Single Parent

Interesting weekend. One of those that nicely encompasses exactly where I am in my life.

Saturday night I had the night to myself to relive my wild and crazy single life. So I went to Olive Garden with my newly purchased copy of Duane Swierczynski’s EXPIRATION DATE and read while I partook of the endless soup, salad, and breadsticks. Then I went over to the second run movie theater and saw SHUTTER ISLAND finally. With a book like Duane’s that shows the exciting things that can be done with crime fiction (and the exciting things that can be done with a writing career) and a movie that was entertaining, disturbing, and thought provoking–it was the kind of night I used to have a lot of when I was single that fed my creative engine and it was nice to get that charge of energy and try and push it into my current writing.

Becky’s been missing her single life and going out with friends and having fun and I guess I miss my single life too, though it was much more subdued than most my age. Honestly, what I really miss was the ability to indulge in the selfishness one needs to get a writing career off the ground. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I developed the most as a writer in a 3-4 year span of time where I was living by myself, had a flexible job, and was always writing and reading and communicating with writers and readers. I read a lot of books in a bunch of genres. I saw hundreds of movies, and traveled, and wrote things on a lark, just for fun, and just to experiment. I also remember it as a time of depression and financial anguish, and instability, and loneliness that I would never want to go back to, but it’s fun to be romantic about it and relive the best of it every once in a while.

Then yesterday we took the kids to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio and it was a radically different experience than when I used to go. For one, I became aware of all of the non-roller coaster elements of the park, and I also used the bathroom more and ate more and sat down more. Before kids, I’d go to Cedar point and ride roller coasters all day long. No games, no shows (except one random trip with choir and theater friends) but the last time Becky and I went and did nothing but roller coasters it sucked. We hurt and were exhausted and decided we were done with amusement parks for a while. But once we had kids, we started getting the urge again in a different kind of way. So with a sunny day on the horizon and two kids loaded with energy (and an improbable amount of bodily waste) we went. We walked a lot and spent most of our time in the Kiddie Kingdom and Camp Snoopy. Spenser was able to ride most of the kids rides and watching his face was such a great thrill and made it all worth it. And for the first time, at the top of the Power Tower while dangling hundreds of feet over the park, I prayed for safety so my kids wouldn’t be left fatherless. I also found myself craving a minivan repeatedly which was uncomfortable and humorous at the same time.