Is it just me or do the young folks of today seem to be starting their families a lot later in life’I was married at twenty-one and we had our first child a couple of years later.

Looks to me as if families are getting started when the parents are in their late thirties or even their forties. My oldest son and his wife have been married for sixteen years and are starting off with their first child as of next March. Since he is forty, this means he’ll be close to my current age when his kid gets into college. I cannot imagine having a newborn at forty. T-ball and Little League at fifty’High school proms and driving lessons at close to sixty’That’s if this one is boy. If it’s a girl, then he has to put up with the rigors of who she dates when he gets to my current age. Not something I’d want to do. My heart would give out. Babies are a lot of work and require youth, stamina and lots of patience and determination. These are not traits generally found in older folks. We’ve been there and done that and most of us don’t want to do it again. We don’t need no stinking tee shirt.

My wife and I are looking forward to a new grandchild. You get all of the good and none of the bad and then can send them home after you’ve spoiled them rotten. You are spared the terrors of homework and peer pressure but allowed to have the joys of seeing these little humans grow up and become stars in your universe. My son and daughter in law think their lives are not really going to change that much after the baby is born.

Do I have news for them.

Think back to the days before you had kids, no better than that look at all of the movies having love stories located in Paris or Rome…. do they have little kids in them’Not hardly. You couldn’t carry that much stuff around with you. You’d need a truck or minivan… which is why I suppose we see so many of them out on the road today. For kids these days, you need strollers, diaper bags, bottle warmers, thousands of diapers, car seats, things for them to sit in when you are in some restaurant, clothing changes, toys, bottles…. and lord knows what else that I’ve forgotten. When we had our babies, you needed some diapers and a bottle…. not much else. Life was somewhat easier.

My youngest son just bought a puppy…first one he’s ever had of his own as an adult. Ask him if responsibility has changed his life. He is gaining a greater respect for my wife and I each day that passes. He says his life is now in three-hour segments. The dog is really calm and very good despite being so young, but she needs to be fed, walked and fooled with nearly every hour of the day. We have broken down and taken her off his hands on a couple of occasions just to give him a break. His eyes thank us for this. We tell him that dogs are easier than kids since you can put them in the kennel from time to time and go off on a trip…. you can’t do that with your kids, the vet won’t take them.

Kids are a challenge for anyone. Just ask someone who has had some. Just because they grow up doesn’t mean they go away. Not that you’d want them to do so even if you had the choice. No, my kids will do fine with their new baby. They’ll listen to me tell them what to do and then they’ll do what they want to no matter what I say. They have to learn how to raise their own one experience at a time. I can’t do it for them any more than my parents could do it for me.

We all wish we could save our kids some grief by the value of our experiences, but the reality is they have to learn on their own no matter what we have to say about it.

The circle of life just keeps on turning.