Here’s Something Thoughtful to Do When You’re 40 and Your Parents Are Out of Town

You’d think when you’re 66 years old and your daughter is 40, you can finally leave home for a few weeks to go on vacation and ask her to water the plants and trust she won’t throw a party and raid your beer in your absence.

You’d think that.

But you’d be wrong.

You know what’s fun to do when you’re 40 and your parents leave town? I mean, other than steal their convertible and act confused about why the mileage is always suddenly higher than when they left, which you’ve been doing for years.

What’s fun is throwing a party at their house because they were foolhardy and unwise and gave you their house keys, car keys and the garage code.

And even better than throwing an unauthorized party?

Is sending them pictures like this… 

photo 1 (70)

…of a police car in their driveway.

And this…

photo 2 (77)

…of beer bottles and some random couple on their bed.

And decorating their house for their return like this…

photo 4 (34)

… just, you know, to let them know you thought about them while they were away. 

Because you’re very, very thoughtful.

And you want them to know you missed them.

And that they should never, ever, EVER leave town again.

Or think you’re responsible enough to water the plants.

The End

P.S. Some of those pictures might be the teeniest, tiniest bit staged and may not reflect the actual nature of the party.

P.P.S. I might have flagged that cop down while he was driving by. And I might’ve asked if he’d do me a favor. And I might’ve mentioned it wasn’t actually law-enforcement related. And he might’ve looked at me like I was propositioning him before skeptically asking how he might help me. And I might’ve said, “I’m 40 and my parents are on vacation and I’m throwing a party without their knowledge.” And he might’ve started laughing before he offered to pull into the driveway and turn on the lights. And I might’ve told him he’s the BEST police officer in the WHOLE WORLD. You know, MAYBE.

P.P.P.S. I also might’ve just met those people who are pictured on my parents’ bed. And they might’ve offered to pose for it after seeing the cop in the driveway because they heard I was sending sketchy pics to my sweet, retired parents. And now I might be working on a campaign to force those bed people to be my friends forever and ever and ever. 

P.P.P.P.S. My parents gave me their house keys, car keys and garage keys, “just in case something happened,” but they didn’t give me their bank codes and passwords. Weird, right?

P.P.P.P.P.S. My parents used to be missionaries, and they love Jesus very much. The Bible tells us I am their reward. “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Some people think the Bible can be interpreted different ways. Those people are probably wrong.

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. […] they truly understood how that would interact with my high sensitivity to injustice.  But, as Beth recently pointed out, the Bible does say that I’m their God-given reward, and they are clergy, so they can’t […]

  2. Hilarious!

  3. My mother is leaving town tomorrow for a month-long trip to South America. (She’s 76 and is totally awesome.)

    For some strange reason she didn’t ask me to water plants, leave me a key etc. It might be that after living with me for 20 years, she probably knows better.

    I’m a bit disappointed about all those missed opportunities. after this post I’ve gone from feeling worried about her climbing the Andes, visiting the Galapagos Island etc to feeling miffed about all those missed opportunities …

  4. Awesome! Can we be friends???

  5. About 10 years ago we had an all-night youth group event, and at about 2a.m. we went to Memorial Park. We were a little loud, so a cop came and asked us to be quiet. Then one of the leaders asked if the cop would pretend to arrest one of the youth pastors while she took pictures, and the cop agreed. So then there were some really great pictures of the youth pastor up against a cop car while we all lay face-down in the grass to show at church on Sunday.
    I wonder if enabling harmless shenanigans is a special local cop talent.

  6. It’s very responsible of a plant waterer to let the local police patrol know when the owners are out of town.

  7. You are such a trip! What goes around comes around and one of your FIVE children is so going to do this to you!!!! Just wait! “…”

  8. *Waving through the laughter 😉

  9. Heart heart heart heart heart heart heart

  10. I’m laughing so hard right now!! I can’t wait for my parents to go out of town!!!!!!

  11. We gave the bank codes and passwords to your brother… the child we trust.

    1. I’d muster up some measure of offense at this if it didn’t make perfect sense, so instead I’ll just say that’s a good call, Dad.

  12. Oh how I wish my brain worked like yours! The fun that I could create!! But I suspect that one of my boys just might have it in him to pull off these type of shenanigans 😉 Such fun!! And sooooooo funny!!!!! 😀

  13. You are the best!

  14. I heart you, Beth.

  15. Ooh…my mother is leaving town soon…and I have the keys to a FIRE STATION, you guys!

    P.S. Beth I think i need to start a campaign to make you move here and be my friend forever and ever.

    1. Oh my gosh! We could do amazing things in a fire station! We should all come!

  16. You are nuts! And this was my favorite part: P.P.P.P.P.S. My parents used to be missionaries, and they love Jesus very much. The Bible tells us I am their reward. “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

  17. Excellent.

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