Polly Peepers / guest columnist
Younger than the wisdom her columns suggest, Polly Peepers has been a columnist since the age of ten when she organized her grade school’s first newspaper to protest the nutritional value of school lunch food. Since then, Polly has written for newspapers all over the world and has attracted a large following of mostly faithful readers seeking to navigate a WTF world.
Is it Fair?
Dear Polly – I will turn fifty-seven in October, and Polly, even though I feel terrible saying this, in some ways I’m done being a parent. And the pandemic has nothing to do with it … well, maybe. My second husband, Otto, who is related to neither of my children said to me recently, “When are you going to kick these bozo children of yours out of the house?”
That’s right, Polly, both of my sons are in their late thirties and they haven’t left home yet. I guess Otto is right – if I expect more, I’ll get more. They have newspaper routes, but that doesn’t seem to pay their bills. They always give us pictures of themselves from photo booths for Christmas. That seems sweet to me. Polly, please help me. Is it too much to ask to have the house to ourselves? I’ve already accepted waking up to Otto every morning – isn’t that enough?
– Is it fair, Massachusetts
Dear Is It Fair –
There is nothing I can tell you that will solve your problem. A sense of humor perhaps, that’s always a dependable refuge. Here are some of my favorite quotes from past readers about parenting their children –
(1) Where was the F.D.A.? Kids should come w/label warnings that parenting can be hazardous to your health … Mark S, Van Nuys
(2) Children are gone today, here tomorrow – gone today when they’re asked to do chores, here tomorrow when they need a loan … Christine A, Coos Bay
(3) My forty-year-old totally capable adult child has lived at home since he was thirty – I’m so tired of him standing in front of the refrigerator scratching himself. It’s like losing at Old Maid … Lois K. Silver Springs
(4) No child asked to be born … Geraldo R, Gainesville
Is It Fair, the only real comment I can personally share with you is that you can’t eliminate the worry card in your parenting, but you can put limits on your giving … you still have to help clean up on Aisle Six, but you’re no longer the manager of the store.
Can you answer this question? How can we keep our family from arguing at the dinner table, especially on holidays? I just can’t stand it anymore. My Uncle Don and my Grandpa argue about the same old things and by the time we get to dessert everyone wants to hide in the car.
Grandpa, the engineer, always begins with “What is Art anyway?” Everyone then usually rolls their eyes and realizes we’re all stuck again. I don’t know Polly, am I supposed to know what Art is? Do you know what Art is? Grandpa thinks it’s all crap and Uncle Don thinks Grandpa is all crap.
This discussion then leads to arguing about what matters in life. Uncle Don is a sixty-year-old bachelor and feels like Grandpa is always implying that anybody who doesn’t have children is worthless. Uncle Don is gay, but he hasn’t told us yet.
I’ve decided to become a vegetarian (except for pizzas with pepperoni). Then maybe next holiday, they’ll put me at the vegetarian table with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Burt. With everything going on at the red meat table, what’s a thirteen-year-old girl to do?
– Tired of The Arguing / Malverne, NY
Dear Tired of the Arguing,
First of all, keep Grandpa away from the booze and start feeding him as soon as he steps in the door. Put on music from his generation. Try the Beatles. Do your best to either to fill him with food or to confuse him by asking how much money you owe him.
If all of that doesn’t work and he begins to really get out of line, interrupt and make a toast to him – make it a very long toast. He’ll soon forget about needing to embarrass Uncle Don.