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September 24, 2014

The Full Circle Effect: Parents Gone Grand

My relationship with my grandparents always came easy. The love, the treats, and the lack of discipline equaled full-time fun. Whereas the relationship with my parents was a bit more complicated because growing up there were uhm…rules and expectations. But just like my parents predicted so many times before, I’ve come to value and appreciate all they’ve done for me. And as life will have it, the roles have been reversed and they’re finally the freewheelin’ lovebugs I always knew they could be. Only instead of giving into everything I’ve ever wanted and letting me get away with way too much, Dylan gets to reap the benefits of parents gone grand. And me? I’ve become them. Specifically, I’ve become my dad…and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Though it is evident that I’m my mother’s daughter, let’s just say if people started calling me “Carl,” I’d respond without wondering why. Because: 

Our middles names are “Fervent.” I mean, not technically, but practically. I genuinely find excitement in everything, just like my dad. This zestful nature makes life really fun for Dylan (and for me). Though that same enthusiasm and passion for all things can evolve into… 

Intensity. Because I’m easily interested and engaged in each moment, my passion can spill over into being hands on, in your face, and quite frankly, a bit intense. And if I go a little overboard, especially with the rule breaking, at least… 

I have no problem apologizing. Wrong, right, who cares? Even if my intensity is seemingly justified (NO KICKING THE DOG DYLAN), even if my intention is pure (DON’T RUN INTO THE STREET!), even if I don’t have to apologize because I’m the parent, I will and I do. Being “right” is less important to me than the impact my reactions can have on others. Even if… 

I feel important. Not more important than you, which is the whole point. We’re all equally special. I take everyone seriously, kids included, Dylan included. I can’t help but listen and consider what he feels and what he has to say despite the fact he is a 1 year old. Unfortunately my consideration can appear misleading when it involves something like his desire to eat cookies for dinner, so uhm…sorry kid. But hey! I very briefly thought about it, therefore… 

I expect some things. It’s completely unrealistic, but I expect Dylan to listen, follow instruction, or convince me why he shouldn’t have to. I’m open to clever persuasion, though again, there are no guarantees. But at least… 

I’ve held onto my inner child. I genuinely enjoy being silly, making up stories, coming up with games, and chalking everything up to be a result of magic. The kid in me gets it. So it’s highly likely that Dylan will still be writing letters to the North Pole when he’s 17, and he’ll be super bummed when can read and figures out that “Arrow Burger” is actually In-N-Out; but all the fun of childhood will be just enough to spill over into his adult life. 

So that way, when it’s Dylan’s turn to be the enthusiastic, intense parent who still feels like a kid but is compelled to make rules that he will later feel the need to apologize for enforcing too harshly, he will be proud to assume the position because he’ll appreciate the results. And this will allow me to be the freewheelin’ lovebug parent gone grand, returning to my childlike nature and spoiling the crap out of my grandkids like it’s a full-time job. Sigh. The circle of life- it’s a beautiful thing. 

And To My Dad: Thanks for making my childhood magical, and for making me, you. You are free to overindulged Dylan because hey, you've earned it! Happy Birthday. (PS. If I’m you, does this mean it’s my birthday as well?) I love you Dad!