So this weekend we will be invaded by a passel of folk who have learned that the first “official” holiday weekend of the summer means a big barbecue at the Mox residence. The crowd has over the years grown to crazy proportions, particularly when you consider we don’t have a big back yard. There are never enough tables, chairs, or shady spots. Some folks have come one year and never again, others are repeaters. We’ve seen families grow and lost dear ones in this crowd, and the event itself has taken on a life of its’ own.
I tend to dread these weekends. Social butterfly I am not, and having gobs of people traipsing in and out of my house — my refuge from the world — tends to set me on edge. What I dread most is the invasion of in-laws.
Specifically, the littlest of in-laws. The cookie crumblers and tricycle motors. Even more specifically, the two youngest of my youngest sister-in-law. To put it simply: they are hellions.
Because I have standards, I expect a certain amount of couth in my house. And while I realize that kids are in short supply of couth, I do think it is up to the parents to enforce company manners. Which means, you don’t trash a house.
The littlest outlaws are trashers.
And furthermore, I often don’t discover the carnage until they are well on their way home. One year in particular, I found a half-eaten hot dog in Spawn’s toybox, and the legs to a table in Spawn’s room were literally glued to the carpet with some sort of candy that someone had spit out on the floor. They have a tendency to get everything out of the closet, out of the toybox, and in general make a huge mess of Spawn’s room.
The reason I do not have five kids is that I do not want five kids. So when they bring their four, including the two youngest, worst offenders, I grind my teeth and try to stay on top of them the whole day. It’s exhausting. But it’s also not possible to put the onus back on the parents, because they like to sit on my front porch and smoke and in general let their kids run wild. Words fall on deaf ears.
So yes, the parents in question here are in short supply of couth themselves, and it’s a lost cause. But having had some experience over the years with this issue, I have resolved it in my own passive-aggressive way.
I hand out water balloons and candy right before everyone leaves for their 2+ hour drive home. More than one way to skin a cat.