Two kids and a dog call me dad, most of the time. Ok, the dog doesn’t call me a damn thing, at least nothing that I can understand. He just barks, wags his tail and pushes his water bowl at me.
Now those two kids, well, they call me a bunch of things besides dad. Sometimes they call me abba (Hebrew for father) or daddy. Occasionally the dark haired beauty calls me da-da and then gives me a mischievous smile. After that I usually grab her and pull her into a bear hug and then tell her that she can’t use that smile on me.
She giggles and says that she doesn’t know what I am talking about and then I give that smile right back to her. It is the one that makes my friends and family crazy, that smile. When they see it they can’t help but wonder what I am up to. I love it- it fills that part of me that likes pretend that he is still a kid.
That smile makes you wonder where your wallet is. You can’t help but reach for your pants pocket or purse. And you just know that any moment the telephone is going to start ringing with some angry parent or authority figure on the other line.
I have to admit that it is much more fun to write about it as a description of me, Good Old Jack than to include my daughter in it. More fun because as a parent I can’t help but worry about these kids. And if you want to know what my biggest fear is, I’ll tell you right now- I am worried that they will be just like me.
That is right- I am sometimes terrified that they will be as dumb as I was. I worry that they’ll get bored in school because they aren’t being challenged and that they’ll develop bad study habits. I worry that they’ll figure out the angles for getting things done faster and take advantage of short cuts.
I worry that they’ll think that they are smart enough to talk their way out of anything and that they’ll jump off of the roof into the swimming pool. I worry that my daughter, who is already as tough as nails will insist on maintaining her stance that she can do anything her brother can.
Some of my concerns aren’t worth worrying about now- she is six so why do I even think about her dating. But I do. She loves boys and I know how boys think. I know how many ways they can come up with for making girls feel special and smart. I know that sometimes they don’t really mean the things that they say and I fear that my daughter will get hurt.
So I have instructed her older brother to prepare himself. I am going to send him away, to a Tibetan monastery where he will be instructed in many arts of defense. He is going to come back as a very peaceful boy, who just happens to know 1,983 ways to kill.
I can’t always be around to protect her- so I might as well take advantage of his services. Speaking of services I wonder if those monks are going to be able to help him learn his Torah portion. Granted he has a few years before his Bar Mitzvah is upon us, but one has to plan for all this.
So now I have the simple task of convincing his mother that there is this great boarding school that is going to provide him with an education that he can’t get here. And let me tell you, that will be one of the great sales jobs of all time.
Mom is no dummy, so I am not really sure how I am going to do it. I considered trying to convince her that he is going to Hogwarts but I can’t make my wand work that way. Um, maybe we better skip this part.
Or maybe we should talk about how I am going to convince his little sister that it is ok for him to leave for a while. That is going to be tough, because in her eyes there is no bigger hero than her big brother.
Truth is that if he eventually decides that girls aren’t stupid and icky he might date one or two. And should they break his heart, his little sister might try to break their arms. She once screamed at me for yelling at him to turn the volume down on that damn DS. I don’t know about you, but the beeps and whistles make me crazy.
Anyhoo, that girl walked over to me and started wiggling her little finger in my face. I had to work hard to look chastised- couldn’t tell her how very proud I was of her. Those kids might make me lose all my hair by taking on some of my crazier traits, but damn if they don’t do a fine job of looking out for each other.
Guess we’re doing something right in how we are raising them.