I recall the old Jewish joke about the two women who met for lunch. The first says, “Oy, vey!”

The second sighs, “Oy, vey!”

The first responds, “OK, enough about the children.”

Ummm, yes. In my youth i felt sorry for myself over not being able to have kids to love. Then, as i grew older, i came to understand that they’re definitely a mixed blessing. Even if they don’t get into some kind of trouble, they’re at best a constant source of worry.

A foreign friend’s grandson, who i always thought of as a good kid since i’d seen him taking care of his little sister in a kind and loving way, has in recent years become an increasing source of worry for his grandmother. When he was in his early teens she worried that he was so astonishingly handsome that the girls would throw themselves at him and thus spoil him, turning him into a man who would treat women badly.

And then his grades began to go down until she feared he’d not be able to get into an academic high school that would lead to a professional career.

Now it’s worse, as he’s been suspended from school for smoking hash, which he’d apparently been doing for some time, witness the grades. Oy, vey!

On a lighter note, i have some American friends who’d been getting a little worried that their son, who’d turned sixteen and seemed perfectly alright in every other way and was an enthusiastic participant in school athletics, but had evidenced absolutely zero interest in girls. Not, of course, that they wouldn’t love him just as much in any case, but still….

And then, a couple of months ago the son announced, out of the blue, that he now had a girlfriend. What! Apparently his first date turned into Something Serious.  Zero to sixty in one second? And yes, it’s serious, as my friend looked at the kid’s cell phone usage and saw that in the space of an evening, he’d sent over 300 text messages to his girlfriend.

The complication is that while they now don’t have to worry that he’s gay, the news did put a bit of a crimp in my friend’s plan to join his wife in a month-long visit overseas.

I suggested to him that, well, the boy was a good kid who could basically take care of himself, and the girlfriend could just drop by in the afternoons after school and cook for him and do his laundry, etc.

“Yeah, etc,” he said, now having something else entirely to worry about.

And speaking of sap rising in the spring, here’s an Echinopsis somethingii at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek.




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