Last Thursday on the drive to school, I popped in one of my favorite CD’s ever, Mat Kearney’s Young Love.
In a random and successful effort to find a new way to entertain you, I handed over the jewel case with the lyrics; which instantly became a storybook to you.
While I’ve heard every one of those songs at least 273 times, a phrase from the very first song, “Hey Mama,” caught my attention:
“What are you doing for the rest of your life?”
It’s such an understated question. Naturally, though, the answer is simple:
You and Mommy. In other words, whatever I am doing for the rest of my life, it revolves around the two of you.
Granted, I had obviously given plenty of prior thought of spending the rest of my life with Mommy nearly five years ago when we got married.
But as for you, I hadn’t truly consciously put you in that same category; at least not since you were a newborn.
No matter what my calender says, your name is on every day for the rest of my life. There will never be a day that you don’t consume my thoughts.
It’s one of those things that every dad-to-be dwells on. I can remember now, how for the months leading up to your birth, I would constantly think about how you would forever change my life.
I would think about how my existence in this world would now cause a ripple effect which would be undeniable- simply because I was responsible in bringing you into this world, and more importantly, because the way I would raise you would make who you would become; for better or for worse.
So yeah, I haven’t given too much thought about that in the past nearly two and a half years. I’ve had so many other dad-related thoughts to consume my mind since then.
And that just goes to show you… you’re what I’m doing for the rest of my life.
Oh yeah, and guess who I share a birthday with: Adolf Hitler, born in 1889. Seriously.
(Also, Joey Lawrence; but I guess that’s not a bad thing.)
This is the day of the year that you should hold your breath as you check the news. If we can make it through this day without some kind of massacre, I’ll be amazed. In fact, by writing all this, I’m actively trying to jinx the “420 curse.”
So why did God choose such a dark day of the year for a an arguably normal and mild-mannered guy like me to be born? All I can say is that it’s comic relief to the world. It somehow provides balance in the universe.
And as I think about this concept of comic relief I can’t help but think of my son during the past 365 days in which I was a 30 year-old man.
Never has my life been more challenging, stressful, humiliating, exhausting, maturity-enforcing and unpredictable since he was born. It hasn’t all been easy.
During my year of being 30, in addition to the culture shock of learning by immersion what to do with an infant, I was unemployed for the first part of it, then I got a job, and I also got this gig writing for Parents.com writing The Dadabase, then had to move my family back to Nashville because of financial reasons, my wife’s car broke down half-way during the move and we had to buy a new car, and our roof caved in the week we tried to move back in our house in Nashville.
We eventually got back on our feet here in Nashville. Then we became vegetarians. And not that long ago, Jack had a febrile seizure.
Um… what else? I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
It hasn’t been a forgettable year; clearly not.
I’m ready for 31. I’ll just say that.
But back to my son serving as comic relief in my life. It’s the little stuff that gets me; in a good way.
Like when I watch him chew viciously on his toy plastic vegetables though he knows they’re just for pretending to eat.
And how he likes to sit in the fridge after he mows the carpet each day.
How sometimes on the drive home in the car, he’ll start randomly making donkey sounds after 20 minutes of silence.
My kid makes me laugh; even during some days or weeks or months I wish I could just fast forward through.
Here’s to hoping the world doesn’t end today. [Insert laugh tracks here.]
My current favorite song, as it relates to all this: