things out for Fangette. Who knows how long that will take?

I can’t be sure, but I think I hear Gandhi “tsking” right now. I absolutely know he’s shaking his head. As for me, I just keep thinking “August 22nd, August 22nd, August 22nd!”



photo credit: Ghandi

This post also appeared on Scary Mommy where it was met with, let’s just call it, a cooler than expected reception. I still love Scary Mommy, though — if you like to read the kinds of things that I write (and, really, outside of a few Patty Perfect Soccer Moms that enjoy posting critical comments about how I’m a lazy mother who has, deservedly, raised a monster, who doesn’t?), I suggest you head on over there. It’s a hoot! (At least for those of who “get” humor.)

Scary Mommy

9 thoughts on “Making Gandhi Proud

  1. The Universe makes sure you get annoyed enough with your kids so it doesn’t break your heart quite as much when they leave.

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  2. Oh do I hear you, sister! My 18 year old is going to college late August and I’m pretty much ready for her to go! Very funny post!

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  3. doreenb8 says:

    My granddaughter cried hysterically when she realized she only had a week to learn how to use the washer, dryer, stove etc. before going to school last year. She had to change her plans and go to community college for the first year. Ugghh. She learned alot and is hopefully ready to go this August although suddenly she is so much fun to be around again.

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    • javaj240 says:

      LOL — that won’t happen here. We paid the hefty non-refundable deposit already. So, ready or not, she’s going.

      I’m glad that your granddaughter is fun to be around again! I’m looking forward to the same being the case for my daughter!

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  4. I love this post! It’s not the usual empty nest angle, which, as a woman without children I simply can’t relate to. But this? I laughed and smiled throughout. I get it. ;-)))

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