Labor Day

Labor Day is painful for me. when I was in eighth grade my best friend was killed in a freak train accident. He was crossing the tracks in heavy rain and he was hit and killed. In many ways I’ve never gotten over that day. He was killed in the spring just before school ended. The summer was awful and lonely. But labor day was one of his favorite days because he’d stay up all night (or try to) and watch the muscular dystrophy telethon. He watched it so me and my brother watched it too. We’d go over his house and see how long we could stay up too. The three of us were tight for five years. We did just about everything together every day. We were drifting in 8th grade. We were. And then the sky opened up with lighting and it turned black as night all day. I found out in my last period math class. The principle announced it over the loudspeaker.

So when labor day comes around a great sadness hangs over me. My friend’s father punched his hand through the wall of his dining room when he found out. He asked us why we weren’t together. Why we hadn’t watched out for his son. He was in great pain and didn’t mean to blame us but he did. Some things will never make sense. My friend’s death in particular.

This labor day we cleaned. We put boxes in storage. We went to see a movie.

I put labor day behind me one more time.

Summer Homework Procrastination Station

Here’s an ago old question. When given homework to do over the summer (which is just not fair in my book but it is the way of the world these days) why do kids wait until the week before school starts to do it? And (I Know, it’s a second question) why, when they do start to do it, kicking and screaming, complaining, whining, and knocking their heads against the wall, do they get angry at their parents for reminding them they have to do it?

Okay. Maybe this one answers itself.

Still.

How many kids actually do their summer homework when school is over? Yes, that’s a third question for those who are counting.

I mean, if school is over shouldn’t the homework be over also? Numero cuatro.

Isn’t the whole point of summer that you are released from structure for a couple of months? Numero cinco.

All I can say is that next year school isn’t over until the homework is done. Then it’ll really be summer. Well… that’s what I say now. We’ll see how things stand in June. I mean I had the same problem when I was M-ito’s age, only it was with homework during the school year, not over the summer. We didn’t have summer homework. And that was good.

Gigaaa-aaaantor

We’re in the car. Travelling from Target to home. Mom-ita is driving.

“Dad-dito,” M-ito asks from the back seat.

“Yes.”

“Back in your time, when you were a kid –”

“Way back in my time?”

“Yes, way back then – what TV shows did you watch? I mean what cartoons were on way back then.”

“Well, way back then, we used to watch cartoons just like you did but the big day to watch was Saturday when we watched cartoons all morning. There wasn’t cable so we just had channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 13.”

“That was it?”

“That was it.”

“Well, what did you watch?”

“My favorite shows were The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Speed Racer, Gigantor, Whacky Racers, and Scooby Doo.”

“I like those too. What’s Gigantor?”

“Giant robot and a boy. Theme song is Gigaaaaaantor. Gigaaaaa-aaantor. And I forget the rest. It’s a cool song.”

“Yeah.”

“We watched the Banana Splits too and live action shows like Batman,”

“Superman,” Mom-ita added.

” – and Wonder Woman.”

“Yeah.”

“Any reason you wanted to know?”

“No. Just asking.”

Time

It has been eight months since my last post. Time passes differently for adults and children. What is eight months for me is a lifetime for my son. M-ito has finished third grade and will begin fourth next week. We have passed through most of a summer. The weather has changed three times with each of the seasons and it is just starting to change again.

I haven’t written on this blog because of the time it has taken to market my novel, write the blog for that website, and keep more balls floating in the air in front of me. But this season of school I don’t want to miss recording. I don’t want my son to miss out on a year when he looks back at this. Really this is a record for him more than me.

What has happened in the last 8 months? Everything.

M-ito is now nine. For his ninth birthday he saved the world with a group of close friends from the infamous Ratzso – once again.

My debut novel Open Wounds has been published.

M-ito has read all the Harry Potter books, seen all the movies, and as of last week experienced most of Universal’s Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida. He loves them. We just watched The Sorcerer’s Stone … again… last night.

This summer M-ito figured out that baseball camp was the same as school only you learned only about baseball all day. He would like not to do baseball camp next year. He wants to be free.

We have two dogs now – Spike and Gracie, both Havanese. They wake me up at 6am to be taken out. Ugh.

Being a father is still the hardest job I have and the hardest job I know. And I still love every minute of it.