Paradise and Parenting

Visitors from Category Two

Leza Warkentin

I imagine if you, like our family, live in Puerto Vallarta year-round, you begin getting visitors about this time of year.  I tend to classify our winter visitors into two categories.  In category one are those who never really had the time of day for you when you were freezing alongside them at the curling rink.  But ever since you relocated to Mexico, they are suddenly eager to mention to everyone currently freezing alongside them at the curling rink that they are heading to Vallarta to stay for free with their Very Close Friends who live there.  In category two we have the family and friends who would come to see you even (and especially) if you moved to Antarctica to study penguin dropping patterns.I have some very special visitors from category two coming in a few days, affectionately known around here as Papa and Nana.    Papa and Nana, being persons of sound mind, spend the entire winter in the warm sun of Vallarta instead of the bleak snows of Manitoba. I am always of two minds on how to prepare for the visit of my parents.  I can either spend the last few weeks in a mad cleaning frenzy, turning out a spotless home with flowers on their bedside table and special chocolaty surprises hidden in their drawers, or I can “keep it real” so as to not disappoint them when, a day or two into their visit, the dogs throw up the chocolaty surprises and the dust begins to settle on the furniture again.  Considering that they are coming in three days and I am avoiding eye contact with my twice-weekly cleaning lady, I think we all know which route I’ve taken this year.However, I feel it’s important that they know how I feel about having them stay for four months, and so I have compiled a short list of things that I love about having Papa and Nana as part of our household:

1)       My clothing is lovingly washed, hung to dry and magically folded in my closet.

2)      Some days I have nothing to do with my children’s homework.

4)      There are people in my home who are convinced I work too hard.

5)      I can go out to see my guitar man play whenever I want, AND I can sleep in the next morning without wondering if my children are trying to cook dry macaroni on the gas stove.

7)      The pie.

8)      I can go guilt-free for four months, knowing that my children are being loved on nonstop even though we live so far from family the rest of the year.

Enjoy your winter visitors, especially the category twos!  As for the category ones, I leave it to your individual levels of tolerance.  If you reach your limit, you can always hang a sign outside your door, reading “Moved to Antarctica, Penguin Droppings Await, Come On Down”.



One comment

  1. Dear Leza,

    Thank you for sharing your letter and comments to your son on his ninth birthday. With three daughters, I never had the experience of raising a son, just girls that were raised to be independent .I have seen how my daughters struggled in raising my four grandsons, and in fact, I am glad , finely , that my three children were girls.

    Remembering my youth, it was my dad that had the most influence on me before I left home on my own at fifteen. I met my wife of 58 years when I was twelve years old. At nine, and in the fourth grade, I had already discovered girls, rode my bicycle on the hills of San Francisco, and played softball on the street in front of my home with the neighbor boys.

    My dad had taught me by this time to hunt and fish, and had gotten me two paying jobs. First I learned to shoot a rifle and hunt rabbits. Then to fish in a 16 foot skiff with an outboard motor where we went out to a reef some twelve miles out in the Pacific ocean , from the pier. I was strong and got into lots of fights at school. But I was completely confused about girls until I was eighteen.

    The boys I played softball out on the street with, thought that they new more about girls than I did. So I asked Mary, a girl down the street , about our age to show us what she/it looked like. The next day Mary told us that her mother said that she was not to play with us again. Yes , the boys were only partly right.

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