Why Don’t You Grow Up?

One of these days you’ll shout, “Why don’t you kids grow up and act your age?” And they will.

Or you’ll say, “Kids get outside and find something to do, and don’t slam the door!” And they won’t.

You’ll straighten the boy’s bedroom neat and tidy — bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves, hangers in the closet with clothes attached, animals caged — and you’ll say out loud, “Now I want it to stay just like this!” And it will.

You’ll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t been picked to death and cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you’ll say, “Now there’s a meal fit for company!” And you will eat alone.

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy while I’m on the phone. No dancing. No pantomime. No demolition crews. Silence. Do you hear me?” And you will have it.

No more plastic place mats stained with spaghetti. No more spreads to protect sofas from damp bottoms and dusty shoes. No more gates to stumble over in the doorway of the baby’s room. No more Hot Wheels or baby dolls under the couch. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under vaporizer tents. No more cracker crumbs on the sheets. No more wall-to-wall water in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches. No wet, knotted shoelaces, pants with knees out, or rubber bands for pony tails.

Imagine a lipstick with a point on it, not having to get a baby-sitter for New Year’s Eve, washing clothes only once a week, seeing a steak that isn’t ground, shopping with only groceries in the basket.. No more P.T.A. meetings. No more car pools. No blaring radios, or Blue Clues three times a day. No more washing hair at 9 o’clock at night. And no more wondering, “Where is the family car?” Imagine having your own roll of scotch tape!

Think about it. No more Christmas presents made out of construction paper and Elmer’s glue. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No more giggles in the dark. No scraped knees to bandage. No responsibility! Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up!” And the silence echoing, “I did!”

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