Parenting has pushed me to unknown lengths. As I’ve learned from my mistakes, I have come to the conclusion that I occasionally journey down the path less traveled. As a father, I live my life on the edge.
When I sleep at night, I find my money spot. Everyone has it. That one position that just echoes mellifluously through the remaining strands floating through your head after a long day. This is how I fall asleep…in my money spot. When I inevitably wake up at some point, I find myself living on the edge. Not figuratively, but quite literally about to fall off the side of the bed. I’ll probably die in some sort of fatal bed related, partially conscious nosedive that will damage my spine beyond the capabilities of modern science. I live on the edge because my four-month-old son who is no larger than a prize-winning eggplant at the county fair has monopolized the entirety of the spacious center of the bed. How does he do it? More importantly, how did he escape the confines of his crib and manage to crawl into my bed? I mean really, he’s about as big as an overgrown yet award-winning piece of thistle. I live on the edge for my son.
When I watch over my son without my wife around, I live on the edge. In my never ending quest to teach him to console himself, I wait until the last possible second to spring into action when I fit of infantile rage is mounting. I’m definitely at my most ninja when he is asleep, but even when his fidgeting and noticeable discomfort crescendo, I remain steadfast. Every time this happens I know this will finally be the time when he steps his game up and quells his own displeasure. I’ve been wrong a lot lately. Helping my son to help himself through parenting, I live on the edge.
When I go grocery shopping, I consistently underestimate the volume of what I’ll end up purchasing and elect for the handheld basket instead of the traditional shopping cart. Although I typically go in with a well-constructed plan complete with foolproof escape routes and a mental map of the grocery store floor layout, the relentless series of text messages that predictably fly in from my wife adding items to my list and thus disrupting my flawless plan never fails to neutralize my selection of the handheld basket. I choose the basket because it compliments my masculine desire to complete my shopping rapidly and usually matches my shoes. I retain the basket even as the weight approaches unfathomable burdens because I do not want to admit failure in the eyes of my fellow shoppers. I cannot let them see me start with the basket but switch to the cart. When I shop, I live on the edge.
I’ve considered just leaving my phone in the car while executing my mission at the grocers so as to avoid the flurry of text messages, but that could present another set of issues with my wife and what I may or may not have purchased subsequent to what I should or should not have purchased. Even the very thought of leaving my phone while I shop is yet another example of my grueling life on the edge.
When I go on walks with my family, I live on the edge. Often times, my infant son rejects the comfort of his reclining stroller in favor of being carried. Being the strong arm of the masculine parenting empire I’ve created at home, I typically elect to carry the boy myself despite the fact that he’s growing quite heavy and my arm muscles have atrophied severely due to an extreme lack of physical activity. He likes to be carried and I like to carry him. But it’s a test in endurance. He is heavy. He is like a bag of flour. Not the miniature Whole Foods organic tilled wheat flour in a 4oz. bag for $11, he is industrial brand Costco flour. By the end of our walk and our eventual return home, my arms have strained to the point of exhaustion. I eagerly seek refuge and find the nearest soft object to lay him on. But I do it inconspicuously. I will never admit defeat in the eyes of my 95lb spouse who somehow carries Mr. Costco flour around all day with nary more than an annoyed yet loving sigh. I persevere through intense parenting hardship in the name of my son and the defense of my uber-masculinity. When we go for walks, I live on the edge.
It is in all these ways that parenting and maintaining a home have increased my propensity to live my life on the edge. It is at times arduous to be such a renegade. My resolve weakens from time to time but I always find the courage to dig deeper and access previously untapped reservoirs of rugged masculinity. I’ve learned to find solace out on the edge and embrace my new lifestyle. If any of you out there are looking for me, please be advised that venturing out here on the edge is not for the faint of heart.