In 2015 I married the love of my life, Becky, and now three years later: we own a home, have four pets (3 cats and a pug who believes she is a cat), three kids (ages 14, 3, and 2), and wake up in the morning, around 4:30 am, to enjoy a few brief moments of quiet together. Then the children rise and one of us is bound to mutter: And so it begins…
When you’re a child, the idea of being a parent really depends on your gender. Becky tells me that since she was a child all she wanted to be was a mother. Being a mom was my wife’s dream job apparently, and my mother in law confirmed that she would even make school projects about her future career as a mother. When I was a similar age I wanted a vasectomy and consequence-free sex (even if I did not understand exactly what that meant) while my dream job was being the twelfth man on an NBA team, you know, the guy who gets paid millions to carry a towel. Obviously, there is a bit of a juxtaposition there.
By the way, I’m fairly certain there is a whole semester for a gender studies class in that last paragraph. I’m not ignoring it because I don’t recognize it; I just don’t want the debate regarding gender at the moment.
Women like my wife love the idea of children and convince a child-resistant individual like me to get married and have them against every instruction we have been given since we can understand instructions. At six I can remember my grandfather telling me, “Don’t get her pregnant,” when I said I liked a girl in my class. I had no clue what he even meant. Or when I was nine, I ask my younger, bald uncle why he lacked hair when my older uncle had hair. My bald, younger uncle replied, “Because he doesn’t have children or a wife.” Or when I went on my first date in high school and my father remarked, “If you get a girl pregnant I’ll make you dig your own grave.” Or when my older uncle, head full of hair, leered at my younger uncle and quipped, “Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.”
I understand what he meant now when at quarter to five in the morning when I’m muttering to my wife… “And so it begins…”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and would do almost anything for them. Almost, you say? Yes, almost. I’d give my daughter a kidney but if she wants a pair of $200 Jordans she can get a damn job. That happened once, I told my daughter just that, and when she whined to my wife she was similarly rebuffed. Now that is a key to successful parenting, be on the same page… and share the same sense of humor.
As I sit here writing this post, I hear my wife yelling “Butt then donut!” Sometimes, a key to successful parenting is to not ask questions when you hear something odd. Or when, thanks to a reaction to allergy medicine, Becky cannot smell, and she’s telling our three-year-old, “Its a shame that I can’t smell my baby’s poop and I want to.” I’m going to leave that alone, although when I lost my sense of smell every diaper change became mine for some reason.
“A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.” – Johan Wolfgang von Goethe