Parental recollections

  • Having the privilege of being there at my son’s birth, after many hours of my wife’s painful labour.
  • Quitting smoking and deporting our cat to the in-laws while the baby was growing.
  • Being zombies for the first few months because of rocking chair duties to help calm him down from his colic.
  • Missing, by minutes, the birth of my daughter.  I had taken her mother to the hospital, with my son in the car, because it was a late night surprise, and then thought I had enough time to take him to my mother’s place and still make it back.  Arrived breathlessly at the hospital, only to have a nurse announce that I had a daughter (delivered by the nurse, because a doctor was not on hand at the time).
  • Walking through a park with my family and some friends, with my son toddling beside us and our daughter in a carriage.  She became fussy, and I picked her up and rocked her while singing “the bear went over the mountain”.  I think it was her favourite song at the time, and seemed to be the only thing that would calm her down.
  • Bedtime stories, starting off with the mythical Dr. Seuss, then books by Richard Scary, to name a few.  One of them involved complex cartoon pictures, in which you had to find a little critter called “Goldbug”.  That certainly developed a spirit of competition between the two kids, and a little jealousy when one got the better of the other.
  • I actually read the complete “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” books to them.  It took about a year.  Daughter lost interest, but the son couldn’t get enough.
  • Piggyback rides down the hallway to their bedrooms, as part of the nightly routine, with the wife in the background telling me to “get them the hell to bed”.
  • Singing them to sleep when the reading and games didn’t work.  Mostly Beatles and Wings.  If the singing didn’t work, we pulled out a small electric keyboard on which I taught them to play “Smoke on the Water”, I think.
  • Having my son come home from school, very upset, because he had lost a model dinosaur that he had brought there that morning.  This was in November, and we got pretty cold while retracing his steps back there until we found it.
  • Driving my son to a job interview quite far from home, then stopping on the side of the road.  When he asked what for, I said “you’re going to drive”.  It was a standard.  He eventually got the hang of it.
  • Taking my daughter on her first driving lesson (same car) around the oval up at the high school.  She found it difficult, and more than once stalled it, but that is to be expected.  She does claim, though, that I got impatient and said to her “the lesson is over.”  I do not remember that.
  • Physically barring the door so she could not get out to go to a friend’s place late one night.  It had been freezing rain, everything was slick, and I just said no.  She hated me for a while.
  • Being involved in a serious accident one winter night (not hurt), and arriving home at about 2 a.m.  Kids were crying in the hallway.
  • Coming home from work, with my daughter waiting.  I tried picking her up and slinging her over my shoulder (she was about 11 years old), and instead slipped, collapsed, and wrecked some stuff in the hall.
  • Having tickling sessions on the upstairs bed when I went up to get changed after work.  The two of them would run up there, and we would see who cried Uncle first.
  • Bedbugs.   Lice.  Fleas.  Numerous cats.
  • Driving my girl two hours through a snowstorm to attend a talent contest.  Spending 14 hours there, only to have her fail the audition.
  • Taking a load of teenagers to downtown Toronto so they could attend some concert or other, and spending several hours bumbling around waiting for them to get out.
  • Fond memories of going to plays and concerts with my daughter.
  • Going fishing with my son.  Not catching much, but just going fishing.
  • Golfing with both of them at one time or another
  • Many, many trips to North Bay, complete with serious sibling rivalry in the backseat.  Never ever again will I put the four of us in one vehicle.
  • Thinking about taking my son to a strip club, then changing my mind.
  • Having a bunch of kids knock on my door, screaming that my son had been hurt.  Running down the roadway to find that he had broken his wrist in two after a roller blading accident.  He then went on to a career of fairly regular calamities, including another broken arm, elbow, and various accidents with saws etc.
  • Taking him for a dental emergency to a guy that turned out to be something of a butcher.  I could hear the screams from the waiting room, got him the hell out of there, and took him to a place that did sleep dentistry, a thousand bucks later.

Looking back, I loved (almost) every minute of it, and surely would not change it at all.



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