(TransParenting • Part 4)

“The storyteller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice, his job is to shed light, not to master…”

– Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station

So you planned the perfect outing for your precious little angels with a four course picnic at that picturesque park where you’ll pose to post on Instagram and hashtag #BestCrewEver…

…until that crew reminds you that they asked for the green cups with the red bowls and not the yellow cups with the pink bowls — the contents of which deliver this reminder by splattering into the crevices of your earlobes, caking your cashmere sweater in whole milk and fruity pebbles and maple syrup and ribbons of snot.

And it’s at this particular juncture that —

all hell. breaks loose.

So much for them plans.

Because parents plan, and children laugh.

Whether we’re pro-life or pro-choice, the luxury of “planned parenthood” comes to an end the moment our parenting gigs begin.

Like when you pay top dollar to stay on the top floor of the top resort and skip the long lines of all the top rides, and you remind your kids how lucky they are, that daddy is impatient and so very stupid rich.

And you exit through the gift shop because there’s just no way around it, and your kids begin to thunder which means a tantrum‘s on its way, and soon enough you’re no longer exiting through the gift shop but lunging children through its windows. And your picture perfect day of eight epic innings goes to absolute crap in the bottom of the ninth. And you curse Mickey Mouse who waves his big Mickey hand, as Goofy wishes you well, and you mutter go to hell.

So much for them plans.

Because parents plan, and children laugh.

But then they grow up and their grandparents refuse to let anyone forget that your siblings produced doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs and Rhodes Scholars, while innocently omitting your underachievers, who still live in your basement, feeding your cats to their boa constrictors while writing their zombie novels and milking your insurance policies and uploading their black magic tutorials to their one-viewer YouTube channels.

And when people ask what your kids are up to, you’ll want to dig yourself into a giant hole after stabbing them and shooting yourself, but instead you’ll just cringe, and shrug, and remind them that they’re good kids with good hearts, which earns them a grand total of zero points on the snobby rating scale of social pecking orders.

Because parents plan, and children laugh.

But then your nice Jewish boy meets a nice Jewish girl from a nice Jewish family and dumps her nice Jewish tuchis for a queer Catholic boy from the wrong side of town and the very wrong gender, so you decide to disown him just like he knew you would, as if your ownership is something he just can’t live without. And to earn back his owners he‘ll promise to ungay himself and to fall in love with the right kind of gender from the right kind family.

But your plan only backfires.

And so does the next one.

And so do they all.

Because parents plan, and children laugh.

And we twist them into pretzels.

And force them into boxes.

That we reserved and preregistered.

Since they were in utero.

And our plans were not for them.

But for who we thought they were.

Until we‘re ready to discover who they really are.

Because parents plan.

And children laugh.