Why childhood is better the second time
This week, the Gracious Parish House Mistress and Sincerely Yours had the privilege of attending our youngest granddaughter’s second birthday party. He wanted to go to his third birthday party, but he wasn’t old enough yet. Then I’ll have to wait another year.
On the way home we sat in silence thinking about the party we had just attended. It just doesn’t seem possible that we will have eight grandchildren. I broke the silence with a small comment on this line. “I’m not old enough to be a grandfather to eight grandchildren. I don’t feel old enough to be a grandfather.”
From the other passenger in the car came a rather sarcastic giggle, if I did say so myself.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I replied.
“Well,” he said quite slowly, as if he was trying to collect his thoughts and use the right words, “trust me, putting all feelings aside, you’re old enough.”
I didn’t quite know what he meant by that, and I was afraid that if I asked him, he would tell me. I quickly changed the subject and said, “Didn’t Jordin look cute with the birthday cake on her face?”
So, I thought he was speaking to himself, but apparently I said it out loud, at least loud enough for my wife to hear. “I wonder what it’s like to be two years old.”
“Get ready,” my wife said with a laugh in her voice, “you are about to enter your second childhood.”
At the time, I was quite annoyed by the comment, but upon further reflection, I don’t see anything wrong with that. After all, what’s wrong with enjoying childhood the second time?
I really don’t think it’s possible to enjoy childhood the first time. There are so many things that can interfere.
First of all, are parents constantly telling you what to do and what not to do? Tell you when to go to bed. Tell you when to get up in the morning. Tell you when to eat. Tell you what to eat. Counting … counting … counting …
How the hell can anyone enjoy life when people are always telling them what to do? The problem is that when a person is two years old he has absolutely no influence against authoritarian parents. The only thing the two-year-old can do to dominate his parents is to wait until they are at the supermarket with a lot of people around and then throw a tantrum.
Here’s the advantage of entering your childhood a second time. There is no one around to tell you what to do or what not to do. You are alone, at least in this area. Of course, in second childhood it is not possible to throw a tantrum in a public supermarket and get away with it.
The advantage of having a second childhood is that you have all that experience behind you to use to your advantage that a two-year-old could not have. This in itself covers a multitude of sins.
“What’s wrong with your husband?” Someone can ask my wife.
“Oh,” he responds quite mechanically, “he’s in his second childhood.”
“I understand, my husband is there too.”
And all is well with the world.
In a person’s early childhood, their perspective is quite limited. You don’t know what you are missing. But during early childhood, he has the advantage of knowing this and using it for his own personal gain.
For example, when the parents of a two-year-old take him to a restaurant, he is completely at the mercy of the parents.
“Eat your veggies,” the parents demand, “then you can have dessert.”
There is nothing the two-year-old can do right now. After all, whoever pays the bill can tell who does what.
Now as I enter my second childhood, I have the advantage of knowing that all that malarkey about eating your veggies first is just that … malarkey. And since I’m paying the bill, I’ll have dessert whenever I want. In fact, I’ll start with dessert and finish with dessert. And since I’m on the subject, if I don’t want to order vegetables, I won’t order vegetables.
There have been many times when my wife and I go out to a restaurant and she orders a well-balanced meal, while I order dessert.
“Do you know that vegetables are good for you?” my wife will insist.
“I don’t know such a thing,” I reply.
The two-year-old believes it when his parents tell him that vegetables are good for him, especially vegetables. But someone like me, enjoying the second round of his childhood, knows that this is not true at all. And it’s not true that I have to clean my plate before I can have my dessert.
As a mature man enjoying his second childhood, I don’t have to believe everything people tell me. If dessert wasn’t good for me, why the hell does it taste so good to me?
I have good biblical evidence that God is on my side here. In the Psalms I read about God, “Who fills your mouth with good things, so that your youth may be renewed like that of an eagle” (Psalm 103: 5 KJV).
God has my best interest in mind for the longest period of time.