The priest asked me yesterday after dinner: "So, what are you thinking about children these days?"
I told her:
On the No. 42 bus, which seems to be the setting for all the drama in my life these days, I watched a father - long scruffy hair, mutton-chop whiskers, very hip and young - with his two children. They got on the bus, and he stood with the baby in its pram in the middle where there are special slots for strollers and prams, while his daughter, probably four, ran and sat in the back of the bus.
Just as they were nearing their stop, the father called out to the little girl: "I never said you could open that!"
Which didn't come anywhere near stopping her from continuing to open the plastic bag she had in her hand.
I couldn't see what it was she was opening, exactly, but after they got off the bus, I craned my neck and watched as he knelt down in front of her, looking very serious, face to face, saying something about obedience, no doubt. She, however, was not in the least bit serious. She was, in fact, gleeful as only a four-year-old can be.
Looking at them, I felt a pang of envy, so sharp it almost made me cry.
That was what I told the priest I was thinking about children these days.
The question is, do all of you parents romanticize my childless state the way I romanticize parenthood?
The Swedish word for the day is manick. It means thingamajig.
- by Francis S.