Jameelah and I have just found out that our baby is a boy. We are ecstatic. Sure, we would love a daughter just as much as we now love our son, and I know that in some parallel universe, we are happily walking around a Ross store, looking at tiny, little dresses and imagining what she would look like in them. Then we would drive our flying minivan back to our house on the moon to watch a version of J.J. Abrams’ “Revolution” that does not suck.
But, in my sporadic daydreams of fatherhood, I’ve always pictured a little boy. One with unkempt, black hair and a mischievous smile. I’d teach him how to skip rocks, and whistle, and put up framed artwork — manly crap like that. I would make sure that his fruit juice has 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. On nice days I would take him to the park, where I would help him climb up to the top of the curly plastic slide, reassure him that it is OK, that I would catch him, and then, I would wait at the other end with my arms wide open.
Now that I know for sure we will have a boy, the daydreams have become more vivid. I start envisioning little father-son moments where I would pass down pearls of wisdom that have been culled from decades of a hard-fought life. Wisdom like, “It is not talent that leads to success, but perseverance.” And, “Intelligence is not determined by what you know, but what you do.” And, “Don’t seem too competent, because people will just ask you to do more work and sit on an advisory committee.”
“Huy Jr.,” I would say as we sit on our porch steps, the sky in front of us painted in layers of gold and crimson by the setting sun. “Sometimes when you slide down a curly, plastic slide, static electricity builds, and that’s why you got shocked.” He would look up at me, his big, brown eyes brimming with tears.
“You must learn that occasionally, things don’t turn out the way you expect,” I would continue, recognizing a teachable moment. “But you should keep exploring the world, my son, for there is much joy and beauty in it, despite the occasional unpleasant surprise.”
“Thanks, Daddy,” he would say, “that slide really scared the frak out of me.”
“I know, but it’s OK. …Wait, what did you just say?”
“It scared the frak out of me.”
“Who taught you that word?”
“What, they say it all the time on ‘Battlestar Galactica.’ ‘You frakking motherfrakker!’”
“How have you been watching ‘Battlestar Galactica’? We don’t have cable.”-
“Dude, I’m five and a half. I just stream the episodes on my iPad 9. That, and ‘Game of Thrones.’”
“Huy Jr., you know your mother and I forbid you from using the iPad 9. The Retina Display technology was found in 2017 to cause eye cancer! You’re grounded!”
“I hate you!” he would say, before hopping onto his hover board and flying off to his solar-powered treehouse.
At this point, I would snap out of the daydreaming, seized by bouts of fear and panic. This would be followed by a few minutes of freaking out about how the hell I’m qualified to be a father. I have no parenting experience! I have managed to kill a lucky bamboo! Kids are smart these days, and they grow up in a world more and more dominated by technology, which they will understand far better than most of us could.
After panicking for a few minutes, I would calm down. This week, I was able to feel the baby kick. My son: such a tiny, fragile life form, growing and developing. All the fears and anxiety melted away, replaced with the image of his little-boy smile, tousled hair, and the scent of dirt, grass and fruit juice. I would drift off into daydreaming again, imagining another twilight, another poignant father-son moment on the porch: “Dude, Dad, why do we keep sitting on this porch watching the sunset? Are you dying or something? If not, can I go watch the ‘Walking Dead’?”
Read more Jagged Noodles at www.jaggednoodles.com.