Every new parent has one thing. One thing they say they will never do in front of their baby. Some say they'll never swear, but that's a stretch. Even my angel of a wife, who employs such gems as "curses" and "Oh my word" in lieu of profanity, can't help but drop the occasional f-bomb when she jams her toe into the dresser. It's quite amazing to hear it when someone who utters that word with such irregularity does in fact say it. It's like spotting Haley's Comet. You're in awe of the majesty and the rarity.
That's not an option for me. The f-word is emblazoned on my family's crest, right below the carafe of wine and the clove of garlic. I have curbed my potty mouth considerably since Penelope's birth, but I know she's going to say "Luna, Goddammit" at some point early in her life. Oh well. Gotta learn some time.
So no parent is perfect. How many times have you seen a mom flip out on one of her children in the supermarket? And you think "When I have kids, I'll never talk to them like that." Judge all you want, my friends. Being a parent is like running for President of the United States. Everyone eventually uncovers your dirty laundry. I mean that both metaphorically and literally. Who the hell has time to do laundry anymore?
But my one thing may surprise you. And it was revealed this past weekend, as the celebration of my wife's 30th birthday continued. Yes, her actual birthday was two weeks ago, but we start marking it at the end of June, and go on through mid-July. It's crazy. Even Jesus only has 12 Days of Christmas.
We attended an amazing show called the "Awesome 80's Prom" at Manhattan's Webster Hall. We had such, like, a total blast, and highly recommend it if you are a fan or a child of the glorious 1980's. It's an interactive performance where the characters dance and talk with you, and you dress up and are part of the show.
Well, in the midst of my drunken dancing wildness, somewhere in between "Jesse's Girl" and "Footloose," I decided to buy each of us a T-shirt. And I had narrowed it down to two: One with the name and logo of the show, and another that featured the name of the fictional high school in the show: Wanaget High.
Say it a few times, out loud, so you understand the hidden innuendo. Not too loud if your boss is around.
There you go. Funny, right? "Wanna get high?" Not as funny when you're a parent, though. There I was, hair spiked in a mohawk, wearing an MTV tank-top and a Smurf tattoo, juiced up on Stoli, and I'm thinking like a dad! In my inebriated hysteria I had the clarity to tell the salesman, "No. My daughter's going to be able to read that eventually. I'll take two of these." And thus, my wife and I went home with the same shirt, different sizes.
I understand my daughter will learn what that means eventually. She's just not going to learn it from me. Despite whatever I may have done in the past, despite my transgressions, my weaknesses, and my faults, there are certain things Penelope just doesn't need to know.
She is also going to one day find out that there are some things I can't do. Maybe she'll realize it when I attempt to fix something of hers that is broken, and I just end up buying her a new one. Because, more than likely than not, I can't fix it. The only thing these hands can do is type. And cook. Maybe it'll come when we're in the car, and someone honks their horn at me for cutting them off. She'll know everything I do is not alright.
No one is perfect, especially not me. But my daughter doesn't know that yet. And I'm going to do my best to make sure she finds out about it as late in her life as possible.