By Charlotte Latvala
One day about 10 years ago, we at How to be 50 threw up our hands and said: “Let’s have another child! In 20 years we’ll have someone to drive us to the Senior Center for bingo!”
(Or else we just weren’t thinking. We really don’t remember.)
Ancient parents, you already know you stick out like fossilized thumbs among the fresh-faced, IPA-swilling moms and dads who don’t get your Peter Frampton references. But you can still enjoy parenthood, whatever your state of decrepitude. Here’s how:
- When mistaken for a grandparent at school functions, play along. An old-fashioned ear trumpet is the ideal accessory. Hold it to your head and shout, “Eh, sonny?” when other parents approach you. Then yell at everyone to get off your lawn. Bonus: Your child will forbid you from ever attending another school event.
- Just for fun, do the math. That is, if your child was born when you were 42, you’ll be able to collect Social Security before she can legally drink.
- Enjoy the restaurant savings. There will be a slim window of time when you qualify for Senior Small Plate specials and your kid is still eating Kids’ Meals.
- Put them to work. Being old is a great excuse for skipping many household tasks, including but not limited to: Fetching food. Rotating the tires. Taking a machete to that pesky bamboo in the back yard. Kids learn from being challenged, so go ahead and push that chore envelope.
- Drive everyone insane by doing a fussy inspection of every room in the house before leaving for your kid’s dance class. Don’t forget to shut off the water, jiggle each lock, and mutter irritably to yourself.
- When forced to make small talk with parents who are young enough to be your children, drop repeated references to “being at Woodstock,” while making it clear you’re not talking about the 1990s version. Ask them if they want any “brown pills” and then jokingly pull out a plastic days-of-the-week pill organizer.
- Pretend you don’t know which one is the child when parents come to the door to drop off their kid for a play date.
- To ensure good behavior, offer to chaperone the sixth grade dance. Brush up on the moves to “The Hustle” so you child know you’re serious and is suitably horrified.
- Seek out other oldsters. They’ll be the ones snoozing on the soccer sidelines instead of trotting back and forth shouting encouragement to their offspring. On second thought, let them sleep. They’ll probably do the same for you.