Last week at work, I had a conversation with a co-worker named Matt, who has two small kids.
I was telling him how, the longer I’m a parent, the mellower of a person I am becoming. In other words, stuff is just bothering me less compared to the way it used to.
To my surprise, he agreed- he can also personally relate. We acknowledged that whether it’s gaining more patience, or a greater ability to not allow annoying things to bother us, the journey of being parents has broken us in, for the better.
Over three years ago, when I become a parent, I was a much more out-spoken, polarizing person; especially in regards to the world of social media… especially in relation to politics and religion.
Well, that has definitely gradually changed over the past couple of years.
For example, I no longer care to publically share my political affiliation (or disassociation). I feel that public political conversations divide people; causing them to believe that by putting blind faith into a certain political party, that there’s hope that “the other side” will be converted into an opposing belief system; therefore “getting America back on track.”
I’m so over that. I can’t change people’s political beliefs. Plus, I don’t want to be labeled (and limited) to just one side.
All I can do is hope to change the world through my behavior, which (hopefully) proves the validity of my beliefs in the first place.
Having learned that, I’ve realized that same concept applies to parenting issues which I had previously debated with other parents about.
Like the “cry it out” method, attachment parenting, and circumcision…
I used to be so quick to allow myself to get involved in public online debates over those issues. These days, I strive to not take, or present, the bait.
And really, I haven’t said anything controversial in a while…
Granted, I’m still constantly thinking out of the box, and open-minded to concepts that many people might question.
But now, I’m handling these situations differently than I would have six months or even a year ago:
Has anyone else seen the documentary “911: In Plane Site” on Netflix (will be removed on March 15) or on YouTube in its entirety? If so, will you send me a private message including your thoughts on it? I am asking for a private message response (not a comment) because I am attempting to avoid starting a comments war on my wall, in which I appear as a divisive host or commentator, or am labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I am not seeking controversy; only private answers to help sort out some confusion I’m having. Thanks.
I still like to engage people, and learn from others, but not at the risk of being polarizing. So I’m more discreet and more private about my questions and concerns regarding the world and the people who live in it.
It’s my opinion that the chaotic process of parenthood has forced me to focus on what really matters.
I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel the need to have to explain myself to other people if they find out my point of view and disagree with it. What’s the point in defending your beliefs to someone who is not open-minded to hearing them anyway?
Instead of controversy, I’m seeking the collaboration of ideas with other people.
I seek truth, not simply believing I’m right.
Being a parent has peripherally taught me to focus more on how I can become a better person withthe help of other people; not how I can try to make other people better against their will or conviction.
It’s trained me to not let things bother me like they used to. I don’t know if this necessarily makes sense to other parents, but it’s definitely how I feel.
Lighting is a big part of it. I realize that I take a lot of indoor photos of you; many of which are hazy because of the lighting in our house.
Living in a townhouse means we only have light coming in from the front and back of the house; not the sides. So I try to take as many pictures of you as I can outdoors because the light is natural and obviously better.
However, I take pictures of you as life happens, which may or may not be in the best natural lighting.
Throughout these past 3 years and 3 months of your life, I have sort of taught myself some tricks.
I wish I would have had a “cheat sheet” when I first started taking pictures of you. I do now, though… it’s at the bottom of this letter, courtesy of Obaby.
For example, I know the importance reducing “busyness” in pictures of you, by taking pictures closer if there’s a chance that the background will distract from you.
And I know not to use the zoom option, as it degrades the quality.
I’m far from a good photographer of you, but I am aiming for decent. Compared to when I first started this over 3 years ago, at least… I feel like I’ve met my goal: At best, I am an advanced amateur.
You and I are recovering from a little bit of culture shock right now.
Until this morning, the last time I really got to hang out with you was Friday morning, when I stayed home with you because you were sick.
And obviously, when you’re sick, you’re not yourself anyway… to put it lightly.
It was only today that you were well enough to be back at school; not to mention school was closed yesterday for Presidents’ Day.
But this morning was the first time just you and I have been in the car together, just us, since last Wednesday, because Mommy picked you up last Thursday.
After analyzing all that info, it helps me understand all the reasons you and I have been out of sync.
Our car rides together are a big part of our relationship. I realize that now.
Until this morning in the car, as we saw two hot air balloons in the distance, we had not really had a conversation since the middle of last week.
I’m glad to have you back. I missed you. You’re like a different boy when you’re sick, like I said.
Now we can bond again over manly conversations about Corvettes and donkeys.
It really puts things into perspective when I consider that my “guy time” with you is something I’ve grown accustomed to by now. I know it’s weird to think about your daddy having social needs too, but I do.
Feeling connected to you helps me feel alive. When I don’t feel connected to you, it sort unplugs me from reality a little bit… I think.
I get it that there’s a 29 and a half year difference between us, but even when we’re just chilling on the drive to school, we’re still having some quality time together.
After several days without our guy time, I have learned how much we depend on it.
It is no secret by now thatThe Lego Movie is what all the kids on the playground are talking this week.
Well, actually, with it being so cold, I guess it’s what they’re all talking about as they’re inside… playing with Legos.
I catch myself singing the theme song, “Everything Is Awesome” as I’m driving you to school in the morning.
You protest, “No, Daddy, no!”
Then you immediately sing the song under your breath instead.
I feel like “Everything Is Awesome” is becoming a meme:
A meme (/ˈmiːm/; meem) is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.
Anyone who has seen The Lego Movie can hear another person sing those three words and automatically, they just have to laugh…
Because that means that both of those people are “in the know.” It’s as if to say, “Hey, you were at the movie theatre last weekend with your kid too, for the same reason as me.”
Granted, there is the other hugely popular kids’ movie still at the theatre: Frozen.
More relevant is the sing-a-long edition.
Well, the plan is, actually, now that you’ve proven you can handle sitting through 23 minutes of movie previews, then a 90 minute movie, we’re planning on taking you to see Frozen this weekend while Nonna and Papa are in town.
I learned two things from our experience last weekend when I took you to go see The Lego Movie:
Number one: At 38 inches tall and weighing 33 pounds, you’re not quite big enough to sit in the movie theatre seat, without your legs hovering to the level of your face. So after the previews were over, you sat in my lap.
With being said, it has been established (by you) that you want to switch between sitting on Nonna and Papa’s lap for Frozen this weekend.
So in other words, when looking for seats in the theatre, I don’t have to look for a seat for you. And as we both know, even though we were there early last week, we just barely found seats.
Number two: Though the matinee started at 5:00 (5:23 after previews) and therefore, you got to bed later that night than usual, the matinee was worth the change in your normal schedule. The matinee was basically half the price it would have been for any other time.
So what I am saying is, I’m not opposed to us going to the movies more often, if for the two us, it only costs a total of 10 bucks.
Seriously, the older you get, the more fun parenting is becoming. I like this groove.
I’m starting to believe, that truly, everything is awesome!
Today it was only about 40 degrees outside, but there was no wind and the sun was out.
So finally, after so many cold and bitter weeks, I was able to ride my mountain bike up to Starbucks during my lunch break during work.
As I sat outside on the patio reading my H.R. certification study guide, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a dad who apparently coaches his son’s sports team and the mom of one of the kids on that team.
Most of what I heard (though I was trying not to, I promise!) was the dad/coach expressing his annoyance with the other parents of the team talking about him behind his back.
The mom he was talking to was evidently serving as a very empathetic mediator between the dad/coach and the other parents of the team. She was smiling and shaking her head the whole time, like she was on his side- and I believe she was.
That caused me to imagine what it might be like if I were to coach one of your sports teams someday.
Attempting to put myself in that situation, here in a few years, I imagine the challenge being not so much coaching the kids, but playing the ultimate middle-man who can’t win with pleasing the parents.
It seems like the biggest challenge would be, on one side, trying to please the parents of the kids are the best players; wanting to see their kid lead the team to victory.
Then, on the other side, there would be the parents of the kids who are weaker links on the team; wanting to see their kid get more “play time.”
Sounds like a sticky situation; sounds like unavoidable politics.
I don’t want to be caught in the middle of that. I hate being caught in the middle of two parties of people like that.
(Then again, I’m in H.R., so I must not despise it that much!)
This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t coach your team. However, I am saying, for me, I would imagine that coaching the parents would be the hard part.
And that’s based on the conversation I overheard today at Starbucks, plus several other ones I’ve heard in the office where I work.
But I guess I won’t know for sure until I am that guy.