So, I got to thinking today about this blog. When I started Joyrides for Shut-ins in February, this blog was intended to give you a blow-by-blowout set of reflections about life as a Stay At Home Dad (and at-home working parent). Lately, I've been on a run of telling you what I've been up to personally outside of that parenting time. Three reasons for this, I have surmised: 1) I think because I'm so busy as a SAHD who is also working day-to-day, I neglect to give you the nitty gritty because I've just lived it; 2) Maybe it's because I need some means of escape and share that yes Virginia, there is a life (albeit a fairly limited one) outside of being father to a toddler. And 3) Because I want all 18 readers of mine to know I've not gone out to pasture or something. Being a parent shouldn't mean giving up on being cool, having a life or thoughts about it... right?
Sometimes it doesn't feel that way. Some days, you've spent all week in the house working hard, caring for your little one and keeping house amongst the Fisher Price ruins and half-eaten Cheerios. Sometimes you can count on your fingers the number of days since the last shower and shave. Some days, the only song you have in your head is the music from the Fisher Price "Animal Train." ("Get on board the Animal Train... C'mon, everyone! Learning about animals... is REALLY... lots of FUN!"). Some days, you pick apart the songs and remind the dog that hippos really DO run fast at 35 MPH. Sometimes, you spend the day mediating wrestling matches between the Bandannie and L'il Man and play "babygatekeeper"* (trademarked!) to the dog. And on some Fridays, when it's nearly over and you're hungering to get to 5PM, slide down the dinosaur's tail (a la Fred Flintstone) and get the heck out of the house at all costs for the weekend... your spouse, who has been working out of the house all week long, just wants to call a moratorium on weekend activity. Sigh.
One thing I will say, is that I find myself reflecting a lot on my own childhood these days. L'il Man is conjuring up all kinds of thoughts and feelings about my own growing up, helping me to relive those moments and relationships with my parents and brother. And I'm always coming back to the notion that I want my boy's emergence into the world to be certainly as grand and special, and definitely more so. All this obsessing about my own growing up is preparing me to see the importance in what the L'il Man grows up learning about, liking and helping him to develop as a personality.
I know he'll like different things than I did as a kid. He may not understand what it means to drop quarters in an arcade, get excited about some band coming to town or hit a sci-fi movie on opening night when he gets a little older. By the time he's ready, maybe kids won't play Four Square or Garage Door Baseball (most of the kids in my neighborhood don't even play OUTSIDE in the heat of the summer!) But the things he does love to do and enjoy... they'll be important to him. Finding that center in my own life that second time around, I think, is really going to help me to be there with him and be a more open and better prepared Dad.
I'm not gonna promise to stop talking about my own weird exploits and past experiences, or stop posting my written works that have been published over the last something-teen years... but in the spirit of all that this blog started out to be, I'm gonna give you a bit more from that "kneecap view" of the L'il Man, too. Even if, occasionally, I'm the L'il Man I'm talking about.