Half-decent Parents

Jim of Hyperbole brought his family to Minnesota for a visit last weekend. It was great to see him, his wife Melissa, and their three girls, Mercedes, Reeve, and Cian. All our kids are all enough now to play together, remember each other, etc. My son Linus taught Mercedes and Reeve how to play video games (Mario Kart), and my daughter Lily and Cian taught each other…well, I’m not sure if they taught each other anything, but they did have a good time together. When your kids and the kids of your best friends become friends in their own right, that makes the short list of Good Things In Life.

Unfortunately, due to Jim’s exotic living arrangements we don’t see each other much. These are odd times we live in; you can be connected to people electronically nearly every day, participate in any number of personal or group conversations, etc., and you can get sucked into thinking you don’t need to actually spend time with people to maintain a relationship with them. But then you do spend time together, and you realize you have been missing something after all.

It’s tough, catching up after a year apart and almost 20 years of friendship, in a three day weekend. You can’t really do it, and I’m not even sure you should try. “Catching up” often means sitting around, having heart-to-heart conversations, watching Heart-to-Heart reruns, and not doing the things that drew you together in the first place. I think the best thing is to do the things you’ve always loved to do together, and if possible, have your kids join in the fun with you.

Jim and I love to play games. In particular, we love to play video games. And we like to drink and party, though not to excess, because we are responsible people and role models. But the role modeling went completely out the window on Jim’s last night in town.

We put all the kids to bed except Linus, because he’s older, and because he also loves to play video games. And then we busted out Pipeline People BradT and KatyH’s Rock Band for the Wii. Linus can handle the guitars or the drums as well as any of the adults except KatyH, who is the female Yngwie Malmsteen of Rock Band. So, he’s in the band.

And the band played on. And on. Suddenly, it was 2:30 in the morning, and our nine year-old son was still down there with us trying to nail Aerosmith’s version of “Train Kept a’ Rollin”. An outside observer might conclude this makes Jane and I bad parents.

Even worse, Jim was dropping F-bombs like the McCain campaign drops POW references. Jim used “fuck” as verb, adjective, noun, salutation, exhortation, exultation and more throughout the entire evening, all in very close and loud proximity to Linus. Again, an outside observer might conclude this makes Jane and I bad parents.

But you know what? Outside observers don’t know shit. First, to our credit, we did not let Linus drink or smoke during the entire evening, although I am concerned for his future in this band if he doesn’t pick one of those up at some point. Second, Linus has heard salty language before, and we’ve never, not once, had a problem with him in that regard. What he says to his friends is his business, but he knows what appropriate public language is. And if your kid is going to hear swear words (and they will), don’t let it be from some amateur fifth-grader who doesn’t know how to use the words. Better to learn from a cunning linguist like Jim. Third, adults swear when they are having fun and rocking out, or at least the adults I know do. Given a choice of shielding my son from hearing some “naughty” words, or forming a bond of his own with one of my best friends in life by staying up too late on a Saturday, that seems a pretty clear choice.

And if you do choose to indict our parenting skills, remember that we only did this with one of our kids. We made the other one go to bed, so I guess that at least makes us half-decent parents. She’ll get her chance to join the band someday.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Half-decent Parents

  1. Nathan D says:

    He will remember that night for the rest of his life.

  2. Brad Thompson says:

    Absolutely. If nothing else, he will remember my pained, yet heartfelt vocal rendition of Roxanne.

    As for Lily….she’s developed a wine habit, so the verdict is still out on the other half of your parenting.

  3. pipelineblog says:

    Yes, but she has excellent taste.

  4. Elaine M says:

    I took my kids to their first concert at an outdoor venue on Friday (failed to plan for a babysitter). Connor danced, he sang songs he didn’t know, Helen clapped. It was far from the miserable experience I was anticipating – enjoyable, even. I thought that was good…but you’re telling me it gets better? Awesome. Linus must have felt so cool.

  5. Clint says:

    Holy crap, dude! I don’t believe you! Its “Hart to Hart” not “Heart-to-Heart.” I think the latter is a new download for Rock Band.

  6. Wow. My first shot at a Hart-to-Hart reference, and I butchered it. I actually watched that show, too. Time well spent, obviously.

    That Aerosmith song lasts approximately as long as Aerosmith’s entire career.

  7. DaveK says:

    You have a better salty language policy than we do. I just try to make sure that the first repeated curse words are from hearing Kristi.

    Emma has picked up “what the f**k”, but has learned to say “what the heck” or when she’s really into it, just says “what the…” really loud.

    We were in some store the other day, and she picked up some random outfit that she thought was ugly and shouted “what the…” One of the sales ladies burst out laughing, and some random judgmental overland park kansas mom gave us the “you need church” look.

    I guess we need to work on appropriateness.

  8. That’s hilarious.

    But you know, church kids are often just as bad or worse, in my experience. Their parents just don’t know it.

  9. Jim says:

    I agree with Brad. His version of Roxanne was incredibly heartfelt. But I’m thinking of becoming the singer in a Bon Jovi cover band.

    Sorry for all the swearing. That’s what you get, though.

  10. kelly says:

    I think the ‘learn from the parents’ approach is pretty sweet as long as the ‘public vs. private’ communication rules can be observed. And whats not too love about getting to be part of the action with some adults in a very sincere way. I think you are at least above half, give yourselves some credit. Curious who bounced back the next morning more quickly, adults or Linus…. i would place a bet.

    BTW, admiring your new trout on the grill header….. why the slashes in the side? Looks like a cooking technique for those fish i am unaware of?

  11. Linus will sleep until you wake him up; I think I was up earlier the next morning.

    Not my trout; I sometimes post pics from Friend of Pipeline MikeL, who does USGS work in Colorado. Those were caught in a small lake high above the San Luis valley. That’s all I know about them.

    I know it’s a bit disingenuous to post other people’s pics, but I usually indicate when I take them down where they are from, and MikeL has full knowledge of how I use them. Fact is, he’s getting out into the world and taking photos, and I’m not. So my best chance for visual variety is through the photos of others, right now.

  12. Cheryl Hennessee says:

    Woke up early. Read Pipeline. Glad you were able to have time w/Jim, Melissa and their kids. Guess we were “normal parents”! Should we be concerned about Lily’s wine drinking habit or Linus becoming a master of four letter words? As grandparents, we want to be a good influence on Lily and Linus so we will continue to try to keep our bad habits hidden.

  13. Katy says:

    By the way, Linus made the band. We’re still on the fence about Doug and Jane.

    Tour starts in October, with gigs in Fargo, Red Wing, Wausau and Iron Mountain. Linus will have to take 3 weeks of school but I’m sure you won’t mind, given your parenting standards.

  14. pipelineblog says:

    As long as we get a cut. . .


  15. Nathan D says:

    What’s so fucking wrong with curse words anyway?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s