Role reversal is humbling


I remember teaching him to tie his shoes.

“Look son, the lace goes through the eyelet, then you loop it around your finger like this.” I was wise and patient, while he was confused by the term “lace” and had never heard of an eyelet.

We went over it once more, and before I knew what was happening, he tied the other shoe and rushed off to a soccer game. I never had to show him again.

Now 30 years later, he’s the one trying to teach me new tricks with not so much luck. He comes over to help me do something foreign on the computer and I rarely get it. I don’t know the difference in the World Wide Web and a spider web.

He throws around terms like gigabytes and kibibytes which sound like some kind of skin conditions. He refers to baud rates and modem speed and I nod like I know what he’s talking about.

He stops by the house a couple of times a week to make sure I haven’t locked myself in the attic or something. It wasn’t too long ago that I actually locked myself in my walk-in closet…it doesn’t have handles on the inside. Thank goodness he showed up and set me free or I’d be eating the lint-covered breath fresheners from the bottom of my handbags.

I’ve noticed that every time he visits, he makes a bee-line to my oven to reset the clock which blinks incessantly. Whenever the power is interrupted it starts that up and I don’t know how to reset it. I may have big news or something important to discuss with him, but neeew, Mr. Detail Man’s got to reset the clock before we can get down to business.

The routine is like this: Reset the clock; go to the cabinet where I keep my water goblets and pull out three or four to examine carefully for specks or lipstick stains; put all four back in the dishwasher.

“But I just washed those,” I whine. Since I became a bit farsighted, I don’t notice things like that anymore. Or maybe I just don’t care.

On these periodic visits, he always arrives with a can of WD 40 to apply to the various glitches that develop around the house. He thinks WD40 will resolve any problem I have – wondering if it would work on my laugh lines.

I’m baffled by this turn of events. When exactly does a child pull a switcheroo on you – and suddenly you feel like the child and he the parent?

I remember our first discussion about the “Birds and the Bees” Of course, he was 25 at the time and I think he’d already figured it out. Oh Whoa! I just had a horrifying thought – now that I’ve begun dating again, surely he won’t try to bring up the facts of life!

2 thoughts on “Role reversal is humbling

  1. I’m glad you have Braddock around to take care of you…but you are a lot less senile than you think. Or at least you hide it well…

  2. Ms. Emily,
    I think it outrageous that your son treats you like an addle-pate just because you can’t set a clock and lock yourself in your car two or three times a month and have to call AAA to get released. He’s not so smart if he thinks you can fix every thing with WD-40. You also have to have duct tape. (also known as Alabama rope)
    Try some ‘Bondo’ on those laugh lines. (available at any auto parts store) You have to keep smiling until it sets up but after that you’re good to go. Tom K

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