Yes, I’ve become my parents. How did this happen?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I’ve Become My Parents.”

I read this prompt and immediately laughed.  This is a conversation my wife and I have at least weekly.  “Shit, I opened my mouth and my father came out.  What happened?!?”

Well, we got old.  We had kids.  Yes, that was kids.  Plural.  We’ve entered that magical (maybe?) world of adulthood where we have to put the needs of some small people above our own.  We have to talk about poop and puke and all things in between.  We get up eight times a night to quiet the baby or to give him a teething toy.  We scoot over at 5am on Saturday when our daughters come downstairs and want to get in the bed with us because they had a bad dream.  We endure Dora the Explorer and The Backyardigans (who came up with that anyway?) when we’d rather be watching sports or the news.

How does this happen you might ask?  Well, it’s not like you just wake up one day and suddenly feel old.  It creeps in slowly, so slow in fact that you don’t even realize it until you’re standing in your house that you own talking to your kid about how responsibility and accountability are important aspects of being a good person.  You launch into a ten minute monologue about the merits of being honest when you do something and *WHAM!* there you are.  You’ve become your parents.  It hits you like a ton of bricks.

I remember not so long ago my biggest concern in life was whether or not I should eat real food or ramen.  Seriously, I was a bachelor and didn’t mind eating crappy food.  I made up for it by going out and by having nice clothes and a house.  Nowadays, the least of my worries is what I’ll wear.  I’ve graduated to the stage of life where my biggest worries and greatest successes all have to do with two (relatively) tiny humans who depend on me for everything.

So yeah, I get on the older one for lying and running in the house.  She hears about how important it is to do her best in all her endeavors and how she can be so great when she puts her mind to it.  After she goes to sleep or when I have the house to myself, I realize how much I’ve become my mother or my father (or at least a good combo of both).  It’s scary to think about it.

What’s more, it hasn’t really felt like seven years since she was born.  Where the hell did that time go?  I’m watching her grow up so fast that I don’t know what to do.  One day she’s sitting here barely speaking, and the next day she comes home from school talking to me about how we’re omnivores and cows are herbavores.  I’m not sure how to take it.  And, I feel even more like my mom and dad when I think that way.  They always told us how fast we were growing and how much we’d miss it when we were older.  Of course, like every teenager in the world, I thought they were full of it.  Turns out, mom and dad knew a thing or two and maybe I should’ve stopped and listened once in a while.  Who knew, right?

I definitely feel it now too when I go out in public.  I’m always getting Sir’d like I’m some 40-something guy who has done it all.  Then I think about it, and to these kids, I’m that guy.  They don’t know I’m in my 30s…they only know I’ve been around the longer than they’ve been able to function independently.  I have been in the military nearly 14 years; some of these kids were born in the mid 90s when I was already in high school.  Floors you.

We’re old people  When the hell did this happen?

The beginning and some background

One of my photographs taken near the river here.

Well then, here’s the beginning.  I’ve never really had a blog before, and I doubt I’ll have many readers of this one.  But, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and I just figured I’d give it a shot.  I read the Art of Manliness a lot, and one thing old Brett McKay continues to discuss is the value of writing — specifically the value of journaling.  I enjoy writing — I know, people who despise writing do not start blogs — and I hope that keeping this blog will encourage me to dig a little deeper and truly think through those things that happen every day.  I don’t know how much current information I’ll get to on here to begin with (it’s the internet after all), but I’m hoping I can help others learn and grow through my experiences.

I grew up as a military kid; my dad spent over 20 years in the Army as an Infantryman (11B for you Army types).  He was a Drill Sgt when I was born, and I don’t think that way of thinking has ever actually left him.  We did push ups or wall sits when we were stupid (and we were always stupid).  When we truly crossed a line, it was a good old fashioned ass-whipping followed by more push ups or sit ups or wall sits.  We moved a few times, but nothing like what some Officers’ kids had to go through.

Dad could be harsh, and that’s putting it lightly.  He wouldn’t hesitate to tell you where you were screwing up or to tell you how you were wrong.  But, and this is the God’s honest truth, I can absolutely see where that tough attitude was a benefit for us.  I learned to have a thicker skin, to show little emotion, and to think on my feet.  I learned to be adaptable to new situations and surroundings, and I learned that you only count on those who’ve been through the same shit as you.  I grew up with thick skin.

What I learned through the moves and the bullshit is that life is what you make it.  My life hasn’t always been easy (who really has had it easy anymore anyhow?) but I’ve been provided great opportunities and I’ve worked hard to take advantage of them.  The best decision I made was to get out of what I called my hometown and join the military as an 18 year old kid.  It put me on the right path and allowed me to finally get out and figure out who I was and who I wanted to be.

I am married to a woman who supports what I do and supports our kids, and I wouldn’t have found her if it hadn’t been for the military.  In fact, nothing that I now am would have passed without the military.  I am as defined by service as I was defined by my father’s service.  It’s funny for me to write that, because no one who knew me 15 years ago would have ever imagined me saying anything of the sort.

Anyhow, I hope this is a good ride and that I am able to give something to those who read this, whether that’s help, happiness, laughter, or just a way to pass the time.  I look forward to growing as a writer though this blog.