BOSTON (CBS) - We at the family homestead are expecting a new arrival. Preparations continue to be made in time for next weekend when the magic moment is set to happen. The room has been cleaned up and reorganized. My digital camera is at the ready. I'm aware of certain friends and family members who will want to make their way over to be first in line to witness the event. The question I am pondering is, "Am I inclined to want to share in the experience at this stage of my life?" I suppose I should sit on it and reflect for a while.
Oh, so you won't get the wrong idea (and so my wife doesn't have a panic attack when she reads this) the new arrival isn't a carbon-based life form of any kind. I have officially reached a plateau here in middle age with the purchase of a brand spanking new easy chair, one of the classy new 2011 models leather bound and built for speed (exceptionally slow speed).
Unlike many contemporaries or males of a certain age who have opted for sleek sports cars so they can chase after even sleeker women of a certain age, I am celebrating midlife doing something novel by my standards --- nothing. Actually, that's not entirely true. The purchase of the easy chair will allow me to do a little something. I might elect to do a little reading or the little daily crossword; if this daring streak continues, a little flat screen (but not too little) for the big white wall across the room might be in the offing. Overall, the chair offers me a chance to settle back, way back, close my lids and drift away. What's ironic is that here I am, Mr. Type-A frenetically energized non-stop go getter, shopping for the product of my dreams at a place called LazyBoy. You are where you shop some say. I'm not so certain I buy that entirely.
But it is a time of transition. My older daughter officially moved out after college. Number One Son, soon to be eighteen, quickly became a squatter in her bedroom (the one with the fluffier mattress). His old room has been our makeshift office and storage bin with all of the original child furniture that served both kids so well.
A few weeks back we donated the furniture to a deserving taker who was willing and able to do the heavy lifting. Now, aside from a computer and a few file cabinets, the room is empty. But not for long. Soon, the leather bound chair will assume its rightful spot in its regal corner. I have already moved a reading lamp into place and paced off the steps to the wall thinking ahead about the plasma screen placement. Books that have been strewn about the house will have a new home soon. My wife has repeatedly promised me a playroom and it appears I will have my wish. There is one glaring caveat. Number One Son has placed dibs on the chair. In a negotiation akin to strategic arms talks with the Soviets, we are working out the timing and terms but I feel confident that détente has been reached.
One of the joys of parenthood is seeing your children happy. One of the goals of parenthood should also involve having your children see you happy. There is a place in our lives for material items. Taking pride in achieving things we have worked well and hard for, items we attain that enrich our lives without overtaking us is a key element of happiness. That is according to me, the guy who continues to glean more about life every day, particularly when I get sit down a spell.
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