Daddy Dearest

I think I’m getting into a nice rhythm on blogging again. The stats are trending upward. People are starting to click more on the links to my stories and to my friends on the sidebar. I’m starting to get referred by the search engines for strange and slightly inflammatory subject matter. And I’m starting to see more and more things that I think would be interesting to post about and, more importantly, I’m getting to the keyboard to post more. There have been a few times where I’ve wanted to let the blog lag, but didn’t and I was happier for it. This is of course all well and good while I’m in down time between novel projects. We’ll see how I feel about all of this once I start back into long form again.

For now though, I’m in it to win it, er, something like that. Another anecdote from the weekend: We were all standing around singing and drinking in the Jordan’s hallway, and during a brief bit of downtime, Laura Lippman was asking people what their best moment of the year was. When it came to me, first answer off the top of my head—as I tend to answer every question—was finishing the MURDER BOY book because I’d wanted to write it for so long and it really got me over a hump that was making me feel miserable, etc. Then somebody reminded me that I had a child in that same timeframe, wasn’t I more excited about that?

Oh. Well. About that…

I’m sure at times here I come off as a dick of a father. I spent a good chunk of time complaining about how much I thought Spenser was going to change my life for the worst and it was mostly rooted in selfishness. My feeling about kids are still rotted in selfishness. Before I go any further, though, let me state right here that I absolutely love my kids. I would die for them and I love spending time with them and I only want the best for them.

But.

That doesn’t mean I live in this little fantasy land where kids are nothing but a wonder and I frolic through life without a care in the world. Wrong. Sometimes—moreso with Spenser than Holly—I want to leave them on the porch of a church somewhere and move myself somewhere I won’t ever see them again. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’d never do it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. That’s why I get so pissed at people who don’t have kids, or who got kids later in life, etc. spouting off about how they think other people should raise kids. It’s different with every kid and it’s different with every parent.

You’ve got to understand that mentally, I’m still closer to a high schooler who got his girlfriend pregnant and is contemplating how all of my dreams and plans are going to have to change. I know down the road my kids are going to make a better person. I know that if given the choice I wouldn’t do anything different because I’m happy my kids are in the world. But day to day, I still have a selfish streak I’m dealing with. It’s not good or bad. It just is. So judge me for my selfishness, or applaud me for my brutal honesty, but none of it is going to change how I feel and how I work through this.

One thing that did hit me that I know is a weakness of mine and is something I have been consciously working on is my time on the computer. This was particularly striking as I was watching 2012 over the weekend. John Cusack plays a writer—as he always seems to do these days—who’s wife and kids left him because he spent too much time on the computer working on his books then being with them. While I don’t see that happening, there is one scene where he’s camping with his kids and their getting ready for bed in the tent while he’s out by the fire on his computer. His daughter begs him to come in and my heart was crushed because, unchecked, I could see that happening. So while Spenser is up at night when I get home from work, I keep the computer off and play with him. And while I’m not in the middle of a book project, I don’t turn it on much after he goes to bed either so I can spend time with Becky and Holly. So see, I am aware of my failings and try to correct some of them.