It’s a complicated thing to raise a kid in a state 2,000 miles from where you grew up and 2,400 miles from where your husband grew up.
We love living in Arizona. We love that Ryan will grow up associating luminaries with Christmas and that he’ll bask in the warm sun at spring training games in March. We love that he lives in a place where he can climb mountains. A place where he can get in the car and drive a couple hours and be surrounded by pine trees and snow.
It’s a beautiful state, and one that I’m proud he’ll always consider home.
But we want him to feel connected to our homes, too. Every time we’re watching a game on TV that is airing from Cleveland or Philly, I make a point to tell him that’s where Mommy or Daddy is from.
I also try to add a bit of take-away information.
Like, “You should see how pretty the leaves are in the fall! Someday we’ll take you there to trick-or-treat for Halloween, and we’ll actually have to bundle you up!“
Or, “They have really good cheesesteaks there. Always order “whiz, wit.”
And so I present you with …
Top 5 Things My Kid Needs To Know About Cleveland:
1. If you don’t leave Westside Market feeling at least slightly sick to your stomach, you haven’t done it right. Sample the popcorn (even the spicy one), chow down on a smokey and some pizza bread, and wash that down with the best cannoli of your life. On the way out, sample some falafel (we all know you like falafel
). Don’t bother with the produce. We all like fresh fruits and veggies, but that’s not what this is about.
2. If you’re going to cheer for the hometown team, you must do it passionately. Getting a first down is akin to winning a Super Bowl in this town. On the flip side, if we fumble or throw an interception, display utter disgust and yell something to the effect of “Same old Browns!”
3. Always be prepared for a change in weather. If it’s 85 degrees and sunny outside, don’t leave the house just wearing shorts and a T-shirt. That’s a rookie mistake. Bring a jacket and an umbrella. It could be 55 degrees and raining in 10 minutes.
4. You might not be able to find great Mexican food here, but you can find some pretty amazing perogies. Don’t underestimate the power of a really good perogie.
5. You can complain about Cleveland to other Clevelanders. How it’s cold and snowy in the winter, hot and humid in the summer, with perpetually grey skies and deep potholes. But you must never complain about Cleveland to outsiders. Have some pride, little man. To Non-Clevelanders, you highlight that the city is home to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame
and the house from A Christmas Story
And now, for the first time EVER, Mr. Phase Three of Life makes a guest appearance with …
Top 5 Things My Kid Needs to Know About the Greater Philadelphia Area:
1. The delight of a fresh, slightly refrigerated Tastykake. Mom would disagree, but the peanut butter and chocolate are knock-out good.
2. Listening to replayed home-run calls by Harry Kalas on YouTube. Don’t worry, kid. He may have left us before you had a chance to hear that golden voice in person during a TV broadcast — but you’ll come to love Harry.
3. Downtown Bethlehem doesn’t touch Philly in size, scope and history — but having lived away from the area for seven years, there’s a quaintness that it exudes. And your mother loves the Moravian Book Store.
4. 95 degrees is great in Phoenix in the summer. In PA? Bring a mop, an extra T-shirt and an industrial fan. Otherwise, you’re soaking wet.
5. It gets crowded, there often is little room to sit with a good view, and the merchandise is overpriced — but Eagles training camp is one of the greatest father-son bonding experiences. Your father went with your “Pop” … and one day, you’ll go, too.
(See why I love him?)
Rock those East Coast PJs, little man!