1. YESTERYEAR YUKS. To counter my bathroom mirror’s sad daily evidence of how much I’ve aged, I try to take comfort in remembering what a handsome young lad (at least I imagined!) I used to be. Too bad the only support I have for that contention are my high school and college yearbooks. And breaking those out sends my teenaged daughters into fits of hysterical laughter. I have to believe when they look at my graduation photos, it’s just the high school leisure suit and big glasses that they find so ridiculous. But I don’t test that assumption. Age has brought me one good thing – the wisdom to know when not to ask questions.
2. SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE. The results of the IQ test that my spouse and I decided to take for fun explained a lot: She’s two points higher than I am. That might account for why I’ve never won an argument. (The laughter you hear in the background is hers.)
3. NO TO DADDY’O. Ways my eldest daughter has tried to address me that I’ve had to put a stop to: “Old man” (I don’t need the reminder); “Pops” (I’m not 80); “Daddy-O” (I’m not a ’60s beatnik); “John” (too weird); “Pa” (We’re not the Waltons). When I tell her I’d prefer that she stick to the standard way of addressing one’s father, she playfully imitates some kind of contemporary hipster to ask, “Why you got to be bustin’ all my creativity, Daddy-waddy?” I answer, “Stick with the usual or I’ll cut off your make-up money.” She sighs and then answers, “Fine, Dad, fine.” Music to my ears.
4. BIG DIFFERENCE. My 17-year-old and her friends put pictures of their junior prom dresses on a dedicated Facebook page to show them off and make sure, pre-dance, that no girls would arrive wearing the same dress. Her little sister is just three years younger. When she picked out her dress for the eighth-grade, semi-formal dance, I asked her if she planned to post it on Facebook too. She naturally explained, “No, I’ll Instagram it instead because that’s what my generation does.” (Yikes, no wonder none of us with 30+ years on our kids can figure any of this stuff out. We’re at least 10 generations behind!)
5. DESIGNATED GETTER. I must confess that both my oldest daughter and I have exploited the good nature of the youngest member of our family. Whenever either of us is too lazy to go upstairs or downstairs to retrieve something, we always send daughter number two on the errand. Always reliable, she immediately goes to fetch the sweater or cell phone we want with no complaint. Undoubtedly, we should be more considerate of her, but when you don’t feel that you can muster the energy to move any of your limbs, it’s SOOO easy to take advantage of a magnanimous soul. For me and my oldest daughter’s sake, I just hope my youngest doesn’t prove to be like one of those downtrodden citizens of an oppressive regime, who can tolerate tyranny for only so long before they rise up and revolt. Until my oldest and I manage to curb our exploitative impulses, it might be wise for each of us to sleep with one eye open.