April 04, 2010

Of Earthquakes, Puppies and Parenting

I was in the bathroom when the earthquake hit. At the risk of indulging in TMI I was in the middle of my business which is not where you want to be when the earth starts shaking. It took a moment for me to realize that I wasn't suffering from a sudden bout of vertigo and that the house was moving beneath me.

Born and raised in Los Angeles I have been through a million quakes of assorted shapes and sizes. Truth is that until the Northridge quake I didn't pay much attention to them at all. They were something that I shrugged off and laughed about. I'd tease people from out of state about their fear. Truth is that I prefer them to other natural disasters.

Maybe it is because of familiarity with them, but they bother me far less than say hurricanes. I hate the idea of knowing that a storm is coming and that there is little that I can do to protect my home. Earthquakes are relatively unpredictable, coming hard and fast without warning. I suppose that might scare some of you, but I prefer it.

And like I said, for the first 25 years of my life I didn't pay much attention. But Northridge got my attention. Northridge was a good wake up call, a reminder about how insignificant we humans can be. It stayed with me for a while, that one. But over time it lost its impact and this year I  missed the anniversary.

But there is a huge reason why I am more conscious of things like natural disasters, I am a father. I have responsibilities to my family, specifically to my children. I am their knight protector, bodyguard and secret service agent. When we go out I am always aware of my surroundings.

When I realized what was going on three things went through my mind:

1) Fuck, the timing couldn't be much worse.
2) Fuck the timing couldn't be much worse.
3) My daughter isn't screaming and if she was scared she would be.

Yes, I know that I repeated myself but it was, er is intentional. Damn, still seem to have that problem with brevity, but I digress.

Since we were visiting grandparents I was a bit less concerned than I would have been had we been alone. My folks and their mother were around as were a few aunts, so I knew that someone would be watching over the children. And even if they hadn't been there I know that my son will protect his little sister.

Still, you never know for certain how these things will go so I was pleased that it wasn't a major event for us.

Speaking or major events this coming week we are going to be adding a new member to our family, a puppy. We are currently working on names for the little guy and doing our best to prepare the children for all the fun and games a puppy will bring.

I don't think that the kids really understand that an 8 week old dog is going to go to town on shoes, toys and whatever else he can sink his little teeth into. So we are going to work hard on training all of them on best practices for getting along in the Jack household.

I have wanted to get a dog for years and am very excited about it, but I will admit to some trepidation as to how it will go. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the dog doesn't destroy anything important. We are going to do our best to prevent that, but I remember the dogs of my youth. No matter how careful you are they will find something. Let's just hope that it is not a major incident.

Two more comments about the puppy than off to bed for my 4.5 hours of sleep. I think that it is going to be a good learning experience for the kids and will go a long way to helping to teach them responsibility and that is a worthy lesson.

But what also strikes me is the thought that if this dog is with us for ten years my kids will go from being young kids to being big kids. The dark haired beauty will be 16 and her brother 20. That blows me away, not to mention that in ten years I will be a hair over 50 and almost middle aged. And that is only a ten year snapshot, we could all be together for a chunk of time longer than that.

It is kind of a surreal thought, the idea that the puppy will grow and so will my puppies into maturity. I wonder what they'll look like and what sort of adventures we'll have along the way.

3 comments:

Kelly said...

My 9 yo wants a dog something fierce, but we are holding out. It's a lot of work when you have a toddler in the house. Hopefully y'all will fare well with the new addition.

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

jack, earthquakes vs hurricanes: earthquakes win. every. single. time. i lived in ca for a long time (you're right, most earthquakes go unnoticed) and now i live in the midwest where the natural-disaster-of-choice is indeed, hurricanes! scare the bajeebies (um, spelling?!) out of me but everyone here prefers them! what you're accustumed to, i suppose.

and the dog, oh the dog! my kids so desperately want one! but i think they need to be just a bit older and all potty trained (6, 4 and 19 mts). but every time they ooh and aww over a pup i feel like such a bad mom! or when i read about someone else getting one! oh, the guilt! :)

Jack said...

Hi Kelly,

We held out intentionally because I didn't want to fight to train a toddler and a puppy. Now that my daughter is turning 6 I am comfortable.

MM,

I rather imagine experience helps to dictate comfort or a lack thereof.