Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Front Line Dispatches

 A busy couple of weeks getting the boys back into a routine (and blowing off a week for my birthday). In the interim, a couple of important developments:

The Mexican Wrestling masks have arrived. After busting my sister's chops for years about getting these when she was living in Mexico, she got some recently on a trip down to Mexico for friend's wedding. She spotted them in a market and called over a little kid working there to know the best masks to get. The answer: Rey Misterio. She snapped up three in different colours. I don't know the significance of the various colours - is one formal, the other business and the last for at home entertaining? They look awesome and initiated an immediate wrestling match. In fact, even having them line up for the photo resulted in some foot stomping, head slapping and "squaring".


In other news my eldest was spurned yet again when he tried out for Select hockey. I am really pissed off on his behalf. I am glad not to drop the big dough and have to spend an even greater time in hockey arenas. Also it is relatively low on my priority list to have him play hockey at the cost of doing anything else but, of course, you get sucked into it and he REALLY wanted it. It was crushing to have to tell him that the one spot left that three guys were fighting over went to someone else. It was especially hard when it became clear that some kids from the team didn't even have to come out to all the tryouts.

This was one of the many times when I had no idea how to handle it or what to say. How do you explain to a kid that, no matter what you do and how good you are that some processes are bogus and based on favouritism, cronyism etc.? I'm sure I sound like a bitter crazy biased parent but truly afterwards I felt partly upset with myself for allowing him to take part in this farce. Sure it's a lesson we all learn one way or another but it is a shitty one. The kid who got he spot is a friend of his and he's a good player so I don't fault him getting the spot - it's a system where not everyone has to earn their place, despite it supposedly being a meritocracy. I now understand the term Select not to mean "of special excellence" but rather "fastidiously chosen; exclusive" i.e. a club, a frat etc. I always have hated organizations like this - mostly because none of them ever wanted me - but I had naively thought that this wasn't one of those groups. Foolish me. I have to be careful not to let my own prejudices inform him, I guess, but mostly I don't want him to get discouraged from trying out for things that he wants - maybe just know that their choice doesn't define him.

My own dad, a tremendous family booster, told my son that he was better than half of the players (having seen him in action with them over the last year) no matter what the coaches said or did. My son really perked up at that and his face cleared. It's important to have your fans and supporters when times like this happen who give you unflinching and unqualified support. Another lesson in Dadding I am reminded of from my first teacher.

Next, it was the first school trip of the year for me and the second born. He has  just started at a new school with wholly new kids. I wanted to go to see how he was fitting in and check out the teacher and the rest of the class. I am happy to say I was completely superfluous to the event - he was already well integrated with the group and happily ignored me on the bus ride out. It was a cold day supervised by some very enthusiastic counsellors so the teachers, other parents and I mostly hung out in the heated portable drinking coffee. So, unlike the first case of being glad to be there to offer support to the oldest I was even more happy to not to have to with the second - content to sit back and let him go off on his own. There was one mum who never seemed to leave her kid's side the whole day. Is that a Mum v. Dad thing? I am happiest when not needed - because it tells me I've got him ready for life on his own. That said, I was very touched he wanted to snuggle up with me while he ate his lunch.

Lastly, today, while walking to school with the youngest was an unqualified pleasure and one of those times when it is just fun to be a dad. It was one of the days he wanted to hold my hand - already a nice and less frequent way to start the day. A sunny but cool morning, we raced from pool of sunlight to pool of sunlight quickly becoming solar powered robots complete with action sequence sound effects. By the time we got to school he told me with a big smile and using his hand to act as a charge indicator, "Daddy, we're now more than charged up."

I certainly was super charged by that walk for the rest of the day.

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