The Blob and Other Terrors

So recently I made this announcement that I wasn’t writing anymore. I was frankly surprised by the positive tone of the every single one of the responses I got. But even more surprising to me was the number of people who said something along the lines of: “You’re going to keep blogging right? Tell us you’re  at least going to keep blogging about your life. Because there is nothing we readers like to hear more about than the average life of a unbelievably mediocre man.”

Okay, so maybe I added that last part in. But I do think it’s interesting how interested people are in the personal. So in that vein, I’m sharing here a couple of things I have learned in the last few months.

1. I’m going to be a terrible father.

You know how sometimes when you’re walking in the supermarket and there’s a mother getting into a screaming argument with her children, and you think, “Sheesh what is this lady’s problem?” Well, I’m no longer in a position to judge. Because the longer Thing 1 and Thing 2 stay with us, the more I feel like I’m coming apart at the seams. I’ve said it before: these are not bad kids. And I still believe it’s more or less true.

But at some point I’ve started to think, “How many times do I have to tell them to turn the off the bathroom light/TV/ceiling fan (seriously kids, there’s this thing called winter happening right now)/shower knob (this one’s really important when you’re the first one to take a shower the next morning, and aren’t expecting cold water to come squirting out of the shower head)? How many times do I have to tell them not to get the dog riled up? How many times to I have to tell them to stop bickering.

So I’ve gotten to this place where I’m headed home from work, and I’m thinking about that scene in Mad Men where the main character just leaves his kid’s birthday party and goes and sits in his car under a bridge somewhere, and I get that. I totally get that urge just to get away and find a quiet place and just sit there for a while.

This thought is immediately followed by Guilt. Guilt siddles up and says, “Hey buddy, what about the fact that you’re supposed to be helping these kids? What about the grand visions of changed lives you had when you decided to do this? Have you read to them lately? Or have you instead let them sit in front of the boob tube and soak up Pokemon of all things just so you could have some time to sit and read by yourself you selfish jerk.”

And I don’t have an answer. Because this thing I’ve chosen to do is hard. It’s easy to have ideals about parenting when you don’t have kids. But when you’re there, when you get into the trenches and see how hard the work really is it’s a lot harder to uphold that standard you once thought you would never compromise.

It takes lots and lots of patience and patience is a character trait I do not possess in large amounts (though I’m developing more and more of it as time goes by). People tell me that it’ll be easier when I have my own kids, and I surely hope they’re right. Because of the second thing I’ve learned.

2. I’m going to be a terrible father.

Say, hello to the Blob. Or as my wife likes to call it, the Bird-Fish (If you happen think it looks like some kind of bird and/or fish do not tell my wife. She does not need any more leverage.)

The Blob has a heartbeat. The Blob has infested my wife’s body, commandeering her metabolic functions for it’s own dark purposes, causing her all manner of sickness and unpleasantness. And for some reason we are thrilled to death.

Some of you may know bits and pieces of the saga we’ve been through to get here, but if you don’t, I’ll just say the road to pregnancy has not been an easy one for us. We’ve had more than our shares of misfires, but this time it looks like the Blob is far enough along to be out of most major danger.

And while I’m excited about this, I’m also fearful. Because the stuff I said in the first part of this post still holds true. I’m still not sure how to be the kind of dad I want to be. Thing 1 and Thing 2 will likely be back with their mom within a few months (a prospect I’m far more at peace about now that I’ve met the woman), and I’ll be left alone with the knowledge that the road ahead of me is going to be the most difficult journeys of my life.

If you pray, pray for me. Me and my wife are both going to need all the help we can get.

If you don’t pray, send an email to Ryan North and beg him to make a coffee mug out of this comic. Because I’m thinking “Other Dads Are Almost Certainly Better” is going to be my new life’s mantra. Also because I like coffee and pouring it directly from the pot into my mouth has not worked out so well thus far.

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12 responses to “The Blob and Other Terrors

  1. Congratulations on the bird-fish-blob!

    Best wishes. 🙂

  2. Fantastic news! Congratulations.

  3. Hey Albert, great to see you posting.

    As far as being a terrible father goes, fuggetaboutit. In one of my favorite scenes in Carlos Castenada’s books, Carlos is complaining to Don Juan about his father.

    Don Juan says, “Did he beat you?”
    “No.”
    “Did he provide for you?”
    “Yes.”
    “Do you think he did the best he knew how to do?”
    “Yes.”
    “Then what was wrong with him?”

    Similar thinking gave rise to the concept of the “good enough parent” in psychotherapy. And if you or I or anyone else, as adults, are still grousing about not having had the *perfect* parent – well, that’s why we have shrinks!

    Seriously, congratulations!

  4. I have two girls, aged 10 and 7. I expect that jumping in to a child’s life midway through is much more unsettling than when you get to start from scratch. Yes, you will have to tell them things 100 times, but you are also in a better position to set expectations and best of all, consequences, from the getgo. Don’t worry. Anyone with a big enough heart to open his home to two of someone else’s children will be just fine.

    Also, you will still have crappy days where you want to drive to someplace quiet. That’s ok, too, so long as you eventually come back. 🙂

  5. Also, congratulations! You have a lot of really fun days ahead.

  6. Things 1 & 2 are helping you shake loose those unrealistic standards. By the time BirdFish 1 arrives, you might actually be ready.
    Congrats!

  7. Good to see an update! So happy for you, and am certainly praying for you <3.

  8. Wonderful news!! Congratulations!!

  9. Many, many congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you guys!

    It’s totally normal to feel like a crappy parent. Only the truly crappy parents don’t feel like crappy parents. LOL. It’s an extraordinarily hard job to be a parent. There are days when you want to tear your hair out. Days when you question your sanity. Days when you just want to lock yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes (just 5 minutes, daggonit! :D). Parenting shapes us as much as them. It makes us better people, if we let it. It stretches us to the breaking point and makes us stronger…or so I keep telling myself so I don’t chew my foot off to get out of the trap LOL.

  10. Can I first say I am actually relieved to see you post again? I was afraid my simple act of clicking ‘follow’ was the kiss of death for blogs since they suddenly stop blogging when I do. So glad you are still posting.

    Congratulations to you & your wife. Being a parent is a process & you figure it out as you go. The best thing you have going for you is your acceptance that you don’t know it all. Some of the worst parenting seems to come from those that are sure they’ve just got it all figured out.

    Last thing, I noticed your comment about the kids asking about a show. That show is called Build Destroy Build on Cartoon Network. I would add a link but figured your spam filter would swallow me whole. My kids love that show although I often wish that the host could be destroyed himself.

    • Thanks for the kinds words.
      RE: The Destroy, Build, Destroy show I have to admit the kids said it was called something like “Build Destroy” but I thought, “Surely that’s just the name THEY have for it. No one would actually CALL a TV show ‘Build Destroy’.”
      Didn’t even give them the benefit of the doubt of Googling it. And now I feel like a stupid.

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