I called my dad the other day to make some Christmas plans, and the first words out of his mouth were, "Where've you been?" I didn't really have an answer for him. I mean, there's always the boilerplate holiday nutsery, but the bottom line is that the little kayak of my life has hit a riptide, and every so often you have to rest your paddle on your lap and lean into the turns.
There has been a new development, though. In edition to being worked out and kidded out, I think it's fair to say that, for the first time in many moons, I am partied out. Such is the hybrid lifestyle of the single parent, who might spend one weekend eating Tater Tots and reading Pinocchio and the Whale, and next eating barbecued ribs and perforating targets in an airgun shooting gallery set up in a Brooklyn machine shop. And the next night, you get to talk hockey with Neil Smith, who lets you try on his 1994 Rangers championship ring:
Now begins the good part: two weeks of vacation. I'm sitting here chasing Advil with a dark roast as black and viscous as roofing tar, recovering from a weekend of hurtling downhill with the boys on Ethan Frome's toboggan, and readying for a full week of solo parenting and relative-hopping. The first challenge involves Santa Claus, whom TwoBert adores. Robert, however, is too cool for school. We were talking about Christmas gifts the other day, and Robert was listing the techno-gadgets he'd love to find under the tree on Thursday. I told him maybe Santa would bring him something, and he said, "Dad, I know who Santa is. And I'm talking to him right now."
Criminy. Six years old and already a world-class harrumpher.