Monday, April 02, 2007

In Excess

I have a cousin who is a senior in high school this year. This will be her last prom, and as any normal teenager would, she wants it to be special. I remember how important it was to find the "perfect" dress and agonized over my nail polish and had fun renting the limo and making the dinner reservations.

However, if I had asked my parents to take me to another state in order to purchase my dress, the laughter would have been heard in another state.

But, my aunt, ever the indulgent baby-boomer parent, acquiesced to trekking six hours across the desert in order to ensure that NO ONE else would have the same prom dress.

Oh. My. God.

I mean, they are my relatives and I love them dearly, but even I could not prevent myself from snorting in disbelief when I heard they were coming this past weekend. I understand it is a bit easier since they have free lodging here in California, and we all enjoy seeing each other. But, the Shopping Death March that occurred over the weekend left no doubt as to what the real priority was.

My aunt is a classic "pleaser." She hates to argue, and she feels best when people need her. Thus, even though she works full time and her husband is disabled, she cooks every meal and cleans the entire house. It is she who picks up the poop from four dogs, and she who washes and folds every bit of laundry. No matter that we have told her any number of times that she is doing her daughters no favor by allowing them to skate free of any chores. No matter that we have tried to guilt the daughters into contributing more and helping their exhausted mother.

Once, while we were staying at their house for a week, I asked oldest daughter where the detergent dispenser was on the washing machine. I had looked for it, but couldn't find it. After peering at it for five minutes, she shrugged her shoulders and confessed that at 17, she had never done a load of laundry in her life.

Oh, and this is the same family who, when all of eldest's jeans were dirty and she had a date that night, somehow persuaded her mother to take her shopping for a pair of new ones.


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