As our children got into their mid to-later-teen years, they and their friends used to “hang out” a lot at our house, and usually in our living room.
It probably had a lot to do with the fact that My Beloved is a good cook and always made way too much food for our family, so our kids’ friends were often invited to dinner, or to enjoy the leftovers.
I like to believe that it also had something to do with the fact that they felt safe and welcome in our home, and that they thought that we were reasonably cool or OK parents and adults—-or at least that we were a little less un-cool and weird then their other options.
We mostly loved that they spent so much time at our house. All of them were good kids, and we knew where they were, and what they were up to most of the time.
Sometimes, however, a good thing can become too much. Since they weren’t old enough to go to bars, and they felt they were too old to do things like bowling or miniature golf, their options as to what to do fairly late at night became very limited.
Often—way too often–My Beloved and I heard this conversation for most of the evening:
“What do you want to do tonight?”
“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
(Repeat ad nauseam.)
They’d keep up that “conversation” up for so long that it would be too late to do anything except go to a 24-hour restaurant–the SAME restaurant they’d been to every night for what seemed like months.
One night, when the monotonous conversation began, I’d had enough, and wanted to re-claim my living room from the hungry horde of bored teenagers earlier than 11pm.
Without saying a word I got up and picked out a cavalry movie—-I love cavalry movies—-and stuck it in the movie player. The next thing those teenagers heard was the sound of a bugler blowing CHARGE!
I’ve never seen so many teenagers clear out so fast!
Apparently they aren’t fond of cavalry movies.
After that, whenever I wanted my living room back, all I had to do is ask out loud, “Now where’d I put that cavalry movie?”