By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
We have a problem.
In our home, there’s an incredibly destructive force we’ve been up against for quite a while. It’s a physical menace, wreaking havoc on anything of value that we hold dear. We’ve tried our level best to protect ourselves and our belongings, but to no avail. No matter what we do, no matter what we try, something in our house is going to be destroyed.
The worst part of it is, we brought this on ourselves. We willingly brought this burden into our homes. As hard as it is to believe, this is something we actually wanted.
What is this nuisance that affects the very fabric of our lives?
One word – children. You may have heard of them. We’ve got three of them, as if one child destroying the home wasn’t enough.
I know what you’re going to say – “Children, the magic of life, so pure and innocent, they spring from our protective arms to take with them all the love and curiosity they have and make the world a better place.”
Well, our first magic of life knocked down an expensive sculpture in our hallway while playing ball in the house, despite the fact that we’ve told him not to play ball in the house over a million times. What’s even more galling is that this magic of life had the nerve to actually look surprised when we started yelling at him for knocking down an expensive piece of artwork after playing ball in the house even though we’ve told him not to play ball in the house a million times.
Our second magic of life decided to reheat a burrito in the microwave, and despite the fact that I showed him that the proper way to open this microwave oven was to first lift up on the handle and pull the door open, he ends up yanking the handle so hard that the microwave comes out of the cabinet and smashes on the floor. But hey, at least he managed to heat up his burrito.
Our third magic of life, our beautiful daughter, managed to top both her brothers in the amount of damage she could inflict while simultaneously leaving no options for us to punish her or even admonish her.
Being the helpful child that she is, she volunteered to put away all the clean dishes that were drying after having dinner. In the process of putting away an expensive piece of china, she accidently drops it on our expensive glass stovetop and smashes the stovetop to a million pieces thereby breaking both the expensive stovetop and the expensive china.
Despite the fact that I’m filled with rage and must now replace a brand new stovetop and throw away valuable china, I don’t even get the satisfaction of chewing out my child for breaking it in the first place.
What am I supposed to say – “How many times have I told you not to help out around the house?”
Before you start in with me on the beauty of children, listen, I get it.
Sure, they were cute when they were young. And yes, I’m sure I’ll be a proud dad when I see my kids graduate, get married and start their own careers, out on their own. But one is in the past and the rest is all in the future. As Janet Jackson once sang, “What have you done for me lately?”
I can let you in on one secret that I’m really looking forward to – grandchildren. Grandchildren are what I call – payback time.
You’ll see me in my rocking chair, a gregarious, cheerful grandpa looking over the magic of life that are my grandchildren. I’ll be bouncing them on my knee, giving them hugs, and handing out baseballs by the crate. (end)
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.