I think Ally and I made for some pretty good parents, as parents go.
I use that in past tense which is hardly right, we’re still parents and always will be. But with two out of the three gone, and one approaching the threshold, we’re standing at the starting line of the great race toward adult freedom, shaking our heads and getting ready to drop into the sprinters crouch. Looking at each other and going “You ready? You set? ‘Cause I ain‘t gonna start until you do.”
We had kids at a young age, or relatively young, I suppose. Our ancestors would be hee-hawing all over the back 40 if I were to get all puffed up and brag about having kids in my mid-twenties. “Hooo, Outfoxed! You poor little lamb, having a batch of kids like that! Shoot, we popped the first one out when your Great-Granny was about 16, and figgered we were startin’ late! Hell, we were done having our 8 kids before you even got started, ya yuppie wuss ye.”
My inner Great-Grampa is a real pain in the ass sometimes.
Still in all, I figure that by modern standards Ally and I are pretty damn young to have hatched 3 relatively normal kids and have them get to the point they are. And as you will hear every parent say at one point or another, the years surely do go by fast. Even ten years ago was a completely different lifetime for me, with children not even up to my shoulders yet, who now drive cars and are earning their own way, and deferential to the old man who whines “We never see you anymore!”
This being the same old man who, as recently as 5 years ago, typically after paying the monthly bills, could be heard wailing “I can’t wait ‘til these kids get out on their own! Can’t wait, I tell you!”
But I will have my revenge, in my own sick and twisted way.
Consider this limpid passel of goo:
He is our new grandchild. In the sense that he is the spawn of Middlest Daughter Maggie and her live in boyfriend (a guy whom I happen to think the world of, by the way). They live just a couple of miles from here in a little townhouse, and the dog was dropped off by the stork or something as a miracle child for Maggie’s spare bedroom.
“Hey Dad,” she said on the phone. “Wait until you see what I got. We’re coming over.” It was late one afternoon and I just assumed it was herself and Bob the boyfriend who would comprise the ‘we’ part of all that. Oh no. She continues to surprise, she does. When she pulled up with this pup, all of 6 weeks and springy legs and huge feet I felt compelled to use a word that nearly never has crossed my lips. “Hey, what a cute dog. Cute as a button he is,” as the dog scampered all over the house and jumped at every shadow.
But when Ally got home, I saw her change into a grandmother before my very eyes.
“EEEEE! Oh aren’t you just the sweetest little thing! Oh c’mere and let Granny hold you, oh lookit that face lookit lookit!” And the dog went insane, jumping up on Ally who was only too glad to play chase around the room a few times before collapsing into a chair. Whereupon the pup launched himself directly into her lap.
“Oh isn’t you just the cutest little boy! C’mon and snuggle with me, hunney!
Maggie was non-plussed. “Uh, Mom don’t let him on the furniture, we’re trying to teach him not to . . .”
“Now you mustn’t listen to that Mommy of yours, will you sweetie? No, you just come on up here and lay right on Granny’s lap for a while and take you a nice nap, okay? Anytime you come to Granny’s house you just listen to me, and we’ll . . .”
Naturally, the pup took to Granny in a big way. The dog bones appeared (to the righteous grumbling of the Lab, who is getting up in years and observed all this from his throne near the TV) and the rope toys and the petting and Lord knows what all, Ally basically kidnapped him. By the time it came for Maggie to take off, the pup was wound around Ally’s legs and didn’t want to move, and was bodily dragged off to the car as I watched Ally’s fingers twitch.
It’s soothing, in a way. The way that all parents feel when their brood takes flight and brings home another generation to be fussed over. This case is especially cool because diapers and feedings aren’t involved, although the little bum did take a tremendous dump in the front yard as he was leaving.
I did what any Grandfather would do. I made Maggie clean it up.
And if you can believe it, she didn’t even protest. Hell, if I’d told her to clean up dog crap when she was 15 she woulda’ looked at me like I was out of my mind.
Kids these days.
If that pup happens to like turkey, I can’t even imagine the scene come Thanksgiving.
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