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 …
“What if Jeeps cost a nickel?” I asked my college friend, Bobby Keith – while we both were still in college. “I’d buy many Jeeps,” he answered. “What if packs of gum were $5,000?” I followed with. “Then I wouldn’t chew any gu – where the hell do you come up with this??” he asked.
Fair enough question.
The six words question for March isn’t asinine – but it is unusual. It comes from a wonderful source of thought-provoking questions from #Q4KIDZ. Grace and I have both contributed to the question pot, which spits one out daily for you and your kids.
It’s instituted because, 100% of the time, winter, spring, summer or fall, at night and by day, from school, from training, from detention (no, they don’t actually get detention), the girls, each of them individually and together, enter my car and my day with two words:
If there’s something on the way home, we’ll stop. (As long as we haven’t slumped into overdraft yet.) Grace has begun a subliminal campaign (whispering QT, for QuikTrip and their slushies and donuts, when she gets in the car with me.)
Who hasn’t thought this? In those moments we’re out of gas, out of time or out of toilet paper (or all three). At times when we follow our favorite adorable pro golfer just to see she has three names now, just like those old-school 80s Olympic sprinters.
I like being me, though.
So much so that I would hate to not be me, to miss out on late-night ginger snaps and Sunlounger and Cher Lloyd on Pandora. On coaching my girls, raising my kids or writing my blog. Did I mention ginger snaps?
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.
I know I could find it on Google, but that’s not important. See, that’s where my kids are. That next generation. They’ll be the ones poking fun at you, millennials, for your antiquated ways. At least, their kids will be the ones.
So when a kid of mine travels with me, beside me in the front seat because the youngest among them is now 12, the conversations between Generation X and Generation Next happen anyway.
Sometimes, with Marie, it’s welcomed silence. On mountain roads coming from or going to Warren Wilson with Elise, it’s one really long story, interrupted by snack breaks and naps (her, not me.) With Grace, it’s a combination of those.
Y’all love chocolate. Y’all love wine. A couple of you seem to love a massage, music, and yoga.
But overwhelmingly, if you have a Hermit Day, it’d be loaded with books, sleep, and alone time.
Every month, I compile a post called 6 Words. Ernest Hemingway inspired it when he said any story can be told in a six-word sentence. I ask bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt.
She sang and smiled, both to a happy boy strapped in a car seat in the back of her car. He smiled and appeared to sing, too.
Her license plate read “Noah N me,” and there were small stick figures in the back window of her small car of a smiling woman and a smiling boy. There’s a bond between a single parent and a child, because the parent sometimes has to pull double duty.
Single parenting is not easy, though. There are struggles, times when a parent feels all alone, times when they feel overwhelmed. It can feel that way even with the support of a loving spouse, of course. Parenting is smiling and singing, but it’s also weeping and screaming.