Being a parent brings a different meaning to me everyday, as lacking a grip on this highest of priorities is a fault of mine. There’s a reason to go to work, play nice to those around you, avoid that used condom in the hallway (that was new and disturbing since I don't work in a strip club), and new things to learn upon plopping down with the family at 6pm for dinner while nougat farmers with Sampson-like hair talk about the latest on Hurricane Gustav on the TV.
Milestones are set along a road, some clearly marked, others stand within rough that even Tiger Woods with two good knees would have little chance of making the green out of. There’s potty training, first night getting bailed out of jail for using a fake I.D., college graduation, dressing yourself, first sleepover at a friend’s house, first steps, producing grandchildren, first “A” on a test, and first chat with dad on the backyard deck holding a couple of drinks without the wall of child/father relationship standing in the way.
Yesterday was of the clearly marked variety as Wyatt started school, breaking into the realm of progress reports, making friends/enemies, learning beyond his Leapster and Harold and the Purple Crayon readings before bed. Our walk towards a new life around the playground on the rainy morning didn’t shock like finding your fly open while giving a presentation on data security to the board of directors. It was more about taking in and seeing the “Welcome to your first day of Kindergarten!” sign, watching the little guy go to work on the teacher’s aides and peppering them with questions 60 Minutes-style (as the parents hogged most of the teacher’s time to learn about how the precious one will return home each day), and taking a back-row seat to the little people’s flea circus around the miniature chairs and brightly colored affirmations that adorned the walls.
“Its Hard to be Five” by Jamie Lee Curtis (yes, that one, and I know there's better pics, I'm sure WCP or Al can help there) will be the first book read to his ears by someone not named dad, mom, or nana. First scrapes from the playground, first elation of an art project to hang on the fridge, and other firsts soon to come as this parenting marker is now behind us on one road but with more to come. To continue strolling along or in Wyatt’s case hoping my bad knees hold up while he sprints along this path.
I learn just as much as the guy with the new 20 color Crayola markers and glue stick set going back for his second day today. Maybe more.
Two days till the WCOOP at PokerStars. Are you in?