It was late in the summer of 2008 and I was taking a two week vacation. Mama Bear had to report to school for a few days to prepare for the upcoming school year so I made plans to take the three kids down the Jersey Shore and meet my parents at their shore house.
The weekend prior, we had been to Ocean City, NJ for a 40th birthday party for my boss at the time. Well, in classic Papa Bear fashion, I had left a bag (or two) of our stuff at his house. I’m not totally convinced I am the one to blame for leaving the bags there, but Mama Bear insisted that she asked me to get the bags and I didn’t hear her. This has happened before so I can’t deny that that didn’t happen. Regardless, the kids and I had to make a stop.
Now the trip down the shore was my idea. I thought it would be great to give Mama Bear some time off before she had to go back to work and I thought it would be nice to enjoy the sunshine and water with the kids.
My son, Junior Bear, was at the beginning stages of his superhero phase at this point. And like I’ve probably said before, when Junior Bear gets into something, he jumps in with both feet and it becomes an obsession. By default, his sisters also get into whatever phase he’s in.
It took about two hours to get to Ocean City, and it was probably the longest two hours of that summer for me. I had to explain the story of Superman, Spiderman, and the Star Wars Jedi multiple times. Let me tell you that there are only so many times a grown man can explain these stories in one trip.
Junior Bear: “Where did Superman come from?”
Papa Bear: “Krypton.”
Junior Bear: “How does he get his powers?”
Papa Bear: “The yellow sun of earth.”
Peanut Bear: “Where did Superman come from?”
Papa Bear: “Krypton! I just said that.”
Junior Bear: “How did Spider-man get his powers?”
Papa Bear: “The yellow sun!”
Junior Bear: “No dad, Spider-man not Superman.”
Papa Bear: “Oh, he was bit by a spider.”
Peanut Bear: “Dad, how does Superman get his powers?”
Papa Bear: “The sun!”
Cookie Bear: “Are we there yet?”
Papa Bear: “No.”
Peanut Bear: “How much longer?”…
I think you get the point. It was rapid fire on Papa Bear. I mean, I had to tell the stories at least 100 times (at least it felt that way) and it got to the point where I was just trying to end the conversations by pleading ignorance.
But as I painfully learned that doesn’t work. See, Peanut Bear thinks she can get to the answer by just emphasizing a different word in the question.
Junior Bear: “Dad, how do Jedi get their powers?”
Papa Bear: “I don’t know.”
Peanut Bear: “No, dad; How do Jedi get their powers?”
Papa Bear: “I don’t know!”
Peanut Bear: “No, no, Dad; How do Jedi get their powers?”
Papa Bear: “I heard the question. I just don’t know.”
Peanut Bear: “Dad, dad, dad, listen to me. How do Jedi get their powers?”
Thinking back it would’ve been easier to just answer the question the first time.
I think I had a boss like this once. Although at least he had the creativity to ask the same question three different ways.
By the time we got to my boss’ place (by the way, he wasn’t the boss who asked the same question a ton of times), I was ready to stick a fork in my eye. I’m sure many of you parents feel my pain. See, Mama Bear rarely has this trouble with the kids. She has an unbelievable way with them. She can get them to do anything she wants, similar to what a Jedi could do. Me, on the other hand, I’m more like Han Solo, no special powers and I usually resort to banging things to try and fix them (some might even call me Jar-Jar Binks). As a matter a fact, the kids have a way of getting me to do whatever they want. I’m like their little puppet.
But fortunately for me, when we arrived my boss was game for the superhero talk. He had Junior Bear engaged for quite awhile. He even introduced a few new superheroes to him, which was great until the ride from his place to our place when I had to answer those questions.
“Who’s the Hulk again?...How did he get his powers?...Where does the Hulk live?...”
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If you liked this story, try the archives (located along the right-hand column) and find some other stories of a grown-up child trying to navigate through fatherhood.
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