She’s not red but she’s mine.

The Little Red Hen. Is she the one who plants the wheat, tills the wheat, and harvests the wheat, all by her lonesome? Or is she the one who runs around shrieking, “The sky is falling?” Either way, I have an affinity for her. I always think the sky is falling. And I’m the one who plants the wheat, constantly asking the lazy duck, pig, mule, for help- only to receive disdainful looks and derisive snorts. In this case, the farm animals being a metaphor for my teenagers.  I am convinced that if they do not clean up after themselves the sky will fall. I admit it. I am Kate and I am a control freak.

I beg borrow and plead with my kids to make their beds, reduce the garbage in their rooms to a single layer- or even just get the wet towels into the hamper before they sprout mushrooms. Perhaps they like mushrooms. They never ever pull up the shades; cave being their preferred environment.  And said cave- should not grow stalactites.

My daughter’s room is awash with bra-revealing shirts (insert a chorus of “Put On A Sweater” key of C) and a running river of moisturizers that smell of a perfumery controlled by Keebler elves. My son’s room is a repository for every known piece of sports equipment, one of which requires tongs to be handled. You know which one I’m talking about.

I could do what every sane parent does and post a hazardous waste sign on their doors and pretend that behind it lies the three-headed dog from Harry Potter, but I don’t. My OCD insists I try to instill some sort of order- or at least curtail the smell.

This morning I made their beds “In case there is a fire and the firemen might see that a sloth lives there.” Then the dawning realization- this was my version of my own mother’s wearing clean underwear “In case you get hit by a car…” Oh, the horror of ambulance attendants seeing your shameful dirty panties held together with safety pins. Alarm bells! I will become my mother if I don’t put the skids on this right now. OCD be damned, let it go. Let it all go.

The sky will not fall, and there will be wheat. I’m going to take my hands off the wheel and hope the world doesn’t crash.  Somehow I think it won’t.