You may remember I wrote a similar letter on Mother’s Day, in which I begged you to behave so that your mom could relax and enjoy her special Sunday.
This letter is a little different. For one thing, this letter is about me, rather than about Mommy, so I can speak a bit more freely. For another, until football starts, Sundays are pretty much meaningless to me. Even this coming one.
I am a Red Sox fan.
I grew up idolizing Dwight Evans (DEWEY!), I cried after Game 6 – not only because I suddenly owed Howard Elkies two dollars – and I was on the streets of Boston for the duck boat parade in 2004.
Last week, my father-in-law sent my son a Yankees shirt.
This post isn’t about uplift, as I have none to offer. It’s not about expertise, as I’m no expert. I’m merely a normal parent, a relatively new one at that, and it’s at times like this that I most feel the weight of that responsibility.
I have a two-year-old son. He isn’t yet able to comprehend an event like yesterday’s bombings, let alone formulate questions about it, but seeing the footage would undoubtedly scare him (especially since he’s too young to understand whatever explanation we might offer for the event). Which makes watching the news nearly impossible.
As with most everything else, a complicated situation is complicated even further by my responsibilities as a father.
I love Boston. I attended Boston College and lingered in the city for another decade after graduation, in Brookline, Southie and the South End – not more than a ten-minute walk from where the bombs exploded. It’s a great town, home to many close friends and the setting of some of my favorite memories, a handful of which were actually made on Marathon Mondays, watching the race from the Pizzeria Uno on Boylston Street – shocking close to the finish line – keeping track of the Red Sox game while cheering on the runners. It’s truly a shame that this tragedy will now be associated with what has always been one of the best days of Spring in New England.
Even without a personal connection, tragedies like this used to be easier – somehow – before I had a child.
There are certain environments in which it’s not healthy for children to grow up: brothels, crack houses, religious cults, tour buses, Staten Island, etc.But you don’t have to be a pimp or Tommy Lee to create a negative atmosphere for your kids. Sometimes you just have to be in a bad mood.
It’s impossible to be a human being in this day and age and not get pissed off once in a while. But unless you’re the unbalanced coach of a college basketball team or my old college roommate, you probably know how to handle your anger. At least, you think you do, until you have a toddler.
I don’t care how mild-mannered you are, occasionally you’re gonna get mad. Maybe not at your child, but probably in his vicinity, and often about stuff he does.
Then you’ll really find out how good your anger management really is. (Not Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management,” or even Adam Sandler’s. They’re both terrible.)
When I was a kid, my biggest fear was being kidnapped. I mean, who wouldn’t want this little heartthrob cooling up their house?
As I grew up and that terrifying two-part episode of Diff’rent Strokes faded from my memory, the whole kidnapping fear evaporated. Other anxieties emerged and receded through the years until I became quite fearless… provided I’d had ten beers and you agreed to no punches to the face or groin.
Then I had a kid. And I became fearmore.
“My son loves to argue! He’s like a little lawyer!”
“My kid loves animals so much, I bet he’s gonna be a veterinarian.”
“My daughter is such a ham! She has actress written all over her.”
Ugh. Shut up.
There are a lot of children’s stories about toys that yearn to become real. There’s the classic Disney flick Pinocchio, the melancholy children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit” and the heartwarming and erotic Mannequin, starring silver-screen legend Andrew McCarthy.
These stories are all aimed at children, though some seem more appropriate for really, really dumb children (Mannequin). And there are plenty more in this vein. Oddly, there aren’t many toy-based stories for adults (unless you count porn).
But the lack of such stories for grown-ups makes sense. As a parent, it’s not often that I wish one of my son’s toys would become real, though it would be fun to pummel the life out of a flesh-and-blood Elmo.
On the other hand, I do occasionally wish my son would become a toy. At least there’d be less shit to clean up.
The last time March Madness rolled around, I had a full-time job. The job afforded me the flexibility to work from home one day a week, and on a day like today – the second day of the tournament – such a set-up seemed ideal.
Of course, working from home wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, as I was never able to be as helpful to my wife as she would have liked, just as my days as a stay-at-home dad aren’t spent boozing and watching sports. Except for when my kid naps.
You can read all about the double-sided sword that working from home proved to be in the post I’ve resurrected below. And I know half of you banged out sick today, so you have time.
Original Post: Home-work: Almost as Bad as Actual Homework
When I lived in Boston and NYC, this weekend’s St. Paddy’s celebration was a big deal. But now, I live in the south – I’m not sure they’ve even heard of the Irish – AND I have a two-year-old. Day-drinking my way through St. Patrick’s Day is a lot harder with a toddler.
Even one who has got some Irish in him. (And has been there!)