As we showed everyone the house, the boys started getting impatient and started hiding in the cupboards, slamming doors, running around madly and generally being unruly. My husband and I asked them to settle down and stop what they were doing. "Boys, please... behave and stop slamming the cupboard doors!" I yelled. My sister and sister-in-law did not take kindly to our reprimands.
A few days later, my mother called to say that this had not been received well and that "this had never happened before." I remember holding back tears as I listen to my mother defend the unruly actions of the kids and scold us for our reaction. "Boys will be boys... they get into things."
I took a deep breath and then made it perfectly clear: "Our house, our rules. You are right, boys will be boys, but that does not mean that they get to run wild and slam doors in our house." I remember saying, "I may be the youngest in this family but I am not a 'baby sister' anymore. I have a husband, a home, two kids and I'm in my mid-thirties. I'm not a little kid that you can reprimand. Please know that the kids will have to respect our rules when they are in our house."
From that day forward, I was always known at the "strict aunt." An unfair moniker to be sure, but I have no regrets. After all, it was our house.
I'm not sure they got that message for years, but I stood my ground that day and my husband and I were happier for it.
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