A fastidious friend visited my rather ramshackle abode the other day. I made him tea. When I poured the boiling water from my tiny aluminum kettle, he said, “Omigosh! What happened to your teapot?”
Holding the kettle aloft so that my friend could see its blackened bottom, I explained. “I let my son take it camping. It’s all bronzy from sitting over wood fires.”
“Why?” my friend queried.
“Why what?” I asked, confused.
“Why would you let him take your stuff to go camping? He wrecked it.”
“This kettle was ten dollars at Target,” I said. “And anyway, I like it this way. Every time I heat it up, I smell the forest. I’m a camper, too, y’know.”
My friend just smiled, shook his head, and sipped his tea, clearly thinking that I’m much too lax in the parenting-and-property department. I was smiling, too. When I die, I want my teapots to be tarnished. I want books to be open on the tables. I want surviving siblings to find leftovers from Morton’s in the fridge. And I want them to pop the cork on wines I paid too much for in Australia.
Life is short, is what I’m saying. Let your children take your teapot to the forest. Let there be evidence that you—and they—have lived!