I’m back. With a new computer. Like Steve Austin, it’s stronger, faster, decked out with all sorts of high-tech gadgetry. Fortunately, it didn’t cost six million dollars.
I’d like to thank Becky, Michael, Ginny, Jack and Kathy for guest posting here at The Cheek. My kingdom for a moment or two where we could all converge at a Starbucks, preferably one in a Barnes & Noble, for lattes and chit chat. Until then, I’ll share my own brief thoughts about the subject of parenting before moving on.
For me, parenting has brought about an awareness, and profound appreciation, of the honesty kids come with. Innocent, pre-installed and running efficiently from Day One. And their willingness to let their voices be heard has led to some interesting conversations. You know, the kind where you are just chatting away and then left speechless, reflecting on their uncensored candor or wit or humor or intelligence. I’ve always loved chatting up my kids. Whether snuggling in bed as we wipe sleep from our eyes, or as we’re driving down the road, shouting over the ever-present blare of music, sharing a conversation with them is the most pleasurable thing I can imagine. They’ve grown accustomed to my knack for wild exaggerations and pithy anecdotes, yet it’d be safe to say that I’ve learned as much from them as they’ve ever managed to glean from me.
Yet it’s the little comments that I’ll always cherish. Here’s a tiny sampling of the many priceless verbal snapshots I’ve taken over the years . . .
As my oldest boy, almost four, held his new little sister for the first time, he looked up for the briefest of moments, smiled big, and said, “Thanks for buying this for me, dad!” Years later, having watched The Holy Grail one too many times, he paused The Two Towers during the scene where King Theoden’s son is laid to rest, and said in his best cockney accent, “Bang! Bring out yer dead!”
I knew I’d done right by him in one gloriously hilarious instant.
But the prize for Most Unintentionally Brutal Comment goes to my oldest daughter Aryn. She’s always been a big thinker, but often chooses to express herself through one of her many passionate hobbies, like drawing or writing. She’s often quiet, generally pensive, and hides behind her books. But the filter slips on occasion. One morning during my Fat Dad years, when she was about six, I came down the stairs wearing a ratty pair of shorts and no shirt. Flab hanging everywhere. Hair unkempt and outstretched heavenward. Jabba the Hut, if you need a mental image. Seeing her sitting on the couch, deep in some chapter book, I proclaimed myself ready for work and headed toward the door. She looked up, caught sight of me, and said, “Dad, you can’t go to work like that.” I stopped in my tracks, feigned offense and ignorance, and asked her why not. She put her had on her hip, gave me that look, with her eyebrow raised and head cocked to the side, and calmly said, “You’ll gross people out and embarrass yourself.”
I still haven’t stopped laughing . . .