The following was syndicated from Greg Schwem’s website for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
Mick Jagger, please turn off the spigot.
Upon reading the news that you were expecting your 8th child with your 4th wife/companion/partner, at first I was impressed. In your 70s, certain body parts, and their contents, don’t always work so, uh, “swimmingly.” Nice to know you and your current love, 29-year-old Melanie Hamrick, are still spending the night together and receiving satisfaction.
But greatest hits aside, let’s examine the impending life of your still unborn baby and your responsibilities as the father. When the child first enters the world, I expect it to bond with you immediately. Because men of your age typically make 3 or 4 bathroom trips nightly, you may as well handle midnight feedings and diaper — excuse me, “nappy” — changings. Cherish those moments, Sir Mick.
Fast-forward to 2021. At 5 years old, both my kids learned to ride bikes. Sure, you’re leaping around stages worldwide now. But when you’re 78, will you be able to run behind your offspring saying, “Keep pedaling” repeatedly before triumphantly removing your hand from the bike seat? You had better hope your pupil masters that 2-wheeler quickly so they can turn around and retrieve your crumpled body, now prone on the sidewalk after one or both of your knees gave out. Make sure your child has a cellphone and knows how to dial 911; even though I’m confident some senior citizen passerby will recognize you and offer assistance. After taking a selfie.
Jump ahead to 2026. At 10 years old, there will be so many extracurricular activities to choose from. Will it be athletics? Mick, are you prepared to be a volunteer soccer coach? I’m warning you, some of these youth soccer games can, sadly, turn more rowdy than anything you witnessed at Altamont. You did your best to reason with Hell’s Angels in 1969 but have you ever gone face to face with an irate parent or opposing coach? Neither will care, or even know, that they are arguing with one of the greatest frontmen in rock and roll. Instead they’ll yell hurtful phrases like, “Sit down, old man,” which, I imagine you’ll already be doing since soccer games last over an hour and you’ll probably be tired. Or worse, they’ll say, “Pipe down, Grandpa,” which technically is correct since you are already a grandfather. And a great-grandfather.
I’m warning you, some of these youth soccer games can, sadly, turn more rowdy than anything you witnessed at Altamont.
Maybe your child will choose something more cerebral. Scouting perhaps? Of course, that means overnight campouts. My guess is you haven’t pitched a tent in more than 60 years, having grown accustomed to staying in hotel suites. And trashing them. Let’s hope your 83-year-old body can inflate an air mattress before that impending storm makes its way over the horizon. Gimme shelter indeed!
Mick, are you starting to realize that 8 is definitely enough? What about those teen years? Who’s going to handle the sex talk? Based on your track record, better leave that one to Hamrick.
Driver’s ed? You will be 88 when your child gets behind the wheel for the first time. Good thing self-driving cars will be the norm in 2031; I can’t picture you in the passenger seat saying, “Ease up on the gas. And check your blind spot.”
Have you thought about college? I’m not referring to cost, as I think you have tuition covered even without scholarships. No need to start a 529 plan. But college visits involve lots of walking. And listening. Two activities that nonagenarians struggle with.
But, as you already know 7 times over, child rearing goes fast. In the blink of an eye, your son or daughter will be 21, walking through a college auditorium or football stadium to accept a diploma while Pomp and Circumstance reverberates through the speakers.
I hope, at 94, you’ll be around to witness it. And I seriously hope you’re not bouncing baby number 9 on your knee.
Greg Schwem is an author, nationally syndicated humor columnist and award-winning greeting card writer.