Monday, April 25, 2016

On Being a Proud Papa

Ben (left) and Amos after the first
leg of last Saturday's practice ride.

It might sound trite to repeat that oft-uttered sentiment that being a parent is the hardest job one can have. Ni modo. I’m saying it again. The difficulty may stem from many sources and may begin early: a difficult conception and pregnancy; your infant’s (or infants’) health issues that can run the gamut from life-threatening to relatively minor; your lack of sleep; juggling employment with parenthood, etc.

And as they grow older, other worries kick in: searching for daycare; finding a good preschool; letting go slowly but surely; a shrinking bank account.

And then helping (just enough) with homework; teaching your child how to be a good person while navigating a sometimes hateful world; puberty (!); driving; dating; high school; college search...

Sometimes horrible, evil things invade your child’s life: hate crimes; bullying; temptations to “experiment” with drugs and alcohol; dangerous adults.

But there are joyous moments, of course, those times when you can say that it was all worth it, that you’ve survived, that you are a proud parent.

I can say that my wife and I recently puffed out our chests with pride when our son, Ben, decided to participate in this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle along with his partner, Amos. This year, from June 5 to June 11, Ben and Amos will be joining over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies and Virtual Cyclists in this 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help raise funds for the life-saving services offered by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

If you want to show support for my son and this great cause, visit this page to make a pledge.

As Ben notes on his AIDS/LifeCycle page, “I have watched people die from this disease. I have watched friends, younger than I am, react to the diagnosis of having AIDS. Though modern medicine has changed the ‘look’ of the disease, it is no less devastating to live with it. Someone in their 20's should be thinking about grad school and jobs, not what their T cell count is. Someone in their 30's should be planning their lives, not burying their partner. And yet HIV and AIDS is still a reality for so many.”

So, you see, while being a parent is the hardest job in the world, it can be worth it when you see your child do good works. This is how I am feeling today. I am, without a doubt, a proud papa.

* * *

Tongue & Groove presents:
2016 PEN/USA Emerging Voices Fellows
Saturday April 30
6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
The Hotel Café
For details, visit here.
* * *

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Poetry Reading:
Eduardo Corral
Thursday, April 28, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.

(Coffee & Cookies Served)

"This is Technicolor poetry," writes Ray Olson of Eduardo Corral's Slow Lightning, in which he "mixes colloquial Spanish and English, and he packs many, many lines with sharp, sensual, specific imagery.” Such linguistic originality garnered a Yale Series of Younger Poets award for Corral, making him the first Latino poet to win the competition.

Admission to the event is free. Please arrive early. This series is curated by Stephen Yenser, Distinguished Professor of English at UCLA, and dedicated to the memory of Doris Curran. This event is co-sponsored by the following organizations at UCLA: the Chicano Studies Research Center, the Department of Chicano and Chicana Studies, LGBTS, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Deans of Social Science and the Humanities.

No comments: