I changed my screen saver to a slideshow of all the photos in iPhoto. On one hand, this has been a GREAT idea and TONS of fun: it's common for me to end up surrounded by children and Paul, all of us watching the computer screen and saying "Ohhhhhhh, that's WILLIAM! He's HENRY'S age there!" and "Ohhhhh, Elizabeth, look at you in your little DRESS! Awwww, your hair was still so short then!"
On the other hand, it's been a TERRIBLE idea and has led to TONS of morose brooding and even LEAKING TEARS. What has been the POINT of all this child-rearing work, when they all just grow up into unrecognizable, smelly, messy-lived ADULTS like all the rest of us? Rob already bears almost zero resemblance to his childhood self; the two don't even seem CONNECTED in my mind. One was my baby/toddler/child Rob, and then that ended---and now a new person is here, coincidentally named Rob.
What has been the point of all the money and time and stress, when what we're getting out of it is people who grow up and feel superior and critical ("I'LL never do X like MY parents did!") and wish they didn't have to visit us? YES, it's true that when I think of any mistake that my parents made (NOT THAT THEY EVER MADE ANY, or that they read this blog), my mind immediately adds that every human parent by absolute unavoidable definition will make their own batch of mistakes based on their own temperament, and that it is not only unreasonable/ridiculous but also very unpleasant and whiny and immature to require one's own parents to have been the first unflawed human beings. (It will not surprise you that this mature viewpoint came to me more firmly when I was myself a parent, with my own behavior up for future review and criticism.)
And YES, it's true that not only do I not feel obligated/stressed about visits to my parents, I in fact deliberately moved to a house three-tenths of a mile away from theirs because I WANTED TO, even though I hate the weather here and loved it where we lived before. So it's not like I think every child grows into an unappreciative and distant adult. BUT. It's not like they grow into a darling cheek-squeezable cutie-pie whose attempt at saying Mommy comes out like "Bah-boo," either. I've been leafing through my journals and seeing how there are TONS of cute things to record about the early years, and then it drops off pretty sharply. The only things I write about Rob now are things like "Rob got his braces on today" and "Rob is now the same height as me." There's no impulse to photograph his widdle toes. (Also gone: the incredible exhaustion/frustration/"Please let no one touch me for TEN SECONDS" of those widdle-toes years. But that's been replaced, with no accompanying toesies.) (And it's not like I want the toesies years back, or to live them again/instead. I don't know what I want.)
I've been upset, as you know, about the end of the child-bearing years, and I'd been soothing myself by thinking about how there are still lots of things to look forward to, among them grandchildren. But now I think "Sure. And then the grandchildren also grow up into adults."
Everything is feeling very BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE to me right now, like all the good parts have just been a set-up.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...