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  • Parenthood (Not the Show)

    "How would you describe parenthood so far? And I don't mean the show."

    Emma, in case you haven’t noticed, cuts to the chase.

    We were watching “Parenthood,” the new show that premiered tonight on NBC. I loved the movie on which it was based, the cast is terrific, and the show runner is the same guy who is in charge of “Friday Night Lights,” my favorite show of the past decade. Plus, it has the added advantage of coming on at 10 p.m. thanks to the network’s decision to shun Jay Leno and his yuk-yuk humor to late night again.

    Normally, 10 p.m. is Emma’s bedtime, but she has her father’s nocturnal nature. Contrast that to Katharine’s ability to be shot out of a cannon between 5:30 and 7 every day and you now know why I never sleep.

    I decided to let her watch the show, and while I lay on the floor, she snuggled under the covers of my bed amid the pile of unfolded laundry.

    “So,” she said during a commercial, then asked her fateful question.

    I decided to go for the complex answer, something such a perceptive comment deserves. “Challenging,” I said. “It’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced.”

    “Is that it?”

    “Rewarding,” I said. “I’ve learned so much from being a parent.”

    “Uh huh … And?”

    Nothing like being put on the spot. I hoped that the limited commercial interruption would end soon.

    “Fun sometimes. Hard, too. But it’s always worth it.”

    She nodded, letting me off the hook. The commercial ended and we were quiet through the rest of the show. When it ended, she leaned down and said, “That was pretty good. Not bad." Then, "I love you, Daddy.”

    She kissed me on the head, leaned on my arm and said her prayer — the same one we’ve done for the last nine years — and walked toward her bed.

    At that moment, parenthood was great.