It's A Kean World


BEFORE CHILDREN AFTER CHILDREN


To paraphrase: It was the best of times, it was the best of times. It was evenings on the town at quiet, romantic restaurants serving multi-course meals with soothing music playing softly in the background. It was week-end excursions to the mountains. It was vacations in exotic places with little to think about but the evening's entertainment. It was fancy antique furniture and collectibles displayed throughout the house. That was, of course, BC (before children).

Our first visit to the home or our son and his wife stands out in my mind as clearly as if it were yesterday. We traveled half way across the country to New Mexico to see them and their new home. Fine china and crystal adorned the dining room table. Everything was organized and in place. Our daughter-in-law prepared a gourmet meal most every night. The smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies daily filled the air. Cakes, pies and other sweet treats sat about for the taking. That was, of course, BC.

Somewhere between "I do" and the second child everything changed. Two working parents with one in pre-school and the other in diapers prove that while you can have it all you can't have it all and be neat. The dining room table, once a proud and well-adorned centerpiece, now is primarily used to store mail, diapers and assorted toys. Just the essential equipment for a newborn takes up most of one room. We sleep in our RV figuring at least there we can find our underwear. This is, of course AC (after children).

I broke down and provided meager assistance by cleaning out their car since it was beginning to resemble the bedroom of a homeless person. We took out a load of clothes and dumped a wide variety of food items that had coagulated on the floorboard. I'm pretty certain a fungus of some kind was growing and the whole thing seemed hazardous to small children who put most everything in their mouths.

We keep the "kids" so our frazzled son and daughter-in-law can attend a movie. They seem ecstatic at the prospect. During down times my wife decides to help with organization by, among other things, attempting to pair up dozens of socks, many of them found behind the couch. For some reason our grandson used to throw his socks behind the couch and purchasing more seemed the lesser of two evils. We now have enough socks to warm the feet of every child in a six block radius.

There were no gourmet meals, though once we were brought a breakfast sandwich from Sonic. It was good. Of course soon enough we began to remember the energy required to do the simplest tasks with young children. You see we are WAC (way after children). People look at me funny as I carry the car seat containing our granddaughter inside restaurants. I've been tempted to ask whether they read about my wife, the fifty- something woman who gave birth.

It is quick meals at fast food restaurants so the oldest can play on the slide. It is week-end excursions to Wal-Mart for supplies. It is short vacations close to home in case of medical emergency. It is toy dinosaurs and strollers and car seats. It is paper plates and plastic cups. It is of course AC.

 

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