Show Me The Bunny!

January 12, 1998

  Updating the situation with my dad, he's still kicking but not very well. Further developments in his case are that the heart attack was more massive than they originally thought and it looks like he's going to need bypass surgery -- triple, perhaps even quadruple. The doctors are giving him the option of having either bypass or angioplasty, with the caveat that the angio will only give him about 60% recovery from his current condition. My dad is probably going to go with the bypass. Whichever way he goes, the procedure will be done in Albuquerque, NM since the local hospital is not exactly on the cutting edge of surgical care (pun not intended). A specialist from Albuquerque is coming up to see my dad on the 20th and he'll be making the call as to what and when he'll go under the knife. Considering the shape my dad is in, I'll be surprised if it goes down any later than the 25th.

Tonight we did what might be the most parent-ish thing we've done since Zoe was born. Sure, we've changed diapers and nursed her through sickness and lost sleep for midnight feedings and done the myriad other duties that come with having a baby, but none carried the startling slap in the face of realization that WE ARE PARENTS as tonight's activity did. We went to a preschool open house.

It was kind of amusing at first, looking at all the adults crowded into the tiny classroom with their butts shoehorned into chairs intended for toddlers and their knees around their chins, but the longer we were there the more it sank in that Zoe's going out into the world soon and we're getting ready to send her there. Tonight wasn't just about making sure her preschool was clean and safe, it was about looking twenty years down the road and setting the wheels in motion for her to be a well-educated, successful adult.

The school we were at takes kids from pre-school to sixth grade and feeds into the top private middle schools which feed into the top private prep schools which feed into the top universities. I was sitting there looking at fingerpaint art and hamster cages and it hit me that what I was really doing was looking at Zoe's high school prom and college graduation and marriage and... Man, I felt old. I felt like a dad.

I felt kind of stupid and inadequate, too, because while the other parents were asking intelligent questions about student/teacher ratios and lock-down procedures and age-appropriate activities, what my mind was focused on was that the school grounds were all asphalt and I kept wondering "Is there any grass here for the kids to walk on?" Other parents nodded with satisfaction over the school's curriculum while I thought it was pretty cool that they truck in snow during the winter so the kids can make snowmen. It seemed to me everyone else was wondering if their kids would excel there, but I was thinking Zoe would have fun playing with the rabbits.

At first I felt that I was a bad parent for not concentrating on the important things, but then I realized that I was. Zoe's not even two yet; the right curriculum in the right school for the right future doesn't matter to her. What does matter is having fun. I want her to have a bright future, but I want her to enjoy her childhood first.

So your school has an excellent track record for sending kids on to Harvard? Okay, great. You have rabbits too? Now you're talking!





Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins