Yesterday I enjoyed an (early) Thanksgiving meal with an Agnostic-leaning Democrat who called my political views a 'sickness' and announced he would not travel to Texas because, as the Reddest of the Red States, it would make him burn 'like the Devil walking into a church.'.
In truth, it was a pleasant evening. My brother-in-law's comments seemed tongue-in-cheek, his new bride was gracious, and the food was good. (although he chose not to serve turkey. I assume it to be a protest against some policy of Dubya's, but I did not have the heart to inquire.)
The only sore point of the evening was my offspring.
And even that's debatable. There are limits to what you can expect of a three-year old, especially a three-year-old coming off a 'visit to Grandma's' hangover. She was tired, she was frazzled, and she was sitting in front of a place setting worth more than my living room set.
So I should feel grateful she didn't break any dishes, start a food fight, belch, or pick her nose at the table. (well, to be honest, she did pick her nose. And ate it. I'd scold her more for that but it just seems so . . . hypocritical)
I should be grateful that all she did was refuse to eat more than the occasional scrap, claim she was tired and rest her head on my shoulder at the table, things of that nature. Once, she got up from the dinner and wandered off. That's pretty much it. Not even the least of the havoc my three-year old is capable of producing.
No, my problem is that she always - and I stress always - chooses to wig out around people without children of their own.
I am not singling out my in-laws here, for in fact they were gracious and seemed amused. But the fact is, somewhere, maybe buried so deep they don’t even know it's there, is a voice that said "hmph. My kids will have better manners. Don’t they know how to discipline?"
Whereas, if my kids proceeded to set fire to the family dog of another parent (preferably a parent with kids the same age), that same inner voice would be saying "Aww, I remember when little Timmy did that. It seems like only yesterday. They grow up so fast . . ."
Now when I was young and naïve I too believed I would rule as a despot. Mychildren would be seen and not heard, save for when I asked them to bring me the remote or grab me another can from the fridge, at which point they would say, "yes Daddy. Would you like your paper too?"
Sadly, this dream proved unrealistic. You cannot logically convince a four-month old to do your errands, even if the lazy little bugger could walk. And when they are old enough to walk and talk and sit and eat their spinach they are far too bourgeois to submit to serfdom.
A bitter pill to swallow, that one. A bitter, bitter pill. And yet I hold out hope.
Not for my children, you understand. I think they'll turn out just fine.
No, I hold out hope for all those future-parents out there. I sincerely hope that they discover the key to raising the Stepford child, and pass the knowledge on to future generations. But I hope it takes awhile.
Say, long enough for my grandchildren to frustrate their parents.