Killing my island day

Published 10:53 pm Friday, August 28, 2009

As Suffolk parents prepare to get their children back in school over the next few days, I’d like to offer my encouragement. Not to the children but to you lucky parents out there. Because you see, I am an uncle and it is the closest I ever hope to get to parenthood. And every back-to-school season, I offer my “uncle-ing” services to my niece, Samantha. This year, it was back-to-school Sunday for us with a blissful excursion to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk mixed in there.

My niece needed a notebook, book bag and some pants. Simple enough, right? Wrong. I’m a guy—a single guy with no real knowledge of things like Beyonce, Facebook, texting or, for goodness sake, Hannah Montana. So, my Sunday, which I affectionately refer to as my island day—where I do nothing and my bed becomes a 6 foot by 9 foot sovereign state where I am usually it’s only citizen and its only import/export is rest and relaxation—was transformed in a mind-numbing jaunt through pre-teen land.

And I do believe once a female child reaches age 11, her mouth is put on automatic, where speech precedes thought on such a level that it leaves all in earshot dumbfounded. “Should I get the pink notebook? Or the texting one? Or the one with the brown and pink stripes? Because that one’s cute but I have more outfits that’ll go with the pink one. I really like texting but the texting one won’t match my book bag and I’m sure no one else will have it. Oh, maybe they have a texting book bag …. What do you think Uncle Troy?”

With all this coming at me at a rate seemingly faster than the speed of sound, I gave serious thought to whether a Hannah Montana school ruler was in fact sharp enough to cut a man’s jugular vein. But I kid.

But all the school shopping in the world was worth it just to get to the zoo. Even in my thirties, I still enjoy a good trip to the zoo. (Giraffes are just a calming and majestic animal to behold.)

There’s something about watching adult animals caring for their young by licking its bottom clean that made me realize that maybe parenthood in the human species is less of a chore than I previously thought.

So I guess the lesson I learned from the whole day is that being a parent for a day during back-to-school season is exhausting, frustrating and so not an island day. But at least it’s not a parent in the zoo.

All you parents school shopping right now, take a trip to the zoo afterwards and you’ll realize how good you have it just having to buy book bags.