I think the biggest secret I keep as a parent is not much of a secret at all. It is a sentiment that most parents probably feel and relate to: I have no idea what I am doing.
If you had your kids as part of a perfect plan or were lucky enough to get knocked up in your teens, you know it is harder than you ever could have imagined. Every once in a while I think I am doing well at this parent thing. I think my kids are growing up right and they seem to be as tall as they should be and they're learning the things they need to learn to function in society and hey, they can tie their shoes and know not to swallow rat poison. Go me!
And then I get straight butt fucked by reality.
I don't hit my kids, but I know some people do. (Go back to hitting your own kids!) I know it isn't right to whoop them, but I am jealous of those people that don't have that restraint. If you are saying to yourself while reading this, "I've never wanted to hit my kids," you're either a liar or you've never met your kids.
Let's talk about respect. When I was a kid, I respected adults. And by "respected" I mean I was completely terrified of every adult. I just thought they were scary. Scary the way a mouse is scared of a cat. It was instinctual. Adults were gigantic and I was not. Even when I was in my late teens and I was bigger than a lot of adults, I still found them terrifying. I was also scared of ponies and anyone named Todd, though, so judge my manliness for yourself.
I think that the fear of adults decreases with each passing generation. We are losing our most primal survival instincts. If you want to make it to adulthood, you fear and respect adults or you die. It's the same natural instinct that tells you not to walk across a four-lane highway or sleep with anyone who has appeared on a reality show. At least it used to be.
That fear is nearly lost now. If my daughters don't do what I say, they know I won't hurt them, so they will push me until I feel like exploding in a fit of rage, devolving to my lowest form, which is to use violence to convey my disapproval of their actions. They've stopped short of saying, "I'm not doing that, fuckwad," to my face, but I can tell they're thinking it. It's maddening, and only a matter of time before they start outright kicking me in the balls whenever I dare to open my mouth.
But I don't explode. And I don't hit them. And I know this sounds shitty, but they take it for granted, the same way they take it for granted that I'll bounce my checking account to buy them some shitty present they'll destroy in three weeks, or that I'll do a comedy show in an Idaho strip mall in front of five drunks and a rooster to put goddamn waffles on their plate.
I hate the way this is probably coming off because I am not a violent guy, but I really want my kids to understand that I have the ability to kill them with my bare hands and so does my wife and the fact that we haven't is reason enough for them to worship the ground we walk on.
My kids do a lot of great things. They bring me a ton of joy. I even think they will grow up to be good people that contribute to society. I just hope that sometime before I die they express their gratitude to me that I didn't kill them after they broke my flat-screen TV.
I'd actually like to take this opportunity to apologize to my parents, specifically for the four cars that I crashed in one summer, the time you had to take me to the hospital at 2 a.m. because I was playing football at night and I busted my knee, and the time I pooped in the tub (my age at the time of the last incident is not important). You would have been well within your rights to have murdered me for any of these things. I'm convinced that no jury would have convicted you. Thanks for letting me live. I'll try to pay it forward with your grandchildren.