My traveling companion is nine years old,

He is the child of my first marriage,

But I have reason to believe,

We both will be received,

In Graceland

Paul Simon

 

Call me J, short for Joe, which, at three letters, seems as if it should be short enough without having to reduce it down further.  Actually you can call me anything you like since I made up J (and every other name in this blog) to keep my son’s privacy.

My son is Nathaniel, Nate, Nat, Nathan to some, Monkey Boy, Bubba, Bubby, and a ton of other names.   He is a typical four-year-old mostly, except for those times when he is being exceptionally brilliant or those thankfully rare times when he is being a royal pain in the butt.

I started writing notes about Nate from the day he was born.  After a few years these relatively mundane notes, “Wow dad, mom and I never eat ice-cream in the bathtub,” started to pile up on my PC.  So I’m going to move a few of them onto a blog, where perhaps some other highly-stressed single father, or any parent for that matter, might see them and perhaps get a chuckle.

Me?  I’m just another 40-something single dad, an attorney by trade, a slacker by nature who still manages to put in 50 or 60 relatively cheerful hours a week at work.  Monkey Boy and I live in San Diego, although he was born and lived most of his life in the Midwest. I’m divorced from D, a good mom and my reluctant partner in raising Nathaniel for as long as Nathaniel needs raising.  She’s reluctant about the partnership, that is, not about raising Nathaniel.

Nate is the love of my life, my greatest joy and my deepest anguish.  He is a smart, funny, cool kid, who happens to have several serious heart defects, but his heart defects are not what this blog is about, I hope.  What it is about, again, I hope, is the life of a toddler and a single dad, the crazy stuff that passes for normal in a house where a couple of boys shack up, about the joys and struggles of single fatherhood.  It’s about life, most of which consists of me telling him to shush up so I can pay attention to my conference call, packing lunches for school, putting him to bed with a book and a story and a song, getting him to school on time, mundane events occasionally mixed with the crazy and funny shit dads and their sons can get away with when no one is around to provide adult supervision, and even less frequently, about the truly extraordinary and sublime seconds that stand as signposts fading away in the distance of our four-year journey. Those are the things I want to capture, mostly for myself.

I am Nathaniel’s dad.  First, foremost, always, and last.  That’s a weird thing about part-time parenthood — the part-time part is only legal and conceptual. It doesn’t exist in real life. Even when Nathaniel is at his mom’s or at school or somewhere else, he is always in my thoughts and always my son. It doesn’t matter if it’s “my day” or not; if Nate is sick or sad, I am just as worried about him on “her day” as I would be if he were sitting on the couch in our home.  Maybe more so even because I can’t see him, hold him, and comfort him.  And part-time or full-time, no matter how much of a moronic idiot I sometimes am (and I am), I am always Nate’s dad.  That’s my job, my calling, the most important thing I do every week.

Nate’s birth, his illness, my divorce, and the events that surrounded them made me examine life in new ways, some good, some poisonous, most maturing, I hope.  I hope you enjoy a glimpse into the everyday, mundane, sometimes funny, and occasionally extraordinary stuff that make up our lives.

J

 

 

 

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real events is purely coincidental.