Every few weeks, Emily and I like to try out this newfangled thing called dating. The inclusion of Everett would automatically prohibit the events from being called dates, so we ship him off to the grandparents.
In a massive twist you never saw coming, his grandparents also happen to be my mom and dad. Everett loves grandma and grandpa, and gets along amazing with them. They’re great grandparents, just like they were great parents.
After the last time we dropped off Everett, I was suddenly struck with how the relationship with my parents has changed. Every time we leave Everett there, I tell them what to feed him and remind them how we do diaper changing and give tips on how to keep him happy and what time he should go to bed and various other expectations of how we want our son to be taken care of. I’ve now realized I occasionally tell my parents what to do, and they see this as perfectly natural.
These are the same people who 20 years ago gave me curfews, told me to do my homework, commanded me to mow the lawn, and decided what I was having for dinner. They were in charge, and no matter how much I mumbled and grumbled there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Now, the roles have kind of reversed. I am not telling my dad to turn off his reading light and be asleep by 10 (he’d already be snoring by then anyway), but I am giving them rules that I want them to follow. Though I have no way of knowing if they really do put Everett on the toilet or make sure he eats all his peas before giving him apple slices, they happily listen (or pretend to) when I dispense my instructions.
I’m finally living out my teenage fantasy of telling my parents what to do, though the dream never did involve looking after my son. Actually, this event is more proof of how far I am from my teenage years and I am now fully immersed into the world of grown-ups.
I’m now responsible for the well-being of a life. Along with Emily, I decide how I want to care for him and try to figure out the best way to raise him. The craziest part is other people actually respect our decisions and agree to help us out.
My parents were great in raising me. But Emily and I are already implementing many different strategies from what they did. Despite our ways being slightly different, my parents have been willing to follow our directions (or at least, successfully trick us into thinking they are).
I have not hidden the fact that I’m totally winging this parent thing. I fully recognized I’ve won the baby jackpot with a child who has always been easy going and happy. He tricks people into thinking I’m actually good at this. I’ve still managed to make my slew of mistakes that have resulted in bruises, “burnt” tongues, “frozen” hands, and plenty of cries. Despite all my mistakes, I’m still Everett’s dad and I’m focused on being the very best for him.
It is encouraging that other people trust me as a parent. It is still odd actually laying out rules for my parents, but it means a lot that they are willing to follow our guidelines. But even if I catch them ignoring the rules, I doubt I’ll be able to get away with sending them to their bedroom.