I remember the exact moment that I realized I was quite the knucklehead when I was a kid. My wife and I were sitting with my parents and telling them what shenanigans Evan had been up to and they’d smile, laugh and say, “Not only does he look like you, but he acts just like you too.”
They told stories of my fights with my sister, broken knickknacks, and annoyingly long car rides chock full of questions. My wife and I shook our heads having realized that we are basically raising me. It is almost like Doc Brown pulled up in his Delorean, took us back to 1982, and is making us deal with all the nonsense I put my parents through.
There is one such story of my being a boob that stands out quite clearly. My parents had taken us to the local agricultural fair for a day of rides, games, and demolition derby. For my eight-year-old self I could not have planned a better day. There was nothing like an end of summer carnival to kick my obnoxiousness into full gear.
After a day of whining about wanting to go on more rides, play more games, and a strong inability to patiently wait for the derby to start it was finally time for dinner. For dinner I wanted snacks, ice cream, funnel cake, and anything else full of sugar I could find. Obviously my parents had other food options in mind.
Because of this disagreement I had made the declaration that I was not hungry and would not be eating. In my head I figured this would speed the night along and get me back onto the rides and into the games. While standing in line my parents had asked multiple times if I wanted anything. I staunchly replied, “Nope,” every time.
By the time we got to the front of the line I had probably been asked five to six times. My Dad ordered a pork roll sandwich, “Hmm… Pork roll sure does smell good,” I thought to myself. This was the beginning of the end for that sandwich, and our night at the carnival.
The millisecond my Dad took a bite I hit him with, “Dad that looks good. Can I have it?” The first time I asked this question it was like lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite. Each time I asked, the fuse got smaller. By the third or fourth time the dynamite stick exploded!
“*$&(&(@#^*&,” came spewing out of his mouth. The words that he yelled were muffled by pork roll and extreme disgust. His only other response was to throw said sandwich into the dirt and walk away. While this was probably not the best course of action, I now completely understand why this happened.
A few years back I ran into a similar incident with my son Jason, but on a smaller scale. We were home and I had decided to make myself lunch. It was going to be an epic lunch indeed, complete with a giant sandwich, pasta salad, and a nice tall glass of iced tea. “Jay,” I yelled, “do you want anything to eat?” “No,” he replied.
During the process of making this amazing lunch I had asked him several times if he wanted anything. He never wavered from his original “No,” answer. After 30 minutes or so of lunch prep I was ready to sit down and enjoy my masterpiece.
“Wow,” he said, “that sandwich looks really good!”
I told him that I would make him one when I was done but that did not suit him. He began screaming, crying, and throwing an all-out fit over the lunch I had offered him many times. At some point during this nonsense I stood up, pushed the plate towards him, yelled some gibberish and walked out of the room.
After I had cooled down a bit I picked up the phone and called my Dad. “Dad,” I said, “I completely get it.” “Get what?” he asked. My answer was simple yet poignant. “Everything you ever did or said while I was growing up. I was a stunod many times and I am sorry.”
He had a response that any vindicated father would have after finally hearing these words. He laughed, not just a little giggle, but a full on belly laugh.
In times of stress, we as parents often find ourselves echoing the same words we loathed to hear. Is it possible that we did the same knucklehead things as kids? Could it be that the apple has not fallen far from the tree? Why is that damn tree so short?
Please be sure to search Facebook for What I Didn't Expect While She was Expecting and look for me on Twitter @erush520
Also, check out some great Dad related articles and much more at www.brucesallan.com, follow him on Twitter @BruceSallan and search #DadChat for great tweets and articles. Also be sure to join him every Thursday from 9-10pm (Est) for #DadChat live!