Thursday, October 23, 2014

Moments Not Posted...

We’re sitting at a stoplight, somewhere along the rural countryside. My small family is on its way to the pumpkin patch and the day is gorgeous. Fall is in full swing, to my right is a breathtaking view of the mountains, littered with colorful foliage and crisp blue ridges.

Also breathtaking is my son’s epic fit in the back seat, littered with ear twisting screams that make you question the day you ever even thought about being a parent. It appears that he’s unhappy with something back there in first class and he’s letting the surrounding county know about it. He tugs on his car seat strap, his face smushed up and maroon as the maple leaves with determination.

Too tight, too tight. Then to his shoe, too tight, too tight.

I try to soothe him but he only shakes his head, his long hair swinging because my wife won't budge on the haircut issue. 

I turn back to the steering wheel, trying to ride it out, wondering how other parents are able to get their children in a car for family trips. They always look so happy in the facebook pictures, everyone laughing, singing songs and enjoying life like a gum commercial the whole way across the countryside.

The light turns green and we’re off. My wife talks our son down from the ledge. A mile later he is giggling and happy. So teeters the life of a toddler.

The trip itself was worth the screaming. We arrived at the pumpkin patch and corn maize, settled just beneath the Blue Ridge Mountains, just as a rather low flying plane circled above (and by low flying I mean that the pilot had some jelly in his mustache). Like most toddlers, my kid is all about planes right now, so that was just an added bonus (at least when I realized that no, he wasn't going to crash).

We pet some farm animals, went on a tractor ride, and of course did the pumpkin picking. It was pretty amazing watching him interact with other kids, and both my wife and I noticed a bit of shyness coming from our normally gregarious little guy.

Next was the corn maize. We didn't last long, and instead meandered around for a bit, taking pictures and running into some friends. Between all the lifting--kid and pumpkins--my arms are still a little sore. All part of the experience, I suppose. Overall it was a great time. Just those two fits on the way up and back. But those moments are just part of the game, so I’m told.

We get lots of warnings these days, from friends and family. And not all of them pertain to the kid, some of it is for us. People tell us not to lose focus of our marriage, which, after having leftovers last night, the sound of the vacuum serenading us as we watched our son play on the floor, I guess I can see how romance can take a back seat.

But I wouldn’t change a thing about my home life. My little family is imperfect and wonderful. I can sacrifice things that don’t matter. I can deal with missing a football game because my kid wants to play or getting up at the crack of dawn because our little rooster is roosting. And just when I think it’s too much, that I just want some time to myself or I'm sulking with worry about things in the world that can't be changed, that's when I hear it. The pitter patter of a barefeet hit the floor. 

I look up to find a bare naked toddler barreling down the hallway, having busted loose from the clutches of his Mom's lotion hands. I bend down, holding out my arms. He scoots down the hall, beaming and squealing, glancing back to his room before giggling with glee from his narrow escape from clothes. He hits me in stride, falling into me for a hug and then looking to me with gratitude. 

Thank you Daddy.

At the other end of the hall is his Mom. My wife, my closest friend and the woman who accepts me for all my faults. She hears all my worrying and deals with my own irrational stoplight temper tantrums and ugly moments that I don’t post on facebook.

Yep, this is my life, I think, smiling and hugging my son. And yep, it's all worth it...

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