I've been wondering: At what age does it become socially acceptable to be a curmudgeon?
The answer that immediately comes to my mind is 70, maybe 80 years old. If you thought something similar, I have a proposal: Let's move that back a couple decades, say, to around age 30? Perhaps even a little younger?
It seems that every year- sometimes every week- I become a little bit more set in my ways, sometimes a little crankier, and a bit more curmudgeonly. I understand that things change, and progress is often a good thing, but lately I've had to mentally restrain myself from moaning to Adelaide about how wrong things are now, and how "Back in my day, we knew how to (fill in the blank)!"
These tendencies are particularly difficult to fight when she and I are looking over her school lunch menu.
Do you remember your elementary school lunches? One day it was somewhat edible, even tasty, the next day it was slop being splatted onto your plate with an ice cream scoop.
I'm getting a little teary just thinking about it. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
Today, Adelaide came home from school, complaining about the lunch served at school today. She said it looked like "old brains" (as opposed to new brains, which are always deliciously appetizing). She asked to get online to check her school's website so that we could see what was being served for the rest of the week, and we could plan which days she would bring lunch from home.
That's when my inner grumpy old lady came out to play.
"You had chicken alfredo for lunch today, Adelaide? Chicken alfredo looked like old brains? Let me tell you something, honey, the closest I ever got to Italian food at school was the Italian Meat Platter, and it resembled something far more frightening than old brains. And the 'alternative entree' today was a roast beef sandwich! What's wrong with that?"
That's right. In addition to their regular lunch, the munchkins have an "alternative entree" selection every day. If Adelaide doesn't want pizza on Wednesday, she can have a chicken caesar salad. If she doesn't want baked potato bar another day, she can have a turkey ranch wrap.
I should be happy that our children are fortunate enough to have plenty of healthy selections at school. Instead, I find myself shuffling around in my robe, muttering, "Kids these days..."
Last weekend's little incident really didn't help matters, either. I fixed the kiddos peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Atticus and Caedmon happily dug into theirs, but Adelaide paused, inspected her food, and asked, "What's the alternative entree?"
"Peanut butter and jelly toast," I growled.
"That doesn't seem very different from this."
At that point, something in my expression must have warned Adelaide that continuing in that vein would be folly. Perhaps a certain curmudgeonly look she has come to recognize.
She hasn't complained about any food I've served since.