34 Days Later

It has been too long, and that’s always my problem. Anyone who knows me also knows that I have the best of intentions, but a thimble-full of ambition. I make a lot of plans, but see very few of them to the end. Thankfully this has never translated to my work, and I didn’t mind it so much when I was single, isolated, and, of course, without a son. But now it’s really starting to bother me. The plans I make no longer affect only myself, and when I drop the ball, it lands on more than my own two feet.

If you’ll look at my archives, I’ve written about 60 posts since Ian was born. Over two years ago. Before Ian was born, I started writing to him in a journal. This journal now sits at the bottom of a bookcase, with two or three entries. The amount of effort I’ve put into writing about my son is woefully disproportionate to how important Ian is in my life.

But so what? This is only one of millions of Web sites out there, and it’s certainly not the best. Ian’s life does not depend upon what I do here, and I don’t see how anything I say here will significantly affect his life. But if I can’t commit to the simple task of writing about my son, for my son, then what chance does Ian’s childhood have? I’m concerned, folks. Fatherhood is one ball I don’t want to drop.

You know that Harry Chapin song, ‘Cat’s in the Cradle‘? That song is my greatest fear. I don’t want to look back on my son’s life and remember all the things I’d planned to do. I certainly don’t want him to write a song about it.

Every journey begins with a single step, as they (unfortunately) say, but considering my track record, I can’t do this alone – I’m asking for help. I’m going to do the best I can to write as often as I can, but whenever I start to lose focus, will you let me know? Whether it’s a week or a day, if you feel as though you haven’t heard from me enough, drop me a note at harrychapin@gilbertsrus.com, and kick me in the pants.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve made you miss in the past month:

  1. Ian went Trick-Or-Treating. He’s still boycotting the letter ‘T’, so the closest he ever got to ‘Trick or treat!’ was ‘Bick a beat’, but he made up for it by adding ‘please’. What kid says ‘please’ when asking for candy on Halloween, I ask you?

    The next day, we relived the experience by dressing him up again and having him Trick-Or-Treat at the kitchen door. Ian knocked on the door frame, and was dancing on his toes at the sight of the bowl of candy Kelly was holding. I asked him, ‘Hey, what are you supposed to say?’ He knocked again and yelled, ‘CANDY!’

  2. We started potty-training. Needless to say, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t as glamorous as some would have us believe. We have Ian-potties upstairs, downstairs, and at Grammy’s house. Last night he missed all three and hit the couch instead. It was either extremely bad aim, performance art, or a protest. Most people carry signs and march on Washington D.C., my son pees on the couch. I would say he was marking his territory, but he’s an only child.
  3. Ian can sing the A-B-C song, but he prefers singing the last few lines, over and over again. He also likes to sing ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, but often loses focus and will launch into a medley: ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star, next time won’t you sing with me?’
  4. Grilled-cheese sandwiches are no longer a staple of Ian’s diet. Now he’ll try pretty much anything, if you wave it in front of his face long enough. If all else fails, count to 3. (When you figure out what a parent is supposed to do at 3, let me know.)
  5. Kelly was reading to Ian while I was on the phone. It had something to do growing up. She asked Ian, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Ian said, ‘Daddy!’

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