So, been stuck in quarantine for, hmm, how many days? Is it still 2020? Why have a put like 200 miles on my car in 2020? And, what happened to my jeans? I mean, my ass looks great, but I remember being able to pull pants over it in the past. Elastic waistbands should probably win Time’s Person of the Year award.
Kids are remote learning right now, and I know, many of you hate it, but there’s something awesome about it for me. Both in their rooms working hard, or at least working. The first couple days of “I hate this” has disappeared and changed to “It’s actually nice”. Both come out of their rooms after their first class and fight to make a quick coffee or toast a waffle or make a fruit smoothie. My “office” at home is in the dining room, which is open and has a great view of the kitchen, so I talk to them for a few minutes.
My oldest daughter, a junior in High School, brings up something political discussion she had in her favorite class, knowing I’ll try and argue the other side of her opinion. Even if in her heart she knows I agree with her, she engages in the fight. We talk over each other, we question and laugh at each other’s views, and at some point she retreats into her room smiling, thinking she just beat her Dad in another argument. And I, well I smile too, because losing an argument is the easiest price I’ll ever have to pay for a conversation with someone who, I know, is going to change the world. If I get so lucky to get to stay here and watch that happen I’ll be her biggest cheerleader, but, if not, I know, she knows what our conversations have meant to me.
My youngest daughter, an 8th grader comes out of her room for lunch. She’s not a cheese sandwich girl, she’s more of an homemade egg on English muffin, or whatever she has time to make. She curious about the kitchen and not afraid to attempt something. She’s not the type of kid that just gets school, she has to work for it. But, she has way more street smarts than anyone I ever met who wasn’t 65 years old. I have NO fear for her in the future. But, for now I look forward to our next adventure. She’s got a lot of great sayings, being the comedian of our family, but my favorite thing is when she hears my keys jingle in my hands and she says “Where you going?” and before a response is even offered I hear “I’ll go with ya”. Our small, quick drive to wherever is filled with jokes and lessons and our favorite songs at the moment. There’s nothing big, nothing earth shattering happening, just a Dad sneaking in whatever time he has before she’s too cool for him. She’s the girl who, 2 years ago I wrote a story about how she leaves one sock on the bathroom floor after getting out of the shower. All the clothes except for one sock end up in the laundry. I read her the story, we laughed about it, but now, just now as I writing this there is a sock on the floor in there so I know my daughter just showered. I ask her every time it happens if she is now doing it on purpose and her reply is “No, Dad” and I honestly have no idea if she’s just screwing with me. I don’t have a read on her on this one, and I know she is capable of carrying out this little joke forever. And, I LOVE IT.
My wife has begun to head back into the office for big portions of the day. We get a little separation now, which has been great for both of us. Our words hold a little more weight or meaning now that we aren’t seeing each other 24 hours a day. Not that this makes much sense, but I have been able to love her just a little more than I had before. We make a good team, the kids, I think, really get to see us at our best and worst, which I think kids need. Like, sometimes, I think the kids need to see a fight between their Mom and Dad start because of a dead bug in the washer machine, and elevate to calling each other sexist and Dad storming out of the house, right? I wish that last sentence wasn’t true, I also which that sentence didn’t happen today.
My wife and I aren’t perfect, apart or together. But, we aren’t fake. The kids see that and I hope, feel that. There’s nothing fairytale about our story. Our story isn’t better or worse than yours. It’s just, in the simplest of terms, our story. It’s filled with big giant incredible experiences and lots and lots of justsetting your alarm as you lay in bed at the end of the day and not being able to remember if you even showered today. When the story of our lives is told by our kids to whoever they bring into their lives the stuff that would be in the movie, the big trips around the world and the bucket list stuff won’t be the stories they will tell. They will speak of a random night we stayed up to till 3 am watching a strange British murder mystery together, fighting for any extra leg room they could get on the couch. If many years from now a random song plays on the radio and one of my girls smiles and thinks of her time stuck with Mom and Dad than I’ll know my wife and I lived the best life we could.
This time in history will be written as “the worst” on every list that is created, but to me I’ll remember who I went to battle with. I’ll remember my foxhole and how I never had to sit in it alone. I’ll look back at this time and all the memories we’ve shared inside the walls of this house and I’ll beam with pride. All the dumb fights, wearing out our Netflix subscription, purchasing a million useless things from Amazon. My kids don’t deserve being locked up for so long. They are missing out of being kids. But, selfishly, this Dad is getting time he never ever expected with his favorite little humans in this whole world.
So, here’s to 2020 for reminding me just how lucky I am. You’ll get a lot of bad press 2020, but you will always have a fan in me.