In my time as a Dad to three kids, in particular a beautiful girl who has somehow gone from being a small baby to a 13 year old with attitude to burn, I've done a lot of things I never envisioned myself doing back when I was single and footloose and fancy free.
I've changed diapers, played Barbie, pushed a swing set for more hours than I care to admit, and painted a room pink. I've done mind numbing homework, signed off on reading lists, helped with projects, and bought more clothes and toys than I like to remember.
Today however, we moved into uncharted territory.
To say I felt like an idiot standing in this massive isle of multi-colored boxes while holding a piece of the box Ang gave me looking like some moron playing a match game would be an understatement. Mind you, I've always known this isle was at the grocery store but much like the parts of the store that hold Depends and healthy food I've never ventured down that particular level of hell.
Why are there so many different kinds? Even milk only has a few; whole, fat free, 2%.... There appeared to be THOUSANDS of these things. This is a whole freaking cottage industry that somehow grew up while I was flipping channels and avoiding the Lifetime Network like it had the Ebola virus. Never in my life have I been that glad to get out of a grocery store.
I love my daughter more than anything in this world and would take a bullet for her if I had to. But as I left that store today I made myself this solemn vow:
I'll walk her down an isle one day in the not to distant future but I won't walk down THAT isle again.
Since nobody has set anything on fire, ran naked down the street, gotten expelled or destroyed public property in the last few days I found another video taken a few years ago.
Hard to believe they both were that little not that long ago. Now I'm dealing with Alopecia and Rakes' new desire to be called "Class Clown" in this years yearbook.
And I'd totally forgotten Trot's penchant for saying "CHEESE" over and over again when getting his picture taken.
I now know how Indiana Jones felt when he found the Ark of the Covenant. Pure bliss.
Some dear friends of ours called Ang yesterday and wanted to go out to eat tonight, so I spent 15 minutes breathing into a paper bag and decided that Ciera would be fine staying home with the boys for a couple of hours.
Mind you, I had a few moments at dinner where I asked myself "what in God's name have you done?" and a few times where I debated calling 911 as a precautionary measure but resisted the urge and forged on.
At 8:45 I hesitantly turned onto my street half expecting to see 3 fire engines and an ambulance sitting in front of my house, yet all was peaceful and calm.
Turns out, other than Trot biting Rakes, writing all over his arms with red permanent marker and some cookie crumbs on the floor nobody was bleeding, crying, tied up or hobbled and Ang and I can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that we can, after about 13 years, actually have some sort of social life that doesn't revolve around Chuck E Cheese.
Actual conversation between Ciera and I about 10 minutes ago.
Me: "Ciera, you have GOT to throw those shoes away. They stink."
Ciera: "Dad, if you buy me new grey Toms I'll throw them away."
Me: "Better yet, let's mail them to "He who shall not be named", tell him to go to a ventless room, and then open them. We accomplish two things: We get rid of the shoes and we kill him in the process".
Ciera: "Daaad"! "You're such a creeper"!
Me: "I'm dead serious".
Ciera: "Stop! You're giving me a hemorrhoid"!
Ciera: "You know, what you get when old people like you get stressed".
Me: ::Rolling on the floor:: "You mean an ulcer"?
Ciera: "Yeah. What's a hemorrhoid?"
Sweet Holy Moses do I wish I could wear a video camera strapped to my head at all times.
If you ever want to feel like half of you is banging your head against the wall while the other half is trying it's very best not to break out in a laughing fit that you're afraid won't ever stop?
Play a video game called "X Men Destiny" that has a character called "Gambit" with a 5 year old who has a mild speech impediment that causes him to replace his G's with D's and the unfortunate habit of dropping a B in the middle.
I sort of know how Anne Sullivan felt trying to get through to Helen Keller now.
I got played. By an 8 year old boy who looks just like me and apparently has channeled me at the same age.
See, yesterday we kept Trot home from school due to some "intestinal distress", even though it turned out he probably just ate too much candy or found a piece of cheese from two months ago under his pillow and decided to not let it go to waste. So naturally Rakes woke up this morning complaining of stomach pain and sporting a face only seen before in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when that German guy melted.
After several minutes of reasoning he got on the bus, looking like he wouldn't make it to the street alive. 2 1/2 hours later his teacher called telling me he'd thrown up in the toilet at school, conveniently flushing it before she could verify. (This particular trick I'd played on my own Mom 37 years ago and no, she didn't believe me either.)
Due to either complete stupidity or the thought that there was a TINY possibility he really WAS sick, I went and picked him up, only to have him attempt to show me what new trick he learned on his scooter immediately upon arriving home. Then, this supposed candidate for turning into the Exorcist, proceeded to eat his lunch we packed for him.
At 10:15 a.m.
He also played the Wii, got on the computer, told me 8 different jokes, and drew me three Pokemon pictures.
Needless to say, the little hypochondriac is going to school tomorrow.
Back in the summer, thanks to a 15 year old tube tv finally buying the farm, I bought my very first flat screen television, a 50" that I have formally named Gabby.
Then, for Christmas/Anniversary Ang and I bought the first new piece of furniture our living room has seen in 13 years; a wall unit for Gabby.
Something was missing, and yesterday that something arrived.
Sweet holy Moses, how have I gone this long without it?
If I can get past the fact my retina's feel like I've been looking straight into the sun for 2 days, by the time the 2012 MLB season gets here I'll be able to count the specks of dirt on Pedroia's jersey.
I just found this video on Youtube, and I don't even remember Ciera taking it. My bemused expression at the end sort of says it all and the only thing that has changed is the way they look now, some two odd years later.
There's a reason why I go "eat" lunch with my three kids, surrounded by either screaming elementary schoolers or hormone raging middle schoolers with acne and bad attitudes. Why I take them fishing on my day off, even though I know I'm gonna untangle fishing line for 3/4 of the time and spend the other 1/4 trying and usually failing to keep my temper under control.
It's the same reason I buy them electric scooters, even though I know I'm tempting fate with a probable trip to the ER. It's why I play Wii with them when I'd rather watch tv, why I read the same book over and over and over again to the point I wonder if it's making me insane, and it's why I try to make every soccer game, field trip, class party and parent/teacher conference.
It's why I don't lose my ever loving mind every time Trot pees on the floor or send Rakes to military school for teaching Trot every bad word he picks up on the bus or put Ciera in school to be a nun (Happy, Rich?) for having the unmitigated gall to actually mention a boys name in my presence.
It's because in 25 years I don't want to look back and this song be the soundtrack of my life.
Jerry Jones announced yesterday, after an 8-8 season where the Dallas Cowboys woefully under performed YET AGAIN that he didn't need to turn over his General Manager duties to anyone with, you know ACTUAL FOOTBALL KNOWLEDGE.
That sound you heard?
Washington Redskin fans across the world rejoicing.
'Cause as long as this moron is running the Dallas Cowboys we are safe in the knowledge that no matter how awful the Redskins are?
The Cowboys won't win a Pine Wood Derby, much less a Super Bowl.
47 days until Pitchers and Catchers report.
Sweet Holy Moses that still seems like a LONG way away.
2011 is in the books, and even though I had some dear friends who wish the entire year had never happened, it turned out pretty well for me.
My place of employment moved after being in the same location for 23 years, and while there were some minor speed bumps overall it has turned out to be a good move. My kids are all relatively healthy, not counting Trot and his magically disappearing hair. Ciera has her first "boyfriend" but thankfully it seems to be mostly texting and with me reading her Ipod daily, it's pretty tame.
Ang is still putting up with me (I only ask myself about twice a day why), I'm able to pay my bills on time, I finally got a flat screen television named Gabby, and I got to visit Boston again, with a side trip to Cape Cod which was number 77 on my Bucket List.
Yeah, the Red Sox sort of imploded and the Redskins remain stuck in a rut of mediocrity but I've got my family, my Amigos, and Gabby so I sort of broke even.