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Patrick starts Kindergarten

The day didn’t start off so well. I didn’t set my alarm correctly, so we all slept until 7:08. We managed to get there at 7:50. Ten minutes before class began.

We spent part of our morning forcing Patrick into his new clothes. It wasn’t only that he objected to the school uniforms. Patrick has super tough anxiety around new social situations, too. So as we crammed him into his khakis, Jordan explained that everyone else at his new school was in the same situation; this was all new to the other kids too. And every kid in his class was going through what Patrick was going through. A new school and new classmates. Plus, everyone had to wear these same new clothes. We weren’t forcing him out of his favorite jeans for no reason. This seemed to calm him down for the rest of the morning.

Which is not to say that he was completely happy. 20140723_125316553_iOS But he agreed to give it a shot. 20140723_125301383_iOS Once we got inside, he learned that coloring would be among his first tasks. He started to take the lay of the land. 20140723_130119795_iOS It seemed like he was doing great so we started saying our goodbyes. 20140723_130441371_iOS Jordan reassured Patrick, and did so without crying even a little.  20140723_130347448_iOS You can’t see it here, but I’m totally crying. It was the same exact feeling I had when Patrick and Wil were born. A feeling like I was just an instrument of life—I am a small part of something very big and unfathomable. Jordan and I are here to protect and serve, and to move things along, and we’ve made it to another big step. 20140723_130235167_iOS I’m probably not putting that into the right words. And Patrick had no time for crying or deep thoughts anyway. But he did have time for his brother. Who was the only one to rate a hug before we left.

Notice Wil is still in his jammies. I told you we slept late.

At 3 pm, Patrick’s first day of Kindergarten was over. At 3:47, I messaged Jordan to ask how things went. She sent me this photo. 20140723_203511828_iOS I guess things went okay. Patrick has, at least, agreed to let me take him back tomorrow. It’s the least I can do to move things along.

A birthday thanks to my dad.

Three Musketeers
When I was a kid, I asked my dad why he didn’t have a nicer car. You know, it’s one of those “why don’t you just write a check?” questions kids ask. Except I was probably in middle or high school at the time, and my dad was driving a Ford Tempo. Turbo.

“I could have a really nice car right now,” my dad said. “I could afford a great car. A luxury car. But I had kids instead.”

Haha, Dad.

Haha, indeed. Now that I’m a dad myself, I see how bittersweet this joke was/is. As much as I love my kids (they’re ridiculously beautiful and awesome), I can’t pretend I’m never jealous of my single and/or childless friends and their free time. Or that I couldn’t dream up fantastic ways to spend our daycare money.

Of course I could. But when Jordan and I chose parenthood, we took a a long view of how things will go. Whatever our dreams and hopes, they’re fused into the hopes we have for Wil and Patrick. Whatever our material wants and needs, we mostly shop (and save) for the kids now.

Can we admit, as parents, that we sometimes think about the road not taken? I can. I do.

But most mornings I can’t wait to see the boys. And most nights, I feel so lucky to be there for them as they take turns falling asleep on my shoulders.

I’m glad I’m a dad. I’m insanely grateful that Jordan chose to share this with me. And I love my own mom and dad so, so much for choosing me and my brother. I’m especially grateful to my dad for:

  • The dozens of times he fielded calls from my frustrated teachers.
  • When he tucked a copy of Defender for Atari 2600 under my arms as I slept.
  • When we won a ribbon in 5th grade science fair demonstrating no appreciable taste difference between regular cola and caffeine-free cola.
  • When he bought me a new catcher’s mitt for no special reason.
  • The time he made me apologize to everyone on my tennis team after I broke a window at the Northampton Club.
  • The many repairs to my ’86 Pontiac Grand Prix.
  • When I spent way too much on his charge account at Baylor.
  • When he paid my rent all through college (I’ve never felt more rich).
  • When he wrote me letters about how he struggled early as a father and as a man. And I realized it wasn’t just me. I wasn’t alone. (btw…lol @ writing letters, amirite?)

He hasn’t been perfect. I know he would change so many things about the way he helped raise me and my brother. But whatever regrets he’s got, I know having kids isn’t one of them.

And I feel the same way about my boys.

I want to say happy birthday to my Dad. Who bought a new Jeep Grand Cherokee this year. And last time I checked, he was very pleased with it.

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