Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Birthday Post

"I'm horseback riding like Daddy!"
We've been super busy.  As you may remember, the crew basically split up the continental U.S. between us, with Majestad and Jack taking the East, leaving me with the West.  It's like Risk.  Worldwide domination, here we come.

I jumped on a plane the morning of Jack's third birthday, and sang Happy Birthday to him in the middle of coach.  The older couple sitting next to me said they thought about joining in.  Told them the entertainment was free with the price of admission.

So Jack-san is TWEE YEAWS OWLD.  He told me so when I picked them up at the airport.  Which just bakes my noodle all the way through.  Time, whatever else you think about it, is difficult to take in.  I mean, to comprehend.  To have a fundamental grasp of.  It drags on, then arbitrarily speeds past with only the memory of it as fading proof.  As I (uh, rapidly) age, the moments pile up; I can't hope to reliably record the library of stuff and thoughts and images and laughter.  Such is being a parent.  Heck, such is being.

You do what you can.  So happy birthday, my boy.  Many happy returns.  I'm more amazed at you with each passing day.

This could be Mars for all I know.
It's really a cruel thing to take a Houston area resident and stick them in the Pac Northwest during August.  And it's not because of the pristine summer weather up there.  The cruel part is when you take away the pristine weather.  I've got to tell you, after stepping off my return flight and walking up the jetway in Houston, it took me a half hour to come up with compelling reasons why I live in this brutal climate (answers were "Mexican Food," followed closely by "Driving Fast" and "Because My Wife Is Always Cold").

I went running up there one morning.  It was 52 degrees.  High temp at home that day?  102 degrees.  The misery heat index in Texas hovered right around the melting point of aluminum.  Running in Washington was like running on another planet.  The only drawback is that they have quadriceps burning, soul crushing hills.  Big ones.  And lots of 'em.  Anyway, it was the second time I had been up there for this particular conference, and we were right on the Columbia River Gorge.  I cheated death on this year's horseback ride (saw a BWACK BEAW!) and also survived the whitewater rafting trip (someone's gotta do it).  Oh yeah, there was a conference thingy in the middle somewhere.  Right.  Good grief, I love my job.

During the week, H.M. sent me a steady stream of texts and pictures to give me my occasional absentee dad fix.  Examples:

Okay, I have to tell you about the monkey.  Uncle Blake has this old toy monkey that is pretty ferocious looking.  It's about a foot high and walks around menacingly on battery power.  Jack was TERRIFIED of it.  Absolutely terrified.  Coincidentally, The Dude also has a bad habit of running up to Uncle Blake's room when nobody's watching to jam on Blake's guitar.

So before I left Mobile a few weeks ago, I had a chance to do what all loving, caring, patient fathers dream of doing:  getting even with the chilrun.  I wandered into Blake's room one day and stood the toy monkey up slightly behind a corner as you enter the room.  I put it precisely where a little boy would come face to face with it.  In a dark room, no less.  I congratulated myself on my (evil) ingenuity and went my merry way.

The next day, we're upstairs getting dressed for something or other, and I see Jack venture quietly toward the room.  He goes in.  I then hear "AHH AHH AHHHHH AHH AHHHHHHH!!!!!" and see Jack shoot out of there like he's on fire, arms flapping, the works.  I was crumpled on the floor, about to asphyxiate.  H.M. didn't exactly, ah, approve.

But total victory is sweet, indeed.  Sweet but brief.  I got a text after I left town from Majesty that said "He's overcome his fear."  She had attached a picture of Jack reaching out and barely touching the monkey's nose.  Reminded me of E.T.  But with a monkey.  And without the glowing finger.  Okay, it's nothing like E.T. at all, so just drop it.

And conquering fear naturally leads into... dental work.  That's right, ladies and gentlemen, that's my kid flossing the monkey's teeth.

I didn't even bother trying to tell Jack the monkey needed to floss because it had been eating little boys whole.  That monkey's lost his touch.  Totally.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Happy Birthday to Jack Jack! Flossing the monkey teeth is hilarious! And the talk of cooler weather in Washington does make one wonder why we've chosen heat and humidity- to your list I would add "people got manners and was raised right" (say it with a big southern drawl) as a reason to stay below the mason dixon.