Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of doing this series of columns is ruffling feathers and reflecting – often with humor – on my own life and wife. Since my wife rarely reads my columns, I can write whatever I want with relative impunity. Of course, I’m ALWAYS writing the exact truth. It’s never slanted or biased from my male point-of-view. I’m the objective journalist with this series.
I also have swampland for sale if you’re interested?
Pets and our kids is our #PetRap topic this Sunday – at our NEW TIME of 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. PT/8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET. We will lead in to the wonderful #blogchat that begins immediately afterward. My little boy poked our beloved Mazel in the eye and got a nip on his face as a consequence. The tiny scar is still there on his 19-year-old face. We saw it happen and we knew is was not our dog’s fault, but it raised the question of safety in our home vis-a-vis our dog and our son.
So, what do my wife and I fight about? The big things like sex, money, and the kids? Nah, that would be too easy, too typical. We fight about a clean house including the dog-hair, where the dishes go, the vacuuming, wiping off the counters, folding the laundry, and the kid’s messy rooms. Oh, and making the bed with ALL those pillows!
I was a 24/7 single dad to my two boys and two dogs for several years. During those years, I lapsed in the area of clean house. There were more pressing things to deal with, in my opinion. Dating again, for one thing. And, more seriously, the emotional fall-out to my boys because of their (biological) mom abandoning them.
(Note: I consider this an early Thanksgiving-themed blog – enjoy)
I attended the Bar Mitzvah of a friend’s son recently. This young man has some relatively severe learning disabilities. Yet, his parents provided him with the sort of support that was full of love and understanding for him. The rabbi adjusted the service to allow him full participation, within his limits, and it was as loving a right-of-passage as possible, with an equally classy and terrific party afterward.
Even the weather cooperated, as their theme was a rainbow and at just the right moment, with all of the guests gathered outside, the rabbi asked us to turn around. We saw the setting sun actually make e a slight rainbow, as if Industrial Light & Magic were hired to create it.
Remembering Chevy Chase in those summer vacations movies reminds me of the fact that most so-called “family vacations” are, at best, vacations for the kids and torture for the parents. I’m generalizing, of course, but most generalizations as well as clichés, have a strong basis in truth. I stand by the proposition that we parents usually need a vacation after our family one, if only to recover and rest.
This summer my younger son, David, got to spend several weeks at the sleep- away camp he loves, while my older son, Will, is indulging his passion for rock ‘n’ roll at a Rock School where he’s taking drum lessons, and participating in numerous bands and concerts through the school. He’ll also be living, figuratively, in our garage with his own band, driving the nearby horses crazy, or am I mistaking their thrashing about as dancing?
“I HATE it,” or “I HATE my teacher,” or “I HATE that restaurant.” Sound familiar. When my younger son uses that word or is complaining or whining as much as he and his older brother do, I find myself going nuts on them. “You HATE” such and such? There are things to hate in this world, like terrorists, rapists, serial murderers, taxes, Britney Spears and Renee Zellweger, but an item of food, a less than terrific teacher?
This falls under the category of spoiled rotten. I must’ve done something to encourage this behavior and my new wife always gives me “the look” when they act that way; the look that says, “well, where do you think they got it from?” I then give her the look that says, “bug off,” and we go on to a fight from there. Okay, just kidding. Sort of.
Potential lessons abound today, as we’re dealing with money crises, the worst of my and my boys’ lives. My boys will gain wisdom from this. So will I. Things often taken for granted will no longer be. I will live the life I preach and take the same, at times, harsh medicine I’m asking them to swallow.
The other day I was helping my younger son set up his computer. He inherited my old one. I looked around his room and realized the extraordinary amount of “things” he possessed and that he’d known no other way of living. There was a TV, DVD player, two or three portable video game devices, an “old” and “new” cell-phone, and more boxed DVD sets than they carry at Blockbuster. And, now, his own computer, albeit a “used” one. Nah, the lessons they’ll learn will serve them well.