This is Ridiculous This is Amazing
Today’s guest author is Jason Good—writer, comedian, and the author of This is Ridiculous This is Amazing. In this collection of 71 lists that capture the absurdity and joys of family life, Jason delivers a laugh-out-loud reminder that everything is easier and a lot more fun when approached with a sense of humor—especially parenting.
I suspect that if hunger, thirst, and fatigue were perfectly mixed, I could be on fire and one of my kids might still ask me for milk. “I can’t do that right now, I’m on fire.” “But I want milk! Pleeeeasssse?” “Ok, ok, I’ll get the milk and THEN extinguish myself.”
It makes no sense, but it’s the only way our species can survive. It’s as if my love for them was soldered onto my brain along with my hunger and fatigue responses. “Did you just try to poke my eye out? Come back here and give me a giant hug.” The fact that they’re cute definitely has something to do with it, but I know they might only be cute to me. As hard as that is to fathom, it must be true because I’ve never seen another child I thought was better looking. I honestly don’t find any other children cute enough for me to even consider being their father. I’m sure if I actually looked after the child for a month or two and let him wipe his nose on my bare thigh while I made him a peanut butter sandwich in the shape of a horse, I would eventually love him as if he were my own.
The ridiculous downside to parenting is clear and visceral: that’s why it’s so easy and funny to complain about it. But how can I explain the upside, that enormous emotional experience, which compels us to persevere? I can say that I love their smiles and laughs, the way they smell, and how they dance, and mispronounce their own names or become shy on the phone. That list would never end. But why I feel like that is a mystery. Some say it’s the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, but how long can that last? Parents feel like this about their kids even when they’re old. I could shave my dad’s head and cover his suits in John McCain campaign buttons while he slept, and though he would be angry, embarrassed, disappointed, and shocked, he wouldn’t stop loving me. That can’t just be a chemical. If it were, someone would have harnessed its incredible ability to make people act against their own interests and weaponized it by now.
A child does not show love through required acts of giving, but instead through their honesty of spirit. He is too real and true not to be loved, but one must experience that fact relentlessly for the love to become unconditional. And once it’s set, it’s there forever. It’s why parents refer to their adult sons as their little boys even after they’ve become obese Rush fans who live in the spare room and steal their pain meds. Our parents know who we really are. They know what we were like when we first came off the assembly line, before other people, school, work, Wendy’s biggie fries, and progressive rock radio stations started changing us. We’ll always be fresh and unchanged to them, just like my boys will be to me when they grow up and become just like George Clooney.
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