The official passing of the torch occurred last night. It wasn’t when I would wake up in pain from nothing more than sleeping, it wasn’t that I now actually get cold in the winter time, or the fact that in less than a month I can put a 4 in front of my age. It was having to pick up my daughter and her friends from a NYE party at 2 am. The wife and I went out with some friends and had a great time. I drank water all night because I knew I was going to have to be responsible, not just for my daughter, but other people’s daughters too.
That’s it, right. I’m officially old. Not that New Years was ever really a big holiday or anything. We’ve had a few with the kids where we ate Chinese food with friends and we left the “party” at like 12:05, but more recently it has been both my wife and the kids falling asleep at 10 pm while I stay up to watch Jennie McCarthy awkwardly make out with her husband Donnie Walberg.
When my daughter mentioned she was going out and needed to be picked up at 2AM my first thought was selfishly was “I wish she was sleeping over so I could have a few drinks tonight and not feel guilty.” My wife came home from work and I mentioned that our daughter would need to be picked up at 2 am and she did what she always does. She tried to use that as her excuse to not have to go out. She didn’t want to be out with people and be the only sober one there. She’s much much more of an introvert than I am. She loves being home, because that’s her safe place. She’s not much of a drinker either, because I think that actually makes her more anxious. The complete opposite of me, I drink more when I am not comfortable.
But, I really wanted her to come out this year. My friends had planned a game night hang out, and I really like spending time with her outside of our house. See, she knows all my secrets, so she’s able to call me out on my bullshit and give my friends more stuff to make fun of me about. I like to bust balls with my friends and I enjoy when they have something on me. That might be weird, but I think it actually draws me a little closer to my friends when they can see I’m real. It makes me feel less one dimensional. I’m not just their friend, I’m a Dad, a husband and lots of other stuff I don’t even know about myself yet.
So, to get my wife to go out I tell her I will not drink. I will be the “responsible” one tonight. I can hear in her voice she doesn’t trust that, and I know why. Because, I never was the responsible one when we went out. I would say, yup, I’ll drive, and she would see me with a beer and she would stop herself from drinking because she knew, and because she was ALWAYS responsible. But, I had changed in recent years. I knew I could do it, but I also knew she had no reason to trust me. We don’t really ever have times where we are both out drinking and having fun. It’s very rare that both of us would be out somewhere drinking with each other. Sure, a wedding or something, but with a hotel she can relax and not have to watch over me. So, I get why she still thinks of me as that completely immature 20 year old.
But, I convinced her I’d be fine, and she believed me. We had a great night. Playing a few games, stopping to eat more, refill a drink. It was a great night being old. I remember when I would play cards with my Dad and my uncles and they would stop every few hands for everyone to pee and eat more and fill up their coffees and I would think about how old they are, and how I could just have sat all night and played the cards. But, last night, I loved the breaks in the action to catch your breathe. I got old overnight it feels like.
The night ended and I left to pick up my daughter and her friends. I left the radio at a low volume to concentrate. I traveled more on side streets because I wanted to avoid as many cars as I could on the road at 2 am. I smiled though, because I could see my Dad making this drive. I even listened to “his” music, which is now almost all I listen to. I was, in some small way, my Dad. I love when that happens to me. I love when I can say “Wow, so this is what Mom and Dad felt like” during whatever situation I find myself in with my kids. It was as if my Dad was sitting next to me as I waited outside my daughters friends house to pick them all up. Now, I am lucky that my Dad is a phone call or short drive away. I can see him whenever I need to, but it’s almost just as special when he shows up and I am not expecting it.
The circle of life shit is real I guess. I’m just glad my Dad left so many footprints for me to follow in.