Sliding into Home
For generations, the Imes family has passed down a particular genetic anomaly that, while not fatal, causes a great deal of pain and anxiety to most of us. We find we fare best in the coldest months, when snow is falling and everything is ice cold. We generally begin to feel either benignly asymptomatic or slightly nauseated in the spring. During the summer bouts are frequent and we can feel the impact in our everyday lives. The condition rarely extends into late fall, but when it does it is, unquestionably, the most painful and distressing time of year. By the time October has ended we’re often hardly a shadow of our healthy, happier selves.
The Imeses are Cubs fans.
Being a Cubs fan is the arguably the best metaphor for life. It has certainly made me a better parent. Anyone who follows the Cubs is at least rounding third when it comes to vital life lessons regarding raising children. Watch:
- In your rookie year everyone will fall all over themselves the second your baby does anything interesting, adorable, picturesque or funny. After that first season, someone else’s baby gets to be the rookie sensation. You had your time, let someone else bask.
- Of COURSE your team is special to you, they’re YOURS. The truth is, to most everyone else they’re not that distinguishable from all the other goobers running around on the field. Seriously. Do you think your friends go home at night and talk about how great your kid did at the thing? No. They go home and talk about how everyone else should be watching their kid do the thing.
- It’s good to have ground rules and expectations, but if you ask for perfection you’re almost always going to be disappointed.
- Factor in errors. Nobody means to drop the ball, that’s why they’re called errors. If they weren’t so common they wouldn’t be a stat.
- Sometimes you do your very best and still lose. The proper way to handle this is to put your glove over your mouth, shout “DAMMIT!” and then get on with it. There’s no point in denying you’re disappointed, but you still have to get off the field and come back with a better plan.
- If you’ve given it all you’ve got and you’re failing, that’s why we have assistant coaches, bullpens, pinch hitters. Find what you need and call in reinforcements. A babysitter? A housecleaner? A therapist? A pot dealer? Why be miserable doing it alone when there are whole professions dedicated to helping make success easier?
- No matter how shitty this year is going, call it a building year and promise yourself next year your kid will be saner/smarter/less weird/smell nicer/not torch the cat. If last year was a building year and this year sucks too, say it’s a coaching problem and blame it on your spouse.
- Remember you have fans. Sometimes you screw up so badly you can’t even remember why somebody let you be in charge of a tiny person. Remember– your fans won’t give up on you. They have faith.
- If your fans are true Wrigley fans, they also have hot dogs and beer. You should get in on that action.
- This isn’t for dilettantes. It’s a true way of life so dress it, sleep it, talk it, walk it, be it.
- It might feel like decades, or even over a century, since your last big victory. Perhaps the string of small victories and joys is the way to get through parenting. It’s possible you won’t be there for the biggest victories but that doesn’t mean you didn’t help create them.
- When it all gets to be Too Much, blame a goat then get drunk.
- After you do that, bear in mind: there is always, always, always, always, always Next Year.
- Next Year, re-read number 13.