Thirty-two years ago, on a beautiful spring afternoon, Joel and I brought our infant son, Seth, to visit his great-grandfather Jack in his Brookline apartment. Not long after we arrived, Seth did what all babies do: he wet his diaper all the way through to Grandpa’s slacks.
“Grandpa,” I said. “Please give me your slacks and let me bring them to the dry cleaner.”
“No,” he replied.
“But I can have them back in an hour.”
“No,” he insisted. “It is a privilege to have a great-grandchild to pee on me.”
I have been thinking about that exchange recently. I now have the opportunity to be watered by my own grandson (although diaper technology has evolved to the point at which that situation has not yet occurred), and it is a wonder to be at that stage of life, and an absolute privilege to have a grandchild. If Max’s diaper needs to be changed, then I am happy to do it.
When Rascal was alive, I never minded picking up after him. I adored that black lab and miss him every day. He really was a member of the family.
But I draw the line at bears and deer and moose and coyotes. While it is truly wonderful to live in the country and see wildlife up close, these beautiful, strong, and graceful animals do eat all the apples from my trees and then leave their calling cards. Week by week, the scat (scientists’ name for poop) increases all along my driveway. And, as beautiful as the visitors are, I really don’t want to clean up after them, even with a plastic bag over my hand – or even two or three plastic bags. (The cows that wander into the yard from down the road would require a large trash bag.)
I guess I believe that, like cooking on the grill, outdoor cleanup is best left to my husband. Which brings me to grilling. I am terrified of the propane tank, afraid it will explode in my face. I don’t particularly like the old charcoal grill, either, but am willing to cook on it because charcoal can’t detonate. Can it?
All this makes me wonder: Have I flunked feminism?