When it comes to raising children, what goes around comes around, so they say. Whatever grief you gave your parents, you can expect it to come whipping right back at you with the arrival of the next generation.
That’s why grandparents always seem to smile and glow. I used to think it was because their hearts were brim full of posterity-induced pride. Now I know the glow is all about belated justice. They are finally seeing their irrational children of yesteryear getting their just deserts.
You see, when I was in elementary school, Ricky Raindrop made his rounds around the classrooms, teaching the students about water conservation and helping the environment. That was all fine and good, but I became obsessed. I turned into a self-righteous, insufferable eight-year-old who turned off everybody’s water mid-use and preached the devastating effects of drought to all who would listen.
In the last 25 years, I’d like to think my righteous indignation has softened to a more moderate, tactful approach. I take short showers. I recycle, I bring reusable bags to the store. I keep a garden. And I try to teach my kids to be kind and gentle to animals.
But my oldest, Andy, has decided to take up my recyclable baton right where I left it in the 80’s. He goes around the house switching off the lights even when people are still in the room. He shuts off the faucet before I can even get my hands wet enough to calm his untamed mane in the morning.
Yesterday, when I drove the kids to school, we had a few extra minutes and it was raining, so I let the kids sit in the car and listen to the exciting conclusion of the A to Z Mystery audio book we were following. My environmental guru became absolutely frantic that I was letting the car idle for minutes on end, polluting the air for “no good reason!” You would’ve thought I was burning toxic trash right there on the spot and dumping the residue into the local river, the way he reacted.
Yesterday he gave me a lecture for not recycling a glass jar I had tossed in the regular trash until I finally told him to go outside and read the “no glass” sign on top of our city recyclables trash can. I find myself rolling my eyes so often, I fear they’ll get stuck that way. I don’t want to stomp on his good intentions, but it’s driving me crazy.
Oh, I can hear my parents chortling from here, 700 miles away. I’m finally getting my comeuppance.