When Grown Kids
Come to Visit
by Erma Bombeck

In earlier days, I was a mother who made her kids pick up their rooms, make their own snacks and put their laundry in the utility room. Now when they come home, I put the rules aside. I am like a concierge looking for a big tip. I follow them around asking, "Are you hungry? Can I get you something? Do you have laundry?"

I eat when they want to eat, cook their favorite foods just before they tell me they are going out with friends and watch helplessly as they eat their way through a pound of baked ham at three in the afternoon.

On their visit, my life changes. I have no car. My washer is set at extra-large load and has two socks and a T-shirt in it. The phone rings constantly and is never for me.

At the end of their visits, we set aside a day, pack a lunch and head for the airport. It isn't until I return home that I sense how orderly my life has become. I enjoy the quiet. The TV tuner is rescued from the clothes hamper and is returned to its place on the coffee table. The empty milk and juice cartons are removed from the refrigerator. The wet towels are put in the washer. The bathroom is returned to health standards.

It is my world again. So why am I crying?


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