When you become a parent, there are a lot of little things that you lose – sleep, personal freedoms, the ability to use the bathroom without the threat of unflattering household commentary afterwards — but, the one thing I didn’t expect to have ripped away from me when I became a dad was my steadfast belief in the overall awesomeness of time travel.
But that’s exactly what happened. I absolutely hate time travel now. The very idea makes me shudder.
And it’s all my daughter’s fault.
You’ve read by now that this last weekend was the first weekend in America in over 50 years without the traditional Saturday Morning Cartoons. Tears were had all over Facebook, and everyone declared that the terrorists won.
And while everyone went bananas, my son and I watched cartoons. On Saturday morning, even.
Our Philips LCD TV was only eight years young and its warmth would light up a room. It gave us incredible memories – like the time that one show was on. Or that other time when that other show was on. And probably reality television. And video games. All of the video games.
Philip the TV had more life to give. But that life was cut short Saturday night, murdered. And the murderer was my son.
This is admittedly weird: I feel actual guilt over the fact that I can’t draw my son a daily picture for his lunch. What?
I totally do. But I’m here to say that I’m becoming okay with it. And if you’re struggling with a similar emotion, I want you to feel okay and that your ability as a dad isn’t being judged because you aren’t drawing Superman for your kid every day.
I don’t remember when my son started eating solid foods. I’m not entirely sure when it was that my son took his first steps. And sure, I guess I remember his first day at preschool. But by far, the most memorable milestone he’s had so far was throwing his first Hadoken.
Look. Every kid eats food. Every kid walks. And my son’s got at least 12 more years of school. A lot of the milestones we track and obsess over as parents…well, they don’t mean much, and all they do is stress us out. But this last weekend, my 5 year old son started his journey toward total Street Fighter domination, and I will remember Saturday, July 12, 2014 – the day he threw his first Hadoken…
I was in Hawaii, vacationing with my family. Well, I was actually upstairs in my hotel room working while my family was downstairs on the beach. And clicking around the Facebook group I share with nearly 800 dad bloggers, I saw Oren’s June 3rd post titled “Cancer“.
In it, you can imagine what A Blogger and a Father author Oren Miller described; his fear, his clarity. His future – what he suspects, and what has been suspected of him. But he also described a scene that was too familiar: in 2010, his family was vacationing at a beach, and while everyone had fun, he was preoccupied with work. I read that between browser tabs…of work. From time to time, my wife would text me from down at the beach, asking if I was “anywhere close to done.”
As a parent, I rarely have to shrug and say “I don’t know.” I’m the dad. I have answers! How is this like that? I know about it. Where does so-and-so come from? I’ll tell you. As many “whys” as my son can throw at me, I’ve got answers. But I didn’t really have an answer for the seemingly most insignificant question: “where did all of our guys go?“
I still have no real answer. Not one that would satisfy a five year old.
On September 16, minutes before the Detroit Tigers, the current American League Central division champions, took the field against the Seattle Mariners, I found myself standing on the deep outfield grass of Comerica Park, waiting for my almost-seven-year-old daughter to throw me her best approximation of a fastball.
It was a heady, surreal moment, a moment where – thanks to my surroundings, my daughter’s determined scowl, and the scuffed Major League baseball in her tiny hands – all I could think about was how wonderful it was to be a father.