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It becomes more and more clear as my third kid (and last, since my wife seems to think it's not the smartest idea to keep having children as I approach 60, damn it) inches closer to teenage-hood that my true role in the play of life is not as the star, but as a sidekick.

As with many people, I was the headliner of my own life's adventure in my younger years. At least, I thought I was. Sometime-writer and musician, most-time tech and business guy, and full-time parent from the age of twenty-two, I was a legend in my own mind, swashing buckles across the world stage. Sure, the tone of the tale varied, ranging from drama to farce to Greek tragedy to a bad imitation of a live action Disney movie, bad singing (mine) included. But by the gods, I was the star! Not really.

I've read stories about actors that took an ostensibly starring role only to learn during production that they were actually a supporting character to the real star. I think I always suspected that might be the case with me. Certainly I questioned my status at times. In particular, when being peed on thrice during a single diaper change (simultaneously learning that baby girls are just as able to pee straight up at your face as baby boys are), or inadvertently skewering a five-year-old multiple times with my fishing hook then, to top things off, accidentally pushing them off the dock and watching them bob under the water like a sad little kitten.

I mean, come on. Star material that ain't. Comic relief, maybe, but blockbuster with my name over the movie title? Not so much.

More importantly, though, have been the times that I held hands with a small child as they headed into school for their first day of kindergarten, reassuring them (and myself) that they would make friends and have fun, or let go of a two-wheeler and shouted encouragement (followed by bandaging a skinned knee while still offering encouragement), or sometimes (fine, often) gave advice (sometimes even asked for) about a crisis or new life event. It's not just limited to the home front, of course. I've been part of the growth of numerous high school and college interns that went on to become successful in their careers, given music lessons to people who are now professional musicians...on and on and on.

Supporting role, all the way, baby. And I'm good with it.

I've had my own adventures, sure. But really, in hindsight, they were rehearsals for me to learn to be a better supporting character and to (hopefully) really nail the sidekick thing.

I'm also aware that sometimes the sidekick doesn't make it to the closing credits. That's ok, too. The hero(es) wouldn't have made it there themselves if it hadn't been for the efforts of those lower-billed folks. A little saving the hero's keyster here, a needed lecture that no one else will tell the hero there, and a few (bad) jokes when things get extra stressful.

So I will proudly take my place next to Sancho, Watson, Hermione, and Samwise, and simply hope that when my curtain falls, I've earned my sidekick salary.

Any residuals will go to my kids. As they should.

Thanks for reading.

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