It was a weekend evening, right after my husband and I enjoyed a quiet dinner with our teens. It was a quiet meal because the only sounds were slow chewing noises coming from somewhere behind the back of their phones.
When they finally noticed that they had finished all their food, and their plates were in fact empty, we took our chance to pounce. My husband unplugged the WiFi, and I poured myself another martini.
Now that we had their full attention, we plunged right into the meat of it. “Kids, we are selling the house and moving“.
It took a beat for them to wait out the punchline that didn’t come. They looked at each other, mouths opening and closing like betrayed toads.
What followed was a full-on cacophony of questions and concerns.
Where would be move to?! Why are we moving?! What about school, do I have to change schools!? When is this happening!?
As the implications sank in, the questions became more urgent and fraught with the desperation of entitlement they now saw as being at risk.
“Will it have a pool as big as the one we have now?! Will I still have a bathroom to myself?! What about a media room? What if you pick a place without a media room or one that doesn’t have surround sound?!
My poor bunnies. In some very far buried place in my heart, I had a microscopic bit of pity on them. Then I swept it aside like so much fluff and dander, and pushed on with the family meeting.
As they came around to the possibilities and started to see opportunity in this news, I crushed them again. Their next question was: “When are we going house shopping?”
Well my hormonal darlings, here is the rub, your Father and I will be finding and acquiring our new residence, you are not invited to the hunt.
Once again, the teens made like shocked chickens and started clucking and flapping over the indignity of it all. I mean, what could we be thinking by not including them in this important life altering decision? I could see why they might think their views matter, but I quickly divested them of this notion.
I glanced at my husband. He was visibly agitated biting his nails and looking anywhere but at me. I wondered if our pre-planned strategy was now creating doubts in his mind due to the kids’ reaction. As is sometimes done in war, I leave the wounded as he was clearly not up for the fight and I pushed on.
I explained to my coddled money suckers that they are in the twilight years of having a position of any consequence in our home. I reminded them that we used to have a perfectly good house that I loved. Six years ago, they launched a campaign of harassment against the house, insisting that they wanted to move to a place less rural, bike to school, have neighbourhood friends. Oh, and they wanted a pool. So we moved.
We now have all of those things and and more (games room) yet it has not worked out the way we dreamed. They hardly use the pool, their bikes gather dust and their friends are rarely here because they socialize on their devices. They claim they have no time to mow or help with the garden.
Then I let them have it with my Mom cannon. I listed a litany of the reasons they had wanted to move to where we are now, and what they did to throw it all away. I reminded them that they are mere minutes away from leaving for university and they would no longer be home to even use their current palatial digs.
We informed them that not only will they have zero say in which house we buy, they will get whatever rooms we aren’t using when their Dad and I live in our new house. They also found out that they need to box up and move their own shit, and have 5 months to do it.
They were quite sure they are being punished for something. Once again, I corrected their impression and explained the need to downsize. Less mortgage, lower maintenance, and no f’ing pool to stare at, watching our money drown in the deep end.
After a little while, their animal instincts kicked in and they started to self-preserve. It dawned on them that if they want the forwarding address, they would have to fall in line with the plan.
The kids immediately started typing the news out to their friends, or maybe just asking if they can move in with them.
I grabbed my phone as unconcerned as one can be, and started selecting curtains.