Sunday, March 8, 2009

Attention


It seems to me that parents want to pass on their unfulfilled dreams to their kids and kids always have their own dreams. My kids have everything I always wanted.

I wanted a guitar more than anything when I was a kid but it was unattainable. I wanted it so I could be The Beatles and win universal adulation. No amount of love and respect that flowed over me could satisfy my hunger.

My kids now have better guitars than I do.

I’ve always sought attention. I want people to know I’m there. My ego knows no limits. So of course my reputation fades into obscurity. My kids, on the other hand, shun attention and they’re always picked out in a crowd.

I think I first noticed it when Chloe was in preschool. She was chosen to play Mary in the school Christmas pageant. She didn’t want the role and her friends were jealous. The audience was shocked and amused when she violently yanked the baby Jesus from under her dress.

When Dylan was in first or second grade my ex took him to Strassenfest. As they were about to leave they decided to listen to an old story teller. Raffle tickets were given to the kids.

When winners were announced Dylan behaved horribly. Third place was called. His number wasn't chose and he began to cry. Second place was called, it wasn't him and he screamed, “This isn’t fair.” Wouldn’t you know he won the grand prize, a beautiful 15 speed bicycle. He began to take this kind of luck for granted. It would be years before he was big enough to ride it. He still does.

Kim and I took the kids to The Point Birthday Party a few weeks ago at the Family Arena in St. Charles. The most exciting act there was a band called Papa Roach. They were fronted by singer Jacoby Shaddix. He’d spit, wipe his nose and scream at the crowd. At one point he climbed the wall around the arena, singing through his wireless microphone. He ran up the steps that led to us and rubbed Chloe’s head. As an arena filled with envious kids looked on Chloe yelled, “Ooh he rubbed snot in my hair!”

Dylan is working on his black belt in karate right now. His sensei’s dad just died and we went to the church service. We had to squeeze it in to a full day we were already devoting to Chloe for something called Destination Imagination at St. Charles Community College.

Dylan and I were the only ones at the service in jeans and T-shirts. The preacher began the service recalling the deceased sitting in the chair he'd always sat in. Pointing at Dylan he said, “Right where the young man in the Nirvana T-shirt is sitting.” “I wonder if the young man realizes he’s sitting in a holy place.” Dylan was already self conscious about the way we were dressed and now all eyes were on him.

I have always loved that kind of attention.

The picture, courtesy of Valerie, is the kids and me having a birthday lunch for Chloe on Valentines Day. We’re at MoKaBes near Tower Grove Park. She’s showing off her braces and wearing a shirt that says, “Don’t get up in my grill.”

4 comments:

Tony Patti said...

This post is one long variation on the essential old codger favorite: "These kids don't know how good they've got it, dad gummit!" What these kids will never know is what depth of longing and sweet regrets such a statement carries, since they are selfish little shits who ought to be spanked quite often, and soundly.

Valerie Pennington said...

When I was a kid, I remember my dad telling me how lucky I was, and that when he was a kid he had to eat GRAVEL and sleep in a CARDBOARD BOX and walk 10 MILES TO SCHOOL! UPHILL! BOTH WAYS!
I don't remember it making me feel any luckier. I just wondered what gravel tasted like.

Doggie said...

Man do I remember spankings. A tradition I should have continued!!!

Anonymous said...

Valerie you forgot the part about barefoot in the snow lol.
Dylan