Son: “Dad, you should get up at 5am and cook breakfast. You handle sleep deprivation better than I do.”
Last night, as I prepared dinner, I asked my youngest (14) if he wanted to play a game of chess. He eagerly agreed and after finishing his battle on his computer game, set up the chess set on the table. We started playing. I made a move then prepped an ingredient for dinner. Made another move, prepped. After I stood up for the third time, my son said, “Dad, I’m going to go do my school work before it gets too late.” That hit me in the feels. Fortunately, dinner was ready to go into the oven for 30 minutes. I felt I was a few moves away from checkmating him so I said, “I’m about to end you. Let’s finish. This will be quick.” He perked up and I gave my undivided attention to him and the game. In the blink of an eye, the oven beeped. 30 minutes passed in the flash of an eye and the game had turned. Two terrible moves by me gave my son control of the board and he destroyed me. Then he returned to his room to either study or game or both. It was a great moment.
I wish I could turn the clock back 19 years and make every night like last night. I have allowed busy to replace bonds. Excuses to prevent experiences. I have great children. They have had good lives. I could have done so much better. With the time I have left, I will do so much better!
Me: "Happy birthday! What do you want to do on your special day?"
Evan, 13 today: "I’m going to spend the day at the pool with two girls from West High School."
Me: *Well, that escalated quickly.*
I have all the parts to build my new keyboard. I am on a pseudo-vacation this week. Building and programming the keyboard was one of my intended projects. At the airport, my 12-year-old son asked me not to build it because he wants to help. You can darn well bet that putting that keyboard together can wait a couple more weeks!
Evan: "Daaad, I know how to brush my teeth. I’ve been doing it for 12 years."
Evan, entering the house with an Amazon package: "The postman says we are his best customer!"
Evan, ruefully, to his sister Amy: "You get to walk to the mall from school. I get to eat ice cream on the track."
Mother: "Do you know you’re driving me crazy?"
11 year old boy: "Now I do!"
Context: Evan, our 11 year old, helped me drop one of the cats off at the veterinarian for a comprehensive exam last Wednesday. Behind the scale is this sign. Recently, both our 12 year old and 9 year old German Shepherds died.
Evan, 11 years old, studies the sign: "Dad, I think our next dog should be a three, four, or five."
Me: "Evan, that’s not a menu."
Me: "Alexa, play the Ramones."
Groggy 11 year old Evan walks into the room: "Dad, could you turn down the music?"
Me: "What are you guys doing?"
Me: "Do you want steak for dinner?"
Boy child: "Do we have barbecue sauce?"
Me: "Ok, sirloin for you."
The state of TN is at war with public education. They are out to destroy public education and my youngest two children are on the front lines. We are testing our children to stupidity. The teachers have no time to provide a quality education because we are constantly prepping for the next test. I am pro-gadget, pro-electronic and want my children absorbed in this fascinating digital world with their easy access to all of humanity’s knowledge. However, my ten year old’s generation is suffering as the first generation to be raised from birth with screens in front of them. Their craving for information and multitasking is on par with a cocaine addict, alcoholic, or gambler.
I personally have fallen. I have failed to dedicate time to my children. Today changes that. Today we began meditation and reading aloud (Jonathan Livingston Seagull). Today we began to learn about First Things First with a discussion of the four quadrants and how to live in Quad II. Today is a good day and will be followed by so many more.
Me to wife: "You’ve made me old with snapchat."
Disembodied 10 year old voice from the back of the house: "Yeah, you are old" "hahaha!" "Get wrecked." "W-r-e-k-e-d"