I’m pretty sure July 3rd is ‘Take Your Kids To Work’ Day. I asked Mad Dog about it, but he wasn’t buying it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my time with my boys, in fact it’s kind of awesome. Being able to hang out with them with no agenda has been incredibly fun. However, after they spend loads of unstructured time together, this leads to frustration and maybe occasional acting out. Therefore, please, “Take Your Kids to Work” Mad Dog.
In all seriousness, I am grateful how much I enjoy their company. This is the reward of parenting. All the blood, sweat and tears has paid off. Not to say their won’t be challenges ahead, but at least for this moment, being a mom is a lot of fun.
Moving forward I understand that they will not want to hang out with me forever. Even though I am entertaining, am an excellent Jazzerciser (this is cutting edge cool, right?) and know a lot of really famous people:
Ah, but we will always have the memories of this summer … I intend to make the most of them.
I have always loved Mad Dog’s athleticism. When we were dating, I would take great pride watching him from the sidelines as he crashed his way to the end zone for his touch football team.
Lately, he has been playing more and more basketball with the boys in our backyard. These games consist of trash talk, spin moves and flagrant(!) fouling.
Yesterday’s game was no exception. It was 1 v 1, Mad Dog against T.Puzzle. I sat on our back porch and watched the glory unfold. Full Speed was next to me spouting off the official referee calls as Mad Dog muscled his way towards victory. One shot shy of the win, he dropped back deep on the pavement and launched a beauty. It banked off the backboard slamming home the win.
Something about the whole thing reminded me of those good ol’ days of dating. I’m not gonna lie, my stomach did some flips.
Mad Dog’s still got game.
At dinner in our post-game analysis, Mad Dog recounted that winning shot.
“I did it for my woman,” he said.
Both T.Puzzle and Full Speed asked, “Yeah, but was she watching?”
As in was Miss Lady watching? As in, Miss Lady is clearly THE lady Mad Dog was showing off for and I was just a random spectator.
Where we live, while awesomely close to downtown, having a yard is unusual. Giant houses that take up every square inch of their lot are the norm.
I treasure my small backyard. With so many statuesque trees flanking our streets, songbirds abound. If I am really lucky, I might see a deer:
Just kidding. Our alley is being reworked so the only deer(e) I see cause quite a ruckus.
Besides the mild annoyance of construction noise, where we live is very fun. We are a few blocks away from excellent restaurants. We try to walk to meals out as much as we can.
Most of our family loves this.
T.Puzzle hates this.
He hates to walk anywhere. To him it is slow, boring and ultimately pointless.
Seated at lunch last weekend, the four of us had walked to a new taco joint. The food was great and the weather perfect for our outside table.
We debated if we would walk to get ice cream before hitting Target (yes! we can walk to Target!). We didn’t want to push T.Puzzle’s attitude because we know better, and he is only a mild fan of ice cream, weird, I know.
“You up for walking for ice cream?” said Mad Dog.
Then, slowly, T.Puzzle formed a response as his shoulders lifted in a slight shrug.
“I guess so.”
I read the meaning behind his words.
“Basically, T.Puzzle is willing to walk with us but he will be super depressed about it the whole time,” I said. “Did I guess that right?”
I was curled up in bed as another round of coughing wracked through my body. I had been sick for four days and knew something was not right. My body refused to heal and I couldn’t figure out why.
I had enough sense not to Google my symptoms. In my weakened state any glimpse of doom I might read would derail any chance at wellness.
I croaked out his name and asked him to join me in my room. I asked him to Google dehydration for me.
He sat with me a long time. He patiently read through each symptom discerning what he could share with me in my fragile state and what he could not.
After a few moments, we confirmed it. I was dehydrated. Full Speed helped me formulate a plan to get me feeling better. He went and got me some Powerade.
This made me cry.
This confused him.
I went on to share that I was so proud of him for being a good caretaker. I then confessed that the girl he may or may not have been messaging (he will neither confirm or deny this allegation), made me emotional. Of course I am so happy he has found someone who has peaked his interest (or not), but I am sad he is no longer my ‘baby’.
This made me cry harder. Torrents of tears and emotions poured out of me and nearly washed both of us away.
He continued to sit with me.
He offered words of comfort and reassurance without judgment.
I said, “I don’t know if you realize this, but I am teaching you how to be in a relationship. When your future (current?) girlfriend gets emotional you will be prepared. You will know how to handle it just like you handled this situation with me. In fact, you may wonder if ‘that’s all she’s got?’ because I admit, I may or may not be a tad more emotional than your average woman.”
With that, I let out even more tears. When I was done, he twisted off the cap to my Powerade, handed it to me and left me with a hug.
As he left the room it hit me hard.
I was training him how to be a husband.
In my complete expression of what was in my heart and my mind, I was showing him how to sit with another’s vulnerability.
Showing Full Speed the truth of my inner world is a part of husband training. The other half happened nearly two decades ago. It started the minute I fell in love with Mad Dog.
At the time and being only twenty-four years old, I could not know how he would be as a husband and father years later.
He has far exceeded any expectation I ever had.
Every day he shows my boys what it means to be a husband. They watch how he works tirelessly to provide for us and how he will do anything to make my dreams a reality.
When Full Speed clicked open that Powerade before he handed it to me, he did so after watching years of Mad Dog doing the same.
In no way am I saying that Full Speed is required to get married. It is his life to live and it is frankly, none of my business.
My business is to stay truthful. To continue to be authentic in how I live and love.
Sometimes I am embarrassed by how much emotion bubbles out of me at the most inopportune moments, but it is who I am.
In a way, this may be where my greatest strength originates.
I am lighting the way for love for both my boys.
True love. The love that is most real. The kind that endures the ups and downs of living a life together.
The kind that takes you on unexpected adventures but also finds your heart tucked safely inside gratitude simply by being together.