The Bug Graduates & When to Call it Quits

The Bug graduated this weekend. They call it "pre-school," but it functions more like a daycare. Semantics aside, they hosted a semi-formal ceremony last night.

Graduation bear graduating from Harvard UniversityI arrived at the appointed time, but activities had already commenced.

The kids were all standing up front (looking so dang cute) while parents rose from their seats to jostle for picture-taking position. Even saw a tri-pod or two in the back.

Hi Daddy, the Bug called out (« wearing a little vest & tie) as I arrived, his voice sounding even deeper than normal. Mommy, he announced to the entire audience, my daddy's here!

A couple of moms and one teacher approached me afterwards to express how cute they thought that was, noting how he emphasized *my* daddy. (He has always done that. Possessive.) The 'mommy/daddy' thing made me think.

Before becoming a dad, I used to debate & question the wisdom of friends who remained in unhappy marriages .. "for the good of the kids." While I'm no advocate of marital masochism, I now understand.

You just want to do everything possible to give them a decent shot at a happy life. They deserve that.

Why do you stick with her? I used to ask, when she treats you like that? All she does is moan, gripe, complain & criticize. She doesn't appreciate you. It's like she hates your guts.

You don't understand, they'd tell me. It's not that easy when you have kids.

Oh, I understand alright, I'd reply. At least, I thought I did.

We all want to be loved. And some of us are fortunate enough to be involved in a loving relationship. But many (it seems) merely tolerate each other. And what about those who are downright miserable? I'm talking about those relationships where the negatives have long since out-weighed any good that might linger on the marital balance.

At the far end of things, I've always drawn the line in a deteriorating relationship at the point where somebody intentionally TRIES to hurt me. In any relationship (with both males & females), we're bound to be offended from time to time .. even when that's not the aim.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut Speaking of 'aim,' remember when Dick Cheney shot ('hurt') his friend during a hunting trip? It would've seemed odd if the guy shot back, right? Why? Because they were friends and it was an accident. Dick wasn't trying to hurt his friend. (Tho it was a bizarre incident.)

And like I said, "accidents" where we offend (hurt) our friends, and they offend us .. are bound to occur. Because we're all human and we all have various sensitivities. But when someone intentionally tries to harm us .. that's where I draw the line. Cuz that's what an enemy does.

When it becomes difficult to tell apart your friends & your enemies .. that's a signal that some thing is wrong, and maybe it time step away. And if you really love someone, you don't want to hurt them, right? .. even when they accidentally shoot you in the face. (Tho I'd pass on the next invitation to go hunting.)

Regarding women, I readily admit to being clueless. Maybe it's cuz I had no sisters. All my best romantic relationships were with girls/women who had brothers (.. more the better). Because they understood guys.

My folks never divorced. Heck, I never even saw them argue. So my pattern/model has always been that of sticking together. Having a son whose parents ("mommy/daddy") live in separate homes is a new experience for me. I have nothing to relate to in that area .. other than what I'm living now. None of my neighborhood friends' parents were divorced either.

Princeton UniversityBut I know I can't live with someone who (intentionally) tries to do me harm. Not and hope to maintain this last shred of self-respect.

Some friends hang in there despite such intentions. What does that say about them? Heck, some even associate such behavior with love. Uh, passion maybe. Dysfunction certainly. But that's not love.

I have both friends & acquaintances who (strangely enough) ask my opinion about the best way to deal with a deteriorating relationship (.. one that's getting ugly). Altho their kids are much older than the Bug, I've been at this since he was barely a few months old. So I have plenty of experience with "the $y$tem". (Too much.)

First thing I tell them is, You want to stay out of court. The only people who win there are lawyers. You can blow a hundred grand without even trying. And once they get you peddling on the legal hamster wheel, it's very difficult to extricate yourself.

But they're all so certain they have an iron-clad legal case. Everybody thinks they're a lawyer. You don't understand, I tell them. =) [ I still owe my lawyer thou$ands. They will gladly let you max-out all your credit cards. ]

[ Another thing I learned is that the older you get in the mating game, the more likely you are to find someone who's bitter (tho usually well hidden at first) .. about a previous relationship. There's something they haven't gotten over. You might not've done the crime, but you will pay for it. So there's a time-sensitive balance between sampling the variety of flavors at Baskins-Robbins and choosing one to enjoy. ]

Dartmouth UniversityOne good thing about the Bug's 'graduation' is .. the idea of kindergarten no longer freaks me out.

One development I've noticed recently is that our discussions have changed from that of me 'making conversation' with him (.. talking about things he's interested in on his level) .. to having genuinely interesting dialogue with him. The cognitive development around age 5 is truly remarkable. Mind blowing.

The hardest thing in my experience as a parent has been .. negotiating the emotional transients .. between maintaining a tender heart toward the Bug while keeping up emotional defenses regarding the repeated attacks.

Think of it as living a bi-costal existence (.. in both LA & NYC). Either one is no problem, but both at the same time is not easy. All that going back and forth .. from one extreme (open & receptive) to the other (defensive & protective) .. not easy.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on June 27, 2010 6:27 AM.

Fathers, Fallibility & My Little Gamer was the previous entry in this blog.

What Drives a Handsome Doctor (like Che Guevara) to Become a Militant Revolutionary? is the next entry in this blog.

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