Silly Grins

Monday, June 6, 2011

Parenthood. Umpire. Curses.

Almost missed that.  Out in left field, I'm kind of late in the game in terms of keeping up with everything. Apparently friends of mine, who I met what seems like eons ago when they had just become a couple…they just had a kid.  Bound to happen the way they had been going at it. After trying for ages, they’d seen a number of doctors.  Actually paid for a little help from modern medicine, which hadn’t appeared to be working. Not quite hanging up the hat, they’d taken a break.  By chance, the wife had gone to a doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. He gave her what turned out to be potentially dangerous professional advice about medication for her odd symptoms… nobody had known, including her, that she was pregnant. 

Now they just had a kid, their first.
They’d been expecting for a while, but had understandably not been so social these past few months.  I just found out about the new arrival though the grapevine this morning and started to write a letter and wanted to throw in some humor.  Yet, I’m holding back.  It might be a good idea to wait a little before telling jokes, at least not until everybody checks out okay considering the way things began.

The missive starts out something like this:

Ah! The blessings of parenthood. When our kids were born, we wondered who each of them would take after.  Apparently, our oldest takes after Mom.  And our youngest takes after Dad. And I've got a theory as to why. 

We are cursed. 

Not necessarily in a bad way, but cursed nonetheless. If you have just had a child within the last few months (as you have) and have spent any time looking spellbound through the cradle bars, wondering who the offspring will take after, you might want to take a seat when you ask yourself this question.

Here goes.
In a heated argument with a parent, family member (or anyone who really seemed to see who you are), has anyone ever told you that they wished you had a child who acts just like you?  Does that ring a bell?

(Some insist that they are for peace, others say war. Either way, when someone strikes one of these things, that's my cue to pay attention.)

And this is where the letters stops. I think I’ll wait before I finish it.

In our case, dearest mother-in-law deserves praise for her piety, because whatever she uttered definitely seems to have worked, taking precedence over anything anyone has ever wished upon me (for the most part, our daughter is mellow; we’ve got about a decade before she becomes a teenager…not my turn, not just yet).

Whatever Grandma said, her voodoo is Yoda-strong.  Just how long the hex will carry on is anyone’s guess.  Meals seem to be a time when the resonance is palpable, when you can almost hear it.  I know I can.  Grandma is a heck of a good cook. Food is her thing.  She must have recited her incantation over one of the countless meals sometime during that thirty or so years worth of dishes she served her not always thankless daughter.  Mealtimes are special.   Eat, drink, and be merry… tomorrow often seems a long way off.

When Mother and Son sit down at the breakfast table, when tempers flare (as they often do), I find myself breaking it up, playing the role as a referee of sorts, though they treat me more like an umpire, the guy at home plate.  
This might help.

Asking for advice is a lot like looking through a catalogue for masks where everyone claims to have something newer (and better). At this point, I say while everyone’s got their favorite theories of how to deal with these situations, you kind of have to be willing to try out a lot of different stuff.  Sometimes what actually works is not necessarily the newest or most popular.  While shin guards are standard, chest protectors are somewhat optional. I have found that having easy access to “The Raft” or  “The Balloon” can be a real lifesaver, in a manner of speaking.  

Grandpa was a catcher.

Part IV deals with some advice my father-in-law gave me over dinner, about how they play ball over here, but we’re not there yet.  He happens to be a Tigers fan. Grandma is with the Giants. Guess that explains a lot.

Part I should be coming up next.



  1. My mother put that curse on me and it genuinely scared me so bad that I am childless. I always feared having to raise a child like myself. I wouldn't be able to.

    Knowing that limit in myself was one of the best things I didn't do.

  2. A friend of mine once wondered out loud what sex would be like if he actually wanted to have children, what it would be like without that edge of fear.
    Can't remember why we were talking about that, but his words did cross my mind when my wife and I decided to go for it.

  3. Oh those curses sure can be down right terrifying. I was so scared to have children that I tried to convince my doctor to tie my tubes the second I became sexually active. I didn't get my wish until 25 but man, I still am terrified that my tubes may spontaneously connect one day. Then I will have to deal with a mini-me. God damn I can barely deal with myself! I saved myself and the world a whole lotta trouble not procreating. I take my hats off to those that do.

  4. Our mini-mae (plural form of mini-me) never let us rest. Just when we think we've kind of got things figured out, they take it up another level. It never ends. They say the feeling of being a grandparent gives a person an amazing sense of achievement... probably just for still being alive. I wouldn't think of trading this experience for the world... because I know it's not really possible.

    I had to be a referee the other morning and kind of break up a fight over breakfast. Should be off crutches in a few days.

    1. My grandma said she had to live to she her children have kids... so she could watch them get a taste of their own medicine. >_< frightening really....

    2. Reminds me of a great-grandma (psst... first post in May).