PARENTS, STEP TO THE SIDE

The holiday season is almost over, and it’s been wonderful. Presents, decorations, yummy food and all that.

And let us not forget: TIME WITH OUR FAMILY. I love my family so much. My mom and dad, and my brothers are really great people. They are intelligent and exuberant about all kinds of things.

But they still drive me crazy, and in ways that could only work between just us. No one else would be so irritated at that casual remark tossed off about my job, or choice of living arrangement.

I remember that I spent years in my early 20s convinced that my parents were supremely strange and inappropriate. I alone suffered under idiosyncrasies and impossible, illogical standards for behavior.

I’m sure you all can see what’s coming. I began to share my rants with other people, and discovered that this parent difficulty is nearly universal. Everyone is made crazy by their parents.

Some people are more softhearted than I am, and handle it more graciously. God will reward them, I am sure.

But in the meantime, I have a fantasy scenario that will solve the problem.

Let’s all switch! Take one step to the side, and take the parents of someone else.

Since most parents are benign and the irritating things they do only annoy their own children, the substitute children will be unaffected. The arsenal of time-honed barbs will bounce off the hide of the substitute. The oft-repeated jokes will have fresh ears, and become amusing once more. The weekly question about how to work email (yes, the same one) will not have built up into the spluttery incomprehensible answer now doled out on a weekly basis. The new child will simply answer. Perhaps even, from a new mouth, the answer will be retained.

The child-provided needs of the parents will be met much more efficiently and with better good will. I know I would take care of another person’s parents admirably.

As for my own….