What could test a happy-looking family like those chumps up there? A three year old, of course.
I hate the terms “terrible twos” and “terrible threes.” It’s a cop-out. An excuse. It’s a deflection for attacking a normal developmental phase in your kid. It’s a phrase that describes parents more than kids; your toddler’s just being a toddler, but in your second or third year of fatherhood, you’ve grown comfortable. So naturally, when your kid starts spreading their wings, it feels like the end of the world. You wonder why, even with these terrible “terrible” phrases around, you’re the only one going through this.
Recently, I forgot that I wasn’t alone, and luckily for me, a group of guys came to my rescue. On Twitter, nonetheless.
It’s funny for parents to see unparents taking care of kids, and sometimes, we’re able to gain an incredible insight about our own parenting styles. I was reminded of this while reading Gus Mastrapa’s latest article, “Pressing Buttons With Arthur.” Unfortunately, I’m going to spend a ton of time here talking about Gus’ article instead of letting you just read it. But, if you do so wish, you can just hit the sauce to read his post now and forget we ever talked here.
The Backstory: I met Gus Mastrapa (pictured above in all of his glory) about 10 years ago, when the G4 network launched. I mean, I didn’t meet him at the G4 network. I was a budding video game journalist, and in G4’s infancy, they used a lot of the same core group of reviewers as experts on their shows. Gus was one of them.
Dubbed by my friends and I as “Ice Cream Gus” because in a particular set of interviews, it looked like Gus had just finished a delicious bomb-pop that left his mouth and lips red (he later clarified that it was from spicy peanuts, only to even later redact and reclarify that it was the hot and dry winds of Los Feliz, California). I digress.
“Move this damn car or else you’re gonna be sorry!”. An emotionally distraught old man got out of his car in the middle of traffic to yell this at me with my wife and 17-month-old daughter in the car. This happened yesterday and it made me think about what my threshold is for violence as a father and protector.
My wife and I had the day off when we decided to take our daughter for a car ride to run a few errands in the afternoon. For reasons unknown, it seemed that at every turn there was blocked lanes, road construction, and annoyed drivers. I don’t know if it was the rising price of gas ($4.30/gal where we are) or because Valentine’s Day just passed and now the love is gone so everyone has the power to act like a complete douchebag.
Our whole week was blocked lanes: it started with our taxes last weekend where we found out we made “too much money”, to our daughter’s second ear infection in three weeks – oh and the pharmacy we have been going to issued the wrong dosage per the doctor’s script. Thanks, Westlake Village Pharmacy. We won’t be going to you again since you can’t figure out the difference between teaspoons and milliliters. You could kill someone like that.
So we are driving at about 1:30pm on Friday, I exit an offramp and proceeded northbound on a busy road where traffic seemed to generate due to construction and a visible major accident in the upcoming intersection. About 30 seconds into our dead stop, I was ready to go into mushroom-cloud-laying motherf*cker mode.
I love being a father. There are so many life-changing things that go along with fatherhood – and so many incredible comforts that come from having that little beast in my life. But you also know that being a father means life changes and discomforts too – fatherhood would be too perfect if it were all about being proud and comfortable all the time.
There are a lot of awkward uncertainties I face in fatherhood: How do I provide for my family? How do I teach my son all of the right lessons in life? How do I protect my son from danger?
And how, I’ve got to ask, am I supposed to snuggle with my kid when I wake up with morning wood?
I know nothing about Barney Frank, except for what Wikipedia filled in for me. But today, a New York Times story about Frank was on Reddit, and due to the fact that a quarter-million people had commented on it, I figured I’d give it a read.
It got me thinking about fatherhood, where I’m now working, and why I’m no longer keeping my new job a total secret.
No one wants to lose their job. But on December 14th, there I was, doing the walk of shame out of my former employer’s building with a box of crap I wished I hadn’t brought to the office in the first place. I lost my job for a couple of different reasons – the most important of which is that sometimes you and your employer don’t see eye-to-eye. It happens. You just wish, usually, that you were not seeing eye-to-eye while straightening your tie and getting ready to start at another job. This wasn’t really the case for me.
Because of the circumstances, I was gifted a couple weeks (and only a couple weeks, thankfully) of downtime. And though no one ever thinks that losing their job would be good on their family – it was great for mine.
I was reading a story over at Father Apprentice about how Chase Reeves started golfing with his father, who himself started golfing since it’s the international language of casual business outings. As I read Reeves’ story, I remembered a couple of pictures I saw on Facebook of a friend and his father after one of his golf tournaments. It really got me thinking about my friends and their fathers – and then to my own father and I. Unless I’m wildly mistaken, we never won anything together or had pictures of us taken after we father-sonned something.
Oh, I love the guy with all my heart. We’ve got a lot in common, and we’re never short on things to talk about. But we just never had a “thing” like other father-son teams have. No sports, no big activities, no common employer. Not even a small business. Nothing to suit-up for. Nothing major that we built together. No pictures of us with fish, targets, trophies, dead deer, awards, model planes. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I’m okay with not having one of those “things” with my dad.