So…I have been searching for relevance with NuckolBall.
- There is a lack of drama with my boys. Things are in a groove.
- I’ve taken a new job this past year, so work has occupied a bigger part of my energy and focus (and I’m not blogging about that).
- This MLB season has been a little boring – and to be honest, this site has never really been about baseball.
I will tell you that Jack’s fall season of little league has started. This past spring season Jack went hitless again and struggled pretty mightily, but I didn’t write about it. It seemed like the same story all over again and I’m a little over it.
This Friday night, his first at-bat of the fall season started with his trademark wishy-washy approach where he tries to draw a walk and takes shitty, late swings at the ball and strikes out looking. So I figured, “here we go again.” But then on his second at-bat he corked a shot past the 3rd baseman and flashed to first. He had another game Saturday morning where he got another hit and pitched a scoreless inning. Jack’s friend Max called him Sunday to ask if Jack could come over; I heard Jack on the phone:
“I got a hit, a walk, and struck out.”
There was a brightness in his voice. It was pretty great.
But that’s not what I want to write about at all. What was really notable about the weekend for me is what happened after the game. It happened quickly:
After the game, Jack and his friend Christopher decided to go downtown and get lunch and hang out. (Can I have some money, Dad?) Alex went to diving practice.
In a blink Shani and I were looking at a free afternoon. We stared at each other a little uncertain that it was real. But it didn’t take us long to take advantage.
We shot to the Farm and Fisherman and sat at the corner of the bar. We laughed about God knows what. We talked about how handsome we think Alex is becoming. We drank piney IPAs and shared the “breads and spreads” platter. Shani told me all about the book she’s reading. Man, we had a great time.
And it occurs to me: Is this our future? Is this the next phase? Beers and snacky dinners at 3:30 PM? In bed by 10:15 on a Saturday?
More and more we are finding ourselves kidless and staring at each other, saying: “I guess it’s just us.”
About 5 years ago Shani and I got into a big fight. I don’t know the exact cause, but really it was a product of taking each other for granted in the midst of managing the kids. It’s easy to lose each other among the bed times and play dates, and we had to some degree. It had come to a boiling point.
“Look man,” she said to me. “There’s gonna come a day when these boys leave us, so you and I have to be right!”
It ended in a pretty desperate hug in the kitchen and I remember saying in a choked-up and murky voice:
“When I picture heaven, it’s being with you forever. You know that, right? That’s what I want heaven to be. With you.”
I’m getting a little choked up writing about that, actually. But this weekend at the Farm and Fisherman made me think about that fight. Above all, it brought me to a big realization:
I believe Shani and I are have reached a new place in our life as parents. I wrote a blog post about a year ago called In Transition about the pain of entering it. But now we’re through the transition. We’re there. Our kids are driving their own agendas. They don’t want me as a playmate anymore; they want to call their friends and do their own thing. They don’t need me to put them to bed. We can leave them home alone without even thinking about it. Parenting isn’t the all-encompassing effort it once was. It’s not priority #1 the way it used to be.
More and more Shani and I are able to step out to grab a beer together or have dinner by ourselves.
I am officially declaring that we have entered a new place in parenthood. It opens up a new range of topics and considerations for NuckolBall posts (I’ve updated the site look to commemorate it).
Parenthood: Phase 2 is here.
It feels weird, but I’m getting used to it. Get ready for a new ride.