Halloween has come and gone, but the dish towel we’re using at my house is a Halloween one. Much like Christmas lights left up till March we’re hoping no one will notice. We’re using it because the other towels are old and worn. You don’t know when it happens, but, it slowly creeps up on you until one day, when it’s to late, you realize it’s happened – ‘the parent factor.’  Since I grew up in a house where nothing matched – plates or glasses and the dish rags had more holes than cheesecloth I told myself when I had a family things would be different. Well, it started out that way. My dishes and glasses matched and my towels were capable of drying the dishes.

Then we had kids and things started to change. We bought cartoon plates of their favorite Disney character as a way to get them to eat. We bought plastic, cartoon cups so the good glasses wouldn’t get broken. (Only people with no children use real glasses.) We have a stack of dish rags with holes in them because we had to replace the third kids’ sneakers with the holes in them. When company comes we give them the good plate with no chips and the adult glass that we now consider the good china.

The other day I decided to finally throw out the two cartoon plates sitting in our cabinet. One was the ‘Little Mermaid’ which we bought when my oldest was four and is now 27. The other was the ‘Power Puff Girls.’ I figured no one would notice and it was high time we looked like an adult household. I realized my mistake when my husband and my youngest (now 18) asked what happened to the plates. “What’s wrong with you people,” I screamed. “I threw them out. Just use the other plates. We didn’t need them. Get over it.”

It was then I realized something about the ‘parent factor.’ Your rags may have holes. Your dishes may be chipped and your glasses may not shine and sparkle; but the cartoon cups and plates which replace them means you’re a parent with fond memories and that’s an important factor.

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