May 12 2014
You Just Wait

On family, parenthood, and children growing up.

Your wife is expecting. "This is going to be pretty exciting," you say.

They say, "You just wait."

"You just wait, because you won't be getting any sleep anymore, once that baby's born. It's all over. It gets harder. It gets worse."

 

Your baby is fun. You think it's hilarious, how he's amused by one particular stuffed dog above all other toys.

They say, "You just wait."

"Just wait, because when that kid is toddling around, pulling down the curtains, and getting into stuff, you can't look away for a second. It gets harder. It gets worse."

 

Your toddler is a blast. Everything is new and wonderful to him, from puppies to repeatedly crashing towers of blocks. He laughs every time, and wants you to "Do again!"

They say, "You just wait."

"Just wait, because when your kid starts really talking, you'll get tired of that sassy mouth. You'll wish he was still a year old. It gets harder. It gets worse."

 

Your elementary-age kid is an absolute joy. You can play take him swimming, play catch with him, and teach him hilarious end-zone dances to amuse your friends.

They say, "You just wait."

"Just wait until he's a teenager, because he'll learn how much he doesn't like you and won't want to have anything to do with you no matter what and he'll eat everything and you'll get very tired of him and want him out of the house as soon as possible. It gets worse."

 

Your teenager is fascinating. You can't get enough of him. He makes you laugh, because, well, you saddled him with your exact sense of humor. You get to play video games with him. He beats you at chess, sometimes twenty times in a row. He fills your home with music, first with a screeching sound, that, months later, becomes recognizably melodic, and then the sweetness of Bach on violin.  He mows the lawn. Not always happily, but he mows the lawn. You catch him listening to your favorite bands in his room. He says things that you never thought about before. He grows taller than you.

They say, "You just wait."

"Just wait until he moves away, because your heart will break in two."

 

And... for once, the very first time, ever...

They're right.

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