Now Reading: Parents, We All Need a “Gandalf” In Our Lives

Parents, We All Need a “Gandalf” In Our Lives

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The king had off from school yesterday for Veterans Day and wifey and he were home alone all day. So as I was driving home from work last night I was a little worried about what I might be walking into. I had a suspicion that it might’ve been a rough day for wifey. 

And I was thinking on my drive home,  “I’m gonna make sure I’m in a great mood when I get home. I’m going to try to be her Gandalf!”. 
No that is not a lord of the rings reference. I’m one of those wackos who’s never seen or read any of the Lord of the Rings books (and unfortunately not for the reason that Joey Tribbiani says above).

Gandalf is a reference from the TV show “Friends”.

There was an episode of “Friends” a long time ago where
Ross and Chandler were so excited that they’re college friend Gandalf was coming into visit. 
According to Ross & Chandler, Mike “Gandalf” Ganderson was a party animal and made a fun time out of everything.   Watch this clip and it will explain everything.  Seriously watch it, it’s less than 90 seconds and it will setup the rest of this blog post…

And in the episode you don’t even meet Gandalf.   He canceled on them but this episode and this concept of a friend who brings a party with him wherever he goes has stuck with wifey and me since we first saw that episode back in 1997.
We’ve been using this Gandalf reference for years…long before the king was born. 
We’d be planning a night out with some of our friends and the plans inevitably would morph into dinner and a movie or something fine like that. But we’d say to each other something to the effect of “We need to find a Gandalf and do something different!” 
And so as I was driving home thinking about being the wife’s Gandalf last night I realized that for the most part she’s pretty much my Gandalf. 
She’s always trying to make fun things out of nothing. Always looking to go out and have fun as much as possible.   I may give off the impression of being a fun-loving party animal on this blog 🙂 but I can be a real stick in the mud and get stuck in a rut.

And sometimes we will have a sitter lined up and I have no ideas, and barely want to leave the house.

But she’s my Gandalf and is always trying to get us to do fun things, go see bands, go into Manhattan and walk around Greenwich Village like we did when we were younger…and, for wifey, if the night involves staying out really late and having a few cocktails even better.  🙂

And while I might be a stick in the mud sometimes, and she’s my Gandalf, when we go out with other couple friends I think we might be there Gandalf’s because even when I’m a stick in the mud with wifey I can be a stand-up comedian when there is another couple involved… (poor wifey, she gets the worst of me, huh?)

And when we go out with other special needs parents I think we are sometimes their Gandalf’s because talking about our kids is the last thing wifey and I want to do when we have a sitter and a chance at a fun night out!

I sometimes think that people see us as the party animal couple, and it’s mostly because of wifey, although I can still “bring it” sometimes.  🙂

And I think some of our friends (and family?) maybe they think that we party too much, and are looking to go out too much.  And maybe that is true… but I’ve written about why we try to go out on date nights as a couple as much as possible before (READ) and I stand by that.

And if we had typical kids I’m sure we’d go out a lot more… that’s just the kind of couple we were, and that’s the kind of couple we are trying to continue to be.

So anyway, I’m rambling, let’s wrap this up.

So wifey is my Gandalf, but sometimes when she is going thru a rough stretch I need to be better about being her Gandalf!  That’s something I need to work on.

And being someone’s Gandalf is not always about going out & partying & drinking…  In my mind being someone’s Gandalf (should I trademark that phrase?) is just about bringing energy and fun and a party into anything you do, whether that be blasting Foo Fighters tunes while doing the dishes together or folding the laundry together while watching “Lip Sync Battle”.

And where is my son in all of this?  Where is his majesty?  Well I think we both take turns being his Gandalf, but once again it’s mainly wifey.

She is a better Gandalf than I am.

My Thanksgiving Resolution is to be a better Gandalf to all the most important people in my life.

And you guys count as important people in my life.  I hope through my writing that I can be your Gandalf sometimes.

That’s it.  That’s all I got.

I’m so curious if people are gonna get this and if this post is gonna go viral, or if people are gonna be confused by the title and no one is going to read it…

Ideas for a better title are welcome!




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  If you’re gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above?  This way I can make a little money.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me… but I must admit that it’s taking up a lot more time than I ever thought… so if I can make a few bucks it’ll make it easier for me to justify….Love you all! Thanks!!


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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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7 People Replies to “Parents, We All Need a “Gandalf” In Our Lives”

  1. Anonymous

    Oh my good what a great post! Since I read this, I decided to be more Gandalf every day! As a parent of an autistic child, I really think you are one of my Gandalfs. Everytime I read your posts, i feel good! Not like partying good, but like parently good. Your blog has helped me so much, you have no idea. This is the first and probably last time i've ever commented your post. I just wanted you to know that you are truly your readers gandalf.
    – sorry for the bad english, greetings from finland!

  2. From the first mention of Gandalf, I get it:) It was a great episode.

  3. Good post. It made me smile how much you love your wife and how you use TV shows as a way to explain your emotional health. Wifey sounds like a wonderful wife, mother and old friend Gandalf.

  4. This is great, and keep it as is. I am thinking I need a Gandalf in my life. Maybe I just need to be Gandalf.

  5. Mate leave the title as it is. Once people read it, they will understand. Some (yes me) will realise that they need to Gandalf up their lives. Serious things happen in life, we just need to seriously add some fun before we forget what fun is!

  6. Anonymous

    After the revised IEP (6hrs and only half way thru) week, I needed this for myself. The weight of the "Days of our lives" can be suffocating!

  7. Anonymous

    I don't think it's just about special needs parents either
    It's really about life
    How can you be someone's Gandalf today
    Some of us have personalities that naturally lend themselves to being a Gandalf, some of us don't, and that's ok.
    But in our own way, we can try!