What’s one of the first things you do when your kids hit an important milestone? If you’re anything like me, you post it on social media.
One of the best parts about having kids is watching them grow, and there is no span of time that sees as much rapid progress as the first year of life. From the time they start grabbing things to rolling over to taking their first steps, kids are maturing at warp speed and social media allows us to document these milestones and celebrate them with our friends and family members on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Well, it SHOULD be a celebration, but that’s not always the case. Mainly because a lot of parents are judgmental, sanctimonious pricks.
I remember being a normal person.
Well, not totally normal. I’ve always been a freak show. But at the very least I used to carry on halfway normal conversations with people. They’d say something, I’d respond, they’d come back with something else, and on and on it would go. Naturally. The way conversations are supposed to happen.
Unfortunately I’ve recently realized having kids turns you into someone completely incapable of having a normal conversation. Tell me if the following sounds familiar.
Why is this narrative coming to you in the first person if I’m dead? C’mon now, a former journalist turned narcissistic dad blogger would NEVER leave his eulogy up to someone else to deliver. Which means even though I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil, you’ve still got to listen to me at least one more time. Thanks Internet.
Who was Aaron Gouveia? Truthfully, I was kind of a dick. Especially during my capricious youth. Someone once swore they’d deliver my eulogy with the opening line of “He’s a son of a bitch and I’m glad he’s dead.” But my mom was always kind of an asshole anyway. Seriously though, I did a lot of things years ago I’m not very proud of and if I could do it all again — well, I wouldn’t actually change anything because it truly was a blast and I had a helluva time. But I swear I’d feel bad about it. Kind of.
Things changed later in life for the same reason most men finally grow up — a good woman.
“Dad, why do some people not like other people with darker skin?”
The question, asked by 5-1/2-year-old Will, came out of the blue from far left-field and it stopped MJ and I dead in our tracks. Scratch that, that’s an understatement. It was more like he unintentionally wielded that question as if swinging around a 2 x 4 that ended up smacking us right between the eyes. And the looks on our faces must’ve conveyed that, because he took one look at our reactions and started to cry because he thought he was in trouble.
After calming him down and reassuring him he was not in any trouble, we first sought to figure out where this came from. He said he remembered hearing something to that effect at a business we used to frequent occasionally, but left when the owner began spewing — you guessed it — incredibly racist remarks. He was only 4 the last time we were there and I didn’t think he picked up on it. But, as always with these sponges we call children, they absorb an incredible amount of information even when they can’t totally comprehend all of it.
All of this to say I was faced with the heart-wrenching task of explaining racism to my young son. And that ain’t easy.
Yup, you read that right. I hate newborns. Hate them.
Let me set a scene for you — a scene to which many parents will relate.
I’m up late with a screaming, inconsolable baby trying to give my poor wife a break. He’s not just crying, he’s doing that “scream so hard his entire body is rigid, lip is quivering, head is as red as a cherry” type of scream. And he’s been doing it for 45 minutes straight because apparently that’s how long it takes to summon the harbingers of Satan.
But the dark forces had much more in store for me that night.