I was scrolling through my Facebook page at work (just kidding, I was doing it at home … just kidding again, I was totally doing it at work, because research) when I had a moment of clarity.
I have become that dad.
I have become the annoying dad who spends every waking moment talking about his kids. I’m the guy who carries around hundreds of pictures of my children in my phone (the modern-day equivalent of carrying them around in my wallet) and will show them to people at a moment’s notice, whether they actually have any interest in seeing them or not.
I could meet a complete stranger on the street and spend 30 minutes showing them pictures and videos of my daughter doing the pole vault. People have literally been running the opposite direction from me and I’ve been chasing them down the street, trying to tell them about my son’s victories in his battle with autism.
It’s time to admit I have a problem. I have become completely obsessed with my children and everything they do. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, I reckon — I mean, it’s certainly better than the alternative of not caring what my kids are up to — but I probably tend to take things to the extreme.
Most of my waking moments are spent thinking, “What positive things can I say about my children on social media today? Did Max say something that most people won’t get, but I find insanely amusing? Did Sophie get another A on a test? Does the world need to know that Max had the loudest burp I’ve ever heard after sucking down some McDonald’s french fries and a Sprite? Will the world come to an end if my Twitter followers don’t know how Sophie did in her latest Pop Rocks performance?”
Oh, and don’t forget about the pictures I post to social media. I don’t have time to post a lot of “selfies” on my Facebook or Instagram account, mostly because I’m posting pictures of my kids — “theysies,” perhaps? Awww, here’s one of Max sleeping! Isn’t he cute? No other kid in the history of the planet Earth has ever fallen asleep before, apparently, because I need 482 frames — all of which I post to social media — to ensure the moment is properly recorded for future generations.
And hey, here’s a shot of Sophie pole vaulting. Sure, it looks exactly like every other photo I’ve ever posted of her pole vaulting in the last four years, but I’m going to post it again, because maybe you forgot what she looked like in the other 984 pictures I’ve posted before of her pole vaulting.
I’ve become the kind of person around whom most people don’t like to be (if I wasn’t already, of course).
I know this because I used to not very much like being around the type of person I have become.
People who used to talk constantly about their children really tended to annoy me. Yeah, I get it. Your kid is on the honor roll at Bumbleschmuck Elementary School. Your kid is a part of the stick figure family on the back of your minivan. Your kid is going to lead his team to the Super Bowl, win the Nobel Prize and complete the first manned space trip to Jupiter all in the same year — once he stops eating his boogers in the corner over there.
I used to think people who constantly obsessed over their children must have very sad, dreary lives.
Then I actually had some kids of my own.
And now, I have to say, I get it. I understand what all of the fuss was about. My kids are — and always will be — the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I could win 50 Pulitzers, and not a single one of them would ever compare to watching my little boy win the Heywood Elementary School “Viking Award” at a school assembly the other day.
I could win award after award for writing about other people’s children competing in sporting events and winning state championships — but I’ll always be prouder of the two-sentence Facebook post I wrote about my kid taking second place at a junior high school track meet.
And I won’t apologize for any of it.
I hope to keep posting all of my kids’ finest moments on social media because I love them in a way I never thought I could ever love anything ever before.
And I hope those of you who have children do the same, because I now know just how you must feel.
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong