Dads… Control Your Excitement

My son is prone to bouts of extreme excitement. These bouts are always fun to witness and it doesn’t take much to prompt them. A perfect example was on display at dinner a couple of nights ago.

We sat down to enjoy a delicious salmon meal. I was a few bites in when I leaned over to my son. I proceeded to ask him what he had done that day. He told me his mom had taken him to visit the Delta Flight Museum in downtown Atlanta. This sounded fun. I followed up by asking him what he liked most about the museum.

At that moment he glanced over at me with a mad look in his eyes. This was the trigger.

Before I knew it, he was out of his chair. He started running around the kitchen with his arms extended making loud airplane sounds. Aerial acrobatics advanced to aggressive swooping movements toward his mom and sister.

Did he witness an aerial dogfight? You would have thought so.

After 10 minutes of this display, I asked him to please rejoin us at the table to finish dinner. This turned into a lengthy negotiation, ending with bribes of ice cream sandwiches. Ice cream sandwiches in exchange for a focused effort on making a happy plate. It worked.

I can’t fault him for his excitement. I too find myself getting giddy, but it is over different things now that I am an adult.

As an adult, I get excited when I see a piping hot value-sized sleeve of Chick-fil-A waffle fries making its way to my table. There is nothing I enjoy more than eating my feelings. Delicious feelings drenched in a plethora of tantalizing sauces. Keep up the innovative research and development you are doing on your sauces Chick-Fil-A. This father thanks you.

Also, the way my excitement reveals itself looks different. I don’t use broad flailing gestures to tell my stories. Childish grandiose displays are not for a man of my advancing age.

Think how disturbing it would be to encounter a 35-year-old man screaming and jumping up and down for an ice cream. ¬†It’s a cute reaction for a 4-year-old, but not for a dad of two. I have to remind myself of this. It will save my wife much embarrassment¬†the next time we make a family trip to Dairy Queen.

As men advance in age, we internalize our celebration more and more. The fist pumping and chest pounding still occur but in our heads. We dare not let it spill out into the public light. This is not acceptable.

Open spastic celebration from grown men is disturbing and unnatural. It scares women and children. It’s charming when it’s your kid, it’s psychotic when it’s you. Your family deserves better.