I recently returned from a long road trip with 10-year-old Scout. We had the time of our lives.
Across Montana, North and South Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa, pretty much everybody we interacted with for more than a moment remarked on how much fun we seemed to be having, and what a good idea it was to take such a trip, just the two of us.
And then, if they were middle-aged (and in the West, most hotel workers, hotel employees, gas station clerks and waitresses are), they inevitably turned to me and added something to the effect of, and not much more subtle than, "Enjoy this time, because she's going to hate you soon, and she'll keep on hating you until she's in her twenties."
I wanted to say, "Thanks. I hope you enjoy this time too, Marge, because in just a few years, you're going to be suffering from some combination of heart disease, arthritis, and premature senility."
My dad remembered sailing into the port at Le Havre, France in WWII, and passing another ship carrying soldiers back from the front. The grizzled veterans (all still 19, of course), yelled across to the terrified greenhorns, "You'll be sorry!"
Is that the filthy and familiar human impulse that these parents are indulging in when they warn me that the very light of my life will soon go black, perhaps to re-ignite someday in the distant future?
Or are they really just hoping that I appreciate the happiness I have, because maybe they didn't know what they had until it was gone.
Well, I do know what I've got. I've got a beaming powerplant of enthusiasm and curiousity, brightness and love. And what I've got is standing right here and listening to you—and you, and you, and you, and you—tell her that despising her parents through her teen years is inevitable (and hence, not despising them would be deviant).
I'm sorry you had such a hard time with your kids, but I don't need the warning, and Scout doesn't either. You can tell by her uncomfortable and confused smile. And mine.