Dear Ann Landers: Our five kids are grown, college-educated, on their own and doing well. Now the grandchildren are arriving, and the middle generation could use a smile. Will you please rerun a column that had us splitting our sides a few years ago? Those who have read it will be delighted to see it again, and those who haven’t are in for a treat.
Dear Readers: It’s one of my all-time favorites, too. Thank you for asking.
Musings of a Good Father on a Bad Day
There’s nothing sadder than the childless couple. It breaks your heart to see them stretched out, relaxing around swimming pools in Florida and California, suntanned and miserable on the decks of boats, trotting off to enjoy Europe like lonesome fools-with money to spend, time to enjoy themselves and nothing to worry about.
Childless couples become so selfish and wrapped up in their own concerns, you feel sorry for them. They don’t fight over the kids’ discipline. They miss all the fun of “doing without” for the child’s sake. It’s a pathetic sight.
Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experiences attached to each stage in the development of the young. The happy memories of those early years-saturated mattresses, waiting for sitters who don’t show, midnight asthma attacks, rushing to the emergency room of the hospital to get the kid’s head stitched up.
Then comes the payoff-when the child grows from a little acorn into a real nut. What can equal the warm smile of a small lad with the sun glittering on $1,500 worth of braces-ruined by peanut brittle-or the frolicking, carefree voices of 20 hysterical savages running amok at a birthday party?
How sad not to have children to brighten your cocktail parties-massaging potato chips into the rug and wrestling with guests for the olives in their martinis.
How empty is the home without challenging problems that make for a well-rounded life-and an early breakdown: the end-of-day report from Mother, related like strategically placed blows to the temple; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals that your senior son is a moron.
Children are worth every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice. You know it the first time you take your son hunting. He didn’t mean to shoot you in the leg. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? So disappointed you weren’t a deer. Those are the memories a man treasures.
- What Happens When Women Cry (sundaymorningpreview.wordpress.com)