April fools who? Is there a special kind of fool found in April? Are we celebrating fools, that is jesters, village idiots, comedians and fools in the more pejorative sense? Or are we taking one day a year to revel in fooling our friends and loved ones? Ah, the questions. What are we without questions? That is the question (sorry Billy). I’ve been playing Grandma two hundred miles away from home a few days each month so Katie can take exams. A couple of days ago, with a sore back from catching a lively little boy and gnawing sense that I need to get some work done, my nearly one year old grandson served to remind me that I had put aside pursuing a ‘serious’ writing career for all the years I was raising children. Since there is a nine year age difference between child number one and child number four that is a lot of years. I spent 15 years of my adulthood watching Sesame Street until John went off to first grade. Jude’s cartoon of choice these days is Sponge Bob Square Pants. The circle of life.
Years of child rearing was not what I pictured when I pictured myself as an adult. I wanted a serious career; I wanted to do something important. I wanted to be the hero in my own epic. I was confessing to two of my children (one a musician, the other an actor) that I never skipped a class in college, except once. I spent that ‘skip’ in the library studying for an exam.
I hardly attended concerts, I went to one basketball game, on rare occasions went over to Poor Richard’s with classmates and had a drink (this was way back in the days when 18 was legal). I spent my college career chasing A’s so I could get into law school. By the time I got to law school I was burned out, used up, stifled to the point of chucking it all and taking an extended leave of absence. That was more than thirty years ago.
There is a character on Parenthood (a recent NBC show) named Julia (irony?) who is a lawyer. Not just a lawyer but a stuffy, uptight, ambitious, no-nonsense lawyer who just doesn’t ‘get’ a whole lot of stuff. With her expensive suits, coiffed hair and oh-so-professional composure, I watch her and thank God I didn’t go down that path. My children saved me from that. They loosened me, jiggled much (not all, I admit) of the serious starch that I used to hold myself together for too long, and let me see life through young and wonder-filled eyes.
So, here’s to April and her court of Fools. Long may you laugh.