Two nights ago I watched a video on YouTube titled “20 Minutes of People Marking Out During AJ Styles’ Royal Rumble Debut”. As advertised, the clip is a compilation of fans’ reactions to Styles’ unheralded arrival in the WWE. There’s a lot of vulgarity in there; so much so, in fact, that the non-initiated might be led to believe that the participle form of the f-word is AJ Styles’ middle name. The best part of the reactions, though, are the ones which show the subjects stunned into silence. Rhetorical questions follow. What the hell? Is this really happening? I made it through the entire 20 minutes not because I love AJ Styles (which I do), but because after five reactions, I realized what I was really watching. For some of these fans, Styles showing up as a surprise entrant in the Rumble was the realization of something they never thought possible. The impossible dream.
My impossible dream came true in 2006. Lynnette and I were in New York for our Honeymoon. After a few days there, we finally set out on the 7 Train headed into Queens. We were going to watch the Mets at Shea Stadium. When Shea appeared on the horizon I began to tear. I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. I openly wept as the train drew closer Shea and the stadium grew larger. I was going to watch my Mets at Shea. The impossible dream was about to come true and it systematically dismantled any facade of manhood I foolishly thought I could cling to.
Cole is the second impossible dream to materialize. When I first learned my first child would not be a masculine child I was crushed. I had visions of some kind of Phil Jr. and baseball and the Mets and a bunch of other stuff that seemed fall away the second the ultrasound tech couldn’t find a penis.
Then, Madison was so incredible that none of that seemed to matter, really. Having a daughter brought out things in my I never knew were there. Madison made me a better human.
Then, for a number of reasons, I assumed that Madison was going to be an only child. I wasn’t upset or bummed. I was actually fine with it. I was happy with life and had come around to the idea of putting all of my parenting eggs in Madison’s basket.
Then, we found out Lynnette was pregnant and eventually that one of them was a boy. I was going to have a son. Today is the first Boys’ Day I can actually remember caring about. Tonight as my son tried to eat his colorful carp, I marveled at how much he resembles the infant version of me, right down to the little curl of hair on the right side of his head. He makes the same mischievous faces. He likes to eat. He likes to goof off. He hates when it gets too hot. He hates when people wake him up from naps. He loves Lynnette’s boobs. He’s a carbon copy. For better and for worse, I guess, as time will reveal.
Happy Boys’ Day. You do not know it yet, but you are the fulfillment of a dream I had long before I fell in love for the first time, before I had my heart broken for the first time. I did not know who or how or when I would marry, only that I wanted a son. I’m so excited to watch you grow. I’m going to need your help in the inevitable war against the irrational females in our home.