As a kid, I used to live in awe and fear of the kind of older couples who had their houses set up perfectly and would give kids entering the house that look said, "You wouldn't dare make a mess in here, would you?"
I used to wonder, "What was it like having these people are parents? You must never have been able to do anything!"
The other day, as I was trying to catch up on chores after the kids were in bed, I realized I want to be one of those old people. Not because my house is always neat, but because it never is. When I no longer have people in the house who pull books off the shelf for fun and leave apple cores under the radiator, I'm going to organize everything and relish the fact that it stays organized -- for whole days at a time. I'm going to put nice things out on shelves and tables and glory in the fact that no one will knock them over and break them. I'm going to organize my library by subject and the shelves by author, in the confidence that no one will throw them all on the floor looking for pictures or pile them helter skelter on the couch while looking at the first sentence of page forty-five in each to determine the nature of her future love life.
The kids can be in fear and awe of me and wonder what it was like to have me as a father.