Thursday, July 22, 2021

My Greatest Day of Parenting

 Lots of people advocate various books on parenting. That’s fine. Do what you do. I learned everything I needed to know about raising a child from reading Calvin and Hobbes.


One that sticks in my mind is a strip where Calvin asks his dad (my spirit animal) why old family pictures are black-and-white. My Spirit Animal goes on to explain how those photographs are in color. It’s the world that was black-and-white. MSA explains how color evolved in the 1930s, though it was spotty and grainy at first. When Calvin asks how paintings from hundreds of years ago can be in color, MSA tells him they were always in color. We just couldn’t see it until the 30s.


As a divorced father, I lacked many of the opportunities MSA had for influencing Calvin, so I had to cluster them when possible. One weekend, The Sole Heir was messing with her malfunctioning iPad ear buds. She did a little online research and learned the issue was probably with the magnets and that any local Apple Store would swap them out.


She turned to me as we left for the excursion to ask, “Why do ear buds have magnets?”


“To keep them in your ears.”


That brought her up short. Old enough to know I wasn’t always trustworthy on such matters, not sufficiently mature to reliably recognize when. “I thought magnets only held metal together.”


“You never heard of bone magnets? They keep the earbud close enough to the little bones in your ear so you can hear, but no so close it clogs up your ear canal. That’s probably what’s wrong. These are either too strong or too weak.”


That prompted a look I came to know and love: she knew I was full of crap, but lacked the ammunition on hand to call me on it and win the argument.


We were watching baseball that same evening when the standard disclaimer came on: “Any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of the office of the Commissioner of Baseball is prohibited.”


She should have known better after the morning’s earbud episode, but the idealism of youth was strong in this one. “Hey, Dad. What does the Commissioner of Baseball do?”


“He signs all the baseballs.”


A moment’s thought. “That’s all?”


“Watch the game. See how many balls they go through. Multiply that by fifteen games a day. Signing balls is a full-time job.”


I got That Look twice in one day. Maybe the proudest I ever felt as a parent, including at her wedding.



1 comment:

Scott D. Parker said...

I have literally saved a single C&H comic panel, cut from the newspaper and laminated, and that was it. Because the logic is as flawed even though it sounds correct.

Bravo on your parenting.