A post from fellow blogger Dr. Kathy McCoy called Parents of Adult Children: Can You Hear Yourself? prompted me to start thinking about my own children and how they have changed . . . or how they have not changed in my mind.
You see, as I admitted, I have a particular problem with time, because try as I might, I refuse to believe that my kids have grown up. I think my 33-year-old
daughter is still 18 . . . actually about 16. No, really about 14.
That would put my 30-year-old son back in middle school. Yeah, that seems about right.
Does that make sense to you?
Then there are my parents. They died just a couple of years ago. But actually, my dad died 15 years ago, and my mother passed away 17 years ago.
How can that be, when they are so clear and present in my mind? Why, just the other night I had a dream about my dad. He was standing in a line ahead of me, and for some reason he had his shirt off. He was that same old skinny guy with a little pot belly from spending too much time sitting behind a desk and not enough time in the gym. Actually, not any time in the gym. Dads did not go to the gym back then.
It does seem like I got divorced quite some time ago. It feels like I've been single for a long time. Then I met B, just a couple of years ago. We've really only just started dating. And here we have . . . uh, well, actually, when I count it up, we've been going out for almost 15 years and we've been living together for a decade.
B and me an old married couple? Never!
B does sometimes keep me connected to reality, though. She recently pointed out that the brand new golf shirt I won when my son was a freshman in college is a little frayed around the cuffs and has developed a hole in the elbow. When I reminded her that this is the new shirt I won by coming in fourth in the parent/student golf tournament, she showed me the insignia printed right there on the front: Bucknell Golf Club 75th Anniversary: 1930 - 2005.
"Exactly," I said. "See, it's from 2005." It my mind 2005 is, like, two years ago.
For the most part my problem in marking the passage of time is a harmless disability. But it did get me in a little trouble this morning. You see, B and I are staying with my daughter, who now lives in North Carolina, on the way home from our trip south. So I was making coffee and looked in her refrigerator for some milk. I found an open half gallon sitting there with an expiration date of 2/25/17. That's ridiculous, I thought. And so I threw the milk down the kitchen drain and tossed the container in the garbage.
"Dad, what are you doing?" challenged my daughter as she walked into the kitchen.
"Just getting rid of this old milk," I said. "It's past expiration date."
"Dad, that milk was fine. It's organic, and it lasts at least a week past its expiration date." Then she looked at me. "Anyway," she said almost apologetically, "you should ask before you just throw something away."
"Oh, right," I replied. "I'm sorry." But what I thought was: What does she know? She's only 14!