Parents of small children, this post is not for you.
See, you think you’re living the best part of parenting, what with the first smiles and the first steps and the first days of school and the first school plays… and the first heated “I hate you!” still ages away.
I’m here to tell you that the best part of parenting is this part, that I’ve got right now. Offspring is grown and gone off to live his own life, but he came back for Thanksgiving and it was everything I’ve ever wanted from a relationship.
Bonus: now when he asks me questions, I don’t have to pretend that I know shit. Compare:
OFFSPRING: Hey Mom? How deep is the ocean?
ME: … Is this for homework?*
OFFSPRING: No, I’m just wondering.
ME: I said, that sounds like the sort of question that will lead you to all sorts of interesting information, if you look it up.
OFFSPRING: (shrugs) Okay. But—
OFFSPRING: … If you were to take a creature from the very bottom of the ocean—something from the very deepest part, and bring it up here—
ME: (excited, I know this one) Oh, it couldn’t survive up here, at this pressure!
OFFSPRING: … Right, but if you could replicate its environment up here, I’m saying. If you could create a pressurized tank for it, and with the right salinity and somehow get the right food sources and all that…
ME: (dies inside)
OFFSPRING: … How would it react to the light?
ME: That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about! (pats shoulder) Research is fun! (leaves quickly)
OFFSPRING: Hey, Mom?
OFFSPRING: Why do onions make you cry?
ME: (shrugs) Google it. I’m not your damned search engine.**
ME: Welcome to adulthood, baby. We don’t know shit.
OFFSPRING: That’s… disturbing.
In addition to basking in our new relationship, having Offspring home for the holiday gave us the incentive we needed to get back to work on the house—which, you’ll recall, is too goddamned small to fit all our stuff and lacks native storage (cupboards and closets and the like) to boot. This has resulted in several rooms being “finished” with a stack of boxes along one wall.
Not a magical holiday effect.
HIM: We’ve actually got more room for storage in here (stands in dining room); we could put another rack of shelves on this wall, or this one…
ME: Mmmm… maybe there. The table goes here and the dog bowls go over on this wall.
HIM: Yeah, true. Plus, we don’t want the cat to get back up in those windows.
ME: Right? That was awful. I was calling you and you probably thought I just needed help with a box or something—
HIM: No, I knew it was—you had panic in your voice. Because your cat was eight feet off the ground.
ME: At least!
HIM: … Eight was maybe an exaggeration.
ME: (looks back at windows) That’s fifteen feet if it’s an inch!
HIM: Oh. (leaves, comes back with tape measure)
ME: (puts up hand) Oh, that thing has been wrong before. (storms off)
HIM: (calling after me) I’m really glad your estimates of size are skewed in that direction.
* Parents, you know this trick: if it’s for homework, you can’t give them the answer. It’s not that you don’t know, the whole point is for them to learn. Loophole!
** Yes, Alton Brown totally explained this one. However, what I got out of it was, “onions feel pain and release a chemical weapon when you cut into them; there is no defense against this weapon, so work quickly.” This is not due to any failing on the part of the laudable Mr. Brown, but rather my own inability to understand anything plant-based.