Jan 6th, 2013

With the dog, I am jog­ging and now pause at the cor­ner of Mar­ket and Church street which is the meta­phys­i­cal break­point in this town: fur­ther West is the city park where I will be jog­ging for the next 45 min­utes or so, to the North and uphill is the ele­men­tary school that the kids will have returned to school on Mon­day (whew), direct­ly South is the cen­ter of down­town with the Reeves The­ater on Main street, and onward to the East our house sits where I’ll be back after fin­ish­ing the run.

Ear­li­er this morn­ing, Scar­lett will have come into our room and climbed into bed qui­et­ly and pro­ceed to yell into my right ear “Hap­py Birth­day!” at which point it will have been time to get out of bed and start the day and this run. Lat­er after the run, I will get back and Jack will have said “Ha Ba, Dad!,” and I would have replied, “Hap­py Birth­day, Jack” because in two days Jack will be three and this will be the last birth­day where he won’t object to shar­ing his day with mine.

Mac hasn’t decid­ed to wish me a hap­py birth­day yet. This morn­ing he is sit­ting qui­et­ly on the com­put­er, research­ing the lat­est mer­chan­dise from Ben-10. I’ve mixed feel­ings on this. Yes, he is using his words and spelling and devel­op­ing his facil­i­ty with com­put­ers and google but on the oth­er hand, it’s only going to be a mat­ter of time before he fig­ures out pass­words, birth­dates, SSNs and cred­it card num­bers.

Ever since the kids have been born, birth­days are both anti­cli­mac­tic and re-affirm­ing. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: there is noth­ing like hav­ing kids to pull your head out of your ***—if that is what you need and you won’t know until you do— which I did sore­ly need and now know. And so while noth­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly spe­cial is going to hap­pen today, hear­ing “Hap­py Birth­day, Dad­dy,” will be about as good as it gets and it is hard to think of what could be bet­ter; every­thing else is icing. It also tends to tie all the loose ends and the could-of-beens of life in a neat pack­age, because when you are look­ing at your kids, it’s very hard to think of any pos­si­bil­i­ties in which you would switch this even­tu­al­i­ty for any oth­er time­line. Kids val­i­date you in ways that noth­ing else can; Your kids are both explana­to­ry and excul­pa­to­ry, if you need that sort of thing—which I do.

Of course, your job and every­thing else you do shows what you’ve done (duh) but those kids are and will be a sum­ma­tion of what you are. I heard that writ­ing books, run­ning your busi­ness, etc., are your “babies,” but those are things under your con­trol entire­ly and your kids are not. It’s the times when they demon­strate they are sep­a­rate and unique that are the most impress­ing on me. It’s why I think those-with-kids are entire­ly dif­fer­ent than those-with­out-kids. I know this state­ment is spe­cious and sophist and maybe just says I’ve nev­er fin­ished that book.

Of course, no one is where they thought they would be, whether they are look­ing at their old­er or younger self. There are now stud­ies to show this is true.1 So, if you think you are, you’re not think­ing hard enough.

I am now 42 and will re-read Dou­glas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy.

Jan­u­ary 6, 2013

  1. The End of His­to­ry Illu­sion
    Nytimes arti­cle on sci­ence arti­cle []

New Year’s Day

Head­ing home from Indi­ana, we are on a long trip and a 70’s sta­tion is on and the kids are in the back all asleep. We’ve been on the road for hours and still have hours to go and the mrs is asleep. I’ve picked the 70’s sta­tion because you can feel that peo­ple were just try­ing to relax after those 60’s and some­how knew the 80’s were com­ing and so it’s son­i­cal­ly a warm, fuzzy place for me to hang out and relax and dri­ve and then I imag­ine for a moment I’m Every­man on that long ride. I have this expe­ri­ence of actu­al being—it’s tran­scen­dent: I know I’m not the only one who’s been here in this moment nor will I be the last and just for those few min­utes that the Eagle’s ‘Already Gone’ plays on radio, I am exact­ly where I want and was meant to be.

And ABBA, I play a lot of ABBA and hope that it soaks into every­one while they are asleep.