When my children were young, I was a philosopher, a moralist, a humanist. Now I’m a laundry-room consultant. Listen, if that’s what they want from me, I’m there. I’ve given advice to them for so long that now that they are all grown and on their own I’m seriously having withdrawal symptoms. I go up to random children on the sidewalk and tell them not to get too close to the curb, causing their mothers to take their tots’ hands and hurry away. If I see teens in a coffee shop with homework spread out before them that is being ignored, it’s all I can do not to point to their books and suggest they get back to work.
My son Grant called today to say that the laundry room in his new house is too small to even open the door after installing the washer and dryer. He and the developer are about to come to blows. Stack them, I suggested. Great idea, he said. After he hung up, I imagined him going online to search for stacking brackets and I felt a surge of the same warm satisfaction I used to have when I watched him play on the beach with sand toys I had given him.
That’s all we want, isn’t it? To be helpful. Well, also to be acknowledged as being helpful. And wise. Wise is very good. I was wise when they were young. I took it for granted, so it was a shock when I suddenly became a cretin. That lasted a few years, but wisdom is on the horizon again. It appears I will not return to the status of philosopher king, but that’s okay. I’ll take what I can get. Just knowing some little thing that helps is good enough.
I’m off to look for washer-dryer stacking brackets now, just in case Grant has trouble finding one.