Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

The Wonder Years

WonderyearsWe watched one episode of The Wonder Years during the summer and I immediately remembered everything I loved about that show. As I was reminiscing about my childhood and the similarities with Kevin Arnold, I looked over at my son Ben and realized that he's Kevin, not me. I used to identify with Kevin, Paul, and Winnie, and now I see myself in the parents.

Ben started Fourth Grade (worthy of capitalization) last week and in September he'll turn 10, officially bringing his single-digit years to an end. It finally occurred to me that he is living his Wonder Years right now. As a parent, this is the real deal. No more tests and do-overs, hoping he'll forget our various time-out strategies and inconsistent discipline by the time he's an adult.

I remember 10 very well, as if it was only a couple of years ago. Ben spent much of the summer with a neighborhood friend who is also in his class this year. When I started adding up all that they have done together and how long they've known each other, I realized that he is making friends now that he will Google in 20 years to see what they did after college. Some of these friends may become prom dates, college roommates, part of a student body election ticket, or be in his wedding. There is even a girl who looks strangely like Winnie. She is the only female who has made the cut for birthday parties and his bi-weekly Writing Club. This weekend, she became his first official phone call, when she called to ask a homework question.

Next thing we know, there will be dances and driving lessons! I can only pray that we do everything possible to truly make these years wonderful. I have no doubt that everything we think is so important now is nothing compared to the years you spend with a living, breathing smile in your house.