May 23, 2018
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The answers I would really like to give my children

Erin Donovan
By Erin Donovan, Special to the BDN

I do not typically write about my children, likely because I am too busy answering all of their questions. I am met with questions pertaining to my eating, sleeping, walking, talking, grooming and breathing all day long. I attempt to answer all inquiries with thoughtful insight and balanced tone, both because I love them and because their expensive private school tells me to do that. If I didn’t have to worry about the content of my responses, conversations between us would go more like this:

Why do I have to eat slower?

Because there are 12 more hours until bedtime, and I’ve got nothing else on this agenda.

Why do I have to go to school?

If you showed some innate mastery of anything mathematical or scientific, I might let you skip school from time to time, but the only arena in which you are demonstrating any prowess is turning your eyelids inside out.

Why do I have to go to bed?

Because Santa Claus won’t come in nine months until you are asleep now.

Why do we have to leave the park?

Because your sister crapped her pants an hour and a half ago.

Why do I have to wear these dress clothes?

Because we are compensating for the last time we saw these people when you put three rolls of toilet paper in their toilet and sent their blind cat out into the wild.

Why can’t I wear overalls?

Because you might as well wear the sign ‘That Future Kid Who You Never Realized Lived In Your Dorm Because He Only Left His Room On Graduation Day.’

Why don’t I have a cool name like Harvest?

Because my prenatal regimen didn’t include acetone.

Why can’t we play in the front yard alone?

Because I don’t like the band of men I see going into the house next door. I’m fairly certain it’s not a Rotary meeting.

Why do we have to eat vegetables?

Because people who don’t eat vegetables wind up living in an abandoned bus, shooting tin cans off their friends’ heads, and don’t know how to read the instructions posted on the fire extinguisher, the very instrument that would have saved their life when they fell asleep with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

Why do I have to play sports?

You don’t have to play sports. It’s obvious by the way you spent the last seven innings yelling from the outfield, “Can we go out for dinner after this?” that sports are not really your thing. Until you are old enough to lock yourself in your room to write moody verses in iambic pentameter, you’re going to run up and down that soccer field.

Why are you coloring your hair?

Because my budget for salon color jobs is de-prioritized every month for your extracurriculars, like gymnastics, despite the reality that you would still be out-handspringed by Nadia Comaneci when she was overweight and drinking bleach for fun.

Why can’t we watch the shows you watch on television?

Because I lied when I told you that “Orange Is The New Black” is about candy corn and trick-or-treating.

Why can’t we stay in the car while you go in the grocery store?

Truthfully, I would like nothing more in life than to do that, but I know that it isn’t even going to take a panel van with FREE CANDY spray-painted on the side to dupe you into leaving this car.

Why can’t we start out sleeping in your bed?

Because it’s not healthy to drift off to sleep to the white noise of your mother weeping as she speaks Celine Dion lyrics to the ceiling. At least when you stumble in by midnight, my Shamu-grade sedatives have taken hold.

When are you going to get married again?

When I find a man who is smarter than but equally good looking and wealthy as George Clooney but with fewer sexual demands.


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