My son loves riding the merry-go-round at our local park.
He used to prefer the stationary animals, or even one of the stupid sled things, but as he’s become more enamored with the carousel he’s graduated to the real shit: the animals that slide up and down. I’m glad; there’s little point in even going on the thing if you’re not on one of those.
On our latest trip, I saw that my wife was letting our son ride some overgrown cat thing all by himself. And she chose to ride the animal next to him, rather than stand at his side to make sure he didn’t fall off! I sat on the sidelines (I chose the bench outside because going in circles makes my tummy hurt), panicking as my moron of a son repeatedly took one hand off the pole to wave at me as he went by. Meanwhile, Mom and Buried wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
I need to woman up. My wife has bigger balls than me.
Detective Munch has inherited a lot from Yours Truly, including both his stunning looks and a consistent tendency to ignore my wife. I’ve written before about the emerging personality traits and interests that seem to have trickled down from his mother and me, and most of the time I’m happy when I see him displaying one of my quirks. (But not always.)
It can be flattering to recognize myself in my son. But sometimes when I see him display a little too much of the stuff I like least about myself, I wish he were more like his mom. (So long as he doesn’t start writing me honey-do lists. It’s 2013! NO ONE DUSTS ANYMORE!)
I don’t know that I’d call myself risk-averse, but I can sometimes over-think things to the point that I’ll talk myself out of new experiences. I’m not George McFly, but I’m not exactly Marty McFly either. I can be cautious to a fault. Mom and Buried is the opposite. I wouldn’t say she under-thinks things (sometimes avoiding risk is smart!), but she’s definitely more impulsive and fearless than I am. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with her; having her influence in my life helps take me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing. And I hope Mom and Buried influences Detective Munch the same way. I hope he follows her example and learns to woman up!
Having kids forces you to both recognize your own fears and try to confront and move past them, for the benefit of your kid(s). A kid that sees his dad freak out over every little thing, or watches his dad allow himself to be scared out of doing something, is a kid that is probably going to grow up the same way. And that’s not how I want my kid to turn out. (Of course, if he does the opposite and becomes Evel Kneivel, I disavow this entire post.)
Nothing’s worse than regret, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few instances in my life where I wish I’d taken a chance on something rather than wussed out, and I don’t want my son to experience that. I don’t want him to grow up nervous or skittish. I want him to throw caution to the wind and grab life by the horns! (So long as nothing bad ever happens to him and he’s always safe.)
I’d prefer my son to be post-time-travel George McFly, not pre-time-travel George McFly, and it’s up to his parents to instill him with that adventurous spirit.
I’m still figuring out how to help him do that, and trying to do it more myself. I may not have a DeLorean, but I do have Mom and Buried, and judging by the smile my son wore as he rode that giant cat all by himself, she’s rubbing off on him.
By the end of the carousel ride, I was the only one who needed a diaper. And that was just fine.