The fifth baby we have fostered as a family came to us at six days old and, earlier this week, left our home as a toddler, 2.5 years later. I want to tell you about the experience not so that you are impressed with me, or even to inspire you to start fostering babies. I want to tell you about it so you can know, even if you have your doubts, that there is an abundance of joy, love and peace in the world around you at this very moment.
You likely have no context for the kind of savage pain the shingles virus can cause. Yes, I’m even talking about you- mothers of babies and dudes who don’t drink enough cranberry juice. Childbirth and kidney stones are a walk in the park compared to shingles. I’ll prove it below with my horror story, which contains (WARNING) disturbing language and imagery.
For the first time EVER, I had lunch with my father and my mother, just the three of us. READ what happened when my stepmom came home early.
I’ve never experienced a concussion from playing sports myself, but from what I understand, they feel something like having the flu with a hangover while seasick staring directly at the sun as Mike Tyson punches your brain.
My “Man Brain” and I get into enough trouble on our own as it is; we don’t need any assistance with digging ourselves deeper into any holes of disapproval, thank you very much. Yet, at a recent Brunch with friends, I found myself in the glaring spotlight of unpopularity with the Momttendance because of a comment about a younger woman. Even worse, the “I just don’t understand the ‘Man Brain’ sometimes” comment about me came from a woman whom I had just met! But, what was worse than the even worse, was the comment that got me into trouble wasn’t even made by me- it was uttered by my WIFE!
If my calculations are correct, it will be anywhere from 3 months to 6.25 years before at least one of my kids realizes just how cool I actually am. That approximates the window of time between which my oldest child and youngest child graduate from high school. I’ve based this estimation on the scientific evidence I observed in how the perception I had of MY parents changed upon embarking for a post secondary education. I figure, despite how complex and wildly unpredictable the teenage brain is, there are certain consistencies to the human experience that are reliable in determining when your kids become aware of your true swagger.
Some memories of my college years are, well, a bit fuzzy. What I remember in vivid detail, however, are the holidays of my first year away at University living in college residence. Attending U of T from Vancouver, I was one of just a handful of students in an entire building who didn’t go back home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or March Break. As a result, the halls of the dorms were unusually quiet at these times. Not in an eerie way, like when reading, “The Shining”, by Stephen King alone in a hotel-like environment, (not recommended). Instead, the distinct serenity of being left behind in residence was liberating. I felt that I had free-run of the space that was otherwise congested with the jocularity, antics and frenetic energy of day-to-day living in close quarters with dozens of other dudes. Reflecting back as a working parent now, I’m astonished that I could open my door, step into the hallway and say my biggest secrets aloud without any repercussions.
There’s a rush you get as a comedian when you’re on-stage performing and, at the same time, thinking about the material you’re going to do later in your act. It’s amazing! Now, I realize it’s not uncommon for people to be able to talk and think at the same time. Being able to stand up in front of an audience and juggle these two with no one else being the wiser is another story. It’s a special skill that is developed and perfected over time. I remember becoming aware of my talent for doing so early in my career as a Headliner at comedy clubs, and it reminds me of a magical moment of awareness I had as a parent.
There’s an unscientifically proven fact in the comedy business that the toughest crowds to perform stand-up in front of are “industry crowds”; more specifically- a room full of other comedians. There is, however, a small percentage of the comic population who thrive in this environment. They are known as “comic’s comics” and they are universally adored by their contemporaries. At the same time, because they’re often too “insider” or “alternative”, it’s not uncommon for them to struggle in front of “regular” crowds. But, of that small sub-set of the stand-up comic population as a whole, there’s an even smaller percentage of comic’s comics who are also hilarious in the eyes of mainstream audiences. Basically, out of every 10,000 comedians, there’s Louis C.K..
You’d likely get a visit from social services if you called in WWE’s John Cena to give your teenagers some instruction on how to put their attitudes in check. Then again, maybe if he were to just show up at the front door, and not actually deploy his signature wrestling move… Hmmm. If that wasn’t already a parenting strategy you had considered- you’re welcome.