Very often, people say to me,
"Your children are such wonderful, accomplished people. You did a great job as a parent."
Thanks. Just to give a word of support to all of you who are dealing with less than perfect children now, let me give you a little story I remembered today.
One day, Maria was supposed to be watching her younger sisters, aged ten and eleven, but had instead gone out to do something more interesting, leaving them home alone. As I open the door, coming home from a business trip after a twelve-hour flight, I see this scene:
Ronda is at the bottom of the stairs. At the top, is her sister Jennifer with an office chair lifted over her head, poised to throw it down at her younger sister. Interrupting this domestic scene, I yell in my loudest maternal voice
Jennifer glares down at me very indignantly and yells back in her most you-are-yelling-at-me-for-no-reason, what's-your-problem tone
My chair-wielding daughter, nicknamed "The Perfect Jennifer", graduated from San Francisco State University at 21 and is now teaching school. Ronda has been on two Olympic teams and Maria was Emerging Journalist of the Year for the National Hispanic Journalists Association.
So, all of you who are dealing with problem children now, hang in there, there's hope. I do have to warn you though, that there is a lot of truth to that bumper sticker:
By the time your children are fit to live with, they are living some place else.