You know how one day everything is perfectly normal? The teenager goes to school, comes home, eats everything in the fridge, reluctantly does his homework and then stomps off to his messy room? And then one day, the teenager doesn’t follow this tried and true routine, leaving the mother to stand around wondering what the heck is going on?
Yeah, that happened to me yesterday. Oh, Junior came home and reluctantly did his homework while eating everything in the fridge. But he didn’t stomp up to his room. Instead he asked for garbage bags.
And then my son announced that he was going to clean his room. Seriously. He said that. I don’t know about you, but I cannot take that kind of shock and surprise. Heck, for a few seconds, I couldn’t even speak. I swear to you, my heart stopped.
And of course then I wondered what he wanted. Look, I’ve been doing this parenting thing for a while now and the thing is, teenagers? They don’t clean their rooms without being a) threatened; b) begged; c) notified that that a major holiday is approaching and if he wants gifts his room needs to be cleaned; or d) all of the above.
But there were no threats, begging or holidays coming up when Junior mentioned cleaning his room. So I thought about it a bit and I realized that I didn’t care. I mean, we’re talking about a clean room, right? Who the heck am I to question why that comes about?
And seriously, I knew I made the right decision when several hours and 7 garbage bags later (yes, 7!) Junior’s room was sparkly. Okay, maybe not exactly sparkly. Heaven forbid he should actually dust in there, but I could see the carpet. Just between you and me, until that moment I hadn’t realized he had carpeting in there. And I definitely didn’t realize it matched the rest of the carpet in the house.
Anyway, in the pile of crud that had blanketed my son’s room, he found his teeny, little underpants from when he was little. No, I don’t know why they were buried on the floor. I can only assume it’s like one of those archeological digs where layers from different eras are buried on top of each other. Either that or he was using them as a hat. Frankly, I’m going with the archeological theory. At least then I think my kid is somewhat sane.
And of course, I didn’t let him throw the tiny panties away. Please. Those are excellent for blackmailing him. If I don’t like a girl he’s dating, I can just whip out those puppies out and say, “see these? This is what you’re getting.” She’ll run for the hills. It’s like a dream come true. Those little man-panties are a parent’s best weapon. I could even make up a little underwear test for his future girlfriends. If I take them out and she laughs, then she’s not the one. But if she sits down next to me, takes my hand says something like, “wow, how’d you get the skid marks out?” Well, then I would know she’s the right girl for him.
And all of that came from him cleaning his room. It’s amazing what can happen on a day when the routine is suddenly turned upside down. Of course, I’m still waiting to find out why he volunteered to clean.
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