The kid isn’t born and I’m already negotiating for time away from him

I think part of good parenting is boundaries. I think parents should have their own identity seperate from their kids and vice versa. We all have our own tastes, wants, desires, and thoughts – and I think we should all embrace that. I hope that I’ll be able to support my kid’s taste and I hope that he’ll be able to support mine.

Though I could just be talking out of my butt and trying to justify why I already asked my wife if I could leave her and the kid for a few hours on July 20th. Yes, the kid isn’t born yet, and I’m already seeing if I can have some alone time. Though, to be honest, this won’t be alone time – in fact, I’ll be stuck in a theatre with a million another folks because Batman comes out that day. A happy dad is a good dad, right? Now, before you hate on me too much, please realize that I already plan to be that dad bringing his kid to see superhero movies when he is four or five – whenever he can sit still. I’ll bribe him with comic books, action figures, and a popcorn the size of his head. But not soda, of course, because that won’t be allowed anymore (grrrrr).

The Dad Disease

Dear Future-Child-of-Mine,

Please note that I have already begun doing all the things that dads do that embarrass their children. You aren’t even out of the womb yet but I’m already assembling your IKea furniture incorrectly, singing songs where I misquote rap lyrics, and canceling fun plans to party late with my friends because I just can’t do that anymore. Falling on the couch, wearing dad jeans, buying New Balance shoes and wearing them non-ironically will be in my future very soon. I’m already thinking of calling your “Sport,” “Chippy,” “Junior,” in front of your friends. And, don’t worry, but I will proudly grow into this role because I am becoming a “dad.” It is a disease that I just can’t shake and I apologize for all future opportunities where I will embarrass you, even if it seems like I’m not only enjoying it but also seeking it out at all times. I might seem to be enjoying it but, please know, I just can’t help it.

And don’t think that shaming me by posting pictures of me online will help. Your mom already does this and, still, it doesn’t change me. In fact, I’m getting better at falling asleep on the couch at random times! I’ll be a dad before you know it.

This is what happens when I fall asleep on the couch after the animals drag me out of bed for their breakfast.

Love, me.

Parents go in; baby comes out

Today, K and I toured the hospital where our little guy will finally come out of the womb and enter the real world. When we first arrived, we entered a conference room full of pregnant women and their partners. Honesty, it was a little weird being surrounded by all those almost babies. Some looked like they were going to give birth very soon while others looked like they are going to have a heavy, and hot, summer. I enjoyed the healthy mix of inter-ethnic couples and I also felt very young. Although K and I are average when it came to getting married, we seem to be on the younger end when it comes to giving birth in NYC. After a short chat, the herd of parents-to-be gathered themselves and moved to visit the floors where the magic will actually happen.

Now, when I did CPE last summer, I did not visit any of the maturity floors. In fact, I never actually got to witness the part of ministry where new life is celebrated, blessed, and enjoyed. We weren’t allow to visit up there unless specifically called. That always seemed a tad odd to me. So while we traveled through the various floors, from the triage center, the delivery room, past a nursery that was mostly empty (but with at least one kid wearing sun glasses and getting light shined on him), and into the smallest shared hospital room I’ve ever seen, besides awkwardly gawking at uncomfortable mothers in labor, I kept an eye out to see if there was anything that would stop a chaplain from being able to visit us. I asked our tour guide and she said it would not be a problem. I’m thinking that I might call a chaplain intern specifically just to take a moment off from their normal day to come and see what my little guy is gonna look like. They might be the only visitors we’ll actually bring into the room – but I think it might be something fun for them to see. I might even let them hold him! Heck, I’ll invite the whole gang up but if they’re gonna come up to our newborn party, I hope they bring chips and guacamole. Baby (and mom) are going to be hungry.

Friday Night (light) Reflection

I’ve been meaning to write several detailed posts about the upcoming Synod Assembly for the Metropolitan New York Synod, about the end of my second year of seminary, and about the great trip I took over the weekend. However, instead, I will just share a quick thought I had while watching an episode of Friday Night Lights. For those of you who don’t know, the show takes place in a small Texas town and follows the lives of a series of teenagers, football players, and educators. I’m enjoying it even though there are no hispanics on the show by the end of season 2 (there is a minority shift: the hispanics in the beginning of the series become African Americans by season 3 and 4). But I just saw one episode that, well, it was thought provoking. Since I (God-willing) will be ordained and my future kidling will be a dreaded “pk,” I’ve thought about faith and fatherhood a tad but if I ever do what happened on the show…when a young man told his parents he got a girl in school pregnant, and his mom responded with “Well, Mary and Joseph thought they got into a tough spot too but….” just, just, just slap me. Like a dozen times. Unless I’m doing it ironically. Then you should slap me anyways to get me to move out of Brooklyn because, damn, that hipster stuff is contagious.

Baby Names and future football nicknames

IMG_3610 I get asked a lot whether my wife and I have a name for the kid yet. Let me just come out and say that we’re keeping it under wraps. I usually answer the question with “we don’t have a name yet; we have a list; we’re gonna wait till we meet the guy.” And this is all true. We have a spreadsheet – a google doc that we share and update every once in awhile. And we have a color code system for names that we like and names that we don’t (though my suggestions, rightly, are usually shot down). So, the world will know the name once the kid is born. Because, I feel, that’s when we’ll know too.

But when it comes to the actual name, I find myself thinking ahead. I don’t really pay attention to the nicknames that kids will give him because, well, kids are creative and they’ll come up with something. I tend to find myself, mostly, thinking about future options for his career in professional sports. What are fans going to call him? What are his teammates going to say? Are they going to give him an action name or a riff on his given name? If I give him a boring name, will he have no chance at a cool nickname? Can his name, or nickname, be put in an acronym for NBC, CBS, or ESPN? These are important questions! IMPORTANT! We’ve gotta be prepared for all future possibilities! And even if he ended up on Wall Street or with a Bishop hat or working in retail, he’s going to need a nickname. He can’t be like me and rely on the names of rappers from the late 80s/early 90s to help him out. He’s gotta have options. OPTIONS!

This is probably why I shouldn’t be allowed to name children.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Solem Lent, Tick Tock

K is excited to be at the HOLY LAND EXPERIENCE Over the last two weeks, my trip to The Holy Land Experience keeps coming up in conversation. During my course on Corinthians and the Greco-Roman view of the human body, the white tinkerbell Jesus of the HLE’s passion play came up as a valid juxtaposition between modern concepts of body and what Paul thought. And in my New Testament survey course, the conversation surrounding Revelation and the macho/feminized Jesus brought to mind the image of Peter in the Scriptorium where he looks bigger than the Hulk. And, with the vigil of Easter currently being kept, the lack of solemnity when it comes to the Easter Story at the Holy Land Experience has bled into my own self-reflection. Because, in a lot of ways, this has been one of my least solemn lenten experiences since I’ve returned to church. And I’m not sure how to feel about that.

My preparation for these Holy Days has consisted of me posting web comics to Facebook, ironing while shaking my booty to mashups, and spending more (than usual) late nights out. I really didn’t give anything up nor did I take on any discipline. Sure, I’ve been reading the bible a lot, doing theological reflections, participating in worship, led a study of the Augsburg Confession, and even preached once. And I do feel like I’ve done holy things. But things felt just a tad more…bright this season? I’m not sure what it was but I felt a lack of centerness this season.

While I ironed my new Easter shirt (besides realizing that entering ordained ministry means that if I decide to have a new outfit for each easter, my wife will get upset with the number of chasubles, copes, and stoles that I spend our money on), I started to come up with reasons why I felt this way. I thought of the unusually warm and sunny winter we had (which was awesome!), the fact that I’m still digesting what it means to celebrate Lent and the Passion while living in a post-resurrection reality, and that I was just too tired doing other things to take anything else on. And, sure, all of those reasons might have applied, but I think the big one is that there’s a little person joining our family soon. It is difficult to withdraw, to scale back, when everything is about to change. And I’m ridiculously excited about this change because, well, there’s a lot of hope in this little guy entering the world. It’s an incarnational story for me – which is Jesus’ story (of course). There’s life here. So, I think, that the big difference between this Lent and Easter and previous ones, for me, is that as new life grows and develops in K, and as we prep ourselves for his entering into our world, I’m just focused on the hope of new life. I’m stuck on the beauty in the life giving act of God on the cross. The Good in Good Friday is the highlight for me this year. I’m in no rush to Easter or the resurrection; I’m in no rush to bypass Lent and enter the Easter season. There’s new life right here, right now, and I can live with that today. Is this theologically sound? Probably not. But I’ve decided that he’s got my forehead, k’s chin and lips, and my nose.

Never CPE Alone

Last night, I was a research assistant for Dr. Alex at Never Sleep Alone. The show is hosted by a friend of a friend and my friend rounds up folks who don’t mind asking strangers charged questions. When the questions are asked, the clipboard charts filled out, we seat fill and become the rowdy bunch to start off the show right.

We showed up at 10:30 pm and were directed to the dusty-under-construction-probably-filled-with-asbestos dressing room. We put our stuff down and mingled with the other two dozen interns and volunteers. It was great because several of the folks were friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. There were so many of us that we were broken up into groups. Some were sent to give out free champagne, while others were sent to mingle in the crowd and give out personal invites to sexy people to attend the after party. The rest of us were given a three minute orientation, a lab coat, told to make up a fake name, and sent out into the world with a clipboard, different colored masks, and a pocket full of show branded condoms. I named myself “Sam.”

I learned in CPE that it is never really is THAT awkward to walk into a room and ask complete strangers questions about their deepest spiritual fears, hopes, and thoughts. So it was really a piece of cake walking to random (usually inebriated) strangers, some on dates, some with friends, and asking if they’re looking to “make a sexual connection tonight.” The section I covered never really filled up (lots of no-shows) but I did chat with a dozen people or so. Some highlights are below:

  • The couple who were on a date where the man was much more into the idea of the show that she was.
  • The woman where, after receiving their masks, asked to change colors because she didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
  • Talking to the father of one of the musicians from the show who’s English was very bad.
  • Talking to that musician’s girlfriend who said she’s seen the show five times but loves answering all the questions and asked me to keep going.
  • The old man who had no idea what a ‘hook up’ was.
  • And the beautiful gay couple who were obviously on their first date and we’re trying to guess what the other guy wanted to hear.

When the room was covered in masks, we were finished; we dropped our lab coats back in the dressing room, and sat in for the show. I really got a kick out of seeing how the show worked, who did what, and trying to figure out why the show worked. To quote K, the show is the type of show where you get out of it what you put into it – and being a married man with a kidling on the way means I’m not really that into it. But I did clap, sing along, laugh, judge what people were wearing, and felt incredibly old because only a few of us knew the lyrics to the opening song from Nirvana (kids these days!) It was also amazing watching people fall over themselves to get on stage. This article from the NY Times in December hits all the bases. It is STILL amazing that there were no dull spots, no places where no one moves, and no places where someone outright rejected Dr. Alex. The show moves, is funny, and is moving to Saturday nights (which means I can’t intern it anymore). I had a good time though I’m starting to realize that my staying out to 2:30 am (and sleeping through my subway stop) is probably starting to peter out.

Cradle Rock ‘n Roll

Yesterday, I stumbled into my field education site, hopped up on caffeine and barely awake. The night before, I stayed up till 2 am writing a seven page paper on six verses of Galatians (and misspelling Jesus in Koine Greek in bold letters on the front page) and my body was feeling the effects of a long week. When I arrived, I realized I forgot a scheduled event for that afternoon. I met up with the CYF director (and ended up calling her by the wrong name and insisting that my semester was ending in January rather than May), and waited for the event to begin. We were going to hang out with some new born babes.

There’s been a mini-baby boom at my field site with more than half a dozen babbies entering the world since October. All of them are adorable and lovely with my kidling, I think, the next one on the list. All the moms and dads were excited to learn that my wife and I were expecting and the advice came pouring out. Ideas about how to walk up five flights with a stroller were shared as well as how to get the kid to quiet down if walking around and bouncing isn’t working (do a few squats with them – I must remember this). We all sat around, chatted, and I even held a babby for the group picture! It was a lot of fun.

Near the end, I was asked if I was excited about the upcoming birth, scared, or both. I answered honestly that it depends on the time of day. Most of the time, I’m super excited. Other times, I’m freaked. But, over all, I’m looking forward to meeting the little guy. Just a little more than 3 months! AHHHHHH.