At what age you’ll actually be allowed to visit your Dear Old Dad’s blog is still something of a mystery as I sit down to write the first of many missives aimed at giving you some idea of… Of what? What can you possibly want to know about your parents and how can we possibly hope to predict what you’ll want to know?
At the time of this writing, you are just shy of 14 weeks old—14 weeks since conception not since birth. You weigh less than a good long swing of Coke Zero and haven’t yet grown as large as my phone. You are comfortable inside your mother’s womb and she’s asleep on the couch in the other room. She can’t feel you kicking and squirming, which all the literature insists you are doing quite prolifically by now. In fact, as you might be able to see from the salutation above, your mother and I still don’t even know if you’ll be a boy or a girl. We have a nickname for you, which I’m sure you’ve puzzled out by now.
At least a decade will pass before you’re even allowed near the Institute. We will know so much more by then. About everything.
For a beginning parent, it is almost universally agreed that I am at an advanced stage. Some men and women have their first children even later in life, but at thirty-eight, I am neither an old man nor a young one. About two months have passed since I learned of your existence and I’ve thought a lot about age, but not physical age. In the days before you, I spent most of my non-working time reading or playing video games or finding new ways to aggravate your mother. Before your mother was part of the picture, I was truly a Man of Leisure. I made just enough money for food, shelter and cable television. I spent a lot of time with friends, doing nothing important. Steady paychecks (albeit tiny ones) came because I went to baseball, basketball and glorious football games, ostensibly to report the action therein to the public, but honestly so I might make my way through life by expending as little energy as possible.
Writing has always been easy for me. It doesn’t mean I’m great at it. Every year now, I begin to lose a little bit of the belief that one day I might finally get off of my ass and write something with Voice and Heart and Action and Meaning; that I’ll sell this opus to a publisher; that I’ll stand in front of crowds at libraries and bookstores and read excerpts and later sign copies to readers who stayed up late to devour the tales. Right now, I still have plenty of belief in the tank, though, and writing will never be hard for me. So I’m writing to you, from the Middle Age. I am a writer who doesn’t work as a writer anymore and who might never pen that Great American Novel. But I authored half of your genes and I’m more excited about your impending arrival than I have ever been about anything before.
Although this probably means the end of Doing As Little As Possible To Get By. It should be okay. I’ve saved a lot of energy over the last two decades.