parked under the sunsphere

The kids are on Spring Break this week. Anne and Ryan are up in HellaNorCal, checking out colleges, and Nolan and I are hanging out with the dogs until they get back.

It’s been a really fun week so far: lots of Magic: The Gathering, Brawl tournaments, The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles on TV, and walks with the dogs around the neighborhood when it isn’t raining.

I’ve also introduced him to Lost, and I have the feeling that he’ll run through Season One on DVD in five days, just like I did. Hopefully, he won’t become as hopelessly just-jam-it-into-my-veins addicted to the show as I am (I’m only up to Episode 4 of Season Two, so if you’re going to comment, please don’t post any spoilers, okay? I reserve a special type of wrath for that sort of thing) but I managed to hook him on Battlestar Galactica this way, and I apologize for nothing. Nothing!!1one!

Sorry. I got a little carried away there.


I’ve always felt that, as a parent, my job (and greatest hope) is to help my kids grow into the kind of adult that I’d be proud of, and I’d like to spend time with, even if we weren’t family: honest, honorable, generous, compassionate, and responsible. Sometimes, as part of the whole Pod People experience, I feel like those efforts are failing. Add the bonus of the really great and neverending loyalty conflict game (that I refuse to play, but have to deal with, anyway,) and it’s easy to wonder if any of the work will ever pay off. It’s been easy to lose hope.

But over the last couple of months, I’ve come to believe that the Pods were actually Chrysalises, because it feels like both Ryan and Nolan have emerged as young adults whose company I really enjoy (and I believe the feeling is mutual.) The moments of irrationality are still there, and I’m sure that I am still so lame from time to time, but I have lots and lots of hope.

If you’re a parent dealing with a Pod Person, don’t give up. One day, you may wake to discover that your Pod Person has vanished as quickly as it arrived, leaving behind an honest, honorable, generous, compassionate, and responsible young adult.

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22 thoughts on “parked under the sunsphere”

  1. Good hell, I hope you’re right…that it does get better. Barely made it through our 2 weeks of Spring Break up north here, near San Fran. Pods have returned to school….Phew!

  2. SPOILER ALERT: Penny is the one that solves the mystery but Gadget gets the credit anyway. Dr. Claw gets away and the Chief is chagrined. Everyone has pudding.

  3. My daughter is two. She has just learned how to say “no,” which she does, often and emphatically. She has also learned how to be completely contradictory. (“Blankie, blankie!” “Okay, here’s the blankie.” “NO BLANKIE!!!!!”)
    Not exactly the definition of Pod Person, but only a sign of what’s to come, I believe. Thanks for the words of encouragement. It does help to know that I’m not the only one experiencing…difficulty from time to time.
    I really love reading your blog, and I always look forward to the next post. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I first stumbled across it, but I’m glad it’s what it is; well-written and well-represented honesty and happiness. It’s a bright spot in my day.

  4. Wil,
    As a woman who was raised by her stepdad (mine was a deadbeat), I can honestly say that it may not matter that you aren’t biologically linked to these kids, it IS how you raise them. My stepdad (I call him Dad) taught me how to ride a bike, tie my shoes, walked me down the aisle and is one of my dearest friends.
    Don’t worry. We all were Pod people at some point in our life. That’s what teenagers are about and from what I’ve read in your blog, they also went through a divorce. So just being there, listening, offering them compassion, advice and fun (and how cool is it that you still play games and NOT only video games!!) and just all around showing them what a “good” man is supposed to be.
    Don’t worry. You sound like you are doing fantastic. Just keep at it. You are definitely making an impression and providing a steady influence in their life.
    From a step-kid, good job!

  5. A decade ago I would have laughed myself silly if anyone had said my oldest and I would actually grow to be friends. Now that he’s 22, I completely enjoy his company, and he’s a fine, upstanding young man. And he even likes hanging out with me! Despite the ups and downs (we all have them), you’re leading Nolan and Ryan down the right path with the right values and the right goals. Kudos to both you and Anne!

  6. Thats awesome Wil! I do the same with my daughter. My non-geek fiance (a step parent herself) always comes home to us sitting on the couch watching Trek or something equally geeky and says, “She’s definately her father’s child.”
    I didn’t realise you played Magic. Are you competitive or just a for fun kind of player? Do you play offline or online? Keep the geek alive!

  7. Ya know Wil my Dad isn’t genetically related to me either, but he was there for all the important things in my life. Thats what a father is not a smorgsborg of genes.
    My genetic father is a good guy too just never was a dad.
    You sound like your doing a grand job.

  8. Pods and Parents

    Wil Wheaton speaks truth about parenting:
    Ive always felt that, as a parent, my job (and greatest hope) is to help my kids grow into the kind of adult that Id be proud of, and Id like to spend time with, even if we werent fam…

  9. You play MTG? As if you weren’t the coolest person in the world already, you definately are now.
    (Timberwatch Elves and Ambush Commander – that’s all I say about my favorite deck to play.)

  10. I learned today in the Oregonian that pod people’s brain fully mature in their mid 20s so your pod people may go through another “podding” again. But hang in there In their 2os their brains are able to control the impulses their emotions are giving them

  11. Wil –
    You said “Add the bonus of the really great and neverending loyalty conflict game (that I refuse to play, but have to deal with, anyway,) and it’s easy to wonder if any of the work will ever pay off. It’s been easy to lose hope.”
    I’m the divorced mother of two boys, 10 and almost 13, and although their father and I have a decent relationship, their step-mother is a neverending source of concern for me because she insists on creating needless drama. We have shared custody – I have them for a week, then their dad and stepmom have them for a week – and it’s worked well for 8 years.
    Now my oldest is pulling away, and wants to live with his dad full time. Despite the fact that I know deep down it has more to do with asserting his growing independence, I can’t help but feel that he’s being fed the “if you really love your dad” line, and is having his loyalty questioned.
    So as much as I try to do as you do and not play the loyalty game, I know what you mean about having to deal with it. I never speak badly about my children’s father in their presence, but their stepmother thinks nothing about commenting on me, my mother, my partner, etc. within their earshot. I figure my best hope is to keep setting the example I think needs to be set, and hope that at some point I’ll see proof that what I’m trying to teach has actually gotten through.
    As much as I love my Pod person, he also makes me crazy. But I do see glimpses of the man he’s going to become, and that makes dealing with his hibernation just a tad easier.
    Fortunately, his younger brother is a lot easier going overall. In three years I may be pulling my hair out – we’ll see.
    Kudos to you and Anne for not playing the game. I know how tough it is, especially when you can’t see tangible evidence that it’s the right thing to do.

  12. I have a 10 year old Pod Person, and her 4 year old brother warming up in the bullpen. It’s nice to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The really, really long tunnel.

  13. An evil friend started buying me seasons of shows on DVD. He buys me battlestar galactica season 1… but just season 1 (see, thats the evil part). So naturally I stay up all night and waste half the next day watching it… All is nothing in moderation right? So then I’m screwed. I have no choice but to pack up the kids and head to town in search of season 2, which I of course buy and bring home. Well 10 hours later I discover it was only the first half of season 2… to get the second half I have to download on itunes. *sigh* So… I do, but of course you cant burn dvds from itunes videos, so I move my computer into my room to watch the rest of season two. (Good thing iMacs are fairly portable) Anyway, after wasting a good few nights of sleep… and cursing at the screen occasional… I’m caught up to the rest of the world in episodes :)
    Who ever needs to watch real TV when you can just pick & choose the best of it on DvD :)

  14. My fiancee’s sister got me hooked on lost… it took me three days to get through season 1. I, in turn, got her hooked on BSG. We’re such a geeky family.

  15. I enjoy catching Lost week by week, but it is so maddening waiting for the next week sometimes. I wish I could hold off until the summer, then watch them all in a row. I did that with Alias (Seasons 1 and 1st half of Season 2) and it was a lot of fun. I did that with BSG. Now I stuck a TV with a built in DVD player in front of my treadmill and now I’m working back through Alias, Buffy, Angel, TNG/DS9/VOY/TOS, X-files, and some of my favorite movies. I never had time to watch them and I never had time to exercise, so now I’m combining them to minimize their impact and I’m getting healthier by watching TV. I love it!

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