Four years ago I sat down to dinner with the owner of the computer store that I was an assistant manager at. I was about to go on paternity leave but was expecting to be named the new store manager as our existing store manager was moving back out West and our service manager was leaving for another position. In my mind I had all but worked out how I was going to be able to help manage the store during my leave and what sort of compensation I’d be receiving. We sat down at Q, a restaurant that coincidentally closed down shortly thereafter, and I got ready to accept my promotion when I was told that the store was closing and the entire store (more or less) was out of a job.
Last week I held a newborn baby for the first time. Not like, the first time ever, but rather the first time since my wife and I officially decided that we were not going to have any more children. We are the (usually) happy parents of two beautiful (and oft terrifying) children; a boy and a girl. Why did we decide not to have more children? Well, there are a few reasons.
- My wife had REALLY hard pregnancies combined with HORRIFIC labours. Every conceivable intervention and two c-sections. Physically, it would be hard to do that gain.
- My wife, the winner of bread and bringer of bacon, is self-employed and another round of maternity leave, even the mere 3-4 months that she takes would be digging another financial hole.
- Our kids are wicked hard. I mean, WICKED hard. Taking care of more than two of these people would likely kill me. I’ve already lost all of the hair off the top of my head and my beard is almost entirely grey.
But I love babies. Probably the highlight of my entire life thus far (aside from MAYBE Vader holding a tarantula last week or my daughter mastering pooping into a little plastic bucket known as a potty) has been my children sleeping on me. The smell and sound and feel of a little human resting comfortably on you, occasionally snoring, is basically the best feeling in the world…ever.
So, while at a weekly playgroup called Mom’s Morning Out (yes…ha ha…very funny) last week I got to hold a small, 5 day old baby. He was adorable. He barely opened his eyes once and just curled in between my beard and shoulder. And I cried a little.
For my wife, it was the realization that she’d never breastfeed again and for me, it was the idea that I’d never hold one of my children like that ever again. Sure, we cuddle here and there but not every night…for weeks and months.
So what does all this mean? It sounds cheesy and lame and ridiculous but cherish the time you have. I felt so tired those nights, watching season after season of The West Wing from 8pm-3am every night while my beautiful little daughter slept on me. If I had the chance to do it again, I would. In a heartbeat. If you would like to have some idea of what I really mean, I’d recommend that you check out a movie called About Time. It will give you just a little bit of that sensation that I’m talking about.
I came to a realization the other day. I’ve always wondered why I try so hard to create and maintain relationships that are clearly not going anywhere. Why do I message people who only message me when they need something? Why do I ask people who NEVER want to hang out if they want to hang out? Why do I push so hard, especially amongst guys to work on a relationship that isn’t there? Happy Father’s Day.
Today I made one of my more grandiose errors as a father, but I also figured it out, so maybe I’m ahead of the game. I spend a lot of my time lately questioning whether or not I suck at this whole parenting thing. I mean, I have two living children and have kept them alive for a total of 6.5 years. So in some ways, I guess I’m a pretty incredible parent, right? But today? Today I realized I had made a huge mistake.
This morning, I took my daughter to the Halifax Central Library. It is a building that is, for all intents and purposes, the most beautiful building in all of Halifax. It offers a level of beauty that we’ve never seen before in Halifax but there are…a few problems. Recently I wrote about the issues I have with the ipads and video game systems. This time, it’s parking.
I’m in awe of Halifax’s most recent libraries. I was incredibly excited when Keshen Goodman opened. It was such a different take on everything I’d ever experienced in a library. I was used to walls and stacks; narrow stacks of books that were designed for you to get in, get your book and get out. THIS library was none of those things. Wide open spaces flowing with natural light, open concept conference rooms, areas to sit and enjoy a book, wide-aisled stacks that would let you peruse, read, mingle. It was incredible.
Then came the Halifax Central Library. I have never been a fan of it’s predecessor. It was a gloomy place where books went to die. But the new library is a wonder of modern design and aesthetics. You’re not in a library. You’re in a piece of art and culture. You’re in a monument to beauty and luxury. Reading spaces are expertly crafted and conference rooms become a living and breathing part of the library.
And then there’s the iPads.
PS These are NOT my children. Just stock photos. Carry on.
There are, from what I can tell, two scenarios that explain the behavior of my children. I don’t know which of these is more likely but after lengthy consideration, I’ve decided that it must be one. I will lay out these two scenarios for you and you can decide which you think is the predominant theory.
A team of rogue aliens, determined to dominate our planet by molding us into mindless zombies, broke into my home in the middle of the night and injected or installed or inserted (I’m not sure how the aliens are doing things these days, I just know that fewer and fewer rednecks seem to be getting probes in the butt) into my children magnets which have the power to have their poles reversed, at the command of our alien masters.
My children are super intelligent beings bent on destroying the entire planet, one stay at home parent at a time.
You may choose only one theory. Here goes.
I had to write a paper for a course I’m taking…
about super heroes….
I’m winning at this adulting thing.
Here’s the article….
Usually, I try to help out as much as possible. Most posts involve me telling you a problem I’ve encountered or that I’ve heard about and how I would approach it. For some reason, people seem to listen and follow my advice. I have no professional designation that makes this true, but I guess people think, “well, he’s lasted this long…he must know something.” This post will prove that I DO NOT have the answers. This post is just me shouting out into the ether “what…in the world…is wrong with these children.”
I raise my voice FAR too often with my son. I get irritated with him very quickly and I go from 0 to 100 like THAT. It’s something that I know I have to work on, and I try, but in my head I just think, “well, I have to do something.” But the real question is…do I?
I was NEVER an uptight person before I had children. I was that guy who was like “I’m gonna be so laid back when I have kids. My kids are gonna be so cool. They’re gonna do what they want and make great choices.” Yeah, turns out I’m NOT that guy. As it turns out, I’m the guy that is worried that EVERYTHING my children do will result in instant death or paralysis. And so I ask them to stop. And when they don’t, especially my 4 year old son, I raise my voice. And here’s the thing. It has pretty much NEVER worked.
This story is not mine. But I hope that my son make these same sort of revelations at some point in his life. I have a dear friend who has a three year old. She’s an incredibly powerful and incredible woman. She brings immigrants into her home for holidays because they don’t have family here. We often talk about the fact that we community parent our kids. I’ve left Chewy with her a number of times and honestly, aside from my own family (well, most of my own family), I wouldn’t trust anyone with Chewy like I trust her.