It started the night before and I was deep in sleep when she broke the news we needed to leave for the hospital NOW. I was so deep into it that it took almost a minute of her waving at me, as I stood dumbfounded, that we needed to move.
I drove so slowly to the hospital, my wife was getting frustrated. I wanted everyone to be safe, I even avoided the highway, worried about drunk drivers.… Yes, it was a Sunday night, but someone could be drunk on a Sunday, right?
Once we were there my wife’s suffering began as future parents after future parents went in the delivery room before us. Finally, I had had enough. There are only a few times I can remember that I got all “extreme,” but this was one of them, as I confronted the doctor and nurse in the hallway. They said there were two ahead and I corrected them, without blinking, no, my wife is next… After five minutes of arguing, my wife was being prepped and ready to go.
One of my most vivid memories is of my son’s birth. When we first heard his cry, my wife turned to me, her mouth open in surprise, tears streaking her happy and tired face. Then they showed him to us. His face was bright red from the screaming. I asked politely (and very overwhelmed) if I could see him; they of course said yes. I stood over him consoling him. At the sound of my voice he immediately stopped crying and then rolled on his side towards me.
You don’t forget things like that…
Today, my son turns five, a half decade, and here are some thoughts on the experience:
1. I get superheroes.
Yeah, I liked superheroes a little growing up, but I didn’t really collect comic books and the only two films I remember loving was the first Superman with Christopher Reeves and Tim Buron’s Batman. Now, because of my son’s obsession, I truly get it and I see why so many love them, especially children. It’s a clearer world, with good and bad easy to understand; scary things are to be beaten; and each of us can be special. In a different word, we could all be Batman. My son is a superhero in his mind everyday.
2. Power Rangers are awful… just awful.
I knew when the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers premiered when I was a teenager it was bad, but now as an adult (with a Master’s in writing and classes under my belt in writing for television), I know how very bad it is. That’s not to say, Disney and PBS kids are perfect; they have their clunkers too (My Friends Tigger and Pooh and Caillou come quickly to mind). But the Power Rangers hit a new level of bad- bad acting, bad writing, bad effects, bad, bad, bad… it’s gotten to a point in our house that I heard my son tell a friend once, “Yeah, we don’t watch that. My dad doesn’t like the Power Rangers.”
3. Wrestling with your kid is more than wrestling.
My son loves to wrestle with me and what I discovered is a lot of it is about being the center of my attention and trust. He knows as I flip him over he is safe, he knows I am going to catch him if he throws himself at me (and he does that a lot with mixed results for me). And he never laughs louder than when I have him cornered and start to tickle.
4. Nothing is better than reading stories… nothing.
I love reading stories at night to him. I love it to such a point that I have been known to argue against the book he may have selected, hoping for a different one. I could give stage readings of Green Eggs and Ham at this point; I am that good.
5. The new person.
There is a moment when the little one near you moves away from being a toddler and suddenly there is an additional person at your dinner table; with an opinion, jokes, and stories to tell. I could spend hours just listening to him tell me about his day or his favorite show. And the imagination on the kid is amazing. Right now his dream is to be an astronaut-writing-daddy. Good career choices (especially, the astronaut bit).
6. One adventure a week.
My wife and I try to always do at least one thing fun as a family every weekend. Sometimes this could be as simple as going to the store, but together it always means more, especially to my son. He is so happy when we are all together and I am always fighting back a laugh as he makes jokes, sings, or dances around us and I have to explain again and again and again that we are out in public right now.
7. When they like what you like it is even better.
Introducing your child to a favorite book or movie from your upbringing is fun, but when they also like it, it is a new piece of heaven. It’s almost as if the experience is brand new again and I have to fight myself from watching or reading everything. No, Scott, no, take a breath, he’ll get to The Hobbit when he is older… The Empire Strikes Back can wait another year or two… Just a take a breath… All in good time…
8. Everything is a lesson.
Maybe I have watched too many TV shows growing up, but I seem to be able to turn anything into a lesson. It’s hard when I have these moments with him not to think “In a special episode of…” Yeah, I’m that dad asking how he thinks the other boy must have felt, or asking him to think about his actions, or having him apologize for something. Oh, he is not a bad kid, not at all; if anything he is very empathic to others. Sometimes I think he would be a great counselor or teacher because of it.
9. Going fast is everything.
My son loves cheetahs. He is always running, he even was The Flash for Halloween this year (and Dash from The Incredibles last year). We gave him his birthday present early so he could have some time to ride his first bike around. And even on his new bike he wanted to go fast. Speed seems to be the great theme in his childhood. Always faster, moving forward, never stopping. Every day I have a moment when I wish I could reach out—like I did on Sunday with him on his bike—take his arm and tell him to go just a little slower.
…Just a little slower.
If you liked reading my article, why not check out some of my published books? I’ve had three novels published in the last few years, the new A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or Doors and Megan as an eBook on Google eBooks here. Thanks for reading!