The year of double digits! Also, the year I would happily take a parallel universe in exchange for the one we’re currently living in because shit must be better over there. This is a bizarre year and you’ve been on a wave of emotion since the first day of the shutdown. You’ve been ecstatic at the prospect of not having to go back to school any time soon and you’ve been absolutely miserable at the realization that your social life went right out the window.
Things were rough at the start–you missed baseball, your friends, seeing grandparents, having a qualified adult teach you third grade. You are an active kid and had a very full calendar and suddenly that all disappeared over night. Things were stressful over here and you had no outlet to release your energy. You went from seeing your friends daily to occasionally talking with them over Zoom. We’ve all been dealing with the pandemic and the shutdown in our own ways but you were most affected emotionally and my heart really broke for you.
With the lack of outside social activities, we’ve been forced to look for entertainment elsewhere and that means video games. I’m not thrilled that the pandemic has introduced video games to your world but I’m not mad that I have incredible negotiating power now because of them. My 1-2-3 countdown of parental punishment doesn’t carry as much weight as it once did but when I threaten to take away Fortnite, suddenly I have so much control, I’m kind of drunk with it. Word to the wise in case you become a parent one day, there’s nothing more dangerous than when a parent realizes the one thing that when taken away can inflict the most pain. Fortnite is your kryptonite. Now, I’m not a stupid parent. It would be easy to use this as a threat every day for anything–eat your vegetables or I’ll take away Fortnite. Stop fighting with your sister or I’ll take away Fortnite. Pee in the toilet or I’ll take away Fortnite. Sing sweet music to me and do all the housework or I’ll take away Fortnite. Do you see how much headway I could make? The truth is, parents have to save these crushing threats for really pressing matters but I feel rather confident knowing that it’s always available to me. Long story short, you’re screwed.
Despite my upper hand in most battles with you, I still don’t love how obsessed you are with video games. Pre-pandemic, I actually felt rather fortunate that you never were interested and thus saving me from numerous battles. Suddenly with the cancellation of all social events, you immediately had an open calendar and not a thing to do. Sitting at home with nowhere to go suddenly made video games appealing. You’re obsessed and now that we can go outside, all you want to do is stay home and play video games. It’s a battle. A positive takeaway though is the virtual connection with friends and teammates that are possible within the game. I guess if you can’t hang out with your friends on a daily basis, the next best thing is screaming at a television while your closest friends scream through your iPad–is this friendship? I think so…
You’re now in fourth grade and it all seems so surreal to me. Fourth grade is considered an upperclassman in elementary school and you seem so…short. How is it possible that you’re ten years old?! You haven’t been the easiest kid by any stretch of the imagination but like a fine wine, you’ve become quite enjoyable without the heartburn. I reckon we’re not out of the weeds yet–we still have your glorious teen years ahead and you can’t get into too much trouble at the moment because you’re home but I feel like we’re in a good place right now. You’re still my sensitive boy who never turns down a hug or an opportunity to add another stuffed lion to the Miles pride. You enjoy reading Ramona Quimby books with me on the couch and beating me unapologetically at chess. Your favorite movie is Rush Hour and my current favorite thing is listening to your Chris-Tucker-singing-Michael-Jackson impersonation. JAMON LEE!
This year has been wildly difficult for you for many reasons but you have always managed to deal with the emotions in your way. Thankfully, baseball has returned in a modified way giving you some kind of physical reprieve. The only obstacle here is completing a game before people call the police and have your team removed. Yes, that has happened several times already adding to even a stranger year.
I look forward to a future time when I can watch you play baseball in person again–something I haven’t done in months! Although, I’m grateful for the live streaming provided by a couple awesome dads who allow me to watch safely from home and allow me to walk away from the computer when you’re pitching. I know it’s only little league but I still get tremendously nervous watching you perform. It’s that Jesus-take-the-wheel feeling that doesn’t sit well with me.
Lucky for all of us, we do get to watch you dance now that you’re taking virtual hip-hop dance classes from home. You’ve always been an entertainer and we always joked that we should put you in dance classes but funny thing with the pandemic, you suddenly have time to try new things and from the comfort of your own home so we enrolled you. You were a little reluctant and nervous at the start but jumped right into it and are surprisingly good at memorizing choreography in a short period of time. I’m astonished at how well you memorize these dance moves because you rarely remember most things I ask of you. Turns out it’s a selective memory.
I have no clue how this year will end or when we’ll start to feel a sense of normalcy again. I hope this year is merely a blip in the grand span of your life but I do know you’ve made every day of it entertaining. I would say enjoyable but that would be a fat lie. You’re still a bored ass kid who needs to be entertained constantly which doesn’t fly for me when I have actual things to accomplish. You’re a party most times and your laugh can make anyone smile.
Happy Birthday, Miles aka Big Tasty. May this year bring you many In-N-Out 4×4 burgers sans the constipation.