Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I'm Going To Be One Of Those Old People

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.


Kate said...

As a kid, I was in awe of friends who lived in tidy houses. I thought that there was something fundamentally different about them and their parents. I thought my parents just didn't care about keeping things nice.

My parents moved right around when I graduated from college, when they only had two teenagers left at home. Their new house was beautiful, just like you describe. Which is when I realized it wasn't that my parents didn't care, so much as it is self-preservation to become somewhat inured to untidiness when you have 7 children.

Two years ago my kids and I moved in with them, right before my little brother left for college. I have a constant, low-level feeling of guilt for ruining their empty-nest transition and bringing those small forces of entropy (my kids) into their lovely home. :-/

Julia said...

I was commenting the other day to my 17yo that every time a study comes out claiming that it costs some astronomical amount to raise a child, they have the numbers all wrong. It isn't diapers and food and college that add up: it's the breakage and waste. Though college does give you a solid punch once you get there.