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Cat’s in the Cradle

Cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon

Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home dad, I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, I know we’ll have a good time then…

I know I’ve been promising you the report from the last day of comic-con, but after losing the major post, I’m feeling less inspired to make it a big hoo-haw post like I wanted to in the first place, and I doubt at this point I’ll get around to it, so let’s just say, the comic mini was received well. We got to give one to Dark Horse, and they will review it. We passed it around and got a verbal offer to collaborate on a 8-page story in a quarterly anthology (need to follow up on that) and we got invited to come have lunch at Pixar. Then we went to an awesome club that night, which turned out to be a Burning Man pre-party. Woot!

…but back to this post. Anyone who knows me decently well knows that I have some issues around my father not really being there for me as a companion / playmate / participant in my childhood, and it’s something I’m hyper-sensitive about in my own life, so everything I view in my own life and behavior is through that particular filter. I can say that simultaneously I can be too hard on myself because I don’t want to repeat my father’s sins, and I do indeed repeat those sins when I’m not paying particular attention. My dad had a very hands-off approach to me, and it’s what is in the parental tapes.

That being said, this summer has been the nightmare business trip / overworked time for me, and I haven’t had a lot of attention or time for my family (especially Eli, who’s extra-needy these days because of the addition of Isaac into the mix). I’ve been trying my damnedest to compensate, and I’ve even started doing some gaming with Eli (who is, by the way EATING IT UP! Thanks Jason, for the idea), but today I was rushing around to get ready for my trip to Portland for the week (OSCON 2005) and while I was trying to put together some meals for Julie so she wouldn’t have to cook, Eli was pestering me to play with me. I kept trying to tell him I was busy and that I would play with him after I was done, but then he sucker-punched me and stopped me cold in my tracks…

I’m your son, don’t you want to play with me?

Ow. Damn, that one hurt. It totally floored me right in the kitchen, and after I recovered, I broke from my activities for a short while to go play with play-doh and make jedi play-doh characters.

Mind you, Eli does get a lot of time to play with people, but I do know that he gets proportionally less time to play with his daddy than with his mommy or other folk in his life. I get so damned wrapped up in the shit I think I need to get done (and the stuff I *know* I have to get done) that there’s precious little time left for him and me. I’m trying to change this, but it’s hard when you get home around 6pm, you have to get dinner on the table (that’s my job every day) by 6:30-7 PM, then Isaac needs to go down for the night (and on at least one night a week I have to do that too), then you’ve got maybe a half-hour to eat and refocus your eyes, then it’s into the Eli bedtime routine. It’s easy to just plug him in to some movie on the TV while I gather my strength, but I feel very guilty when I resort to that. I’m trying to reclaim that little time we have in the evening for some father-son time. And weekends, well they’ve seem to vaporize for social events as well.

Again, maybe I’m being too harsh on myself, and perhaps it’s a good sign that I’m even noticing this — I somehow doubt my dad ever got the fact that he was neglecting me. But still, I know other dads that are better at this than I am, and I am working hard to emulate that. They’re only kids once, and I sure as hell don’t want to miss it. I don’t want my sons feeling like they missed out on their dad in their formative years, or that I was distant or unavailable.

Ever struggling to be a better man, a better husband, a better father…

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