It is my baby’s 17th birthday. The kid is funny, possessing a sense of humor that ranges from dry to raunchy, but always quick. He is thoughtful, inquisitive, and kind. I ask him if he would like to be my guest blogger today, offload my responsibility.
What does that mean? he asks.
You share your thoughts. I publish them.
He accepts. The first draft of his pearls of wisdom come without hesitation: Life is short. Eat cake.
Then he says, No no no, wait. He thinks more, then says, We waste our lives worrying about what we have to do instead of doing what we want to do.
It has been a while since he cried anguished tears over the cruelty of having to spend his childhood doing something he hated — going to school. The cure was pulling him out for a year of independent study; after that he could not wait to go to back. Nine months in, he and his generation got sent home again; be careful what you wish for.
I think about his words of wisdom while scrubbing egg off a pan and loading dishes into the dishwasher.
I guess washing dishes is a have to?
Yeah, I guess. The dishes have to get washed. Is it a waste of life to do it? He is playing a new video game, but listening: Though sometimes washing dishes can be relaxing.
Hmm. I notice the metal sponge in my hand scraping yellow and white off steel, the cool splash of water on this warm day, the proximity to him giving us a chance to chat, his observation transforming my have-to into want-to.