I made the classic syllogistic mistake; I joined a club that would have me as a member. There's a group of Blogger Dad's on Facebook and I find myself included in their ranks. I posted about them before in this post which has links to some truly great blogs. Really, I am not sure I am in the right spot. Compared to some of the other dudes' blogs, mine is amatuer at best, and, I would guess to some of them, pedestrian and dull.
I made a decision to be pedestrian and dull, which I would define maybe as ordinary and thoughtful. I choose not to take political sides, or discuss religion except in vague non-committal references; I choose not to make tawdry anatomical references or cuss regularly and vehemently; I choose to leave out my college years and struggles with addiction and loneliness. Also, I choose not to make fun of my kids or write things that they someday might find embarrassing or difficult to understand.
There is no doubt that these are great subjects for bloggers, and, I often wish that I too could, through the veil of anonymity, pursue some of them. But, if you want to know the truth, I find that kind of posting a little too, well, easy. It's easy to rant about football and men-hating Mommy Bloggers. It's easy to make p*nis jokes and rely on sexual innuendo. It's easy to link-bait and stir up controversy and vitriol and animosity.
(Yeah, this is why I shouldn't join groups; I don't play well with others.)
On the other hand, I think it is difficult, especially for men, to write about their deep love for their children. Through the words of some of my fellows I have felt the pain of knowing your child is sick. Through their words I have known the belly laugh that is parenting a toddler, the heartbreak of preschool, the smell of baby shampoo lost, the last diaper.
Writing about love and tenderness is difficult, writing with respect and wonder is difficult. Acknowledging the pains and joys of fatherhood is a noble, gentle, difficult endeavor. I will continue to celebrate my children, honor their childhood and remember them as they are today.
After that long intro I wonder if I should even get to the point or just call it a day...
The other evening, I guess it was a Friday, we had leftovers for dinner, you know, a little bit of this, a dab of that. The boys hate it, but, there is almost always pasta, that's a good thing. Nick is a fast eater (I try not to look, it's sorta gross) and, after he took his plate and such to the kitchen, he grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and started drawing. Z was soon done and he did the same. After the dishes were cleaned up Marci and I joined them at the table and started drawing along, laughing and chattering and teasing and, well, being a family.
We actually do this with some frequency, just sit at the table and doodle, you know, stuff like this Picasso inspired sketch Z started and that Mom filled in:
Marci also likes to make these adorable wordle thingees, with suggestions from the boys:
Nick made these two owls, a jazz owl and an orchestra owl, I'm not positive who's who:
Zack makes stuff like this, a Ninja guy with a regrettable chest-piece, and a cruise ship:
Nick made this curious pictures of some "Littles" listening to what appears to be a Victrola, I don't know:
I tend more to photo-realism:
I know, these are all masterpieces, right? Well, not really. I guess to some they might seem sorta stupid. But, I'll bet, in ten or twenty or thirty years when these picture reappear, they will remember those simple nights of crafting and drawing, of dance-parties and wrestling, of singing and silliness, fondly. I know I will.
I guess to some this all seems ordinary... yep, that's my point.
I really and truly believe that in our twentieth-first century pursuit of, how to say this politely, of Pinterest perfection, we step right over the ordinary. We leave it unacknowledged, neglected and forgotten and we fail profoundly at recognizing its inherent, even paramount, importance.
A better blogger than I, Rachel, wrote a blog post a while back explaining far more eloquently than I the importance of the ordinary. In "A year of Ordinary Achievement" she explains that her journey from frazzled techno-junky to "Hands Free Mama" has led her to a profound and deep understanding of the quiet, gentle love that is the ordinary. I have long agreed with her on the notion that the modern devices, cell phones, computers, video games and all the bells and whistles and tweets and twitters that accompany them, as well as the time so many spend managing them, are an invasion of the precious time we have with our children, families and friends.
So, along with Rachel and Neal and Justin and John and Chris and Matt and so many others, I ask you to celebrate the simple, the plain, the sublime, the beautiful, the holy, that is the ordinary - because, I think, that's where love lives.
I grew up in a small rural town here in Ohio and every summer they had a community festival. All the civic groups and bands and veterans and business had a float, pulled by a tractor, or marched in the parade. The kids in town, and parents and whoever, really, were invited to decorate their bikes and ride, in an incredibly unruly mob, in the parade as well.
One year, I was maybe nine or ten, I was decorating my bike for the festival and my Dad was watching. I suggested that he should decorate a bike or march with the church float or something and he said:
"If everyone is in it, who'll watch the parade?"
You were right Dad. I'll watch the parade.
From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."
N: "George Washington is in the refrigerator."
Z: "And Martin Luther King is stuck on our roof."
Now that's just weird...