Freewheelin’

Another thing that happened this summer was that the training wheels came off my younger daughter’s bike. Unlike her older sister, who cannot hide her slightest emotion, Lucy tried to harden her face like she was all business. But the triumph was too great. The smile broke through her attempts to hide it.

This was just a week or two before school started. Before, as I have mentioned, both girls were in school all day for the first time ever.

The training wheels had come off for me too, then. So to speak. I’m freewheeling in my days again. For six and a half hours, at least. And I’m certainly manic enough to make a productive workday out of that.

In other words, I’m a (mostly) working dad now. My wife drops the kids off at school, and I pick them up. A common occurrence in many families. Or some variation of that.

My days of full-time Captain Dadding are behind me. Nearly a decade, over in a blink.

That leaves me three choices for what to do with this blog.

One, I can exploit my experience and become a pundit. I can tell everyone else how to raise their children, which is all that parenting pundits do. Even when they start out trying to do something nobler, the punditry system only accommodates advisor-consultant-heckler-know-it-alls.

No. Sorry. I can’t do that. As long as people are raising their kids—actively raising them—then I choose to trust them to figure out what works best for their family.

Two, I can wring my memories for a few more funny stories and hope to draw a few more readers and sell a few more books. Well, a few more copies of the book that’s already out, at least.

But, fun as that may be, it eats up a lot of my work week. And the effective hourly rate doesn’t come close to minimum wage.

Which leaves me with Three: Move on. Be a responsible dad and try to provide more for my kids’ future. Heck, their present. Tuition hasn’t stopped, after all.

freewheelingWhen we took the training wheels off Lucy’s bike, we put them back on again for long family rides, simply for safety and convenience. But that was temporary. We know that they will only be a distant memory by the time the next bicycling season begins.

One can’t help notice the comparison to how I have tried to reboot the blog this past month.

The wheels have to come off.

There are other books to write, projects to conceive, and there are always cartoons to be drawn. And sell. And if all that fails, there’s always a real job.

I’ll still probably post here from time to time. Since I began, not quite three years ago, I’ve published more than 350 posts. It’s probably hard to quit something like that cold turkey.

Before I ride off, though, I want to thank you for your support. Your hand on the seat, if you will. Staying home with kids can be a lonely, isolating pursuit, no matter how vital and ultimately rewarding it may be. Your simply being here—letting me share some of what rolls around in my head during the day, stuff I couldn’t share with my only companions because they wouldn’t understand—has helped me stay upright. Thank you. Deeply, sincerely, thank you.

Now, as Lucy so earnestly instructed me, “Don’t let go until I tell you… Okay, let go!”

4 thoughts on “Freewheelin’

  1. Pat-thanks for sharing and for the laughs and memories. I have enjoyed each one of your postings. It was a nice break from the daily riggers of work at the office and being a parent. Well done

  2. I got surprisingly emotional reading this post. My daughters are just a couple of years younger than yours. My husband stays at home with them. We have frequently checked in here over the years for a laugh and a word of encouragement. We’ve shared with friends words of wisdom from your blog as if we know you personally! In fact, you completely reshaped the way we handle Santa in our house. Thank you for the transparency, honesty, and positive outlook on the wonderful, harrowing blessing of parenting. We look forward to following any future project you choose to share!

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