Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Ron MacLean: “I sometimes feel that without children to sort of rein me in and give me responsibility, I’ve never really grown up. I’ve been able to play hockey, go out with my buddies and be obsessive about work. I’m selfish in a way that children don’t allow you to be.” (Cornered, P102) I came across this quote when I was flying home from my most recent Granny visit to baby Ben. I smiled because I had, only that day, posed the question: “Why do we want kids anyway?” At the time when I asked that question, I was smelling a lot like Ben, a nose-wrinkling kind of smell that reminds you of last week’s milk. That same smell was on every blouse in my suitcase, except for one last shirt buried under the pile, waiting for me to put it on after the last kiss good-bye. Ben’s mother came running at the sound of the question. Perhaps she was wondering if I really doubt the worth of children. She was clearly ready to defend Ben against any suggestion of an emotion less extreme than delight. She need not have worried. This was not the first time I smelled that way. Baby Ben is remarkably like his mother was at that age. First we eat, then we spit up. “It all changes,” I promise her. “Look how well you turned out in the end!” Ron MacLean had intended to be a father, but fate had other things in mind. He was sad. Still, he embraced a grand career worthy of an autobiography. He basks now in the late-night freedom of a forever teen-ager. It’s possible that he never smelled like baby Ben. Smelling better now that I am back home in Edmonton, too far away to simply reach over to pick Ben up at the first possible opportunity, I say: “Poor Ron! Poor, poor Ron!”

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