Part One: My Kids
You see two little angels. The boys who stay right with mom and dad in the parking lot. The kids who politely ask for a donut at church. And you wish your kids were half as perfect. Because they’re not.
You see two boys. Brothers. Best friends. Riding their scooters together to take the older one to school. Waiting at every corner for dad to catch up (well, most corners. Most days.) Asking teachers, doctors, complete strangers for another (whatever it is they just received) “for my brother.” And you wish your kids were half as thoughtful. Because they’re not.
You see one (or two, if dad’s in his special purgatory) screaming demons kid(s) at the store demanding (name any item in the store: toys, lights, chainsaws, BBQ skewers) or “I’ll kill you AND you can’t come to my birthday party.” And you wish dad would smack the crap out of apply a little discipline to the situation. Obviously he doesn’t have a clue about how to properly raise his kids, not like you. Because your kids don’t do THAT.
You don’t see? The therapy sessions. The doctor visits. The interventions. The parenting strategy classes. And about a billion other things the wife and I are involved in to give our kids the best shot at what you would call a “normal” life. Because our life is not “normal.”
Part Two: Me and My Wife
We’re approaching eighteen years of marriage. Seven years of parenthood. Six to ten years of real challenges for each of us. Not just “here’s some things to work on” challenges but disabling, physical, medical, “how are we supposed to get through this?” challenges.
There are times when all you’ll see is the wife and the boys. That’s normal, right? Dads work, and moms stay with the kids? Nothing out of the ordinary there. Move along, people.
There are times when all you’ll see is me and the boys. Stop looking at me like I’m the divorced dad, doing my visitation penance.
I wish there were more times when the four of us presented ourselves as a typical American family. But as the dad says in “Grumpy Old Men,” “You can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and tell me which one fills up first.”