Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just For Fun

"Mom," he asked me, "What do you do for fun?"

My little master of the curve ball. "Is this a trick question?" I asked. Kids ask the darndest things. Dangit. I was automatically prepared with the stock mom answer- taking care of my wonderful children- but he was too savvy for that. This was going to take more than the standard, politically correct response.

I didn't want him to think that being a grown-up was, well, boring. Although I certainly wasn't lighting up the red carpet or being the belle of the ball. Let him at least enjoy his childhood before he had children of his own and faced the muzak.

If my memory serves me, there once was a time, long ago, that I had a life. Most of us did before children came along. Sure, they give our lives meaning and fulfillment. They also suck out millions of brain cells through our ears. In a way, that’s probably merciful - we’re spared from knowing what we missed out on by having kids.

Was I doomed to permanent dullness? A baby boomer's nightmare - Night of the Living Dead, Cranky, and Boring. I'd seen older people who were incredibly worn-looking, the sparkle long gone from their eyes, waiting for the early-bird special at Denny's and arguing heatedly with their mates over where the ketchup belonged in the refrigerator. Usually one was the arguer and the other was at least pretending to be deaf. As one grew louder, the other grew more hard-of-hearing. Probably for forty years straight. Hey, even fiber can't solve everything.

It occurred to me that because I was so focused on my kids, I really didn't think about 'fun' time for myself. I loved taking care of them and playing with them, but by centering my life around them I wasn't being a very good role model. Besides, with some luck and a strong tail wind, in ten years or so they'd be gone and I’d be left to my own ‘fun.’ I didn’t crochet and I lacked strong opinions about where the ketchup went in the fridge. Yes, I was doomed.

One morning I saw an elderly couple taking a walk together in the park. Isn't that sweet, I thought, they're holding hands. Maybe there was hope for me after all. As they got closer, I discovered that in reality she was trying to walk away and he wouldn't let her. He had a death grip on her arm and was squawking loudly. Something about a ketchup bottle.

"Hellooooo, Mom," he asked me, "I asked you a question. What do you do for fun?"

“I like,” I murmured, “to daydream.”

As he walked away, shaking his head, I heard him mumble, “I am so doomed.”

1 comment:

Shania said...

Just who in the world led this poor child to think that adults have fun? ;)