I didn't go to Jeff Tweedy last night. Because of the blizzard in New York, my friend's friends were stuck in town, and I gave up my ticket so one of her friends, who loves Wilco as much as I do and was stranded here for an extra day, could go to the show. (It helps to draw a little picture with arrows connecting friends, so you can see who is who in that paragraph.)
Instead, I had dinner with them before they headed to the show, and came back home, intent on spending the evening with the family.
When I walked in the door, Nolan and the dogs greeted me in the entryway.
"Hey, Wil!" He said before I even had the door closed, "do you have any plans tonight?"
"I'm just hanging out with you guys," I said, as I hung my keys on the designated key hook (you'll find one in every house, you'll see.)
"Cool! Can we play a game?"
"Sure," I said, "figure something out while I check my e-mail."
Nolan ran off to the back of the house, and dug through the big trunk of games. I opened my laptop and did a little TCBing from the dining room table.
He dug through all sorts of games, as simple as Jenga and as complicated as Illuminati. Finally, we settled on Gold Digger, which is a simple but incredibly entertaining game (especially when you call the mine with all the fool's gold in it 'the booty mine,' and you sing a song that goes, "It's booty time, in the booty mine; it's mighty fine in the booty mine!")
So. We played several games of Gold Digger at the dining room table, while Ryan and Anne watched this total trainwreck of a show called Wife Swap.
Oh. My. God. Okay, seriously. How in the hell did that pile of shit get on television? How many great dramatic shows or brilliant comedies were passed over so that monument to completely disfunctional fuckups could pollute the airwaves? When it was about 2/3 of the way through, I asked Anne if she'd ever seen it before. She said that she hadn't, and would never watch it again, but it was like picking at a scab: once she'd started she couldn't stop. Ugh.
Anyway, Nolan and I did our best to tune out the "reality" television that snuck in from the other room like stink from the dump, and we had an absolute blast while we played.
We played three games, and Nolan ended up beating me by one point, thanks to his genius card-counting skills, and a bonehead play by me which set him ahead by four after the second game.
When we were done, he went to get ready for bed, while I cleaned up the cards and put the game away. Alone in the dining room, I thought about how totally awesome it is that my fourteen year-old kid wants to play games with me, and asks me to do things with him all the time. When I was fourteen the last thing in the world I wanted to do was hang out with my totally lame parents, much less play games with them, because they so totally didn't understand me.
I have prided myself, these last ten years, on never trying to be a friend to Ryan and Nolan. I have always taken my responsibilities as a parent very seriously, and I believe that trying to be your kids' friend is one of the fastest ways to screw them up. My thinking goes: they make friends at school, and they need parents at home. But this never meant that I didn't want to play whiffle ball with them, or introduce them to geeky games, or anything like that. I guess it's a parenting philosophy that one either intuitively groks or doesn't, so I won't spend a lot of time trying to explain it. The point is, even though he's fourteen, (and occasionally has serious pod-person days,) he still wants to hang out with me. We make an effort to do things together, and I always feel like it's important and rewarding to us both. It's more than awesome. It is the hawesome. In fact, it is the reason hawesome was invented.