I was in San Francisco for work this week (and hit a Giants game). I had dinner with one of my best friends, Reef. Reef asked me how things were going and I went into Jack going to camp and how good I thought it was because he’s been dealing with social pressure and blah blah blah.
So Reef says to me:
“It’s funny how much more you talk about Jack than you do about Alex.”
Pow. Leveled me. It was one of those observations that:
- You were completely unaware of
- Gets you right between the eyes because its so undeniably dead on
Actually, Reef has a talent for that kind of observation. Especially when he’s on drugs. But to stay on subject…
I stammered a bit and then launched into an hour monologue all about Alex to assuage my guilt. But I also pointed out a few things:
- Jack provides more drama. Every stage is new to me, so I’m more scared of it. I don’t know how to handle it. And more drama means a better story.
- Alex is just easier. He’s good at everything; everyone adores him.
In all honesty, Alex is the font of happiness for the whole family. Jack’s becoming a pre-teen, which means he slams his door and rants with indignation when we don’t believe him when he says he scrubbed his armpits when he took a shower, even though he reeks of BO and is obviously lying.
Shani reacts fantastically to whatever emotion Jack is feeling. Those two are like voodoo dolls of each other. If Jack is sulking, Shani starts sulking as well. When Jack gets angry, she matches him with equal rage.
Me, I’ve started a new job that is infinitely harder than my old job. I’m constantly distracted and less in the moment than I should be.
Then there’s Alex. He goes to diving practice and chatters away with all the kids at the pool. He’s invited to play with a different friend each day. He reads. He brushes his teeth. He goes to bed without a fight. He sleeps late. His armpits don’t stink yet.
Sometimes I feel like I’m using him to cheer myself up. I’ll lie down next to him on the couch and he’ll wrap his arms around my head and say, “I love you so much, you’re the best daddy, mmmmmm.”
If I could bottle those snuggles and sell them I’d put every therapist in the world out of business overnight.
So I feel bad about the fact that I talk more and write more about Jack.
But don’t worry…I know just how to cheer myself up.
4 thoughts on “Written with Guilt”
I love all three of my boys. Don’t worry, Alex’ armpits will smell too.
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Another great one here. I’ve got a similar deal here in our house; you don’t love one more, but it IS different. The kids ARE different. One’s just easier, with a happy-go-lucky attitude that turns the world into a playground. The other seems to be walking uphill a little more often. Each brings his/her own special magic to our family recipe.
Best of luck with the new job and let me know if you’re ever in the Austin, TX area!
Kevin — one of these days I AM going to be in Austin and I AM going to let you know. Always love your comments. I knew you before you were a father, but I also knew you would be amazing at it. I’d love to re-connect if the stars align.
My Mom once told me it is not about giving “equal”, it is about giving a child what they need.