I have never bought a couch

Standard

‘Does this mean that I am no longer The Grownup?’

It’s bad enough when your Child ends up being six inches taller than you. (Stern maternal finger-wagging somehow loses its force when directed upward.) But then said Child ends up making way more money than you. (Granted, I am no longer employed. So there’s that.) And ends up collecting way more stamps in her passport. (The kid has been to Mongolia, for pete’s sakes.) 

But no matter. That tall, employed, well-traveled woman is a person whose nose (not to mention other body parts) I have wiped. I could be in the same room with her and still look myself in the eye and say “Hey, I’m the Grownup.”

But then she bought a couch.

And it’s not just a couch. It’s a sleeper sofa, for heaven’s sakes

And I, a much older person — and her mother — have never bought a couch. 

[Quick note here. Last night I read the beginning of this piece to The Dude, and he totally doesn’t get my point. Maybe you don’t either. Which means you can stop reading if you want. (But then you’d miss some cool couch pictures.) But I had always heard that the true mark of GrownupHood was to buy a couch. And, no, I’m not the only person who thinks so.]

True, she didn’t buy this couch all by herself. She and her BF bought it together. To go in their new apartment on Beacon Hill in Boston. But let’s get back to couches before I make myself weep.

While The Dude and I haven’t bought any new ones, we have owned two couches. There’s the one that was in Mr. Man’s living room when I met him. Which, actually, isn’t just a couch. It’s one of those sectional sets that was popular during the 70s — you know, low to the ground; with separate pieces you can move around to make a “conversation pit”.

If you can take your eyes off the cute kid for a sec, you’ll see a couple of pieces of the gray sectional in our old living room

The Dude likes to brag that he scored all nine pieces of this sectional (which, when I met him he had pushed up against all four walls so his living room resembled an airport lounge) at a garage sale for less than 200 bucks. We had so many pieces of couch that we divvied them up — we put several in our living room, and had plenty left over for the Little House. (A 450-square-foot retreat you can read about in “Hamptons (Un)Real Estate”).

The Dude and The Child having a “conversation” in the sectional “pit” during a hot game of Go Fish at the Little House

Even now, years — and a whole different apartment — later, we have this same couch. Though we raised the pieces off the floor with wood blocks (to be less “pit-like”) and gussied them up with slipcovers, they’re still the same couch. (We did lose a few “sections” to mold when The Little House got flooded. See “The Little House Meets the Perfect Storm(s)” for soggy details.)

Yup. Those are the same sectional pieces. Gussied up, just like us

And though we had to abandon ship, as it were, Little-House-wise, we didn’t buy a new couch when we took over The Dude’s parents’ much higher and dryer Amagansett place. We just used the perfectly-good old couch that was already there. (Actually, my well-meaning-but-somewhat-interfering Sister-in-Law suggested at one point that “We” buy a new couch, but I just ignored her. Like I do pretty much all the time.)

That’s the couch. Oddly enough (or maybe not so oddly, since it’s also from the 70s) this is also a “sectional” — seen here doing duty as a game table as well as seating

No, this couch wasn’t the one pictured at the top of this post sort of camouflaging the Very Young Dude perched upon it. Though gosh I wish it had been (!)

Anyway. At the rate I’m going, I’ll probably never buy a new couch. Which means, I guess, that The Child gets to be The GrownUp.

Wombat and The Child (er, The GrownUp) demonstrating the versatility of the not-new repurposed gray sectional

But hold on a sec; I just thought of something. So she bought a new couch. She still can’t drive.

New York City. September 2018

Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?

Standard

‘There is a grownup hanging out in The Child’s room’

It hit me like a ton of memory sticks the other day that my daughter is the same age I was when I upped and moved to New York.

Now, at the time, you understand, I thought I was practically over the Advertising Hill and had better get the heck out of the Hinterlands before I got used to writing radio spots for chicken specials at Safeway and languished in career obscurity.

Now, of course, I realize that I was barely dry behind the ears and that writing poultry-packed radio spots wasn’t all that bad a way to make a living. After all, back then I drove a Mercedes. (A 450 SEL previously owned by an Army Guy, but still. A Mercedes.)

But if I hadn’t gotten myself to New York I wouldn’t have met The Dude and wouldn’t have had The Child and wouldn’t be writing this post. So there’s that.

She used to tell jokes about bars. (See “Kangaroo Walks into a Bar”) Now she goes to bars

Like many of you out there who also are no longer Twenty-Somethings, I am constantly amazed at the rapid passage of time. Everything goes by so darned fast. Like, summer lasts about two weeks, tops. (See “The Days are Long, But the Season is Short” for deep seasonal diving.) I swear, there are some Labor Days when I put those white bucks back in the closet without having worn them once.

But back to the Alien Who Has Somehow In Five Minutes Taken Over The Space Formerly Occupied By The Child. Not only does this person not resemble in any way shape or form the daughter that lives in my mind’s eye (for one thing, she’s a zillion feet tall and towers over me), she doesn’t act like her, either.

The Child in my head teeters around on training wheels and goes on playdates where she breaks her arm and doesn’t tell us because she’s afraid we’ll “be mad because she was running inside”. The Child in the present goes on one-hundred mile bike rides and wins wine in backgammon tournaments — wine that she is more than old enough to drink.

The Child in my head chooses a stuffed animal to take on a trip. (“Lion went last time, Mom. This time it’s Penguin’s turn.”) The Child in the present goes gallivanting around the globe.

Nyet to stuffed animals. That’s a real, grown-up Siberian Husky

Speaking of global gallivanting, The Child now not only goes on trips without us, she takes care of things while we go on trips without her. I don’t know what we would have done had she not been on the scene during our first jaunt to Africa. Not only did she have to deal with a sick cat, but our apartment building caught on fire. (See “The Agent of Destruction” for heroic details.)

The Child in my head needed care and feeding. The Child in my house takes care of the cat and deals with emergencies without batting an eye — or calling us up

Basically, she looks like a Grownup. And acts like a Grownup. And that would be because she is. A Grownup.

I could go on and on. (Like many Parents-of-One, I have an amazing number of photos of Said Child.) But I will end with one last shot — and with this question: If The Child is now a Grownup, then what does that make me?

The Child and I as we exist now only in my imagination. Hmmm. Perhaps Time actually is on our side

Amagansett, New York. July 2018