Sunday, May 20, 2007
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
One of the really interesting things about having a second career is listening to young parents who are my professional contemporaries, like Christine Hurt, mull issues in child-rearing. Christine has a review of Shrek the Third over at Conglomerate. (Full disclosure: this post has nothing to do with the legal profession, other than that lawyers have children and generally seem to love them just like other human beings do theirs. I just finished Question 1 of the exam - 45 points out of 180, so I'm 25% of the way home - but it takes a lot of psychic energy to get ready for the second question.)
The reason for noting Christine's posts on children is that our youngest son, James, turned 18 today (that's James at left with his mom), and I started thinking about taking our kids to see movies (see below). In commemoration of the milestone, I started to write a post about best and worst child-rearing in twenty-three years (come this June 5) of parenthood, but then decided I couldn't do justice to the richness of the experience in a blog post.
One of the things I started to do, now that the children are adults and all seem happy, well-balanced, and productive (and not a one is going to law school, or has any intention of doing so), was a public declaration of things that I did only for them, and hated every minute:
* I have vague memories of sitting through Care Bears movies, Berenstain Bears movies (I think), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. The movies were really awful, but I was good about falling asleep, so it wasn't so bad.
* Taking the boys to Indian Guides camp for the weekend thing. Freezing. Boring. Stupid names. Walking to the latrine from the bunkhouse when it was ten degrees below zero.
* Reading Richard Scarry books. I believe Richard Scarry accounts for 90% of all ADD.
* Middle school parent-teacher conferences. A mass of "appointments" in the school gym. Teachers had to look up your kid's name in the gradebook. No more elementary school love.
* Early Saturday morning YMCA swim meets. Four hours of sauna for thirty seconds of action.
There are more of these (most school projects that required parental involvement; any day I was "required" to attend Sunday School with them), but that's enough for now. But this is where I started to think the whole idea of the post was stupid - when I wanted to write down the good things, because they aren't really the best memories, just a few of the thousands of good ones:
+ We went through a string of really wonderful Disney movies I will always associate with my kids growing up: Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (though I could have done without Hakuna Matata).
+ The first time we all skied together.
+ The three children singing most of the libretto of Les Miz in the back seat of the car on trips to northern Michigan.
+ The canoe outing Matt and I took upon his "graduation" from Quarton School in Birmingham.
+ Eating take-away sushi and watching the strange BBC television shows when Arielle, James, and I rented a flat for a week in Mayfair while Arielle was doing her year at Oxford.
+ Playing tackle football with the boys in fifteen inches of snow in the backyard.
+ Arielle (age 12 or so, I think) and I causing a scene watching a community theater production of Noises Off because we were laughing so hard we fell off our seats.
And finally, the stupidest parental image I can come up with on short notice. Both boys were decent (not great) driveway roller blade hockey players (Matt the best, I think, because we made him take ice skating lessons early on). We had a great driveway apron in Indianapolis, and because the boys wanted me to play with them, I would lace up roller blades, put on wrist guards, elbow pads, mouthguard, helmet, and knee pads, and hope to God I didn't suffer a closed head injury.