The secret to happiness is to find people who exemplify who you want to be, then find a way to be near them. If you surround yourself with joyful people with good hearts, you'll be better for it.
I spent the weekend at a lodge in the Adirondacks hanging out with authors and editors who create magical things called children's books. Children's books are magical because they facilitate bonding moments, they instill a love of reading, they create lifelong memories--and most important, they make toddlers giggle.
I need to figure out how to spend more time with people who create magical things, and less time with self-absorbed butt-heads who suck way too much oxygen from the world.
This is the place where parents drop off their kids to take the NYC specialized high school exam. I just dropped off Ethan and am standing here with other helicopter parents at the end of the bridge, looking at our kids as they stand in line a hundred feet away waiting for the doors to open. We're standing here in case they suddenly realize they forgot something, or suddenly have a question, or suddenly panic and bolt out of the line and say, "Dad, I can't do it! I need you!" We have no idea why we're standing here, but we have nowhere else to go.
This is a stressful day. The test takes several hours, and is the sole criteria for admission to the city's top public high schools. Ethan didn't get to bed last night until midnight because he had friends over for Halloween, then at 11pm he couldn't find his admission ticket. Then he crawled into our bed at 4am because he couldn't sleep. We got up at 6:30am. It was still dark outside, and raining.
On the way to the subway Ethan said, "This is going to be one of my worst ten days ever."
But it was his choice to take the test, and all you can do is be supportive and try not to add to his stress.
I just called Jennifer and said, "I'm on my way home, I just dropped off Ethan on the bridge with a thousand other stressed-out eighth graders and parents."