On my ten-year Dadiversary

I don’t have specific memories of many of my birthdays, at least not without sitting down and thinking hard about it. My 21st, which probably wasn’t as exciting as you think it was. My 22nd, which happened while I was in Israel. My 16th, where my family managed to arrange a surprise pool party for me. And my 10th, where I remember being very unhappy for at least part of it, and very upset that whatever was upsetting me had dared to intrude on my “double digit day.”

Do I remember what I was upset about? Not a bit. I don’t have even the vaguest idea, and I’ve been kind of racking my brain about it for the last few days. It could have been my fault; perhaps I was being a shithead that day, and pissed my parents off. Something may have had to be cancelled, or maybe I didn’t get something I really wanted. No idea at all. And I’m pretty sure my Dad will see this, and I’ll be surprised if he remembers either– if he does, I’ll let y’all know. I just remember being upset.

My son turns 10 tomorrow. The three of us went out and went shopping today and blew all of his birthday money– close to a couple hundred dollars, when you roll in everybody who sent him something– and we came home with a pretty respectable haul, for a 10-year-old: a couple of Lego sets, a couple of Switch games, five or six books (he is my kid, after all) and a ridiculous new Nerf gun with a bloody ammo drum attached to it that I’m terrified he’s going to turn on me the next time I walk into the same room with him. Plus $25 in Roblox money that he can spend on nonsense digital stuff. Surprisingly, he did not want to go to the comic shop and buy a bunch of blind boxes.

Weird, to think we’ve been parents for ten years. Weirder, to think that his last couple of birthdays have been fucked up by Covid. He wanted to have a birthday party at a local trampoline park this year; we had to tell him no. He didn’t even ask last year. I think we’ll try and get some of his friends over next weekend to frolic in the pool for a few hours, though, if the weather cooperates.

I don’t know that I have any more complicated observations than that; I think so far his 10th birthday is going better than mine did, even if I don’t remember why, and I’m feeling a deep melancholy at the idea that my little boy is growing up.

(And just to keep this post from being completely sappy, in the process of getting his gift card transferred to his Roblox account, I discovered that the young master appears to have figured out how to delete his YouTube history. I will wait until after his birthday to perform the necessary interrogations about that, however.)

EDITED TO ADD: My father suspects that the USS FLAGG, or rather my lack of same, may have been the culprit. I looked and discovered that yes, in fact, the Flagg was available in 1985-86, which means it was out there for buying on my 10th birthday. I can only say that as the goddamned thing was seven and a half feet long and something north of $200 in 2020-equivalent funds, I’d have let my kid sit on the couch and cry too. That said, if anyone wants to buy me one to make up for my childhood trauma, I am an adult now who lives in a house, and I will make room for the motherfucker.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

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