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The Second Shift

Paul and I are noticing a subtle shift that's happening in our relationship with our kids.

I first noticed it last year when Brenda took me out to dinner to celebrate getting her income tax refund. It was a chilly day--and as we were leaving the restaurant she said, "You stay here Mom--I'll go and get the car." I let the feeling register--"I think I am being 'looked after,' " I said to myself. I surrendered gracefully and a little gratefully, but as I waited obediently in the doorway I wondered, "Is this it? Am I getting old?" Normally I would be striding purposefully across the parking lot trailing my daughter in my wake!

This afternoon Paul and I came home from lunch at Tim Horton’s to find our son Peter here with Katherine, Stephen and Joshua. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria came upstairs to play and I surrendered to three hours that included Black Beauty (we wiped away tears together), another wild game of Sorry, throwing balls and much wiping of one very runny nose.

During this time, Peter was working on Paul's computer. Paul said, "I don't know all the stuff he did. He just took off a bunch of old programs I didn't need and disconnected a drive I didn't need. I'd asked him to fix it so I could burn photos and DVDs."

Just as Peter was finished and getting ready to leave, Jay, our son-in-law popped upstairs. Paul had just bought a new VCR/DVD player. This combination of events is like the aligning of the planets. Jay is guaranteed to be sucked into our technological black hole.

Peter laughed as he gathered up his kids and said, "It's like Jay's the apartment superintendent." Now what did he mean by that? And then he said, "He's the second shift."

Is this it? Is this how it happens? Suddenly your kids are looking after you? Suddenly I feel "needy!" I'm writing this with laughter--the "second shift" indeed! I hope he was kidding...
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