Perfect Moment Monday: Stepford

by Lori Lavender Luz on July 6, 2009

in Family,Perfect Moment

Among the many aphorisms my parents recited repeatedly was this gem:

Leave it better than you found it.

This applied to the car my sisters and I borrowed from them as teens, the mountain cabin a neighbor let our family use, and even the playgrounds we’d visit. We were to return the car with a full tank of gas (even if we didn’t use it all), make sure the cabin was spic and span before we left (even if the floor was sooty when we got there), and pick up trash at the park (even if we didn’t generate it).

My parents continue to adhere to their own advice.

Like last year, Roger and I ran a conference recently at a mountain resort. My parents took over with Tessa and Reed, first while visiting my sister in Grand Junction and then at the resort while Roger and I worked.

Guess how my sometimes exasperating children behaved?

“They were WONderful!” my mom exclaimed when we reunited a the resort. “We didn’t have a single problem. They were fun and respectful and helpful and didn’t fight with each other at all.”

I had to clarify, slack-jawed, that we were still talking about MY children.

At the resort the whole lot of us attended a fancy conference meal, where Tessa and Reed were charming, obedient (!), and patient during the 3 hours it took to serve dinner. Any parent knows this is was quite a feat for them and a blessing for us.

Later while packing to go home, the children helped load up and did not fight at all, even though they wanted to stay in the mountain condo “forever” because they had a TV in their room. “OK, Mom!” was heard over and over again. Who WERE these children!? Had my parents made an unplanned stop in Stepford?

So not only did my children behave for my parents, their behavior improved while under my parents’ care. Mom and Dad returned Tessa and Reed better than they found them.

Perfect.

(And a happy 50th anniversary shout out to Mom and Dad — today!)

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

How wonderful when everything comes together like that. It’s like the planets aligning.

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Sandy April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

How wonderful when everything comes together like that. It’s like the planets aligning.

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Sheri April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Your kids behaved very well and were a delight to have here. They got along great with their cousins and were very polite.

I’m glad the folks left things “better than they found them.” I LOVE it when their own advice applies to them to them. :)

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

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Kristin April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Happy Anniversary to your parents and what a wonderful moment with Tessa and Reed.

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battynurse April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

That sounds great.
I too have almost always tried to leave things better than I found them.

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Baby Smiling In Back Seat April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

“Leave it better than you found it” is much more community-minded than the non-aphorisms that many people seem to embrace, such as “It’s not my problem” or “Who cares?”

Though now that you mention it, it’s an awfully socialist sentiment for a New Age Republican.

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Sheri April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Your kids behaved very well and were a delight to have here. They got along great with their cousins and were very polite.

I’m glad the folks left things “better than they found them.” I LOVE it when their own advice applies to them to them. :)

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

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Kristin April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Happy Anniversary to your parents and what a wonderful moment with Tessa and Reed.

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battynurse April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

That sounds great.
I too have almost always tried to leave things better than I found them.

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Baby Smiling In Back Seat April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

“Leave it better than you found it” is much more community-minded than the non-aphorisms that many people seem to embrace, such as “It’s not my problem” or “Who cares?”

Though now that you mention it, it’s an awfully socialist sentiment for a New Age Republican.

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Jamie April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

I agree with Lollipop. You must have planted that seed, your parents only reaped the benefits!

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Sunny April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Too funny! LOL Grandparents are so wonderful that way. My mom says that my grandma potty-trained both me and my brother… coincidentally she says (yeah right!) she had my grandma babysit for the weekend around the time each of us were two. When my mom came to pick us up at the end of the weekend… no more diapers! I can’t wait for my mom to do me the same favor. ;)

Oh, and congrats on 50 years, Lori’s parents!!

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Furrow April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Cool! You should make it a monthly visit. A child tune-up.

Happy 50th to your parents. That’s wonderful.

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Lollipop Goldstein April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Oh, I think you also played a heavy hand in getting the delightful children you see before you. Something about paving the road to good behaviour by teaching them really really well.

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Jamie April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

I agree with Lollipop. You must have planted that seed, your parents only reaped the benefits!

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Sunny April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Too funny! LOL Grandparents are so wonderful that way. My mom says that my grandma potty-trained both me and my brother… coincidentally she says (yeah right!) she had my grandma babysit for the weekend around the time each of us were two. When my mom came to pick us up at the end of the weekend… no more diapers! I can’t wait for my mom to do me the same favor. ;)

Oh, and congrats on 50 years, Lori’s parents!!

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Furrow April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Cool! You should make it a monthly visit. A child tune-up.

Happy 50th to your parents. That’s wonderful.

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Lollipop Goldstein April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Oh, I think you also played a heavy hand in getting the delightful children you see before you. Something about paving the road to good behaviour by teaching them really really well.

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Cara April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Although I’ll readily admit that kids behave better without their parent around — you know, crumbing when they return to their parents care…I love this addage. Will definately add it to our repitoir.

Ok — haven’t had coffee yet so no idea what I just typed. Sorry.

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becomingwhole April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

I agree with Mel and JamieD. Your hard work, the grandparents’ benefit. :).

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Cara April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Although I’ll readily admit that kids behave better without their parent around — you know, crumbing when they return to their parents care…I love this addage. Will definately add it to our repitoir.

Ok — haven’t had coffee yet so no idea what I just typed. Sorry.

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becomingwhole April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

I agree with Mel and JamieD. Your hard work, the grandparents’ benefit. :).

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loribeth April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Too funny about the kids. And happy anniversary to your parents!! My parents’ 50th (& our 25th) are BOTH next year in July!! eeekkk (who planned that one??)

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Wordgirl April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Lori — I love reading about your upbringing and your parents — it is clear that they did such a wonderful job — after all Reed and Tessa are learning the same things from you — and even though we can’t see it — it’s there, sinking in…

XO

Pam

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loribeth April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Too funny about the kids. And happy anniversary to your parents!! My parents’ 50th (& our 25th) are BOTH next year in July!! eeekkk (who planned that one??)

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Wordgirl April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Lori — I love reading about your upbringing and your parents — it is clear that they did such a wonderful job — after all Reed and Tessa are learning the same things from you — and even though we can’t see it — it’s there, sinking in…

XO

Pam

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Bonnie April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

What a great concept. I’m going to use that with my kids! What a blessing for you that your parent are such great role models!

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Bonnie April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

What a great concept. I’m going to use that with my kids! What a blessing for you that your parent are such great role models!

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Phoebe April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Great story! Your parents are gems!

Happy 50th anniversary to your parents! Mine celebrated theirs last year.

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Phoebe April 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Great story! Your parents are gems!

Happy 50th anniversary to your parents! Mine celebrated theirs last year.

Reply

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