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    Run For Your Life, Black Hockey Jesus!
    « To Do | Main | Poor Beauty »

    The Trick Is, Of Couse, How To Vomit On The Sidewalk And Still Love It All

    After the parade, after all the smiling people clapped and clicked their cameras, Jackson spectacularly yakked on the sidewalk. I was too proud to be worried. He just needed some fluids.

    “DUDE YOU PUKED YOU’RE SO HARDCORE!” I stepped around the vomit and hugged him. PAH! He spit and smiled, weakly—he did need some fluids. So we bought some red Gatorade and everybody lived.


    The summer uniforms—the shorts and t-shirts—didn’t come in on time so Jackson and the drum corp were forced to wear their long pants and sleeves of blue and white clownery. We’re talking 90 degrees and a one mile march down sun baked pavement. This is how Jack felt about it:

    And get a load of that snare drum holding contraption. It’s pretty damn heavy. Plus when you add in the fact that Jack was already pissed about merely being conscious (it was 9 on a Saturday!), little man was primed and ready for an irritable march through the scorching bowels of The Underworld, which—as we all know—is great for character building or some shit like that. Actually, I’m not so sure. It was hot as hell and it sucked.

    Anyway, Jackson marched and marched and kept right on beating his drum in the sun. Soaking wet from sweat, literally pink, and almost dying from dehydration, he had visions of his spirit animal, a penguin, who propped him up with wise teachings about perseverance and tenacity and dream images of snow and cold water. Then he made it! It was over and he yakked on the sidewalk, which is—as I already exclaimed—totally hardcore.


    In spite of wanting to quit and wanting to die and wanting to sleep till 11 and beyond, Jackson marched to the end of his mile, which is cool and good. But that’s not all. That’s not all he did.

    He bobbed his head to the beat every step of the way.

    And the thing is: he’s not supposed to. He’s supposed to keep his head still and he’s frequently chastised by the drum corp leader to stop bobbing his head. But he can’t help it and I love him so much. Immersed in music, absorbed, his head must bob because that is the dance of rhythm and heads. And this, precisely here, is where the son becomes the father and the father becomes the son. Because I have absolutely no idea how to march through the scorching bowels of The Underworld while bobbing my head to the beat. I lack grace in hell.

    To teach a child more than you learn from them is a big mistake. Watch them close. Hear them. Buy them red Gatorade.

    Reader Comments (22)

    aw, good for him! i would've "thundered in" after the first block;)

    also, this is one of the BESTEST things about having older children: the vomit cleaning responsibility we have as parents plummets dramatically.

    and that is right up there with "i don't have to wipe your shitty ass anymore".


    April 19, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterandrea

    Love it.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDebi

    Your writing moves me to tears on a regular basis. Thank you for that.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

    That boy is the universes boy. Why, in hell, would they want to take the bob out of the boy? One must bob!

    April 19, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterpam

    Big grins here. Big.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterNinja Mom

    My daughter has marched for 4 years-in Naples, FL where it is 9000 degrees all the time-no lightweight uniforms-only the wool ones with FREAKIN' CAPES! Band directors are sadistic SOBs. But she loves it and it is awesome and Jackson will love it and be even more awesome too. And there will be lots of yakkin' and it will always be cool-be cause percussionists always get the chicks!

    April 19, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterLibraryGirl62

    I like that you're observant. Folks without blogs aren't. In fact, many folks with blogs aren't, either.

    April 19, 2011 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

    You have me wondering if red Gatorade is anything at all like Tropical Punch. Red and sweet and sticky if it dries on your fingers.

    I like you as a dad.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commenterellie

    Jack rocks. The bobbing. The puking. The perseverance.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSlow Panic

    I suppose we should be thankful that he didn't drink the red gatorade BEFORE he puked...

    April 20, 2011 at 4:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterHeather

    The biggest surprise that I have discovered in parenting is how much I can learn every day from Felix. He is 3 and has taught me about the world. How mind blowing is that.

    He has taught me to be fearless with love and take risks with my body (not hooker risks.....more like roller derby risks, lest I be misinterpreted!)....and every day, he shows me how.

    April 20, 2011 at 6:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

    That last paragraph was pure fucking GOLD!

    April 20, 2011 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterLinda

    That's awesome.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterChrisy

    one of my first tweets to you, a couple years ago, was about the fact that we each have a jackson who is "quick to puke," as you had put it. i find your jackson to be quite amazing... much like his dad.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered Commenternic

    I love that the head keeps bobbing even after it's been told to stop. Heads bob to the funk.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterHolmes

    go boy! never stop bobbing!
    bobbing and puking, that's what it's all about.
    thanks for sharing. love those words.

    April 20, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterleel

    Testing captcha disable.

    April 20, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterBHJ

    Yes! Captcha disabled!

    April 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBHJ

    Amen! Keep bobbing, Jackson!

    Love this.

    My God, this takes me back to my own marching days....

    I've had a really, really crappy week. Naw, let's make that over a month of crappiness.

    Jackson, and you, have just reminded me of what I once knew how to do. Maybe I can do it again.

    Thank you :)

    and the drum corp leader needs to stick that chastising up his/her own arse...

    April 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterC.

    I read it, and came back hours later to read it again. It was the spirit animal bit maybe. I've just got the giggles something fierce over that.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteam Me Up Kid

    1. running
    2. drawing the water cooler and its minions of water bottles surrounding it.
    3. pruning the hops
    4.soaking in the tub.
    5. drinking the red wine
    6. Lacking grace in Hell..for sure

    Love your writing...and good time on your 10 miles:)

    April 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBecky

    Hmm.commented on sorry 'bout that. maybe to much red wine. I love karen miller;s response though,,

    April 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBecky

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