Yes, there are moments during the World Cup, or when I’m picking out cheese at the grocery store. In the past few days, fatherhood – and parenthood – have hunkered down, front and center, in most of my thoughts. And writing.
I might be prone to excessive examination at times.
Especially when it comes to the philosophical, or soccer, or cheese. So many moments as a dad, acting in the moment and considering the impact later, at night, when I should be writing or sleeping or at least eating graham crackers.
Who am I kidding? I’m eating graham crackers anyway.
As I vacillate between the college kid soccer girl and the high school soccer girl and the budding musician/soccer girl, happy to have spots in their worlds, I think about how I parent, vague (or subtle?) differences in what we do.
I’d wanted to write, during this A to Z Challenge, about my girls’ stuffed animals.
All three have one that has meant something to them over the years. Haven’t we all? I had a stuffed dog I found in a park when I was a boy. I named him … boy. I loved him until he fell apart.
One of my girls loved a German Shepherd, so big she could use him as a pillow.
Another slept with a bear named Daddy. I last saw him tucked behind her headboard. Unceremoniously. A third girl kept a rasta monkey I won her at her bedside. I scrapped the idea, although to read the first four paragraphs here, you wouldn’t know it, right?
What do you think of those Facebook memories things?
Crazy, right? The damn site looks back at what you posted a year ago. It’s like finding a stormtrooper figure in the pocket of shorts you haven’t worn since last summer. Or, something. (This happened to me last week, I confess.)
Depending on the user and the posts, they’re also a peek into our former selves – or current selves, if we’re still in the same currents.
Spring’s often been a time of loss for me, and only sometimes could I blame another slow start from my beloved Rockies. (Who are in first place at the time of this hacking, I might add.) It’s also, then, a time of renewal, right? If we’re looking with a positive light?
Three cities, technically. And all three play soccer in three different towns, too, sprawled from the Appalachian Mountains to the Carolinas Piedmont. I’m in halfway through it all, one daughter engaged, another a budding star in high school and club soccer.
The third – who knows what limits she’ll push, in a greenhouse or on stage or with a ball at her feet.
It gives the illusion of my importance in being halfway there. I’m not lifting my youngest to my shoulders for a ride, but not yet ready to give away my oldest to her future groom. Take your time, I urged them the day they showed us the ring. Take your time.
It’s eight – times something. Eighty? Eight thousand? Eighty-eight thousand? That depends on if you count car keys and wallet as two things, left behind regularly, or one for every time. I wouldn’t want to do that math.
If God had a cosmic lost-and-found bin, even The Great I Am would assess me a storage fee.
I’ll forego listing the plastic dinosaurs I buried beside my house just before dad put on a sidewalk, or the UNC Charlotte sweatshirt left on the bus in Louisville. Same, too, for the stormtrooper Tervis, the actual stormtrooper from my youth, a few tons of innocence …
A little more than a year ago, I stood outside with my 11-year-old as she took pictures of a rare winter landscape here.
“I am where I am,” I said, of course, in 27-degree weather wearing shark pajama bottoms with a curious child who goes out of her way to spend time with me. It’s also where I am, at the bottom of stairs looking up at where I hope to be or at least feel like I am someday.
Yes, you’re way down here, I told myself, but you’re looking the right direction.
Who knows what path I’ll take. But parenting, the divergent routes and surprises and development and growth and discovery of ourselves on the journey will power me upward. Meredith, who writes the blog The Mom of the Year, inspired this post.
Back in my day, there wasn’t such a thing as a spoiler.
Well, unless you went to see The Cannonball Run before everyone else and could tell your friends how Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. place in the race. So that was me, age 9, in the middle of a Greeley, Colo., movie theater, with mind blown.
Before mind blown was even a thing.
I was watching The Empire Strikes Back – Episode V, for you dinkledorphs who insist upon that – when one of life my life-altering utterances occurred right there on the big screen. [It was hokier than I remember. See it here]. When Leia tells Han that Luke is her brother.
The younger the kid, the rawer (is that a word?) the call-out. I’ve navigated three daughters through the unfiltered years, without many stings. There was that day on the Barbie doll aisle with one daughter, who, noting Mattel’s plastic diversity, asked, “why would I want a black Barbie, dad?”
I sailed through that one with honesty, not damage control.
“I think little girls like to play with dolls, no matter what,” I explained. “But sometimes, we want toys that look like us. These dolls look like different people.” And it was true. I remember complaining that there were no Mexican kids on Peanuts.
It’s on Instagram and SnapChat. Right? Maybe What’sApp, but that’s less likely. Anyway, I know it’s like a place where people can, I don’t know, write something like a blog post? It’s kind of a big deal, I gather. Yet, no, I don’t know its parameters.
That’s okay – I’m 45 after all.
Like the Washington Redskins, I sometimes get lucky, with the terminology. I coach teenagers and work with millennials. The most awkward thing I can think of this side of Elizabeth Banks reading my mind would be to appear to try to be acting young.