Raising seven children on a writer's wages, and not a dime saved for college. Yeah, that'll work. What are they not telling me? That pile of unopened mail on my chair is hard to ignore, much less sit on while I catch up on email. Every time the bathroom door is left open, the toddler beelines in there like a pig to sh*t. Disaster ensues. Somehow, people ages 4 to 14 fail to notice this, or to care. ISIS, Ebola, climate change, mass shootings, sexual predators. I preferred it when we hoped the Russians loved their children, too. Dishes don’t wash themselves. Neither, it turns out, do 8-year-old boys. Not by choice, anyway. Yes, I know it only takes five minutes to replace a flush valve — plus the hour round trip to Home Depot. Just jiggle the blessed handle and leave me alone. Summertime special: Ours is the only house on the block without an automatic sprinkler system. The misplacement of two or three of the following — wallet, keys, meds, cell phone, wristwatch, wedding ring, lunch, shoes, notebook, umbrella, car, teenage son — is inevitable. So is the prospect of a fruitless search blowing a hole in the middle of my day. Which reminds me: Supervolcanoes. Am I the only person in this family who knows how to work a light switch? If my kids bake brownies, watch TV or play video games, the scolds will wring their hands about child obesity. If I send them to the park across the street, they will call Child Protective Services. How much longer before God gets sick and tired of me telling him how this is supposed to work? Today is the day I’m unmasked as a fraud . . . the magazine is abolished . . . my wife ascends into heaven. At last count I have no fewer than 61 online accounts with separate username and password combinations, every one of them a lock-tight jumble of numbers, symbols and letters. And I haven’t written them down _anywhere._ Not me. No way. The purple hue of her face notwithstanding, my daughter _is_ learning the lessons of dignity and resilience that her brothers are unwittingly teaching her . . . right? What, me worry? *Composed one morning while getting everyone out the door, aware that, no matter what, we will still be late to school/work/practice/whatever.
_John Nagy is an associate editor of this magazine._