Two Teens And Their Mama: The Gathering Place

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Gathering Place


Our house has always been the gathering place.  Ever since my boys have been old enough to choose friends of their own, I've suggested that they all hang out here.  That way I know who they're spending time with, and I can keep a covert eye on their activities.

In the beginning it seemed like a good idea.  Our older son has had a core group of three friends since early high school, and they feel like extra children to us.  Now they're all off at college, but they spend lots of time here during vacations and summer break.

Three extra teenagers I can handle any day - no problem.

But then came T, our younger son.  He is very social - he likes everybody and they like him. And apparently they want to hang out with him at his house.  All. the. time. 



I can't really blame them - it's our own fault.  We've made it entirely too comfortable. Here at the gathering place, everybody loves my hubby - he's funny and tells great stories. When I was a teenager, nobody ever wanted to come over and risk running into the Grinch, AKA my father.  

We've inadvertently set up the daylight basement to be an American Teenage Male paradise. Comfy couches, big screen television, lots of video games, and direct access to the backyard with a fire pit.  It was intended to be our relaxation spot - until the teenagers took over. Now they're multiplying like Gremlins and I don't know how to get rid of them.

I think T strategically tricked us into this situation.  Unfortunately, he's smarter than we are.   It started with a few friends, having a bonfire or movie night once in a while.  But then he suggested that they may as well stay over, because after all, it's dangerous to drive late at night.  I hate it when he uses my own words against me!  Now they're here every weekend, eating, drinking all our soda, and being loud and messy. My basement looks and smells like a fraternity party the morning after a sleepover.  



I don't even want to think about how much it costs to feed them.  I'm going through about fifty bags of popcorn a month - bless you, Costco.  I actually blame my husband for this one.  If someone is a guest in our home, he's going to make sure they're well fed.  Trust me, these boys get a good breakfast - no wonder nobody wants to leave.



I'm worried that things might be getting out of control.  Last Friday, on the 4th of July, there were nine teenagers here, running around, lighting off fireworks, and well....being boys.  I was so afraid that someone was going to blow a finger off or put their eye out while I was in charge.  I spent the entire evening sitting outside, pretending to be interested in the 582nd firecracker of the night.

We're definitely too nice to these boys.  Maybe we should stop feeding and watering them.  The thing is, they are all really nice kids - they're polite and friendly, and clean up after themselves - most of the time.  Plus, I do like keeping my covert eye on things.

In a few years they'll be gone, and it will be awfully quiet around here.  We won't run out of popcorn, and hubby and I will have our basement back.

On second thought, I hope they keep coming over.  I like being the gathering place.

26 comments:

  1. Awwwww....that's great that you provide a place for everyone to hang out! I imagine it will soon be the same at my house. I have four boys of my own! I'm already wondering what kind of part time job I'm going to have to get just to supplement the grocery money. ;) Great post! Thanks for sharing with the Growing Circles Hop!

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    1. Oh my goodness - four boys! Sounds like fun at your house :) I'm constantly amazed at how much food my teenage boys can consume. Thanks so much for the nice comment!

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  2. Perfect! I love having kids around and people in and out. Oh, once in a while a quiet day is a nice change of pace but I'll take kids any day of the week! You are blessed!

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    1. I totally agree - I love all the activity! Thank you for stopping by1

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  3. The mat by my front door usually is filled with shoes as well! As many times as I may stumble over them, I am glad that they are there!
    I am sure you won't be getting rid of those boys any time soon - too much fun and too much good food will always keep them there! Great post!

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    1. Thank you Susan. We've seen a lot of our older son's friends this summer, so I'm sure the younger ones will be back too!

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  4. I think it's great that you have the space to host them! It sounds like they like your cooking, too!

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    1. Well, they like my husband's cooking :) If I cooked for them they probably wouldn't come back!

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  5. Such a blessing (and possibly an annoyance, too). My stepbrothers were a lot like that with my Mom’s house. They always had 2/3 of the football/soccer team over on any given weekend. And were of course always rewarded with big breakfasts of French toast and pancakes. But like you said, it only lasts a few years – and just think of the fond memories you and your boys will have as a result!

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    1. Thank you Leslie. It's mostly a blessing, I agree!

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  6. This brought back great memories as I always had a group of people at my house. My son and daughter always had their friends gather at our house. I miss those days. Enjoy them and know they will always remember these times. thanks for sharing

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    1. I know I will miss them when they're gone. It will be nice to open the fridge and see food in there though :)

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  7. Brilliant post, so very well written!

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  8. Funny and endearing at the same time, Lana! I only have one boy and I'm terrified of him turning into a teenager. I still have a few years before that happens but time flies by so fast, doesn't it? It's great that these boys are polite and clean up after themselves. I would really REALLY hate it if they weren't. I would freak out completely, esp. since I'm sort of a neat freak. So, kudos to you for being able to do all these things! And you're right. It's best that you have your boys with you than not know what they're up to or who they hang out with. Parenting is tough and we really just have to figure out what works for us, one step at a time. ;-)

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    1. You're right - parenting is a learn as you go, one step at a time job! I can't believe how fast time has gone - I feel like my boys were babies just yesterday. Thanks for stopping by - nice to meet you!

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  9. My house was the same - my son had a group of 8 and more often than not they were here. I loved it and loathed it at the same time! And I wouldn't want to know how much money we spent on food during high school...

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    1. I've decided not to think about the food bill :)

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  10. I love hearing stories like this, Lana. When the boys were younger, we were THAT house. I loved it. I wouldn't have had any other way. They really love that we were that way and appreciate that they have those memories in our home. You're doing a great thing for them.

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    1. Thank you so much! My hope is that they will have fond memories of having their friends here.

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  11. This is our house right now -- except I have teen girls. And, when they're all together with friends, they eat a lot -- well, maybe not as much as boys! But, I'm with you -- I wouldn't have it any other way! :)

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    1. At the end of the day I do love it. Teen stomachs seem to be endless pits - girl or boy!

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  12. It's evident from your post that you care about these boys. And you might be the only one who does for some of them. What you do is an amazing thing. But please also take care of you. There are compromises you could set that would take care of you and them.

    Choose a few nights each month and let your kids know in advance that those are family only. They can let their friends know ahead of time and it shouldn't be a problem. Feeding them is great, but don't try to fill them. Teenage boys don't get full. Maybe have a set amount of food for each evening and let everyone know that when that's gone -- that's it. They could bring snacks with them to supplement. Don't be afraid to end an activity. Just because they still have firecrackers and want to keep lighting them doesn't mean you just have to sit and wait. When you start to reach your limit, tell them they have five more minutes. Then stick to it and tell them it's time to move on to another activity.

    I have five kids, 16-23. I know how easy it is to get lost in this process. I also know how enjoyable it is to know their friends like you and feel comfortable in your home. But if you are going to play mom for them, don't be afraid to really mother them. Set the limits that allow you to care for them without feeling taken advantage of.

    And designate a night or two when the basement will be a date night for you and your husband. It's great to have all the kids there, but it's also important to enjoy your home alone sometimes.

    Best wishes. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Happy Sharefest!

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I completely agree that you can get lost in parenting sometimes, and forget to take care of yourself. We definitely set boundaries and so far I don't feel taken advantage of. I did exaggerate some of my points for the sake of the story. With five kids you definitely have experience, and I appreciate your perspective!

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  13. Hi Lana, I think it is so cool that your kids friends are comfortable hanging out in your home. So often teens don't have a safe place to spend time and end up getting into situations they can't handle. I am sure you feel like they may eat you out of house and home ... or burn it down ;) but you are doing an amazing thing for those boys. Hang in there!

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    1. Thank you so much! It does make me happy that these boys feel this is a safe place to hang out.

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