Cary Tennis, whom I adore, urges all writers to write their truth.
This is mine. Or at least part of it.
I am a ridiculously over-educated person with rich and various interests. I read obsessively. I think thoughts--gentle, obsessive, wild, hilarious, deep, sad, powerful thoughts. I genuinely enjoy the company of others, although on my terms.
And I am truly awful at playing with or teaching my only child. Right now, we're both home sick. He's downstairs watching TV. I'm up here listening to music and working, a little, but mostly just hanging out online playing SCrabble with friends. I hand down dill pickles, juice boxes and sandwiches. I switch videos. Periodically, I consult on the engineering of a lego rocket. Every once in a while, I read a chapter of Harry Potter. I give him an allowance, but do not use it to teach him the value of money or work--I figure there's world enough and time for that and he might as well have fun before all the shit hits his fan. I bake cookies and give them to him, but rarely give him the chance to help me make them. If he doesn't want to do something, like learn to ride a bike, he generally doesn't have to do it (barring essentials like brushing teeth and being polite).
He and I will never actually do the non-Newtonian fluids experiments. I'll probably tell him about it all and we'll find a joke in their somewhere, probably about one another's brains being neither solid nor liquid, but that will be the end of it.
Is it because I am old? Because I enjoyed 40 years of non-parenthood--and really, really enjoyed it? Am I all dead inside? Lazy? Boring? He seems like a happy kid--he's smart and funny and active and opinionated--and that makes me feel better about the whole situation. Unless it's a mask. Is it a mask? Should I have given him brothers and sisters, even if it made me the world's oldest living pregnant woman? Is it too late? How does one learn to play?
Do I even want to learn to play? Should that matter?
Clearly, cold medicine creates more issues than it solves. Maybe I'll go watch some Harry Potter.