The Joys and Perils of Having Children Late

You’re older and more mature. But your parents are just older.

Will Leitch
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readApr 22, 2021

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Photos courtesy of the author

This essay is part of Medium’s Mind the Gap: Generational Differences series.

My parents are two of my best friends. Please do not tell 15-year-old me that, in 30 years, Mom and Dad are going to be two of his best friends. He will find that fact depressing. But it’s true. I’m proud of it.

The Leitch parents moved from rural Illinois to Winterville, Georgia about four years ago, after they retired, so they could be near my two young sons, their only grandchildren. After missing most of the boys’ first two years, they get to watch them grow up now. They know their teachers, they make them their favorite brands of mac-n-cheese, they get to go to all their baseball games. Dad helps me coach my younger son, Wynn’s, team, actually, and this year, because we’re trying to play Little League Baseball in a pandemic, he even built a little baseball-field-shaped rack with hooks for them to hang their masks when they go out onto the field. Isn’t it great?

I know they’re just here for the grandkids, but I couldn’t be more grateful to have my parents around, particularly during the pandemic, when they became central to our pod (and the primary source of my fret and worry; they’re in their early seventies, after all). They really are my friends. We go to dinner together, we watch sports and TV shows together, we drink and tell old stories together. We’re closer than we have ever been. It’s precisely the sort of relationship I hope to someday have with my children, when they are adults. One where we are not parent-and-child but simply old friends who know each other better than anyone in the world and can talk about anything. I look at these little boys and imagine them as adults. I cannot wait to see what they are like when they, like me, are 45.

But there’s a problem: I’m not sure I’m gonna make it to see them hit 45.

Don’t get me wrong: I think I’m pretty hale and hearty, and I don’t plan on shuffling off this mortal coil any time soon. But I, like my wife, did…

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Will Leitch
Human Parts

Author of six books, including “How Lucky” and "The Time Has Come." NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin. https://williamfleitch.substack.com