My daughter and I have started running together at the local tracks and football fields. Just doing sprint variations, forward, backwards, sideways. In between the sprints we will walk a lap or two. Secretly, I added these in so I could catch my breath in between sprints, but don’t tell her. It’s refreshing though, because for the first few sprints I still have that speed to beat her. But the further we get into the workout the more she is waiting for me at the finish line. I’m bargaining with her “that’s enough right” and she says “last time we did x,y,z so we need to add something more”…. and my eyes roll and I pray I don’t have a heart attack on that field.
When this quarantine started lots of people used the time to eat right, exercise and stay active. I drank and ate like a moron. So, now I am paying the price. Each step carries with it an extra 15 lbs. that I’m not used to. The next day my lower back will hurt, it will suck walking up and down my stairs, but it’s a price I will gladly pay. Because, I know, when asked by the kids if I want to do something, I ALWAYS do it. See, I know these asks will get less and less frequent.
The other night as we were in the middle of our workout we were walking the track and my daughter was talking to me as I tried to catch my breath an older man and his wife caught up to us and the man looked at my daughter and said “you are very lucky to have a Dad like this”. I thanked him for his kind words, but I thought to myself, how he had it all wrong. If anyone was “lucky” here, it was me. To have a 15 year old daughter asking me to do anything with her is what makes me feel lucky. I take that for granted sometimes with the kids. I have kids who still listen to my advice, I have kids who aren’t completely embarrassed to be with their goofy Dad. It’s coming though, I know it…
My 15 year daughter and I talk about BIG issues. I go to her first when I hear about something Trump said or something troubling I saw on the news. She’s the person who checks me when I get out line. She reminds me I voted for Trump, but she praises me if I change my mind on something. Her and I love to debate and discuss any and everything that is going on in this world. She challenges me, makes me fight for my opinion and never misses a chance to celebrate with me when something we both agree on happens in this crazy world. She’s the first person I go when I see a protest or a legal issue. I want, no, I NEED to hear her opinion.
My 13 year daughter and I constantly are just trying to make each other laugh. When she gets me good I love it. The other night she asked me why I didn’t look like Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights when I was 26 years old. He’s a 15 out of 10, just a beautiful dude and just when I was trying to come up with a witty answer she said “pizza, gotta be all that pizza you ate” and I lost it. It was a perfect burn. And that’s us, constantly looking for the joke. Sometimes we team up and go after the 15 year old or Mom, but they just don’t like to play those games. She makes sure I don’t get to serious, makes sure that whatever crazy is happening I know her and I can always find a joke together. She’s incredibly quick and witty with her humor. Never using a filter, always just going for the joke and apologizing after if she has to. I love, love, love that about her.
Recently, we found an old camcorder and decided to watch tapes of when the kids were babies and toddlers. We watched them together with my Mother and Father in Law. I still hate saying In Law, because to me that has a negative connotation with it, but I guess for the sake of the story I have to stick with those words, but they are Joan and Lance to me. They are more than “In Laws” to me, but that’s another story for another day. Anyway, we watched and laughed a lot. The kids seeing themselves as little diva’s was really funny. Then my Mother in Law said “I miss those days” and both my wife and I said at the same time “I don’t”. Of course we miss the kids growing up, but right now, this is the perfect time for us. This is the time I will miss. These are the days, these ages, that I will miss. When I’m dying, hopefully many years from now, I will picture my kids and my wife exactly as we are right now. If this world keeps me around and I get to see my grandkids grow, maybe I will share my Mother in Laws opinion of missing those tiny little feet and weird voices, but for now, right now, is my favorite time.
Sure, right now, the world is filled with uncertainty. We are burning it down to build it back up. We have very uninformed people using social media to spew hate. You only see your side when you start with hate. But, here is what I lean on when I see hate. I lean on a conversation with my 15 year old daughter. Her opinion and world view gives me hope. I lean on my 13 year old daughter. Hearing her laugh fills my heart with love.
My kids are different, and complicated, and beautiful. To me though, they are simply perfect. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I do know my now and yesterdays are filled with smiles, laughs and love. I’m sure as they get older and older I will find new traditions, new ways to stay connected with them, because it fills my soul. And, my hope is, when they picture this time in their lives they can’t wipe the smile off their faces just as I am doing as I type this.
Lucky is the word I usually end up on as I write these stories, but not this one. This one, this time is LOVE. I feel loved, I feel worthy of that love. My hope is that you look around and feel that love in your life too, it’s amazing.