This weekend I stumbled across the meaning of life. It was quite by accident, I assure you.
My grandson (also known as The Unwanted Child) came to visit this weekend. The kid will be two years old in December.
I guess The Unwanted Child moniker deserves a bit of explanation. His parents are my son and my son’s ex-girlfriend. The story I was told was that both of them decided equally to forgo birth control. I’m still not exactly sure why. Their attitude seemed to be whatever will be will be.
So, long story short, nine months later my grandson pops out.
My son turned out to be a great dad. He doesn’t like younger life forms and couldn’t stand the responsibility of being a parent. So he split to shack up with a 17-year old girl who was pregnant and already had another child, too. See? That’s a textbook example of gerbil logic.
My son wouldn’t take visitation and showed absolutely no interest in the kid. He also paid no child support.
The young mother we unofficially adopted as our “daughter” and we assured her we wouldn’t take sides. We were only motivated by what was best for the little guy. With that understanding we grew a relationship with the mother and over time took on somewhat parental roles with her. In fact, we see her a lot more than my son.
At first the young mother was very flexible with our son, even though he was a cad. Finally fed up she offered him the opportunity to opt-out by signing away his parental rights to the child. For some strange reason, he refused.
Then she came to us for advice on going after child support. Not playing sides, we helped her out.
And now, here comes the twist. Oh how I loves me the twists.
Her next move was to decide that she was too young to be a mother. Apparently she wants to party more and stuff. So she offered my son full custody. Right on a silver platter, too. He refused. Then she pointed out that she’d pay child support. My son the gerbil then updated his position and said, “Child support, eh? Let me reconsider. Perhaps we can come to an accommodation after all.”
I think this switcheroo turned off the young mom. Suddenly she had second thoughts about offering my son the kid.
Thus was born Plan B. She dumped the child with her mother and split town.
And that’s the situation as it stands today.
I find it pretty sad. Neither of them have wanted to be responsible at any stage of this drama. My son has refused to be a father to the child and the mom has tried to give him away and failed. Neither parent wants him. That’s the background on why I call our grandson The Unwanted Child.
This weekend the other grandma was moving and asked us to watch the child. We said we would. He’s really a pretty good kid in spite of the hand he’s been dealt. We had a good time with him. We do things with him that no one else does like take him outside and stuff. The night before Halloween we took him for a walk around the neighborhood to look at pumpkins, decorations and even Halloween lights. (These are a lot like Christmas lights except every light bulb has painstakingly been removed and replaced with an orange bulb.) He loved it.
One thing I noticed about the child (to get this post back on point) is that he really poops. A lot. More importantly, though, he’s really a bundle of raw nerves. He seems very susceptible to pain. Any amount of pain or irritation (like taking back your own property from his grubby little fingers) will spawn a hysterical crying fit.
Look at him funny. Boom. He cries and screams.
Touch his toy. Boom. He cries and screams.
Tell him that the Texas Rangers have won a World Series game. He really cries and screams.
Dare to tell him the word “no.” Boom. He cries and screams.
And so on and so on. Rinse. Repeat.
That’s when it occurred to me. Life is about pain. When we are young our tolerance is extremely low. Extremely! As we get older, however, our tolerance increases.
For example, by the time you are my age (a grandpa) someone touching your toy doesn’t make you scream hysterically. It may still irritate, but you deal with it better. (Well, sometimes.)
So I have concluded that the meaning of life is dealing with pain. The older you get the more you can take. By the time you get to where I am in life, you can deal with an enormous amount of pain.
To extrapolate this even further I can safely conclude that the level of pain in my life will only increase with time. The day of death, I reason, must therefore be the day when the amount of pain finally exceeds our ability to deal with it, and thus it is game over.
I always wanted to know the meaning of life and now I do, thanks to one unwanted little lifeform. Somehow that seems fitting.