Done with parenting

In the big bathroom’s toilet were three wads of toilet paper just lying on the porcelain above the water line, no longer white and yet unflushed. You see up with which one has to put.

It’s not the end of the world, but clearly something must be done. I don’t know who made the mess. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he’s even now crowing to his friends about how he put it over on the maintenance staff, forcing some random intimate family member to flush on his behalf. Maybe he forgot.

I use the masculine pronoun “he”—I’ll use “him” when I get a chance—because at my house live three males and one female, so even though I know I didn’t leave the mess, a guy probably did it, not to mention both of the other guys are teenagers, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m tempted to take care of it myself, just flush the stuff, but I haven’t been the tallest person in the house for years and my drive to clean up is fading. Having been thoroughly nagged, I’m not gonna go looking for the miscreant to nag him. I’d rather flush it myself.

Then I realize that I don’t have to do anything, including use that toilet at all, and I absolve myself of all responsibility for putting it right. My memory being what it is, I promptly forget about the faux pas in the big bathroom, and I’m happy once more. The next time I go in there, it’s tidy, and I’m happy and smug.

The bigger deal is that I’ve given up on parenting. I’m through trying. It’s too hit-and-miss. I’ve let all the guilt and foreboding and worry and carefully chosen phrases the hell go. Not that I don’t care. I just don’t think there’s any way for me to predict how what I do or don’t do will affect anybody, least of all my children, make that offspring.

When my son told me and my wife that as a child he had felt neglected, ignored, like we didn’t pay attention to him, I was filled with joy. A while back I had heard that children all want more from their parents than they get, and that nobody is altogether pleased with theirs, including our own children. That made sense to me, and here was proof positive that, at least as far as I was concerned, failure was inevitable because perfection is unattainable. If he could feel neglected with me at a dead run, I can totally relax now. What a relief.