Posts Tagged ‘father’
“I was the first one dressed,” he said.
It’s not a race.
“I was the first one done with dinner,” said the other.
You shouldn’t eat so fast.
“I’m the winner,” they said in a rotating series of blurs and screams and clouds of dust.
We’re all winners here.
Everything is a competition, from brushing their teeth to pulling on their socks. It is not a race against the clock, nor is my schedule of any consequence. It is the beating of the other that drives their actions and heralds the subsequent gloating, which in itself is a competition, pitted as it is against the wails of banshees and the agony of defeat.
We’re all losers here.
“I’d rather be jogging,” he read from my shirt. “Daddy, what’s jogging?”
“It’s what people used to call running,” I answered. “It’s a long, slow run to nowhere in particular.”
“Where is Particular?” he asked.
“Someplace quiet,” I told him.
“He says he’s stupid,” whispered my wife. “He says he hates himself.”
“Why?” I asked her.
“He won’t tell me.”
And then I walked down the hall to beat the demons from my boy.
“What’s the matter?” I asked into the thin line of moonlight that separated us.
“I don’t know,” replied a voice in the night.
“You are a sweet, smart, and wonderful boy,” I told him. “Mommy and I love you, and we are proud of you.”
He started crying and leaned forward to put his arms around my neck.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him again.
“I don’t know,” he cried.
“Do you feel okay?”
“Are you sick?”
“Did something happen?”
“Did you do something?”
“So why are you upset?”
“I don’t know,” he said again, and then he pulled me tighter.
We sat there in silence, two generations intertwined. I could feel his tears run across my face.
“You’re passionate,” I said into the dark with an ironic sense of stoicism. “You get that from me. Do you know what that means?”
“It means we wear our hearts on our sleeve. It means sometimes our emotions run away a little bit.”
“Like being happy or sad?”
“Like being happy or sad,” I echoed. “Sometimes Daddy yells too much. Sometimes I laugh too loud. Sometimes I do things without thinking just because they feel right, and sometimes they aren’t.”
“Do I do that?”
“What do you think?”
“I think you have that passion, too. It gets away from us sometimes, but it is a wonderful thing. Not everyone sees it that way, but it is. The trick is not letting it control you. That’s something we both have to work on.”
“Is that why I’m crying?” he asked.
“I don’t know.”
The morning was filled with the things that fill a morning.
“I was the first one in the shower,” said one.
Don’t mess around in the shower.
“I was the first one to dry off,” said the other.
Make sure your hair is dry.
“Let’s run,” they said in a rotating series of blurs and screams and bowls of oatmeal. “Let’s run!”
Finish your breakfast.
And the race was on and it never wasn’t, and the door slammed shut behind them. I watched them run up the hill, a race against the other — a race to nowhere in particular. Their feet jogged like memories and their laughter grew all the louder.
They ran away like emotion.
This post first appeared on DadCentric in February, 2010.
If I’ve learned anything from the wonderful video that Philips Norelco has created to showcase the New Face of Dad (without product placement!) it’s that most of us would be better off making wonderful audio. Don’t hate us because we’re not pretty.
We, meaning Jim from Bobble Head Dad, Clay from Dad Labs, Jon from Blurbomat, and Seth, The Didactic Pirate are, however, a good group of guys doing our best to support fatherhood, bust stereotypes, and love our kids with everything we’ve got. I’ll take that over good looks any day.
The video can be viewed below (or on YouTube):
And that’s not all! The guys spent countless hours (really) sharing their stories for you (they’ve been edited down), the audience, and they are touching, funny, and great examples of the new face of dad, which, as far as I know, is not proprietary.
Philips Norelco and Doug French, the man that helped make it all possible, hosted a Twitter party last night to launch the video, and the response was humbling in its support. That’s a good thing for dads.
I want to thank Philips Norelco for sponsoring this post and the videos above. If you are on the Facebook you should visit them and give them some Like.
Blogging is all about ebbs, flows, and being too busy to maintain one’s personal space. It happens. I’m sure you are over it.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing anything of substance — I have. I’m just writing a limited supply of substance, so I have to put it where the paycheck is.
To that end, I would be thrilled if you took the time to read the posts below:
“I’m not even sure that I would want my kids to be popular. Yes, I want them to be liked by their peers and to have good friends, but there are a lot of trappings to popularity that I would rather they not deal with. First world problems? Maybe — but, and I’m painting with the stereotype brush here, I wouldn’t want them to feel that they had to be something that they are not. I want them to be, first and foremost, comfortable in their own skin. I’m basing a lot of this on Glee and various Disney Channel movies, so forgive me if my grasp of stereotypes is a little rusty.”
“What happens is that a sweet, sensitive boy becomes a monster. He yells and screams at those that play with him or those that tell him it is time to stop. He talks in quick, sharp daggers of hateful speech and he whines when we mention it. It is ugly.”
“The right for all people, in this case, all tax-paying citizens of the United States, to marry the person of their choosing is such an obvious thing that to fight against it is well beyond the bounds of politics and commonsense. To suggest otherwise is to declare an ignorance of history and to put oneself squarely on the wrong side of it.”
“…for every single note was a child’s wish, grown from whispers and wandering thought, written down with careful hand, and tied somewhat gingerly to the hopes of the wild.”
There are a lot of other things to do on the Internet, and I appreciate you taking the time to read the words that I fling on it. Also, I would like to thank BlogHer for naming me one of their 2012 Voices of the Year. The post that made it happen is “When Stuffed Animals Die.”
The boys are home sick today. One is legit. One is an opportunist. The sick one is actually feeling much better (UPDATED: Now the fever has turned into a bunch of snot and a hacking cough, which is awesome), but the school won’t allow him to return until he goes 24 hours without a fever (Pringle lovers excluded). The opportunist played the right card at the right time, and seeing as the dealer was fighting his own fits of fever, he took the hand. I’m the dealer in this scenario (see, fever-induced ramblings). Stay off drugs, kids.
Basically, we’re going into extended weekend mode, indoor version. Put Flood on repeat. Release the Legos.
An aside — This literally just happened as the song Istanbul was ending:
Z: If they leave why can’t they go back?
A: Because Istanbul changed its name.
Z: To what?
A: I don’t know. New York maybe.
Stay in school, kids!
When I was at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Austin (my recap, DadCentric recap, and the one where I was quoted) I had the rare opportunity to meet a LEGO Master Builder named Chris, a second-generation Master Builder no less (there are only seven people holding that rank). He told me about his passion for building with Legos when he was a kid and, I’m totally paraphrasing here, how his dad was so supportive that he went out and became a Master Builder himself (Chris followed when he was older). That is so much more refreshing than the stereotypical parent response about being practical and the confines of reality. It was downright inspiring.
He told me about a new Lego website called Build Together which has all kinds of activities for parents and children to do together. And then we did them. Apparently Chris has Jedi-like powers.
Our favorite part of BuildTogether.com is that it gives instructions on additional items that can be built from existing sets. That is, if you own a LEGO set that builds A, they give you instructions on how that same set can also build B. My only suggestion to LEGO is that they list items by set required than additional items created as we kept clicking on things that looked cool only to realize that we didn’t have the set needed. If we could click on the sets we know we have and then see the additional items that would save a lot of apologies and heavy sighs.
I do like that LEGO is featuring fathers in a non-doofus role, which is something of a hot topic these days, rightfully so. However, I feel that I must go on record as saying that my wife does a lot more of the actual LEGO building than I do. That is, she’s more of an analytical type and helps the boys with items straight from the box. I’m more of a “hey, let’s make random stuff out of whatever bricks happen to be in front of me” kind of guy. It takes all kinds.
And we’re the kind that build together. Which is a good place to stop writing and get back to the fun.
Disclosure: Would you believe this post is not paid for or sponsored by LEGO? Sure, I told them I would write about BuildTogether.com, and we do have some very awesome things planned together, but this post was all me — and the kids. True story.
His face is pale against the flush of his cheeks. The red is rosy and perfect, like it was painted on. His eyelashes are long and fluttering. His hair is full of fever sweat and tussle. He takes no notice of me in the doorway. He notices only the nothingness and whatever dances upon the edge of distance. He is a few feet and a million miles away. He coughs. He sleeps. He is burning.
There are waking hours on the couch and the meeting of needs. Start the movie. Stir the soup. More fluids. Thermometers. Medicine. Tissue. Blankets. The movie is over. Start the movie. There are other things that I must do, and they are all ignored in equal fashion.
He escapes through sleep to sweet relief. This is when I should attend to matters that should be done, but I do not. I clean the room. I play soft music. I dump the tissues and restock accordingly. I hit reset and then I lean against the doorway and watch him breathe.
They say don’t get too close. They say that germs are best kept at bay. But I am a parent. I cannot sit on the dock armed with life preservers and gentle whistles. I wade chest-deep and let him float against me. His burn becomes my burn and I try to take it all. I want nothing more than to soak it all in and open my arms to a bay gone dry. I want to watch him run across rocks and starfish and so many sponges, free of fever and free of pain. The only sounds should be waves retreating and the lingerings of health and laughter.
But there is a difference between giving and sharing, and fevers read the fine print. I fear we will float out to sea upon a brown pleather raft, a foolish father and his somber son, with rosy red brushstrokes like stains on our faces.
The music is soft and the dance in the distance.