The Gifted Underachiever

My life so far

Prairie dogs on trampolines

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W.C. Fields once said “I like children – fried.” I like children, too, but not to eat because I think they’d be too stringy and wild-tasting.

I actually love children; that’s probably why I had so many of them and welcomed more. Now with a grandchild in the mix I get to play with babies all over again without having to change them or feed them in the wee hours. Man, this Papa gig is great!

In church this morning I surveyed the assembly and noted that I was definitely the old man in the crowd. This was a young church, and I mean young as in young parents with young children. There’s a cry room there, but it was quite apparent that there was no physical way it could hold everyone with crybabies. In fact, it would probably be more appropriate for the childless members to occupy the room and leave the main hall for the youngtenders.

I didn’t feel out of place without a child in tow, but it brought back many memories – not all good memories but a lot of them. Bringing a child to church is a rite of passage for young parents. There is a sense of responsibility of passing on one’s beliefs to one’s progeny. Well, that’s a nice dream, but the reality is that how can you expect a baby to embrace a concept when they can’t even control their bowels? But still we try.

But now I understand it all. It’s entertainment and the show is terrific! I thoroughly enjoyed watching new moms and dads trying to placate bored children, stuffing their face with pacifiers, bottles, and the king of all baby church food: Cheerios. I’ll bet the churchkeepers sweep out a couple of pounds of Cheerios every Monday.

But the real entertainment is watching the children bounce in daddy’s arms; not just babies but three, four and five-year-olds. They bounce and bounce while the kid hangs over the shoulder smiling at whoever’s watching in the back pew. I was watching. I was looking out over the whole assembly seeing those baby heads bouncing up over all the other heads. They looked like prairie dogs on trampolines.

And then there are the quitters, those frustrated parents who can’t finish what they start. They get up and leave with the offending child usually crying or wailing, or like mine once who pleaded loudly as I hastily ushered him to the exit, “Don’t hit me, Daddy! Please don’t hit me.” Let me state publicly that I did not then nor after or ever before hit him. Kids like to pull something like that from their bag of tricks. It’s all part of the entertainment. Too bad the parents aren’t in on the game, but then that would probably spoil the fun for the rest of us.

Categories: Bordering closely on religion

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