Micah, Jett and Fisher,
Having favorite things as a kid might be the only thing about being a kid that I actually miss. Kids are drunk with admiration toward their favorite things, and no amount of reality or ridicule can shame a child free from that which they treasure. Almost always, the things you hold dear as a kid seem to elicit, at the very least, warm memories as an adult. For me, as a child of the 1990’s, Saturday night Nickelodeon, Jennifer Love Hewitt and the “hip hop soul” genre of R&B music are things I’ll never completely let go of.
You each have things that you favor right now, and while some of our favorite things intersect, there are also quite a few that do not.
Fisher: You’re just a month old, so I guess your favorite thing is milk… while I don’t really enjoy milk at every meal, we probably intersect on our fondness of the source of your meals. Grossed out? Good. Maybe don’t piss on me next time I’m changing your diaper and I won’t reference your mother in that way. Deal?
Jett: Rock and Roll. You love it, I love it. We both geek out when a Foo Fighters riff comes blaring through the speakers. We’re both unashamed to howl “I’M ON FIIIIIIIIIRE!” at the top of our lungs in the middle of a grocery store (and thanks be to Fall Out Boy for that). What I don’t love is your other favorite thing, head-butting me in the mid-section for no reason, and doing an 8 minute celebratory dance around my remains while I writhe around, gasping for air. In fact, this is probably my least favorite thing ever. Please find a new favorite thing immediately.
Micah: We both seem to be quite fond of taking our pants off the moment we get home from a long day. Apart from that, we don’t exactly see eye to eye on much else (partially because you have two lazy eyes, making this both a metaphorical AND literal problem). Our differences are odd when considering the fact that we are incredibly similar people. At 5 years old, I was you. Smart, sensitive, and prone to letting my imagination take me completely off the planet in moments of boredom. All our similarities bring a sobering reminder that I am intentionally far different than the person I used to be. Please know that there’s nothing wrong with you, who you are, or the things you like- in fact, I envy you, as well as how much you love the things you love, but you and your brothers need to be let in on a dirty little secret, and I’m sorry to have to be the one to do it. Having favorite things as an adult sucks.
A grown up’s favorite things always let them down. Being let down is a right of passage that I like to call “emotional puberty,” because your heroes drop (like testicles) from the pedestals you’ve placed them on. Depressed yet? It’s not all bad… recovering from these disappointments actually bestows the seedlings of the wonderful attributes we call “resiliency and resolve.” Resiliency and resolve are great, but the fact remains that they are traits that can only be present in the face of adversity.
You may find all this hard to believe, as your world is filled with whatever the male equivalent for rainbows and unicorns are (Cobras and Taco Bell?), so let me throw out a few examples.
Do you have a favorite athlete? I did. His name was Latrell Sprewell, and he was a hell of a basketball player. He was the Dwayne Wade of the 90’s. When I was 13, Sprewell choked his coach, had his contract voided by his team, and while suspended, was arrested for forcing another driver off the road at 90 miles an hour. I was ashamed and embarrassed to have ever put myself in a situation to be let down by something, or someone like that, and it woke me up to the fact that my hero was just a person, and not a very good one at that.
Even now, if I cautiously let myself like something enough to call it my “favorite,” it finds a way to let me down. To me, Friday Night Lights is the perfect television show, but even they let Landry Clarke kill a guy in season 2. Seriously, Landry Clarke murdered someone on a show about high school football. How the hell did that even happen?
For some odd reason, your brain never really makes the connection between all of your favorite things being unworthy of the pedestal you place them on, so instead of falling at the same time in one large-scale painful epiphany, they fall one by one. Your favorite food? At some point it’ll give you food poisoning, culminating in violent diarrhea. Your favorite band? They’ll sell out- either in some small way that annoys you, or in a full-blown Miley Cyrus “twerking and singing about doing cocaine in the bathroom” way.
Your father? Yeah, even me. First of all, I’m flattered if I qualify as one of your favorite people, but I am going to fail you, miserably. I don’t want to, but somehow, some way, I will. I am so afraid for the day that each of you learns that I’m no hero. I can only hope to show you that in a lot of ways, your disappointment of a dad is better than any of your other favorite things. Why? For starters, I’m here. When was the last time Iron Man held you after you scraped your knee? Has a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ever read you your favorite book three times in a row even though it’s 30 minutes past your bedtime? Has a Tyrannosaurus Rex ever handed you something you needed off the top shelf? No, he hasn’t, because he has tiny, non-functioning arms and has been extinct for a billion years. So there, I’m better than a T-Rex.
I may not be worthy of a pedestal, but I love you, and my hope is that you at least find me worthy of your time if you ever need someone to talk to.
P.S. Your mom is the only thing that does not qualify. She is perfect. If you ever feel that she is not perfect, it is simply your own imperfection guiding those thoughts.