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?
Always have. At first, it was Judy Jetson, then Ms. Truesdale, the kindergarten teacher’s aide. All of a sudden, I’m drinking whiskey, eating sunflower seeds and writing blog posts about seven famous women I want to sing cheesy duets with.
Just like that.
Two years ago on the company trip, I sang La Bamba. Sally, the tall, winsome blonde from our Dallas office, swayed back and forth, stage left, and let me take center stage. I might as well have been the Mexican Mick Jagger. (Meek Yagger, as it were.)
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 …
Would it shock you to hear that even though my blog has collected moss like a molasses-slow manatee, I feel more on top of my game than ever? I feel a better grip on my carry-on? I do.
I have faith that this wresting back of control will lead me to hit the publish button soon, and often.
I have ideas – with no expiration dates, thankfully. I still want to write about elephants. I have a Go Ask Daddy thisclose to finished. The six words express steams on. I’m in talks with fantastic writers about guest posts.
In all of the uniform fitting nights for all of the soccer clubs in America … she walked into the uniform fitting for the soccer club I’d been coaching for.
She’s Dana Mather, Crossfit trainer. That night, though, she was Dana Mather, matchmaker. As her sons tried on the club’s new kits, we talked soccer. Pay attention, and you can learn volumes about someone in a single, initial conversation.
My impression of Dana: Optimistic, energetic, in all the way in all she did.
Dana carries a quiet confidence that falls short of swagger, mostly because of her humility. A mom, wife, and athlete, Dana surprised me by asking lots of questions about my own coaching. That night, my coaching future was uncertain.
Forget the fact that a woman would prance down the boulevard chomping from a jar of peanut butter with her bare hands (dreamy as it sounds.) Forget the creepy old dude who pops in with a candy bar near the end. Chocolate and peanut butter, circa 1927, were separate entities.
Until they mash together through forces of the universe. Sometimes, the combination proves dastardly (a bobcat and me in a phone booth, for instance). Other times, it’s pure magic (onion rings on a cheeseburger, or The Beverly Hillbillies, in fact.)
I might act curmudgeonly at times, but really, I can roll with the punches. I finally got a smartphone, remember? I fully embraced Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and gave Fuller House a puncher’s chance (Hi Kimmy.) Agile, that’s what I am.
Still, there’s stuff I miss. Stuff I wish I could bring back.
Like, Summer Sanders. Toys in the bottom of cereal boxes. Ice cream in baseball caps at the ballpark that don’t set you back $8. Cookie Monster, in his full glory. The original Electric Company. The Gameboy. Trading football cards with Tandy Dillen at lunch.
You know this if you’ve ever visited this blog. You also know that I’ll never paint my face at a game or defend a team’s honor with fisticuffs or waste any time watching ESPN SportsCenter. (Thanks, Disney.) No, my love of sports resides on a higher plane.
Give me rivalry and pageantry. Give me team colors, matchups, human stories.
Give me a team not expected to compete, in a state playoff game against a conference rival that’s taken them lightly. Watch them pronounce their arrival with spirited play and tenacity. That’s what the girls’ high school team did Thursday.
I tried to write a succinct topper to this sucker. Twice.
First, I wanted to tell you about the Warby Parker frames I tried on, and the adventures (and misadventures) they led to. It got long, and I didn’t want it to detract from the Go Ask Daddy portion. So I shelved it.
Then, I got into soccer.
So many great things happening in the beautiful game for me right now. They even overshadow the bad things going on. The tough stuff. By far. From one kid getting a yellow card and an acceptance letter, to another getting a hat trick on a special day for her sister.
Part of the net gain we parents get from having kids is the comedic return.
You know. When they do or say something so abhorrently inappropriate you want to blog about it. (Or send it to Readers Digest, depending on your generation.) Thing is, I’ve told my kids I wouldn’t. Well, mostly. There was the time Grace yanked my soccer pants down at halftime.
Mostly, the embarrassing stories happen to me.
Do you know Katy, the Experienced Bad Mom? She writes a kickass blog. She told stories of things her kid did to make her laugh. One involved a bra. The other stemmed from first-grader handwriting, a virtual fountain of fun, if you know where to look.