The Party's Over
With the graduation of my middle child from high school this year a new era is ushered in. No, not the empty nest, not yet. As parents of a late-in-life bonus baby, that is still a long way off for us. But we are more than halfway there. What I'm talking about is the shift that occurs when the older children finally realize just how easy they had it while Mom & Dad were paying for everything.
Our eldest recently graduated from college, a cum laude double major, and is fully launched. She has worked hard the last few years, both at school and to earn a living, so she gets it already. Our son is moving into his junior year of a double major, and though he's still living at home this summer and driving one of our vehicles, he's almost there. Our third child, the one who recently graduated high school, is just getting her wake-up call. A little respect and deference now and then suddenly seems a paltry price to pay for the benefits of childhood now that the cost of emancipation is stacking up. Phone bills, gas, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses gobble up summer paychecks quicker than you can say "unlimited text and downloads".
My kids scoff at my insistence that a pay-as-you-go phone is more than adequate for their needs. Heck. it's all I've ever had! Recently they went out shopping for new smartphones and plans; prioritizing needs over wants is something they are becoming familiar with, and for them, a good phone is a must.
My priority list is a little more practical by default, especially as it applies to stretching the family budget. But then, I've been a party-pooper for a lot longer; doing without, choosing sensible go-with-everything shoes over the perfect pair of expensive ones, reinventing leftovers, recycling hand-me-downs for our large family - the list is longer than my grocery receipt.
The two working, non-rent paying adults came home with sleek new phones and frustrating, barely workable phone plans for our mountainous, limited coverage area. Having set out to overcome the parental "sensible" phone route, they were determined to modernize, do or die. And so they have, complete with the headaches of poor service and spotty reception, all for a pretty penny more. I just smile when they grumble; it's not my problem anymore.
More current isn't necessarily better. Most of us recognize that in one way or another. But, having bought into the new plan, all we can do is suffer through it. God forbid we admit Mom was right, at least.........not for a few more years.
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