Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good Boy

When I got out of bed this morning, I found our puppy had chewed up my wallet. It was an almost perfect metaphor that could have only been improved upon had my children fed the cash to her and then used a credit card to slit my throat.

What that meant, of course, is that I had to go buy a new wallet tonight. Fortunately, I already needed to go shopping after I dropped the middle son off at practice. It's the weekend our basketball association hosts its annual tournament, you see. That means I need to contribute two cases of soda for the concession stand, one for my youngest and one for the middle kid, each of whom plays. With the Lovely Bride in class, it also means I get to pull two volunteer shifts this weekend.

So, between the games and another eight hours working concessions, I expect to spend roughly twenty-four hours at the gym between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. As one can imagine, my children are wildly appreciative of my efforts, which makes it all worthwhile.

Seriously, though, why do I do it?

On Monday, my oldest boy's high school cross-country team had its end of the season banquet. While he no longer makes an active pretense that we're unrelated, he still had no interest in sitting with me during the meal. Instead, I used the time to catch up a little with some of the other parents.

When dinner was over, it was time for the introductions. It's a pretty big team and the coach, a math teacher from the middle school, took time to acknowledge every runner. They came to the front of the room, one by one, he said some nice things about them, noted their personal best times and their other contributions to the team. Then the captains stood up and offered their own comments.

This year my kid got a varsity letter, earned largely by grinding out mile after mile at practices, some of them after school but a lot of them during the summer and early on Saturday mornings. He got a certificate athletes can receive if they keep their grades high enough. Not least, his captains also named him the team "ladies man," which might have had something to it given the way the girls started giggling.

The mother sitting next to me giggled too and said, "Sounds like you might need to have a talk with him on the way home."

I'm not worried. About a year ago my friend H. and I were sitting in my kitchen after having a couple drinks and my son made the mistake of walking through the room.

"Hey, come here," said H. My kid sat down.

"You know the facts of life, right?" asked H.

"Yeah. Sure. I guess," said the boy.

"Okay. If you get a girl pregnant, your old man's going to kick your ass. Then the girl's dad's going to kick your ass. Then I'll kick your ass too."

"Okay," said my kid.

"So be smart," said H.

"Okay," said my kid.

On the way to the car after the banquet I asked him if he needed to talk to my friend H. again. My son, who is far more levelheaded and responsible as a high school student than I have ever been in my life, flinched and said, "What makes you think I would ever forget that conversation?"

I was proud of him that night and I think he was proud of himself. I hope so. He deserves to be. When I get tired of the demands of my kids' sports, and I sometimes do, I think of nights like these, when I look around a room and see the respect my children have earned and the friends they've made and the memories they'll have, and I realize it's worth a couple of bucks and a few hours of my time.

4 comments:

almostinfamous said...

lol 'ladies man'

Jennifer said...

Woo-hoo for the eldest snaglet!!!

"What makes you think I would ever forget that conversation?"

LOL!! Poor guy. Yeah, tell him your blog readers aren't ready for Grandpa Snag...

Kathleen said...

good luck this weekend!

Brando said...

When I got out of bed this morning, I found our puppy had chewed up my wallet. It was an almost perfect metaphor that could have only been improved upon had my children fed the cash to her and then used a credit card to slit my throat.

That is comedy gold right there, Snag. And a great post to go with it.