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Parental Discretion

The bond between parent and child is so complex and deep, so fraught with minefields, so unpredictable, yet so strong, mystical and vibrant that it makes you wonder why the hell you had kids in the first place. Really, is it worth all that expense and trouble to have genetic replications of yourself, just so they MIGHT consider taking of you in their house or if you’re lucky, letting you stay in yours? They could always ship you off to an “assisted living facility” a.k.a the old folks home, a death-adjacent edifice with 3 meals a day and rationed pills.

I often wonder what is that precise moment when the parent becomes the child and vice versa. It is probably just after the offspring gets married or shacks up with a significant other (possibly with a tattoo) and just before some new technology comes into fashion, one that will require the offspring to play handyman/help desk until death do them part. Or the machine breaks and the old man says “screw it, I’ll go buy a new one.”

And make no mistake about it – your children will love you, loathe you, and generally disrespect you as they age from toddler to teen and then forget to appreciate the wonderful things you did for them like put food on the table, bathe and clean them and try to make sure they didn’t die while playing with explosives and toxic cleaners you were too lazy to put up on a high shelf.

And then they’ll get married and turn to you for advice, wisdom and probably a fairly sizable loan to get into a house, or some such nonsense. And as a parent. if you can afford it and if your offspring has married a complete dolt, you’ll probably accede to that demand for cash. And you’ll do it a) because you love that kid, and b) because if you don’t, that kid may choose your retirement home.

So the lesson is this: That commandment about “Honor thy mother and father” is hooey. Be nice to your kids because they’re the ones who are going to take care of you down the road.