My son grabs my hand to hold.

I say, “I can’t. I’m holding the cello. Let’s just go. We’re in a rush. Come on. Just grab the music.”

He says, “But I thought you said holding my cute little hand is your favorite thing in the world to do.”

“It is. I just can’t do it now.”

“Does it make you the happiest you will ever be except when I get married then you’ll be happier?

“I will be happy for you when you find someone you love that much.”

Then I get a little nervous. And I add, “And she should treat you well. It’s important that the person treats you like you are so so special.”

He says, “You mean find someone who treats me like you treat me?”

Silence. I think, “No!  Of course not! Do not find someone who makes you late for cello. Do not find someone who yells at you. Do not find someone who takes anxiety pills to deal with you on bad days.”

But I say what I think I have to say, “Yes. She should love you as much as I love you.”

Is that right? I don’t even know. I don’t need help teaching my kid math. I need help teaching my kid how to pick a wife. The spouse choice is so much more important than long division.

I feel like I’m not even in a position to be teaching kids how to pick a spouse. After all, I picked so poorly the first time that he asked for a divorce. And now I find that the books that help me learn how to be in a relationship are how to deal with borderline personality disorder because my mom had it, and kids with parents like that usually develop the same disorder, which means the odds of me torturing my kids right now is high.

Almost everything kids really learn comes from simply watching how their parents live. It’s a hard fact to face, so we focus on skills like multiplication, which they can learn independently of watching us model it.

I can see the appeal of loading up on workbooks.