Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Time Keeps on Ticking . . .

Today, I read this article from Slate, written by Gabriel Roth, about how children's books can often bring the adults reading them to tears.

I am approaching that interesting time called middle age. My children are basically entering early adulthood; I even have a grandchild who is a joy to be around (most of the time). I can watch, bemused, as her young parents make the same mistakes I may have committed as a young parent myself, but now have the wisdom (and patience) to know how to avoid. But what do I know? I am only the grandfather.

The Days Are Long

As adults, we think we remember things so objectively that we can dismiss the memories of our children. But our daily routine makes many events run together. We cannot know when some little incident where we only were paying half-attention might be one of the strongest memories that our child has. We can't know what moments are truly important. Sure, they may not understand much of the world around them, but that doesn't mean that their record is any less accurate. If anything, their more concrete thinking may lead to more concrete memories of certain events.

We go from wishing they were potty-trained already to wishing they were still small enough to hold as we go about our business. If you are a parent—no matter how old your children are—I think you can understand how short and precious each stage of their life is. But they can only see the future, wanting to be in the next stage, I think this is why things like Toy Story have such resonance with adults. We are like the toys left behind as the children grow up and move out (hopefully).

But the Years Are Short

On the other hand, I am young enough that my parents are still active themselves. They just took a trip to Europe for their 50th wedding anniversary, in fact—and not one of those goofy bus tours, either. While I am a parent and a grandparent myself, I am still a son and I understand the chaffing against tradition and authority I experienced more acutely in my youth. I am still that young man, developing a set of beliefs and values of my own rather than simply relying on those of my heritage. I am still that child looking to the future, only now it's to when I will have the time and money to go on my own big trips with Scooter.

But when I am at that stage, I will still worry, hoping that my grandchildren aren't scarred by some mistake I made when my kids were young.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.


  1. The perpetual paradox of parenting. We spend the 1st year of their life teaching them to walk and talk, then the rest of their life trying to get them to sit down and shut up.