What’s in a number?

I remember seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I was very young at the time and all my brothers and sisters wanted to see them, but for some reason I didn’t.  I don’t remember why.  The Beatles have since become one of my favorite bands.  In fact, it isn’t long after this that they became a favorite.  The melodies and harmonies, the lyrics and imagery, the personalities.  They had it all.  Still have it even though, sad to say, only two of the originals are left.

One of my thoughts on naming our twins was: John Paul and George Ringo.  Unfortunately, my better half vetoed that suggestion.  We had agreed that the names we chose we would both have to agree on.

In any case, the sadder news is that my boys, the dynamic duo, the chips off the old block, the little buggers have never heard of The Beatles.  To them, modern music is something more, shall we say, electronic with a driving rhythm and outrageous lyrics.  Not that all contemporary music is bad, it’s just “evolved”.

I remember where I was when I heard the news that JFK was shot and his brother and Martin.  I remember the miracle Mets, Mr. October, disco, punk rock, Watergate, all the Presidents, the Olympics every four years (who could ever forget Peggy Fleming or Dorothy Hamill or Nadia Comenici or even the original Bruce Jenner).

I remember the “New Math”, conjugating French verbs in grade school, nuns who were almost as terrifying as the ex-Marine in gym class in high school, all my loves in every grade whether they knew they were or not (Claire, where are you?), my buddies in every grade and the one I still have from my second grade class.

Yes, I’m 58 and my kids just turned 7.  No, I didn’t plan it that way.  In high school, when I took this religion class (I went to a parochial school), there was an exercise where I was paired with a girl and we had to plan our lives so that we could begin thinking about what life would be like when we graduated.  The thought never came up that I would wait until my 50’s to have kids.

That thought never came up until I met my second wife and she said she would like to have kids and I said, yeah, that sounds good.  Of course, by then I was over 40.

My first wife said she didn’t want kids and I said, yeah, neither do I.   I didn’t think I did.  What did I know?

The first marriage ended and I never thought I would meet a woman and have kids.  I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be married again.  I wasn’t even sure I was “marriage material”, whatever that means.  I mean, I was 40 and by that time, women my age already had kids and if they didn’t, they knew they didn’t want them.  Meeting a woman who was substantially younger than me and having kids seemed, what, improbable?

But, then again, as Han Solo said, don’t tell me the odds.  After all, I’m the one who moved to NYC and became a professional actor at 40.  Hey, it didn’t last long, but at least I did it.

Becoming a daddy did seem like a remote possibility even with my penchant for odds-bucking.  But, wouldn’t you know it, I met a wonderful woman and she said Yes and let’s have kids and I said ok.  I mean it sounded like a good idea at the time.

Reality is often different that imagination.  And after three years or so of “trying”, we got pregnant.  Don’t be fooled, if she’s pregnant, I might as well be pregnant cause I have to live with her during.  I may not have the weight gain, but I certainly had everything else, like the midnight cravings for ice cream or massages.  I mean if she had the cravings, I had to be the fulfiller of said cravings.  You know what I mean.

What does one say when the doctor says, upon the initial exam of mommy, “how do you feel about twins?”  All I could say was, I knew it was a bad time to give up drinking.  (I had to give up drinking during the “trying” phase cause, contrary to popular belief, alcohol inhibits sperm mobility and those guys were on a perilous enough mission as it was!)

I don’t regret having kids in the least.  They are the joys of my life with mommy.  I miss being younger so that I can be more active with them, more energetic, and so that they could see what daddy was like in his prime physical condition, how fast he could run or how he could shoot a basketball or throw a baseball.

But, what I have now I didn’t have then.  Whenever I hear the word ‘maturity’ I cringe.  I don’t think of myself as mature.  I certainly don’t think of myself as wiser.  I do think of myself as ‘more experienced’.  In the end, if it helps them with homework or teachers or girlfriends or sports or anything and everything else, that’s not such a bad thing.   I’ll beat the odds.

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