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 []