To be honest, we’re kind of in the kid zone right now. Z is eight, Pebbles is five and they are both fun loving, smart, and independent children. They can fend for themselves when it comes to the basics but, as parents, we’re still an indispensible source of comfort, knowledge and things on high shelves. Our kids have strong opinions but still more or less trust our judgment and wisdom as grown ups (because they don’t know better yet). They’re curious about the world and not yet disappointed in humanity. We are past diapers and howling tantrums (mostly) and we’re still a little way out from acne and broken hearts.
Karen and I are as young and spry as we’re ever going to be – keeping up with them isn’t yet a challenge – and we can sneak away for the occasional date night without feeling bad about it. We’re not rolling in dough but the bills are getting paid (an on again/off again terror in the lives of entertainers and…well…human beings). We’re healthy, we’re happy and we’re all madly in love with each other. We talk in terms of ‘family’ all the time and the kids glow and wrap themselves up in the fuzzy blanket of our little four person commune. If there’s a sweet spot in the life span of a parent, surely this is it. It can’t possibly last, I know that. Still, it’s here now and it’s really good.
But then comes relentless static of everyday life. Mundane annoyances from laundry to parent-teacher conferences, and trying to stay in shape, and the house in Los Angeles might need a new roof, and why aren’t I writing more often, and boy I’d like to take my wife away for the weekend, and “no, you can’t shoot your sister with that Nerf gun” and “no, Ana and Elsa cannot take a bath with you.” And of course there’s my profession, steeped in the fiction of self-importance and all the made-up busy work that goes along with that charade.
Sometimes it’s just damn hard to be quiet and patient and still.
What keeps me up at night isn’t anxiety about the future, I don’t fret about rent or the uncertainty of work, or the frequently disappointing state of the world. What sticks in my mind these days is one simple thought: It is entirely possible that this – the right here and now – is as good as life is ever going to get and I’m afraid that I’m going to miss it.