How Do You Catch A Dragon?

Midnight approaches and instead of focusing on how to catch a dragon I am puttering around the house fixing broken toilets, worn out weather stripping and assorted odds and ends.

Two nights ago I found a sleeping teenage boy on the couch and decided I’d carry my boychik up two flights of stairs to bed.


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Why?

Because the face I saw on him was a combination of teenage boy and toddler and I thought it might be nice to carry a sleeping child one last time.

And maybe because in a week I’ll be 46 and carrying 120 some odd pounds of anyone or anything up the stairs is a simple way to make me feel like I can still hunt dragons and outrun the sun one more time.

My plan would have worked if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids, er kid.

He is far too big for me to hold like a football and his length is great enough to make it challenging to carry him up the stairs without banging his head.

So I slung him over a shoulder in a fireman’s carry and began to walk across the room.

We made it up a few stairs before the motion woke him and the now disoriented teen began to thrash around.

You can attribute his not being dropped upon his head upon a father’s instinct to protect his child.

Instead of looking like Captain America saving the day I looked more like Al Bundy flailing around the stairs.

How Do You Catch A Dragon?

My daughter asks me what it is like to spend so much of the day outside of the house for work and I laugh.

She knows there was a time when I went to an office each day but she barely remembers it because the majority of her life I have worked out of a home office.

I tell her I am very tired and she says that I look like it.

“It is always like this when I start a new job. It always takes a bit more energy to get into the swing of it and to figure out what needs to be done and how to do it.

Truth is I don’t know enough yet to ask the right questions.”

“Daddy, what does that mean? You always ask a million questions. How can you not know?”

I laugh and tell her when you are out hunting dragons it takes time to figure out the best way to capture one.

She draws herself up to her full height and stares me in the eyes, “If dragons were real I think you’d try to wrestle one. That is not very smart.”

That girl knows me well and I can’t say she is wrong.

I would wrestle a dragon but give me credit for having gained some sense in my old age.

When I was younger I would have relied on brute strength to beat that beast down and somehow I would have climbed upon its neck and choked it until it passed out but those days are past.

Since dragons can talk I would sit it down and work out a deal and the only way that dragon would get choked out is if he didn’t understand I had just made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Life Is Too Short

We saw The Avengers on Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards we talked about the movie and I got as much or more pleasure from listening to my son tell me about the superheroes that were in it.

He knew all of them and quite a bit of their individual mythologies.

In the midst of of our conversation I told him about how I remembered seeing Star Wars at a drive-in and he asked me which movie I was talking about.

After he asked me twice more and responded Star Wars both times I realized we had discovered a generation gap because if you ask people who are roughly my age they will always understand I am referring to the original movie and not one of the so-so prequels.

He made some crack about my age and I made one about his and thought about how we have 9-12th grade left to traverse together.

Even if he goes to a local college and lives at home these days are limited. It is a good thing.

But the other point is I know that my time in the workforce is not so short. Unless something changes there are many more to go and I am determined to do what I have to do to find a position that does more than help me earn a buck or pass the time.

I need to be somewhere where I don’t just imagine chasing dragons but can actively work upon catching them.

And I need to be somewhere that provides a different experience than that one I am used to and in some ways know best.

Why?

There is a section of the Mishnah called Pirkei Avot that you can translate as Ethics of Our Fathers. One of the sections within talks about a person receiving three names.

There is the name their parents give them at birth and the name their friends call them by. Finally there is the name they call themselves by and it is that third name that drives me here.

The name I call myself by is only meaningful to me if I make do more than provide lip service to chasing dragons.

Maybe I’ll catch one and maybe I won’t, but either way provides substance and proof that I deserve the name I wish to call myself.

And that is the lesson I want my children to take from all of it. Happiness and sense of self comes from within, our job is to figure it out and find it.

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16 Comments

  1. The Imp May 7, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Loved this post.

    My kids witnessed a ‘career high’ for me this past week. They got to join in the excitement of seeing Mommy’s post hit over 2 million FB shares. They got to watch Mom be interviewed for the news.

    Problem w/that? “Are you getting interviewed today, Mom?” Explaining to them that it’s a once in a blue moon thing, that no, Mom isn’t a famous writer now, it was a one off blip, and the work goes on, was a bit of a disappointment to them.

    Which gave me the opportunity to explain that fame is fleeting, it’s what you hold dear that matters.

    Not a bad week.

    • Jack May 7, 2015 at 9:42 am

      That sounds like a great week for all of you. Fun to have all the excitement and cool to share it with the family. Even if it is a one off it is cool to be able to have done it. Who knows, maybe it is the start of something more.

  2. Jens-Petter Berget May 6, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    There are so many interesting things about kids and being a parent. I have three kids and they are all unique and have their own versions of happiness. What makes my daughter smile, might be irritating to my sons.

  3. Larry May 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I think your daughter is right – if you caught a dragon, you would fight.
    Was he annoyed and embarrassed that you were lifting him up? I could see that.
    I hope the job is rounding into shape.

    • Jack May 5, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      I probably would. I am too ‘dumb’ to accept that some challenges are too big to be taken on by one person. But then again Archimedes said that with the right lever he could move the world, I bet with the right lever I could take the dragon.

      As for my son. he wasn’t embarrassed, he was still half asleep and disoriented so when he woke up he didn’t quite realize where he was or what was happening.

  4. Janine Huldie May 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Said absolutely perfectly and only hope that as my own kids grow that I can continue to impart my own words of wisdom for them to find and make their own happiness, as well.

  5. Renee McKinley May 5, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Once again your words are timely. My particular dragon has been perched, yawning and waiting for me to give chase. I’m looking forward to it.

  6. Danny Brown May 5, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Jack, what a poignant post this is, and one that speaks on so many levels.

    My five year old son likes to be carried upstairs every night. It’s his cuddle time. Don’t get me wrong, he likes cuddles during the day too, and will frequently ask for one, but it’s his three year old sister who’s the cuddle king… er, Queen. Princess?

    I love this time, because it reminds me of how there is no love like that of a parent for their child. It makes me wonder about parents of children who do terrible things, like rape, murder, abuse. Do you still love them so, or has something changed?

    And, yes, there is only one answer when talking about Star Wars…

    Here’s to your dragons, mate.

    • Jack May 5, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Hi Danny,

      Some of the boys and I used to wonder about that. We’d ask each other what happens if your child does something awful and came to no conclusions. I hope to never find out, but I suspect you love them even when they do something terrible. Maybe you lose respect and chances are you wonder where you went wrong, but I can’t imagine not loving my children ever.

      Yours are at a wonderful age, of course I say that about every age.

      Still as my son approaches 15 and pushes me away a bit I admit I miss some of the affection from years past.I try to make sure it is not lost to ‘male’ bravado while still giving him his space.

      • Danny Brown May 5, 2015 at 8:01 am

        Yeah, it would be an “interesting” place to be. Like you say, you can’t imagine ever not loving your kids. And then I see news stories of adult men raping and sodomizing a two year old baby girl, and I wonder – if I’m the parent of that “man”, how the hell do I even comprehend that?

        It’s funny. During my late teens / twenties, I’d pull away from hugs. From relatives, friends – everyone (well, maybe except the girls I was trying to impress, but that’s another story). Like you say, I think I felt it encroached on me being “manly”.

        Then, I don’t know when, exactly, or why, but hugs were the norm to greet friends and family alike. The wonders of growing up and adaptive mindsets, eh? 😉

        • Jack May 5, 2015 at 8:07 am

          It is incomprehensible really, ugh.

          Funny about the hugs. The guys and I tend to hug each other now and probably have been since we hit our forties or maybe just before. But in our twenties, not so much. I guess we are all far more secure about things than we once were.

  7. Tony Dowling May 4, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Brilliant!

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