I’m not the kind of person who let’s go of things easily. As previously discussed, my obsessive personality is not quite manic enough to land me a spot on the next episode of hoarders, surrounded by thousands of tiny useless cat figurines… but I don’t part with things quickly. I definitely have a box or two of ‘stuff’ that’s moved from one apartment to the next, one home to the next over the years. I have piles of board games that I haven’t played yet. I have small stacks of books and video games collected over the years. I have more cables, plugs, adapters, extenders, cords and wires than a non-radio shack employee could ever need. I have a monitor and 2 laptops that haven’t been powered up in over a year.
Now some of this stagnation is actively attributed to parenthood and new life schedules. I still play board games regularly, I just don’t grow my collection like I used to, and I pick my spots for gaming. I would like to play more video/pc games (I do enjoy them), but I find that my current windows of time don’t justify that habit on my priorities list. I find myself reading more and gaming less in recent years… don’t confuse that for maturation, I blame the advent of ebooks more than any personal growth of my own.
My wife is not this way. She has no sentimental attachment to her old monitors… or speakers… or empty binders… or L brackets bought for some furniture anchoring project from our last home that never happened. What are “Things in Jim’s closet 3 feet from his work desk” for $400 Alex. Ding ding ding, correct answer. No, Red doesn’t have this issue, and over the years she’s grown more accustomed to my rampant consumerism and phobic issues around throwing anything away. She’s helped me temper my instinct to buy small mountains of toys for the kids, and litter our house with tons of unnecessary junk… That’s not to say we don’t have our share of unnecessary kid junk… I said she ‘tempers’ me… but I think we work well that way, with a ying to my yang.
So what’s the the problem? I have two daughters. That’s the problem. Oh sure, everything’s fine now. Now when daddy is awesome and pretends to be King Triton and carries them upside down. But daddy won’t always be the most important man in their lives. There will be significant others, and rebellion, and angry fights… and they will need space, and support, and at some point, I will have to let them go in the hopes that they will want to come back. I know I know, I shouldn’t while away their childhood with worries about very normal things well beyond my control… but I’m not good at letting go… and I LIKE being the most important man in their little lives. I have trouble not following Little Miss around the playground and let her climb on everything unassisted. Everyone needs to fall. It’s the only way to learn how to get up.
So what to do? I could go all Rapunzel on them, and lock em in a tower until they’re 30. I’ve seen Disney’s “Tangled” 473 times in the last 2 days. Maybe it just feels that way. No, I don’t think the ‘clutch harder’ path will work. My guess is that ‘clutch harder’ will equate to ‘run away faster’ for your average teenager. I think my only option is to attempt personal growth, and let go of the reigns gently when the time comes. I know, it’s grim. I will attempt to keep my crazy protective over-bearing daddy instincts in check when they bring home their first significant other. Red sometimes chuckles in a blend of fear/anticipation of great amusement for that day. I dread that day like the waiting room before dental surgery. That day often motivates my bench presses (seriously). I’m banking on a few years between now and then so I can work on that whole maturity thing…. But there are so many nightmare scenarios… What if that person winds up to be a Red Socks fan? This is not good.