Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Feeling the Road as I Do

“Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away…”

—Aerosmith, Dream On

The San Francisco Giants overcame a 0-5 first inning deficit to ultimately beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6. And we were there.

Well, at least for the first five innings we were there. At that point the score was tied up at 6-6 and the girls made it as long as they could before we headed home.

It was an amazing experience for all us – especially the girls – since it was Little League Day at AT&T Park and Santa Cruz represented well among many other Bay Area cities. Beatrice and I wore our team’s shirts and hats (the Rockies) and Bryce wore the hat and shirt from our T-ball team last year (the Reds). The Mama wore the Reds hat as well.

The Little League teams and their families got to march through the stadium before the game started. The girls were thrilled looking over the field and up at the surrounding stands.

“Where are we going to sit?” Beatrice asked as we walked along the stadium’s perimeter.

“Way up there,” the Mama and I answered, pointing to the upper deck above the third base line.

“Mama, I don’t want to sit up there,” Bryce said. “That’s too high up. I don’t want to fall.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “You won’t fall. We all have seats to sit in.”

“It’s too high!”

Our parade ended and we exited the field. We then proceeded on the winding upward walk to our section. The girls ran ahead of us, energized by the ballpark and all the people and kids. The Mama and I walked behind deciding on what we wanted to eat for lunch. We rounded another bend in the walkway and fell silent.

Maybe I have another 20 years of good road ahead, I thought. Twenty healthy, productive years where I can provide for my family so that we can do things like this. The Mama probably has even longer, being five years younger than me and statistically speaking outliving me in the long run.

Maybe I’ll be able to keep running after them, at least until they’re out of the we-need-to-run-after-them phase. Maybe later on in my 70’s, 80’s and beyond, I’ll be in good health still. Maybe at some point I’ll see them start their own families if they so choose and still be able to shuffle after grandchildren. 

Maybe. God, I hope so. 

Man, what a buzz kill I am. Let’s play frickin’ ball!

The week before we had family visiting during Spring break – Amy’s Dad and Step-mom – and the girls were so excited. They couldn’t wait to show them they’re favorite toys and games and anything else they could think of in the moment.

The day before they arrived, Beatrice said, “Wait, how come they’re still alive? They’re so old.”

Beatrice is our literal inquisitor, not meaning any harm, but sometimes hitting the big-question sensitivity from out of the awkward blue.

“They’re not that old, Beatrice,” the Mama said. “They’re doing fine and will be here tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay. I can’t wait to see them!”

We all hugged and laughed and I thought, Daddy’s old getting older too, Bea. Mercy me…

Having children later in life and being older parents has never bothered me that much, only because we’ve worked hard to take care of ourselves and so far benefit from the best of our gene pools. And we both feel great. However, the imaginary infinite road we told ourselves we had throughout our 20’s, 30’s and even in our 40’s, is now gone for good.

Gone like the crushed cartilage cleaned out from my right knee when I had torn meniscus surgery nearly two years ago. I feel the difference every single time I work out, especially when I do my once-per-week beach run. It doesn’t hurt, but it’ll never be the same again either. And I certainly don’t want a complete knee replacement anytime soon (reminds my lovely physical therapist, the Mama).

Yes, I feel every inch of the finite road these days, my suspension nearly shot. And with more friends and family losing loved ones of late, mortality is a familiar tune hummed frequently to myself.

I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, although feeling the road as I do, I take nothing for granted. When even dropping the girls off at school before leaving on a business trip becomes as much as a memorable moment as walking in a Little League parade at a big league ballgame. Or when Beatrice hits the ball off the pitching machine during a Little League game and Coach Daddy’s arms fly into the air to cheer, overcoming her fear of playing. Or when Bryce shouts “winner, winner, chicken dinner!” when playing family bingo, but later on leaving poop in the toilet -- again.

All that has happened and all that is yet to be. Taking the scenic route makes it all worthwhile. The laughter and the tears. Until the Good Lord will take us away. Amen.

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