How old are you when you no longer need adult supervision? Will I ever be the one providing the adult supervision? The answer may surprise you.
I grew up in a little town Lake Superior. Ashland had 9,615 people , at least that’s what the sign said when I was growing up. I was the third kid in a family with four children. Clare is my little sister and Mike is my big brother, the oldest is Mary.
For as long as I can remember, we had to ask permission to go somewhere at night or to go spend time at someone’s house. “Who’s going with you? Who’s driving? Are her parent’s home? Who else is invited?” All valid questions that are often met with a heavy sigh and an eye roll by the kid being asked those questions That’s the way it goes when you are a child.
Before you know it, you turn 18 and move away to college. No one to tell you to go to bed, or what to eat for dinner or even what to wear. My upbringing must have been pretty good, because I did go to most classes and study and believe it or not, I wore a lot of skirts in college after never wearing one in high school.
I suspect all of the supervision I received growing up, set in stone my behavior for my adult life. All of the times I could have chosen to skip school or not do my homework, I immediately thought of the disapproving glance of my parents and it stopped me from doing anything really bad.
In high school I was so afraid of disappointing my parents that I never strayed too far from home. I can clearly remember my Dad giving me the car keys and telling me to go buy a pound of butter. It was Friday night, what did they need butter for? I realize now that they just wanted me to get out of the house for a while, so I bought the butter and went to the library.
That doesn't mean I didn't have some good times in college. We had some great parties in college, we went to State Street in Madison on Halloween and had fun attending Summerfest in Milwaukee and spring break in Florida. Still the adult supervision I received as a child is still in my head.
When I met my husband, his children became the focus of adult supervision. I know they didn’t always agree with their curfew and other household rules. I was not a perfect step-parent, I made mistakes but we all survived and they grew up to be fine young adults who make us very proud. Sometimes I am shocked that they turned out so well, we really lucked out.
So you would think the adult supervision years would be a thing of the past right? The kids are in their 30’s, they both have long term relationships, they work hard and have their own homes. Jerry and I are both retired now, so what’s left? Adult supervision is surely over when you retire and the kids grow up right? No, no, no, no, was I ever wrong about that.
You see as an adult you have momentary lapses, times when you forget you are in fact a grownup and believe me adult supervision is necessary all of your life.
Just a few years ago (before my husband started a business where he goes to car shows and sells car parts and accessories), my husband Jerry went to the Jefferson Car Show and Swap meet. He goes every spring and fall. While I am tired of walking through mud up to my ankles and dealing with the high wind and rain that normally accompanies this show, Jerry loves it so he goes by himself, sort of. You see Jerry is a very outgoing man and has a lot of friends, so even if he goes there alone, he knows he will run into a lot of people he knows, while he is looking for car parts and other treasures.
One year he ran into some friends, the Nelson brothers, Ron, Rick and Bob. They kicked tires and looked at car parts all day and decided to go out and have a couple of beers on the way home. They drove back to Lodi and decided to drink beer at a local bar. As usual, when good friends get together, they had more than just a couple.
As I sat home in front of my computer working on a program for a class I was taking, Jerry was a few miles from home drinking beer and talking with his friends. Mostly they all sat there and talked about cars. Seriously, they looked at them all day then went to a bar and drank beer and talked about cars well into the night. Cars never lose their fascination for these guys. I was more irritated than worried, it was getting late and Jerry had left at 6AM to go to the show, but he had called so at least I knew he wasn’t too far from home.
Meanwhile, Jerry and his friends drank beer,they drank a lot of beer. In fact, they had so much beer that our dog Dallis, didn’t recognize the stumbling, wreck of a man coming through our door at midnight. Jerry was about as “happy” as I had ever seen him. He was smiling, stumbling and smelled like he had fallen into a barrel of beer. Not happy to have just drank the stuff, he smelled like he had done laps in a big pool of beer and was sprayed with a heady mixture of cigarette smoke and just a hint of cheap cigars.
Fortunately Jerry had not driven himself home, he had enough sense to leave his car and let a friend drive. I was both relieved he was OK but angry he was in such a state. I had a six foot tall Irishman walking and defying the laws of gravity with every step. He was like a puppet made of Jello. He was bouncing off of walls, knocking things over, but never hit the floor. Dallis was not sure it was really Jerry, she just kept watching him and trying to figure out why he was walking so funny.
It was amazing, he was walking like he was on board a boat in stormy seas with twenty foot waves, he stumbled forward and back, left and right and the smile never left his face. One thing about Jerry, he is a happy man. As I struggled to get his boots off, he told me what a great time he had with the Nelsons, yes indeed by the smell of him, he had a very good time.
Jerry survived his fun with the Nelsons. He slept late the next day and after some food and aspirin, he was on the road to feeling better. He told me later that he had been “over-served” by the bartender it was really the bartender’s fault, sure it was.
A few weeks after the Jefferson Car Show (and Beer Drinking Championship), Jerry told me he was going to Iowa to look at an old car. I know that sounds like a lie, but he was telling the truth. I asked him who he was going with and he said Ron Nelson. Yes, Ron Nelson of the beer drinking, turning my husband into Jello-Man Nelsons.
Without missing a beat I looked at him and asked “And just who is providing the adult supervision?”
My question about adult supervision has become something of a legend among our friends. Everyone around here still laughs about it. Just a few weeks ago we ran into Ron Nelson and another friend Rudy at a car show. As we drove away Rudy yelled “ Hey Anne, I’m the adult supervision today!”
Jerry and I both burst out laughing and waved goodbye . It's nice to know the “adults” are still looking out for the ‘kids”, no matter how old we get.
Thanks for listening.