meanwhile, I got a message from the White Knight Awards, where She Would be Thirteen has been nominated for the "Ludicrous and Far too Breakable" award. It's just a world of squee, isn't it? I see familiar names there, and all the great stories nominated can be found here:
Thanks to whoever nominated me! I'm working this weekend, and it being summer and festival weekend, I suspect I'll be overly busy; if you don't hear from me, I'll check back in next week.
The column, and one of my favorite pics by Charis (which I think I've posted once already):
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
My grandkids are turning one year old at the end of the week.
What do you get for the kids who don’t have any idea that they have anything?
Gee, it seems like just yesterday I was saying, “I’m never going to have any kids. Nope. Never. What am I, crazy? You spend money on them, time, and then one day you wake up with gray hair and they’re writing a tell-all book about how they suffered emotionally because you didn’t get them a brand new color TV for their room when they turned twelve.”
The fact that used the word “color” while describing a TV tells you how long ago I made that promise to myself.
I also promised never to get married, buy an old guy’s car, or sink roots in any place where the forecast included the word “snow”. I’ve made so many broken promises, I’m now qualified to be a Senator.
I guess I might just as well get them clothes. They’re twins, and someday they’ll rail against wearing the same clothes or having the same of anything else, but right now it’s just so darn cute.
I was a kid, once. No, really. Not long before I hit those amazingly wonderful teenage years, my parents got divorced. I was bound to suffer as a teenager anyway: I was shy, sensitive, and unbeknownst to anyone suffered from Seasonal Affected Disorder at a time when Indiana winters were interrupted only by road construction season. The divorce was just black frosting on a funeral dinner cake, and I spent my teen years feeling as trapped as a vampire spending an Alaskan summer in a walk-in closet.
“Hey, is the sun going down --? Nope … just skimming the surface. Back into the closet with me.” It’s a wonder I didn’t end up leading the evening news. “He seemed like a nice guy … kinda quiet.”
Now you know why I was so easy on my kids after my own divorce, spending too much money on them and not requiring enough work in return. Cleaning house? That can wait until you’re an adult! Just kick the dust out of the way and let’s go to the movies.
Where was I? Oh, yes, the twins. Really, I hate buying clothes for presents. Kids need toys, even though at one year old they’d be just as happy with an old milk crate. Kid toys. Time to hit the garage sales.
So I went through the divorce thing, and the teenage trauma thing, and the being a grownup doesn’t solve your problems and in fact sucks as bad as being a kid thing. I didn’t have a great outlook on family in general, and still held hope that, if only they could see the real me, I’d eventually be able to play the field with lots of girls who would share the trait of not being jealous of each other.
I believe “clueless” is the word I’m looking for.
Why would someone who had the freedom of singlehood and would someday be a woman-magnet best-selling author ever want to get married, let alone have kids? That’s crazy talk. I had an apartment of my own, a portable TV which worked perfectly well as long as you kept a heavy weight on one end, and a manual typewriter … what else does one need?
Maybe I should get them something practical, but not clothing. The twins have no idea their birthday is coming up, nor do they know what a birthday is. How about a baby furniture thingy of some sort, to help out mom and dad? Maybe something that can be used to fence off the living room – those kids are walking, now. Maybe a rubber padded room for them to bounce around in.
Kids suck the energy right out of their parents, along with time and money. The only parents you’ll ever see who aren’t tired are those who can afford a domestic staff. And what do kids give in return? Gray hairs, hospital bills, maybe some hard-earned first aid skills.
Nope, not for me.
Funny thing: After all this time I never got the harem of adoring females, or the South Pacific Island, or the Pulitzer, or even a publishing contract, although I’m still working on it. I mean I’m still working on the publishing contract – the harem would kill me. I did get
the kids -- the one thing I swore I’d never get, didn’t want, would avoid
at all costs.
How in the world would I ever have survived these many years without them?
Fire trucks. Duel fire trucks, maybe an engine for one and a ladder truck for the others. I love fire trucks – collect them myself. How could a firefighter not get his grandkids fire trucks?
I adored my daughters from the very second I first saw them. Ours was not the traditional parent-child relationship, because I also got a divorce, just as my parents did. Not wanting them to repeat my own childhood, I avoided being a parent at all. They were my friends, traveling companions, TV and movie watching buddies, confidants. They could have lived with me the rest of their lives, but of course they have their own lives to build and that’s for the best.
Now the youngest is leaving for college, and – bam! – the next generation is having a birthday. Sucking up all that time, money, and energy from poor mom and dad, and taking a bit from grandpa, too. Maybe I wasn’t a great parent, but now I’m a grandparent and I’m expected to do some spoiling. Maybe I need that to keep from turning into the selfish person I so desperately wanted to be as a teen.
Have you ever heard the old expression about how life is what happens while you’re waiting for life to begin? Yep. It’s been a great life.
So … fire trucks, then? Sounds great.
Photo by mommy!