Well my girl, as you can see above, you’re now four. Or as you like to say, “I’m a big girl now”. Or you express this as “I go to junior kindergarten, I’m a big girl now, right Daddy?” And the truth is, yeah, you are. Suddenly you’re opening yogurt containers on your own and I’m approaching what I hitherto thought of as fossilhood (eleven years to fifty was a figure that crushed my mind yesterday when you asked). But to get us back up to speed with each other, as it has been almost two years since the last check-in, here are some observations to make (expunge):
There is a beverage you may or may not be drinking now. I help off until I was thirty-eight years old. This beverage however IS an elixir of magical proportions: COFFEE. You may be saying, “uh, duh” and I get that (from everyone I share this profound new knowledge with).
For various baggage reasons (no time to explore here) I’ve been wary of growing into any kind of recognizable manhood or maturity. As such, I’ve held off on the “adult” beverages and preferred to saddle up to the kids table for a sour shot of cranberry juice, no ice. But then you came along and knocked the shit out of me. Sleep depravation – check. Increase in stress and worry – check. Inability to concentrate – check. A lethargy that borders on docility – checkmate! And I say “checkmate” because, “docile” and “Shane” don’t go together. you simply wore me down and I needed a hit of something, anything to re-find myself. Enter: coffee. Namely, a home espresso machine (Brevile, great on-line deal) that makes 2 rice-milk lattes per day for me to get the edge on.
I’m not sure what it’s like 26 years from now when you’re sitting there reading this Claire, but something tells me this coffee phenomenon has got some legs. Because, I am back baby! Bouncing off the walls, uncontrollable energy, a mind like a bull in a tea shop – I love it! So, yeah, Coffee – it’s the dope! (okay, now I’ve confirmed the fossilhood with the “dope” usage. Trying, trying.)
The other day while you and I got ready for your walk down the hill to daycare we had this marvelous exchange:
You: Where does Mommy go to work?
Me: She works in an office downtown, honey.
You: Where does Troy (neighbor) go?
Me: Like your Mom, he works downtown.
You: In an office?
You: So, you work for me?
And there you have it.
While I work from home a lot of my “work” does include: dishes, laundry, garbage, window cleaning, lunch making, bed making, floor cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping. It very well may not only appear but be in reality a situation in which I find myself your indentured laborer. Indeed, Claire, what the fuck happened?
If there is one word that makes parenting a living hell it is “Why?” An astute comedian, Louis C.K. did a great bit on this already:
But I want to add that not only do you force us to contemplate existence and push our minds to you know, you’ve now reached a point beyond my grasp and exposed me as a knowledge fraud, you also push us towards disturbing revelations about our own nuggets of therapy hell.
The other day we were in a restaurant eating some Japanese. It was nice, Dad and his girl out for some dinner, oh aren’t we a cute little couple. Then two larger sized men walked into the place. As with all potential conflict I cannot avert my eyes, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame – not that I’m going to step in and be some kind of superhero, more that I get emotionally all bent out of shape and become a frightened helpless little boy. (therapy point number one). And in this instance, the two guys are trying to quietly press their case to the demure Japanese Hostess that they don’t want to try to cram themselves into a tiny table for two they’d much prefer to settle themselves into the more roomy booth for four. She tries to protest based on the seating needs of many costumers. They are trying to press their case as a need for space – period. Finally the hostess relents, the gentlemen take the booth, and disappear behind the rice paper awning. Fine. All done. Phew. I can relax.
“Why are those men hungry, Daddy?”
“Well, you know, it’s dinnertime now, honey, so lots of people are going to come here for something to eat. Now eat your carrot, please.”
“But they’re fat”
Jesus Christ. “Nice sweet little kid with his Dad” – gonzo. Oh, it’s the asshole Dad over there who obviously makes fat jokes and this has translated to his obviously tortured daughter who will now grow up with weight issues. Can I please state now, not that I did in the restaurant, that this is NOT the case. While I’ve had my ups and downs on many petty judgmental fronts of my feeble sense of humanity, around you Claire I have it all under control. I could even say, in that regard you kind of have a pretty boring home front – it’s all politically correct, clean safe wholesome Disney approved fun.
I turn to her with my VERY serious furrowed brow.
“Claire, don’t say that.”
You fall into your seat, worried and ashamed.
“We don’t say mean things about people, we should focus on the positive.”
You look confused.
I look like a fucking failure.
You are too smart and just read between the lines.
I just told you it’s not nice to notice that some people are larger than others. In other words that being large bodied is a negative thing we should just politely ignore.
I swear to God this whole damn parenting thing is a nightmare. Do I really think being large sized is a negative? I try to backtrack talking about societies changing views on what constitutes beauty. I bring up that beauty is on the inside. I try to mention that its not about what we look like but what do that matters, that surface judgement is shallow mindedness. I bring up the Tao of Pooh, talking about large and small don’t exist, there just is what there is … What I realize I’m trying to do is expunge my own guilt, my own prejudice, my own shallowness, I’m trying show you that I’ve grown, I’ve changed, that there is an explanation to everything, that it’s really not my fault, not even yours, it’s just … you’ve moved on and started eating your carrots.
This is a phrase that brings a smile to my face that you utter often: “When I grow up I’m going to be a singer.” You have your Glee. You want to be Rachel. You have your microphone “I have to practice signing now Daddy for regionals” sing alongs. You have a bounce in your step – you literally hop along to places because while you can’t wait to get there you’re making the most out of the journey towards where you’re headed. Everyday I walk you to school, I kiss you goodbye, and you run off into the throes of your daytime world and then I walk up the hill tingling at every hit of sunlight or drop of rain – everything in its right place.