What Do You Say To A 5-Year-Old For Her Birthday Why Childhood Is Better the Second Time Around

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Why Childhood Is Better the Second Time Around

This week the Poor Mistress of the Rectory and Yours Truly had the privilege of attending our youngest granddaughter’s second birthday party. I wanted to go to her third birthday party but she wasn’t old enough yet. So, I’ll have to wait another year.

On the way home we sat in silence thinking about the party we had just attended. It just doesn’t seem possible that we have eight grandchildren. I broke the silence with a little comment along these lines. “I’m just not old enough to be a grandfather to eight grandchildren. I don’t feel old enough to be a grandfather”

A rather sarcastic chuckle came from the other passenger in the car, if I do say so myself.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I retorted.

“Well,” she said a little slowly as if she was trying to gather her thoughts and use the right words, “believe me, all feelings aside, you’re old enough.”

I didn’t quite know what she meant by that, and I was afraid that if I asked she would tell me. I quickly changed the subject and said, “Didn’t Jordin look cute with birthday cake all over her face?”

She laughed.

Then, I thought I was talking to myself but apparently, I said it out loud, at least loud enough for my wife to hear. “I wonder what it’s like to be two years old?”

“Get ready,” my wife said with a laugh in her voice, “you’re ready to enter your second childhood.”

At the time I was rather outraged by the comment, but upon further reflection, I see nothing wrong with it. After all, what’s wrong with enjoying childhood the second time around?

I really don’t think it’s possible to enjoy childhood the first time. There are so many things to interfere with.

First, are parents constantly telling you what to do or not to do. Telling you when to go to bed. Telling you when to get up in the morning. Telling you when to eat. Telling you what to eat. Telling… telling… telling…

How in the world can anyone enjoy life when people are always telling them what to do? The problem is, by the time a person is two years old, they have absolutely no leverage against overbearing parents. The only thing the two-year-old can do to get the upper hand with his parents is to wait until they’re in the supermarket with lots of people around and then throw a tantrum.

This is the advantage of entering your childhood a second time. No one is around to tell you what to do or what not to do. You are alone, at least in this area. Of course, in your second childhood it is not possible to throw a tantrum in a public supermarket and succeed.

The advantage of having a second childhood is that you have all that experience behind you to use to your advantage that a two-year-old might not have. This in itself covers a multitude of sins.

“What’s wrong with your husband?” Someone might ask my wife.

“Oh,” she replies rather mechanically, “he is in his second childhood.”

“I see, my husband is there too.”

And all is right with the world.

In man’s first childhood, he is quite limited in his outlook. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. But during the second childhood, he has the advantage of knowing this and using it for his own personal benefit.

For example, when the parents of a two-year-old take him out to a restaurant, he is completely at the parents’ mercy.

“Eat your vegetables,” the parents demand, “then you can have dessert.”

There is nothing the two-year-old can do at this point. After all, whoever pays the bill gets to say who does what.

Now, as I enter my second childhood, I have the benefit of knowing that all that malarkey about eating your vegetables first is just that… malarkey. And, since I’m paying the bill, I’ll eat the desert whenever I want to eat it. In fact, I’ll start with dessert and end with dessert. And while I’m on the subject, if I don’t want to order vegetables, I won’t order any vegetables.

Many have been the times when my wife and I are out to a restaurant and she will order a properly balanced meal, while I order dessert.

“Do you know vegetables are good for you?” my wife will insist.

“I don’t know anything,” I reply.

The two-year-old believes it when his parents say that vegetables are good for him, especially green vegetables. But someone like me, enjoying the second round of my childhood, knows that this is not true at all. And, it’s not true that I have to clean my plate before I can have my dessert.

As a mature man enjoying his second childhood, I don’t have to believe everything people tell me. If dessert wasn’t good for me, why in the world does it taste good to me?

I have good scriptural evidence that God is with me here. In the Psalms I read about God: “Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like that of an eagle” (Psalms 103: 5).

God has my best interest in mind for the longest period of time.

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