I read this and it just confirmed my reason for writing in this blog. Truly awesome! I have to get the book now! Enjoy!
My Son Is Reading My Book About Him
By David Eddie
Author of: Housebroken, Confessions of a Stay-At-Home-Dad
Yes, an unusual situation. My oldest son, now 12, is reading my book that concerns me, the ne’er-do-well bachelor and man’s man and ladies’ man, making the difficult transition to being a married man and not only a father but a stay-at-home Dad.
He needed a book for a book report for school. It had to be non-fiction, and 200 pages or more in length. And he’d left the whole thing a little late (the book had to be read, digested, and written about, he suddenly informed us on Monday, by Friday.)
Frantically Ms. Daddy and I looked around the house for a suitable book. We thought of The Diary of Anne Frank. But a) I don’t think it’s 200 pages; b) #1 son is a very emotional, sensitive sort; c) we couldn’t find it.
We tried a few other books. But they were either too long or too short or unsuitable in some other way.
Then my eye lit on my own book, sitting in a bookshelf. The length was right: 231. Maybe it was time he read about me, his father, making the adjustment to having a little baby: him.
Reluctantly– there’s a very little tiny bit in it about our sex lives, a couple of jokes about our “hillbilly-style methods of birth control,” something about “doomed sperm spraying everywhere”– Ms. Daddy agreed.
After all, that was a big part of why I wrote the book. So if they were ever curious, my kids might have a window into what type of guy I am or was.
I recall once when I was a teenager, sneaking a peek into my Dad’s diary. And being horribly disappointed that it was all like: “For lunch today I had a hamburger. It was delicious, if a trifle overcooked.”
If I’m supposed to be his ticket to immortality he blew it. Because I never had any idea what makes him tick, and in many ways still don’t to this day.
I want my kids– should they be curious– to have a sense of what makes me tick.
I was a little apprehensive about Nick reading the book, though. I was worried he might think it would suck, might not think it was funny, and so forth. And that it might, as Ms. Daddy feared, be a little TMI.
What I did not anticipate was how many times he’d come down the stairs, bawling, literally bawling, and Ms. Daddy and I would have to spend like 20 minutes consoling him.
Out of all the jokes and cracks and everything else the book is packed with he picked out the following passage and, sitting on the stairs, tears streaming down his cheeks, read it to us (I’m talking about how he’ll be indoctrinated one day into consumerist society):
“But before they can get to him, fate has given me a few years to hang around with Nicholas, take him to the park, get ice cream cones, pat dogs, go to the grocery store, generally hang out together. A few years to become his friend and earn his trust. These years won’t come back. Nicholas and I are building a relationship out of toy blocks and sofa cushions, using applesauce and yogurt as mortar.”
Then there’s a bit more where I’m talking about putting him in a little day-care area of the gym while I work out, but then cutting my workout short:
“Why? I missed him. I miss him when he’s with Pam, when Audrey [our nanny, way back when] takes him out for a walk. Sometimes when he naps for too long, I go in an wake him up. Why? I miss him. And so my fate is fixed…”
Nick almost had a nervous breakdown on the stairs, reading this passage. Then there’s another one at the end where I’m pushing his stroller along and telling him time goes by faster and faster as you get older, it seems to accelerate as you grow older. In Nicholas, baby philosopher, said to me: “Oh, no time goes by fast for me, too, Dad.”
Huh, OK if you say so I believe you, I said. “I guess the thing to do is make the most of what we have.”
He nodded again.
(End of book.)
I was proud of that kind of low-key ending, thought it was very artful. But the book is mostly a string of jokes. One reviewer, not meaning it as a compliment, said “Mr. Eddie’s salty prose reads like stand-up…”
But it was the very rare “poignant” passages that got to the kid. So be it. I wanted to write the book so my kids could know about me and how I tick. The big thing that jumped out at him from my book (he said in his report, which I had to read over, late, the night before the day it was due) was how much I loved him when he was a baby.
Duh! I think. I’m your Dad! I was surprised he was so surprised by that. But I guess I’m glad I put it in the book, because I never really realized he wouldn’t realize that.
It makes me scratch my chin and think: “Guess my Dad, even though he only writes about what he had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in his diary, probably felt and feels the same way about me.”
Guess that’s why he’s always trying to have dinner with me. Huh. Go figure.
And also maybe I should shoehorn more “poignant” stuff into my future writing. You know what they say: “Dying’s easy, comedy’s hard,” i.e. it’s really hard to be funny. I always thought it was too easy to be serious and “poignant” all the time, like most writers.
But hey, if it gets a reaction like Nick’s, I’m going to jam more of it in.