I certainly didn’t see that one coming, but here I am today — carrying two toddlers, trading my Happy Hours for Happy Meals while wearing funny clothes even my own dad wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing. If I looked in the mirror long enough I wouldn’t see the GQ Look I once deluded myself to be … it would be more like to recite in a scary tone “The Fairest Of Them All” to my boys.
To those who know me, I’d like to know if the betting pool is still on until how long I can last, and where I can make a bet as well, because — apparently — Fatherhood never ends.
It’s the real Hotel California.
So my boys can swim and — out of the billion boys I’ve got — these two are the winners right here.
Of course, their entire DNA comes from the only two people on earth they will love and hate and argue and debate with and fight and make amends and love again: their mom and me.
That ought to scare them straight now … at least the other half.
Because they could be looking at their future right here: my belly, my thick hair, my annoying manners, my bellowing voice, my laughter. I wish someone had warned me it would happen when I was my children’s ages. I could have tried to stop the transformation somehow. Who knows?
I remember growing up and failing to see My Future (my Dad) sitting across the dinner table from me day after day; it changed my diapers; it showed up at school with the lunch I invariably forgot; it complained about my music, and made every effort to avoid talking to me about sex.
It was all there, right in front of me to see, learn from, and maybe even avoid.
But I didn’t take advantage of this great prophet, and now I spend massive amounts of energy (and therapy) trying to figure out how the hell I got here.
If that wouldn’t work, I could have at least embraced it and used the knowledge to prepare for the inevitable, maybe even turn it into an advantage. After all, I had this crystal ball right in front of me for my entire life–my parents didn’t just predict my future; they demonstrated it daily.
Having come to the realization that there’s no escape, I’ve given in to the inevitable. What’s done is done: I can be heard declaring in public that the music kids listen to today sucks and the last generation of real music was, of course, mine. I argue that kids today have no respect for their elders and don’t know what it means to have to work for what they want. 4 year old kids have no business holding an iPad, so I can use it.
Our nanny can be frequently heard saying, “I sound like my father.”
OK, my dad never said that thing about 4-year old holding an iPad; in his day it was probably the television that were the main offenders.
My parents are fine folks, I just don’t want to be them.
The bottom line is, though, that no matter how hard we try, we will become our parents. It happened to me and I’m sorry to say, boys, that it’ll happen to you.
So have a good look at me now. Learn what you can. Who knows, maybe you can alter that destiny just a bit.
Think of this as my gift to you. It’s a guide of sorts, a handbook to help you understand what you’re up against. Because the only thing that scares me more than me becoming my parents would be you becoming yours.
Oh, and I’m sorry for, well, whatever it is that someday will cause you to say: “Dammit, I sound just like my father.”