I have discovered, now that I have a kid, that it's weird hanging out with my parents. We'll be sitting around, and I'll mention something Juniper has been doing that's a real pain in my ass, and my dad will sit there and nod his head and say, "I sure do remember that." It gives me a new connection to him that is surefooted and real, as if parenthood itself is a fraternity of tolerance. In such moments we might tap beer bottles with another, at the neck, if my dad were the kind of guy to drink beer in front of me rather than squirrel away an always-half-empty pint of Captain Morgan in a box at the top of his closet. As we sit and soberly commiserate about what a pain in the ass kids can be, I have a revelation: Hey, that's not cool, man: that pain in his ass he's talking about is me.

For example, I learned last night that Juniper's recent artistry was not without some genetic precedent. Turns out I painted bedroom walls with my own shit when I was her age. My dad laughed as he told the story, making Wood and my mom laugh, leaving everyone laughing but me. His tale of undirected ire and harried frustration in removing every fecal speck from the stucco was too familiar. And Wood suspected he felt there was some justice in the turnabout.

Some day, many years from now, perhaps Juniper will have a kid and bring memories of her own infancy back to me, and I'll crack a few beers and we can commiserate, but if I'm good I'll be sure to remind her that until she brought them up I'd forgotten every albatross of parenthood, all of them overwhelmed by her being the best thing that ever happened to me.

Even if I haven't forgotten.