Thursday, July 18, 2013

Don't Be a Garbage Parent


This Friday is my wife’s birthday. What will we be doing? We will wedge all of our vacation gear into the back of the car and leave the house around 10 am for the white knuckle thrill ride that is I-95 north to Princeton, New Jersey. 5 hours and several near death experiences later, we will check in to our hotel, rest a bit, then get dressed for my son’s choir concert. He has been taking part in some sort of advanced choral workshop thing with all these high powered choral big shots from all over the country for the past two weeks and they will display the fruits of all their labor Friday night.

It just so happens that the Dunnevant family vacation of 2013 begins Saturday, in Hatteras, North Carolina, which means, that after this night of singing and frivolity, we will add Patrick and his suitcase to the back of the car, and make the 8 and a half hour drive from New Jersey to the Outer Banks. Why would we do such a thing? Why not make him drive himself? Why not fly him down?

Well, my friends, here’s the deal. This side trip to Jersey serves three noble purposes. Number one, it saves Patrick’s very old and hanging by a thread car the pain and agony of a sixteen hour drive in 1000 degree heat. Number two, it saves me the pain and agony of having to be a part of the famous Dunnevant beach convoy, where 5 cars turn a 4 hour drive into an all day scenic tour of the finest bathrooms between Richmond and Hatteras. But lastly we do it because we have no real choice. We can’t afford to miss the concert.

Half of parenting is just showing up. If your kid has a ballgame or a play or a concert, you make sure your fanny is in a seat watching it. There are no excuses for not being there. When I hear some guy say, “my kid is in a play tonight and I wish I could be there, but I have to get this proposal ready. Ha, somebody’s gotta pay the bills,” I usually say, “you’re a fool.” No, seriously, I say that to his face, because it’s total garbage. The entire debate between quality or quantity time is complete garbage. If it’s important to your kid, it better be important to you or you’re a garbage parent.

So, Pam and I will make a ten hour detour to hear our son sing his heart out in a chapel at Westminster. Somewhere along the way we will celebrate the birthday of the woman who brought him into the world, perhaps at a rest stop in Pisquataway.

Break a leg, son.