Thursday, June 14, 2007

Getting Used To Disappointment

"I guess I'll never have any grandchildren."

This is my mother's latest mantra. It is hard to say when this phrase began repeating itself regularly but it is now something that my sister and I hear at least once a week. Usually relayed to her friends (whose children seem to continually shit out offspring) or generally muttered to the heavens in a tone of resigned defeat, I suppose this statement is my signal to "stop dicking around, and settle down."

I had it good for a while. In the beginning (right after college), I was far too surly and self-absorbed to make for decent father material. Having landed a job just a few miles from my parents' house, I moved back in "temporarily" in order to save money to spend on useless consumables. Being the lazy house guest that I was my parents decided to kick me out after having overstayed my welcome by about two years. Given my constant freeloading presence, my lack of progeny was the last thing on my mother's mind during that time.

Then for a couple of years my sister was busy with school and training for a pretty significant career change. As a woman of Midwestern Catholic descent, it is a genetic imperative that my mother have some large overarching "issue" to fret about. Sis's Praxis scores and resume-building fit the bill nicely and I cruised well below the radar. Unfortunately that is all done now which leaves a dangerous "worry vacuum " to be filled by something, or someone, else.

My other countermeasure --my parents' 5-year-old neighbor (and my arch nemesis) -- was doing a good job for a while of squelching the baby talk but even that has turned on me. He used to simply keep my mother occupied with babysitting and little play dates but for whatever reason that does not appear to be quite enough anymore. Of late she has taken to giving the impression that he is going to usurp my spot as the Chosen Child by relaying all of the "cute" things that he does now (which are all just a clever manipulation on his part, trust me). The unspoken suggestion being that were I to simply hurry up and give her some grandchildren then this would all be a non-issue and we could get on with our happy lives.

It's hard to blame her. When you have retired and are approaching 60 it must be natural to want grandkids to occupy the rest of your days, I mean, it's what her parents got. So I am not entirely unsympathetic and try, in my own way, to assure her that things will ultimately work out but I really only seem to make matters worse:

"Mom, relax. The law of averages suggests that my having kids is an eventuality."
"What are you talking about?"
"The fact that techonology is not infallable."
"Are you drunk?"
"Eventually the contraceptive device that I, and whatever woman is goodly enough to perform sex acts with me, are using is going to fail and then 'presto', you're a grandma."
"I'm going to church. Get out."


At 6/14/2007 10:22 AM, Blogger Ryane said...

hahaha. That was funny. See, you just need to start turning up the heat on your sister to get busy and have kids. Make her the focus & that will (hopefully?)get you off of the hot seat. Luckily for me, all of my siblings have kids, so I can do as I please and no one pesters me. But have so much time to have kids!? Is your mom really serious?

At 6/14/2007 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the key is your sister. if she has the kids then you're off the hook for a bit longer. worked beautifully in my family when my brother had the kids (and I got to play the good aunt, to boot).

At 6/14/2007 3:39 PM, Blogger Carrie M said...

I was sitting out on the patio of my parents house a few years ago and my mom was looking around thoughtfully. I was quietly reading my magazine or book or whatever, and she says, "I think that you should get married in the backyard." And goes on to point out where people could sit, where food would go. I sat there, my jaw on the granite of the patio for a minute then finally said, "MA!" Let's find me a boyfriend first then worry about the marriage.

I still feel like shit about it. Not the same as kids, but still.

At 6/14/2007 3:40 PM, Blogger Hey Pretty said...

yeah, tell an older Catholic lady that you intend to knock up a chick via casual, unprotected intercourse. smart move, my friend.

At 6/17/2007 2:49 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Hey, who said anything about "unprotected"? I think "poorly protected" is a more apt description.


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