Parents: love or hate them, they’re here to stay

FOOD Most students need their folks to help out.

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Let’s talk about parents.

They’re the kind of people that fall into that ever-annoying can’t-live-with-them-can’t-live-without-them (especially since they cared for you when you were just an awful, smelly ball of flesh with limbs that couldn’t survive for 48 hours without some kind of attention) category.

But love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t deny that parents come with some perks.

Food

My mom is like most moms. She has lots of advice that she will give regardless of whether or not it’s asked for. She has plenty of stories about what life was like when she was growing up and why I have it much better now. She knows how to yank my chain and exactly what to do to make me feel more guilty than a Catholic who hasn’t been to Mass in a year.

She also knows exactly how to make the most kick-butt pastries, desserts, hotdishes and, in general, anything edible. And of course, she makes a lot. I don’t think there has been one time my mom has made the drive from Bismarck to Grand Forks without towing with her frozen chili, Tupperware containers of homemade cookies and more than two weeks worth of meals and leftovers.

You might not always enjoy every meal; you might not always know what exactly that elusive special ingredient is — or if in fact it is meant for human consumption — but what you never have to worry about is having a mother eager to feed you.

Gas

No, not flatulence — although I heard a rumor that that’s genetic too, which means my future partner has quite a treat in store.

No, I’m talking about petro, gasoline, that weird stuff that somehow makes your car go “vroom.” You need it, and your parents have it.

Because I know I’m not the only one, I’m not ashamed to admit that I ration out my gas to make sure fill time will be conveniently around the same time as a visit with the ‘rents.

Last Christmas, I coasted the last few miles home as my fuel gage arrow pointed angrily at the glowing “E” on my dash. I don’t care how stressful it may be to coast around with a little more than a thimble of fuel shloshing around in your tank, if you can save $60 by having mom or dad pick up the tab, it’s always going to be worth it. And what parent would refuse to buy a tank of gas for their kid if it meant getting them back to school and out of the house.

Healthcare

God bless the Affordable Care Act. I don’t care if you think the whole plan is good or bad or the work of the anti-Christ come to bring socialism to America, the Affordable Care Act makes life a heck’uve a lot better for those of us living the life of a twenty-something kid without a clue about medical whatnots.

With the Affordable Care Act, students can remain on their parents insurance until they’re 26.

If you’ve ever wanted a perfect example of dumb-luck, this is it. Our generation likely will be one of the first to not enjoy the perks of Social Security, but we are the first lucky sons of guns who get to visit the doc on our parents’ dime well into our 20s, and that’s pretty awesome.  All I know is this year on my birthday, I’m thanking my parents for six more years of health insurance.

Information

Parents have a communication system more efficient than the U.S. military’s and more confusing than the Code Talkers of WWII. They have all the gossip about all the neighbors, all the neighbor kids, all the city celebrities and the governor himself. Your mom knows exactly who was over at Suzzie Susberg’s house last night and what kind of car they drive. Your dad’s golf group may as well be a group of highly trained spies, trained in intelligence gathering and dissemination.

If you need to know something — heck, if you need to know anything — about what the people back home are doing, your parents probably know and have their own theories about motive. Your mom’s hair doesn’t have to be as big as Gretchen Weiners’ for it to be just as full of secrets.

Insight

Into your future that is. Unfortunately, the old adage is true. You will look like your mom or dad in 40 years. Don’t deny it, don’t try to fight it — just accept it. I’m sure some of you are subconsciously running your hands through your already thinning hairline and thinking grimmly about your dad’s hairless noggin.

Even more of you are probably dreading the moment when you will suddenly be overtaken your family’s trademark slow metabolism and inability to register the inappropriateness of their comments in a public dining place.

As grim as it is to think of yourself slowly morphing into your mother, you have time now to start taking preventative steps. Identify critical problem areas — inability to digest corn, bad eyesight, poor circulation — and find out what you can do right now to start preparing for a better tomorrow. Also, be constantly vigilant of your own use of phrases such as “those darn kids,” “bless” and “I remember when you were born.”

Finally, be kind to your parents and forgive their errors, politically incorrect comments and general cluelessness about technology — that’s going to be you someday soon.

Carrie Sandstrom is the editor-in-chief of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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