Age discrimination. When Anita and I were planning to adopt, many of the social workers gave us this policy: adoptions for forty-somethings were handled with some care. The suggestion was that the ideal maximum age separation between adoptive child and parents was forty years. We were in the running for sixteen adoptions in the two years before Brittany, and we had sixteen “no’s.” After we had viewed videos, read profiles, interviewed caseworkers, and seen these kids at large social functions, it was quite difficult. My former pastor asked us how it was going. I told him that each refusal felt something like a miscarriage, from our point of view.
Anita and I were not totally congruent in our approach. She really wanted two or three children, preferably a family unit. My first choice was an only child. But we decided to be open, consider all opportunities that came our way, and see what would happen.
This morning, the inch of snow over slick ice made for some fine sledding. Too nice in the backyard, for the fence at the base of the hill is a much harder backstop when there’s no soft snowdrifts to cushion the end. So we trekked to the park near the bottom of the hill. I tell you: it was fun, but I’m getting too old for this nonsense. Brit wore too many socks (3 pair) and her feet got cold. I, on the other hand, sledded into an ice patch over a three-inch deep puddle, put my foot into a foot-deep hole filled with slush, then tried to get cute making a new sled path and crashed into a tree stump, bruising my hand. She whimpered a little when we had to go home early, but we all napped for a good hour this afternoon.
The rest of Baptism Day had her choices for meals: fondue for breakfast, and a great Mexican restaurant for dinner. Never got around to the cookies, though. Maybe tomorrow. I suspect school will be back in session. It’s my regular day off, so the vacation is extended yet another day. But I tell you: I’m not going sledding.
I don’t think that at 47, I’m too old to parent an active eight-year-old. But I’ve learned that I can’t go full-speed ahead like an eight-year-old anymore. After my last mishap, I told Brit that it was time to go home. For a moment I considered gritting my teeth and playing Dad Indestructable. But then good sense took over. She took it pretty well. We had to pass a less vigorous slope on the way back, and I asked her how many times she thought we should go. “One,” she said. “Let’s go together.”
So we had one more for the road. A small concession to childhood fun, but also a sensible limit from my growing girl.