Friday, February 22, 2008

TWO OR MORE

A favorite sportswriter of mine, Bill Simmons (aka the Sports Guy) of ESPN.com, recently had his second child; and in a recent column, he jokingly suggests that somebody launch a website called, "Why Didn't You Effing Tell Me?" Here's a link to the column; scroll down to his rant in the middle of the page; my favorite idea for a feature on this website is: "Live webcams featuring streaming video inside the living rooms of families with two or more kids. And before anyone decides to have a second kid, by federal law, they'd have to spend three hours surfing around this Web site."

Though somewhat crassly put, Simmons expresses a sentiment shared by many of us with two or more kids: it's a lot harder than raising one kid. That's why I'm convinced that, despite our various individual weaknesses and our various relationship challenges, Amy and I will never get divorced: it's the "please don't ever leave me" safety net. In fact, just as two people working for the same two demanding bosses will naturally cling to one another out of sheer survival and camaraderie, so it is with Amy and me.

In reality, there's more that unites us than just the shared ordeal of raising two small children. On our worst days, we're still each other's number one help and support. And on our best days, we can be so much more.

This past Christmas, my gift to Amy was to let her go wild at Williams-Sonoma. Lest you accuse me of sexism, please understand that baking is one of the things that gives Amy the most joy in life. Nevertheless, it was a bit selfish of me to extend such a gift, seeing as how my stomach would be the main beneficiary of it.

On the other hand, among the gifts Amy gave me were a portable Scrabble set, so we could play on the road; and a reflector band to wear when I run or bike, since I had mentioned to her that I had almost gotten hit by a car on a couple of occasions biking home at night. The gifts were so thoughtful I literally teared up with gratitude. I know how full and busy her life is, and yet she took the time to think long and hard about what I would enjoy, and she went out and bought good stuff. Now this is someone I want to raise two kids with!

I meet weekly with a college buddy who is a pastor to confess sins and pray for one another. We became first-time dads around the same time, and he recently become a dad of two. And not long after that, he wondered aloud to me, "Lee, I don't know how you do it." To which I reply, "I'm not doing it! I'm failing miserably! Haven't you been listening these past six months since became a dad of two?! That the ordeal has left my inherent selfishness and impatience and critical edge no room to hide, among other sins that bubble up every week that I shared with you?!"

We had a good laugh about it. And so while raising two kids is hard, I guess it's made easier by having a good partner to do it with, and good friends to share a laugh (and, sometimes, a tear) with. And so to those of you with two or more kids, I raise a glass and say, "Cheers!" and "Congrats!" And to those of you who have one kid and are thinking about making it two, I say, "Read the Sports Guy."
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