For Sale, Eleven Year Old Boy

FOR SALE: Eleven year old boy, cheap.

Full disclosure – he sings all day about farts and snot. He fights constantly with his sister and tracks in mud. His room looks like a tornado just hit.

Also, he’s very geeky. He loves gaming, dressing like an elf, and digging holes out in the woods for hours.

But he can also be quite charming. And kind, I guess, sometimes. He’s industrious, wicked smart, and incredibly loyal.

Very snuggly.

Beautiful.

Brave.

Nevermind. He’s not for sale.

Mansplaining

(at tuck-ins)

Me: “Good night, boy. Get some good sleep. I love you. You’re smart and strong and kind and funny and hard working. I’m proud to be your dad.”

Danger Monkey, age 10: “Yeah, but you’re my dad. You have to say that.”

Me: “No, actually, I don’t. In fact, many dads never say those things. I think most of them think it, but don’t feel comfortable saying it out loud. So they say it in other ways.”

DM: “Why don’t they say it?”

Me: “People are weird about what is considered “masculine” and what isn’t. A long time ago boys were taught to not show any emotions like sadness or crying because it would make them seem weak. Even when I was little, I was taught that boys shouldn’t cry.”

DM: “Mom says crying is good for you.”

Me: “It is good for you! I very much disagree with the idea that boys can’t cry. I think showing emotion makes us stronger and happier in every way. I’m trying very hard to raise you without restrictions on how to feel and show emotions. But I’m sure you’re already getting a different story from friends at school.”

(long pause)

DM: “Sometimes.”

Me: “It’s hard. But that’s why I tell you all those things every day. I want to show you that big, strong men absolutely talk about their emotions and can be sad and mushy and proud and whatever we want.”

DM: “That seems better.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s not always that simple, but I think it’s a good place to start.”

DM: “So other dads don’t say those things?”

Me: “I think most don’t. They show their love in other ways, like making up silly nicknames and rough housing in the living room. A lot of dads show their love by working hard at a career to make money to provide their kids with things, and by being strong and protecting their kids. And most other dads are much more athletic than I am, so they do things like take their kids running, or coaching their soccer teams. But I think most dads don’t actually say the words as much as they probably should.”

DM: “Is that why you make up so many names for us?”

Me: “Yes, Rufus, that’s exactly why I call you so many different names.”

DM: “Why did you call me Rufus, you big butt face?”

Me: “I don’t know, Smack Daniels, why do you think?”

DM: “Because you love me, Poop Face.”

Me: “Bingo, Barf Boy.”

(long pause)

DM: “So why do you say all the other things?”

Me: “Because kids need to hear those things. Everyone needs to hear those things, especially kids. Too much of your life will be the world telling you what’s wrong with you. I want you to start life with a nice solid foundation of knowing what is RIGHT with you. Doesn’t that sound better?”

(long pause)

DM: “I like it, but only if you really mean it.”

Me: “I really, really do. I mean it more than you will understand until you have your own kids.”

(long pause)

DM: “Good night. I love you, Garbage Face.”

Me: “I love you, too, beautiful boy. Good night.”

Write Stuff

Two big announcements today.

First, how you like those apples! I DOUBLED my ad income in July from June! This blog thing is GOING PLACES, JACK! At roughly $1.50/month, I’ll hit the $100 payout threshold in a very short 5 1/2 years! I’m drafting my work resignation letter as we speak. </sarcasm>

AdWords_Income_Jul2017

It is nice to see the ads creating at least a tiny bit of revenue. Still doesn’t quite offset the hosting fees, and maybe never will, but it’s something. Thanks to everyone for allowing me to monetize the site with ads. Hopefully they’re not too annoying.

Second, and this is real and huge to me — I have been asked to become a regular contributor on the Limestone Post magazine, with my own column. So, just like that, I guess you could call me a columnist. I’m drafting and editing the first “column” submission as we speak. Theoretically I’ll be contributing roughly every month or so. I will (of course) be announcing and linking each publication here on my blog so folks can see them.

This is a real turning point for me. I can’t express how long I’ve dreamed of being “a writer.” I’ve loved books and reading stories since I can remember. In 5th grade we had to write every day and I remember thinking it was frustrating and the words would never quite come out like I wanted. But the ideal, the dream, of being on the other side of the pages of a book, not the one reading along but the one creating and sharing those stories… pure heaven.

I took creative writing classes in college and loved it. I enjoyed that my writing seemed to actually connect with people, possibly even move them. It was fun. But then graduation sent me scurrying to not create joy as much as putting food on the table. And for 20 years I’ve been on that treadmill of paychecks and bills and paychecks and bills.

So it is no small matter to me that this blog and you wonderful folks, with your outpouring of love and support, have allowed me to achieve a major, huge, dizzying milestone toward one of my longest and dearest dreams.

I’m a writer.