A New Normal

“Are you gonna cry?” my mother asked as we walked towards the school gymnasium.

“No,” I answered quickly before quipping, “At least, not in front of anyone.”

We made it to the entrance where two teachers were collecting tickets from all the spectators who came to watch their children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews get promoted from the 8th grade into high school.

“We hafta show you where to sit,” Baby B told me once we were inside. I followed him down the stairs and into the already packed gymnasium. I continued to follow my boys across what is normally a basketball court until they both walked right by the last set of bleachers, heading towards the cafeteria.

“Um, where are you going?” I inquired.

“We hafta go get ready,” Baby A answered.

“I thought you were supposed to show me where to sit?”

Baby B gestured towards the entire left side of the gymnasium. “Anywhere over there since that’s the side we’ll be sitting on.” They both then disappeared into the double doorway where the rest of their class awaited them.

I sneaked a look at my mother. “They could have just told us that.” Her shrug seemed to say, “Hey, they’re your kids.”

We found a place in the bleachers where there was enough room for myself, my mother, and my father, who would be joining us in just a few minutes.

My mother and I chatted a few minutes before my dad called me to let me know he had arrived. I made my way back to the entrance, handed him his ticket, and lead him back to our seats.

Before sitting down, he pulled a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and handed it to my mother. “Here. I thought you’d get a charge out of this.”

I glanced at the paper, which was a picture of a beaten down, disheveled, brown, two-story house obviously taken from Google maps. The lawn was unkept and various pieces were dangling off the front of the house. Confusion was evident on my mother’s face. It was clear she had no idea exactly what she was supposed to get a charge out of.

“That’s the house in Detroit. On (some street name I can not recall).”

My mother’s eyes lit up with recognition. My dad continued. “The lot on either side of the house is empty.” And by empty, he didn’t mean vacant. The houses were literally gone, a testament to how bad things have gotten in my hometown.

My dad then spoke to me. “That’s the house your mother and I lived in after we got married. The house you were conceived in.”

My father still doesn’t know what amount of information is too much. “Oh, great. . .” I acknowledge, my voice laced with sarcasm.

Undeterred, my father continued. “Second floor if you really want to know.” Evidently a parent’s job of embarrassing his or her children is never finished.

 

My mother chimed in. “This is the house we got Bunky in.” Bunky was our family dog.

I got lost in my thoughts for a few minutes, wondering why my dad had been reminiscing about a time in his life spent with a woman he divorced over 23 years ago. Eventually discussion of the picture faded and we began talking about what was going on in each of our respective lives until the ceremony began at 6:30.

The ceremony, as these events tend to do, dragged on and on and on and on. The teachers strode purposefully into the room first, in rows of two. Then the students. All 180+ of them, two at a time. I idly wondered how this was going to play out in four years when there will likely be 300 to 400 students in their graduating class.

The students eventually filled every seat on the floor and the principal began the ceremony. I spent most of the ceremony watching the twins, observing how they interacted with their peers. They laughed. They smiled. They joked. As I monitored them I was filled with a hurricane of emotions I can’t rightly quantify. Pride. Bittersweet joy. Confusion. I was awestruck that somehow the little boys who used to tell me bedtime stories are beginning to hatch from their cocoons to lead the lives of the butterflies they’re destined to be.

Awards were handed out to the students who had scored the highest GPA in each individual subject. Each subject had an award for a boy and one for a girl, prompting me to wonder why we still segregate by gender. After the awards were exhausted they called each student up to receive their promotion certificate. I tried to snap pictures as the principal handed them out, but unlike every other part of this ceremony (which had dragged) this part of the ceremony passed like a strike of lightning. Baby B was already walking off the stage before my camera could focus and snap a picture and Baby A was already off the stage before my camera was ready to take another. I had to stop them both in the back of the gym so I could snap a picture of them both with their certificates.

The ceremony was then over, and we were free to leave. We went home and back to life as normal, but life will not be normal again. At least, not in the way it has been. Life will develop a new normal. The boys begin laying the foundation of their adult lives now. Every decision they make and every action they take will have far-reaching consequences. I’ll do my damnedest to help them make the best decisions possible.

I am now the proud parent of two high school freshman.

Shit just got real.

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About Twindaddy (330 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

90 Comments on A New Normal

  1. It’s amazing how certain events in our lives kind of smack you on the side of the head with the reality of how quickly time is passing!

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  2. Time flies, huh? I can only imagine how it must have been for my parents when I graduated from highschool at 16.

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    • Yikes! Is that the normal age in your country or are you so utterly brilliant that you exceeded all expectations?

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      • Haha gosh no. I was a “young student” since my birthday is in October. I always turned the “right age” when we had to go to the next school year. It also depends on the education level. What I did is called “HAVO” and this is like the general education level and it lasts for 5 years. One step higher is called “VWO”, you have extra languages like Latin and you have to have a better analytic understanding (something like that), but this is 6 years. For me, towards the end of high school, everyone was either already 17 or about to turn 18.

        This is a very brief explanation haha. To be honest, I was a good student, but if I wanted to I could be way better. I just couldn’t be bothered with it 🙂

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  3. Whew, big step TD. Congratulations on their graduation. And to many more happy days.

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  4. Congratulations! I wish them and you well! The next 4 years are going to be MARVELOUS! *coughing* 😉 xoxo

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  5. Real shit stinks… I am sticking to the artificial-shit

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  6. Just wait til they leave for college. That right there is traumatic shit. I walked around with a box of Kleenex for a week. Both times.

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  7. Congratulations! Shit will definitely be getting more interesting every year, since there are consequences now! And also more complicated. Good luck 🙂

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  8. Wow. Wow like a fucking doctor.
    One minute they’re babies pulling their own shit out their diaper, and then the next they’re stealing your records (or is that just Penny?)
    I’m sure you’re up to the task of handling teenagers, TD.

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  9. The more I read, the more I love. I don’t want to ruin it by adding any more of my own words. xo

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  10. Yes. Very much.

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  11. Congratulations you you and your boys!! that is some crazy shit. and i love that it was a whole family affair. and it’s so true that the whole ceremony thing drags except the part you want to see!!

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  12. Wow!!!! Congratulations, TD! 🙂 Here’s to the new normal!

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  13. And you still call them babies, haha. My husband, annoyed, asked me when his parents are gonna stop calling us “the kids” and I told him “probably never.” Congrats to your twins, though! 🙂

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  14. Have you had the condom and safe sex discussion yet? When you have that one and they tell you the need the XXX size, then come back and tell me ‘Shit just got real’. That is after you pick yourself up off the floor.

    Congrats to you and the twins on getting past another milestone.

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  15. I’m far away from having freshman, but I’d appreciate any words of wisdom you can muster along the way, TD. I guess I should say congratulations? I can’t tell.

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  16. Congrats, TD! I bet it’s both exciting and scary. I’m sure not ready for that one. I have a few years yet. Enjoy these years as best you can.

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  17. Congratulations! I just started reading your blog a little while ago, and I love how you mix humor with the more serious moments in life. Your dad’s conversation before the ceremony was classic.

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  18. Well, that was a little peek at what I’m in for. Pretty scary shit. That’s when I’ll REALLY start to panic about my daughters. Then they’ll become objects of desire, which makes me kind of sick to type out. I wish life had a fast forward button. Or, even better, a rewind.

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  19. Buckle up Daddy. Things really do get real. The hardest and the best years. Congrats and no worries … As long as we always keep striving to do better…we do!

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  20. Congrats to the twins. It will all be good.

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  21. These ceremonies are the weirdest; you sit there going “hang on, when did this happen?”
    Good luck to them, and may you enjoy it^~

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  22. It’s always the parents’ job to embarrass their kids. No matter how old. I sometimes dread going anywhere with my dad.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get a picture of the twins being handed their diploma thingies, but I’m glad it was a good experience for all of you.

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  23. Now come the fun years of “detaching.” These years are very hard on parents. Your children will want to put as much distance as possible between you & them. They will be embarrassed by you. They will be secretive. They will be moody as hormones & growing pains kick in. They will want to sleep really late & stay up even later. They will be disrespectful as they try to explore the true boundaries of what you will & will not accept. I speak from experience – having helped 7 teenagers through their teen years. Have fun!

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  24. Congrats, TD. Real is scary good

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  25. Hey, I’m coming up for air from a week of senior activities for my daughter. Graduation is on Friday. YIKES! I so understand how you are feeling. It is bittersweet. Your babies will be in High School. That does sound real! Mine will be in college, that’s beyond real!! 🙂

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  26. Congratulations, SS! Your dad cracked me up 😀

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  27. Congrats to the boys and you of course! Don’t blink because High School is over in a flash…all the best on the next chapter.

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  28. Wait four years, then we’ll talk about real over beer. However, good job, TD!

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  29. My oldest son just entered high school last year, and my youngest is graduating from 8th grade next week. I thought last year had prepared me for this. I was wrong. He keeps catching me staring at him with a look of disbelief and pride. He just thinks I’m weird. Not that I can argue with that. Our youngest daughter will be an 8th grader next year, so we’ll be going through it again. I can’t imagine what graduating three kids in a row is going to be like starting in 2017.

    This was a terrific post, TD. From one father to another, thanks for sharing it. And for being a good Dad.

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  30. I initially read “funky” in place of “bunky” and thought wow your momma is freaky 🙂 Wow…Freshman…just wow. You are old. I am older…lesigh

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  31. Aww! Congrats to them! I bet you were such a proud Daddy in that moment. Don’t lie, you totally got a little teary-eyed, didn’t you?

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  32. You used the perfect word..bittersweet. So many changes are happening with our kids and it is such a mix. You want to them to grow up, you want to see them shape their world with good choices and well thought out plans. At the same time, you wish to go back to silly Disney shows and reading Horton Hears A Who fifteen times a night. I’m right there with you, my sentimental friend.

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    • Yes, very much so. I am very excited and anxious about the men they are growing into, but I do so miss the days where they were excited when I walked into a room and told me how they wanted to be strong like daddy.

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  33. I keep having to catch my breath every time I say my son is a second grader. Freshmen? No doubt, dude…shit did just get real.

    When people ask me what my biggest fear is, I usually say drowning, but now that I think about it, I think it’s teenagers. Good luck.

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    • I don’t fear them. I fear misguiding them. Thankfully they seem to have good heads on their shoulders. So far…

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      • I’m mostly terrified of when my daughter becomes a teenager, not just because I remember being one myself, and I was good. I didn’t even sneak out of the house, except for one time, but I left a note.

        I was an asshole though, full of horrible bitter hormones that I didn’t understand, and I may or may not have told my mother that I hated her at least once a week. It was an awesome time. She forgives me…I think.

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