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Cornelius News

Kids do what kids do, like grow up

With apologies to “Father Knows Best”

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show

Jan. 12. This column is called Modern Dad and it dawned on me that I haven’t really written as much about my kids recently.

I thought about it for a while and realized I haven’t written as much about them because I don’t see them as much as I used to. I don’t interact with them as much as I used to. I don’t provide as much hands-on care for them as I used to.

Before we change the name of the column to Deadbeat Dad I’ll also point out that it’s because they’re getting older and they just aren’t around as much and, when they are, they don’t need us as much as they used to.

These days they’re always at a friend’s house or going somewhere with friends. Instead of spending an hour each night in the backyard or pushing them on a swing at the park, I spend a few minutes in the car driving them to practices or their friends’ houses.

The clock is ticking

I’ve always liked being in the car with them because they have to talk to you. However, Future Man got his permit this fall and he’s pretty good behind the wheel but he can lose focus if we get too chatty so I try keep the conversation light following this exchange:

Me: “How did you do on your science midterm?”

Him: “Good.”

Me: “Did you figure out how to explain the difference between magnetism and electro – OHMUHGAWD THAT WAS A RED LIGHT!”

The Blonde Bomber and I spend a lot of time in the car between practices, games and the fact that her social calendar is booked until the Spring of 2024. There are CEOs who have more down time than she does.

I picked her up one Sunday afternoon this fall from a friend’s house after she’d had back-to-back sleepovers at different houses. She bounced down the sidewalk and hopped in the truck, like always.

Her: “Hey daaaaddy.”

Me: “Hey honey I missed you I haven’t seen you in so long.”

Her (side eye): “What are you talking about it’s only been two days?”

Apparently we do not perceive the passage of time in the same manner. Regardless, the clock is ticking.

I read something online that by age 12 you will have spent 75 percent of all the time you will ever spend with your kids, and by age 18 it’s 90 percent.

Now, there are obviously a lot of caveats to that. It probably holds true if you live far away from your family but my parents live down the street and my mom shows up at least once a week to try to give me random things like a gold lamp shade.

But the basis of the point is correct. You spend almost all of your time with your kids when they are young and, at least for me, it wasn’t a gradual decline in the last year or so. It was more like cliff.

To be honest it’s been kind of fun. Different. But fun to see them growing up. And some things I don’t miss, at all.

I don’t miss the mornings before school, at all. These days I have no idea if they ate breakfast or made their lunches or put on a jacket. I don’t know if they were running late because they’re usually gone by the time I emerge for coffee.

They’re still kids so they overslept a time or two this fall but, you know what? Driving them to school didn’t bother me at all. Turns out I don’t mind when they miss the bus because it wasn’t preceded by 30 minutes of me yelling at them to eat-get-dressed-put-on-shoes-where’s-your-jacket.

I read something else online that said by age 11 your influence on your kids begins to be replaced by their friends and by 18 years old you have zero influence on their lives.

You wanna really work up some anxiety as a parent? Wake up one day and find out your chance to positively influence your kids is nearly over.

Time is undefeated

The shed is built. Shed looks pretty good. There are a couple things about the shed that you’d like to tweak for your sake, the shed’s sake and for society’s sake but, that’s it. The shed is built.

Time to sit back and see if the shed is strong enough to weather everything that’s going to be thrown at it. Hail. Hurricanes. Heat waves. Bird poop. A complaint letter from the HOA.

The Blonde Bomber came home last year and asked why there were stories about her on the Internet. Some kid her age found them online and for the first time she figured out that the little paper that shows up in the mailbox shows up in other people’s mailboxes.

This is so dumb but I just never envisioned them growing old enough to know or care or be bothered by any of this.

Maybe that’s why I haven’t written as much about them lately. Or maybe it’s for all of the reasons above. It’s certainly not from a lack of interest in them. That will never waiver. But they’re getting older and time is undefeated.

Future Man is a freshman in high school. The Bomber is a sixth grader. Man, it’s weird to write that.

I don’t see them as much as I used to but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about them as much as I used to. If anything I probably think about them more just because I don’t see them as much.

We can call the column Modern Dad but it’s a rite as old as time-  kids grow up and outgrow their parents.

In the meantime maybe I’ll start writing more about the Mother of Dragons? I bet she’d really appreciate that.

Probably best to stick with the kids.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 15-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 11-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.