My boys have found their own deity. Unfortunately, it's not me. But I can take some solace in the fact that I am friends with their idol.
My friend Jay may appear to be like you and me at first glance, but that is only if you are looking at it from an adult perspective.
Jay rides a motorcycle. For 3-year-old Josh, this is pretty much akin to being a superhero. During a recent visit, Jay popped Josh up on the motorcycle for a hearty dose of pretend.
Josh was giddy with delight, picturing his spiky blonde hair dancing in the wind of some open road.
Jay lives in a 3rd floor apartment. This is fascinating to 5-year-old Kameron. Our house only has two stories.
More importantly, Jay has a balcony off of his apartment. Kameron is able to look out at the world from a vantage point he can‚t get at home.
Josh and Kameron are both fond of the food selections that Jay's apartment offers. There are unlimited bottles of Gatorade and a bevy of junk food from chocolate chip cookies to bags of candy.
For the boys, the apartment is a kind of junk food nirvana. But paradise extends beyond the pantry.
Jay has something much more enticing: video games. To control the action on a television screen (or anything for that matter) rates very highly for the preschool sect.
Jay is incredibly patient with them as he helps the boys to master the subtlies of the joystick.
There's something else to recommend Jay's apartment to the boys. It's uncontaminated.
The carpets are clean. There are no heaps of toys strewn about. It's a blank canvas for two that are so skilled in the art of chaos and discontinuity.
As earnestly as they try, the boys can only mess up Jay's apartment in a fairly pedestrian way.
They roll around on the rugs, but are somehow unable to make his apartment reach the pigsty status of their home quarters.
But there is a more important reason why my boys like Jay so much. He doesn't treat them like kids.
Most adults are a bit standoffish and awkward with little ones, but not Jay. He jumps right in as if he is one of the gang.
During a recent visit to the beach, Jay helped the boys build sandcastles and buried josh in the sand. He does these activities with full force.
He doesn't hold back that kid part of himself, like most grown-ups do.
Kameron sees Jay as a fellow traveler. He informed me recently, "Jay is my friend and Josh's friend and your friend too."
His ability to seamlessly teeter between the adult and child worlds makes Jay unique. That meshing prompted my wife and me to provide Jay with a more tangible recognition of the place he was beginning to occupy in our family.
We made him the godfather of our infant daughter, Madeline. I think he will handle the spiritual guidance of that role just fine.
But he might have to make more frequent runs to the market in the future. Once Madeline gets teeth, she will no doubt become a regular visitor to junk food heaven.
Keith Forrest is an assistant professor of communication at Atlantic Cape Community College. His late mother Libby Demp Forrest Moore wrote the Joyride column for this newspaper for 20 years.