The week is dead, but I’m not (a non-chronological and inconclusive summary).
listening to KINGS OF LEON’S velvet snow in the car very, very loudly.
I reacted with perhaps not the greatest aplomb as a giant truck came racing up behind us, and I possibly stuck my arm up in an irritated gesture as I - at the first safe opportunity - pulled over to let him bulldoze past at 93 miles per hour.
My irritated gesture was interpreted by the children as :
“Daddy, did you just flip that truck off?!”
I quickly had to decide how cool I wanted to be in the moment. The way our daughter phrased this question led me to believe that she was rather impressed with my response, leading me to want to quickly change the historical record and respond in the affirmative.
Internally, I gauged the value of going one direction versus the other, and finally sighed and said truthfully:
“No, I did not flip off that truck.”
I hope someday she will be impressed with something I actually did do. And maybe I get some good points someday for trying to do the right thing.
But I don't know. Maybe I should have just flipped him off, or thrown a stuffed animal at him. I don’t know. Parenting is hard sometimes.
Yesterday my dream was to make it through a hot cup of coffee without having to take intermission to change a diaper.
Some dreams are meant to die premature and horrific deaths.
Yesterday’s dream stayed a dream before dying violently.
Overheard (things that made my heart warm, Leonidas).
A conversation over demigods, driven by an eight-year old, debating which is better Heracles (Greek) or Hercules (the more well-known Roman).
A separate conversation, possibly involving an eight-year old, over which is better : Pass of Thermopylae or the Hot Gates.
Quick history refresher: they’re the same thing and both refer to the legendary and mythologized (but also true) battle between a handful of (mostly) Spartans versus the might Persian hordes as they sought to hold them off long enough at the Pass of Thermopylae - or The Hot Gates - for the rest of the Greek army to mobilize and send King Xerxes packing. No spoilers here.
But a little hint: the Western hemisphere would likely look radically different now if Xerxes had successfully set up shop on the Mediterranean. Sorry. That was totally a spoiler.
Overheard (thanks, but no thanks).
“You should install this app on your phone for your kids. It’ll keep them busy for days!”
- an adult
Television & film.
Spoiler alert coming up regarding The Office…
…Michael’s exit in season 7 and his beautiful ‘goodbye, not a goodbye’ with Jim.
Our son trying to get others to play basketball with him - unsuccessfully - so going to shoot around by himself. Some things take a little bit of internal confidence, like going to movies solo, or shooting hoops by yourself at lunch. You gotta be centered, you gotta be willing to follow your own path and find your own drumbeat. And he did.
Pretty simple, really: you wanna do something, so you do it. But the older you get, the more it’s easy to think about how people perceive what you’re doing…and it’s super easy to get self-conscious about doing something solo and wondering what other people might be thinking. Hint: they’re probably not thinking about you at all. Because, just like the Earth, you’re not the center of the Universe.
Massage, part II.
I was driving, listening to the Head and the Heart’s oddly-structured masterpiece Sounds Like Hallelujah for the 7th time that day and Becca reached over and started rubbing my shoulders and neck as we drove through the forest and I picked up my thermos and chugged hot B+ coffee every couple minutes;
that was a good snippet of time.
Massage, part I.
There’s some book on love languages we have on our shelf. I skimmed it. Haven’t really read it. The different ways people express love. One of them is through gifts. Everyone has a gift they can share. My dad has lots of gifts, and he shares many of them.
One thing he’s super generous at is giving massages. I sat in the warm sunshine and conversation skittered on around me; with my eyes closed I absorbed the dialog and my dad’s powerful fingers kneading my shoulders and I thought:
this is also a good snippet of time.
News, the good.
The Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship ever, knocking off the Golden State Warriors in six. Am I happy for Toronto? Yes. The city has been close to my heart for many, many weeks, and I have been a huge fan for as far back as I can remember, or about two weeks (whichever is less). So I am happy for them. My people are there. Jonny and Meilani, and I feel a kinship based on that fact alone, sort of like finding out that we’re distant cousins of Jessica Chastain and inexplicably feeling a little cooler.
I am a Steph Curry fan.
As the clock wound down and it appeared likely the Raptors were gonna take it, I said to the children: Watch. If the Warriors lose, I am gonna be watching to see who slinks off the court straight to the locker room, and who sticks around to congratulate the Raptors.
Raptors won, and there Steph is. The greatest shooter in the history of basketball, couple championships under his belt, but still the bitterness of defeat only seconds in the past, and he’s leading the way, leading the way to offer congratulations and respect to his opponents.
In a world where we have a particularly ill-mannered troll representing our country at the highest level, I grasp at any icon or person successful in their field who can demonstrate the timeless examples of good sportsmanship.
In the end, these guys are playing a game. A big game with big stakes. But to put it simply: it’s still a game. A game that millions of kids are watching. And they’re watching, analyzing, soaking up how their heroes respond to circumstances. Including defeat.
To see someone like Steph Curry model what sportsmanship is: which is to say, to show grace and respect to your opponent in defeat…that is something I love.
Thank, you Mr. Curry. You are an incredible basketball player, and I get the feeling you are a fine human being. Thank you.
News, the not so good.
The afore-mentioned leader of our country is, well…still the leader of our country. A leader in title only, who is supported by so many in his party leadership who swore they would never support either A) him or B) somebody like him.
And now they do.
That is what we call “the height of hypocrisy.”
Our two-year old son loves to narrate. The smaller the event, the more imperative it is that he narrates it, in real time, to whoever is listening. An example would be him explaining to anyone who is listening that his beloved sister is walking across the room, and that she picked up a toy and then went to get a drink of water, and then opened the door and went outside.
It is hilarious and he is serious and I love it.
I raced with three children into the Post Office and the fellow there, most certainly a distant relative of Whoville residents, informed me in jocular fashion that he would need one child to stay locked up there overnight and work sorting packages, since we were coming in at the last minute. I assured him that would be fine, and I’d leave extra diapers.
Does this seem like an odd exchange? Yes, it was, but I believe it was a postal worker at the end of the day doing his best to be friendly, joke around, and find a little levity. Strange yes, but also strangely appreciated. Also, he gave me a killer deal on John Lennon stamps.
Overheard at the DMV.
“I have 300-plus channels,”
the woman behind the counter said,
”and I watch two.”
What a microcosm of the lives our society has helped to create.
So many options. And no time to enjoy them.
Overheard at a school.
“I drink coffee sometimes,”
the 11-year old boy explained,
”but only as a special treat, because I’m eleven.”
Things I believe in.
Kids going to skate parks. Skate parks should be multi-generational. You are not too young or too old to go to a skate park. A lot of teenagers are a lot nicer than people assume if you don’t assume they don’t want you to talk or interact with them. Ignore the clunky sentence preceding this: take your kid to a skate park with whatever wheels they got, let ‘em ride, and talk to the other kids there. Even when they’re teenagers. A lot of them will end up being decent. But don’t put it on them. Smile, say hi, and ask if they’ll show your kid a cool trick. If they still won’t, offer them a cigarette.
But don’t avoid outdoor spaces because you think your kid isn’t old enough. Kids need more skate park and less Chuck E. Cheese.
Enjoy the memories of the week behind, enjoy the dreams of the week ahead, and most of all, enjoy the reality of what’s happening right now.
Oh, and one more thing: Happy Father’s Day weekend, and remember that none of us would be fathers if there weren’t mothers. So if you’re a dad, be a cool dad and give out some good hugs - and maybe coffee and massage - to some special moms in your life.
Moms are cool.
Love you all,