Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Super Dad (Sure Is Tired)
I had last Friday off from work, and on four hours of slumber, I was brave and determined to make the most of my quality time with my two youngest children. No lounging on the couch with the television doing the entertaining for me, I arose way, way too early for my body's comfort, and did my best impression of a wide awake dad. As a family, we drove my beautiful wife to her job and saw a world at a time that I like to pretend doesn't exist as I usually keep my head to the pillow.
Our first stop was Nashville's Bicentennial Mall. The kids loved it. It was 8 A.M. and already too hot for my dress-to-impress attire. I wore my nicest jeans, my favorite crisp, black long-sleeved dress shirt, and my cool Guinness flat cap upon my head. If it was late October, I would have been perfectly dressed. However, it was a warm September morning and I was sweating already. Oh well. Onward.
We enjoyed exploring the mall. We walked all over the map of our state, seeing how many steps it would take to travel from Nashville to Pawpaw's home in East Tennessee. We took the step or two to Franklin and to Thompson's Station to visit Grandma Foxy and Bubba, respectively.
Then we walked to the carillions (95 carillions for our 95 counties) at the north end of the mall, the kids marveling at the music of their chimes. I marveled at all of the joggers. If they didn't have to be at work at this hour, why weren't they at home sleeping? I try to never do anything I don't have to do before 10 A.M.
The three of us then ran up the steps to our State Capitol. I was proud of the kids for their energy and general fitness to be able to run up all of those steps without stopping to rest. Admittedly, Ari had it easier as she required me to carry her all the way. We enjoyed looking at Bicentennial Mall from high above. Joshua enjoyed the perspective of seeing where we had just been from our newfound elevation.
Now it was almost time for the library to open and we made the quick drive to it's magnificent doors. As luck would have it, we arrived just in time for storytime. My wild-in-their-own-home children were perfectly still and attentive as the librarian read wonderfully for her small audience. In a small semi-circle, there were about six children all accompanied by a parent. Of course, I noticed that I was the only male parent. Strangely, I also noticed that I was the only parent with a wedding ring. Are Fridays single parent day at the library?
Anyway, after the book was read, we moved to the nearby tables for Arts and Crafts. We each made a pinwheel fish with not much more than paper plates, bits of paper, a long straw, and paste. This was a real winner of a day for us. I was feeling like the best dad ever. The kids were behaving, learning, creating, and having fun. Later, in the children's section, while reading to Ari, another kid from the earlier storytime handed me a book to read to him.
In no time, I was the new storyteller, feeling like I was a teacher in a classroom and enjoying the attention and watchful eyes of the accompanying moms. I imagined that I was some Hugh Grant character in some wistful romantic-comedy. Alas, their watchful eyes were probably less of swooning admiration and more protective maternal instincts and mistrust of the out-of-place man, not working on a Friday morning. We'll just stick with the Hugh Grant reference for ego's sake.
Our next stop was Centennial Park. No more air-conditioned environment for me. It was now high noon and time to sweat profusely. Joshua, Ari, and I had the big time running around the Parthenon, playing at the playground, and just generally being silly.
The quote of the day was when we were walking back to the van to get a quick and easy McDonald's lunch. I was carrying Ari and told her that we would skip the fries to spend less because she had "a broke daddy." She looked at me, grinned, poked my cheek, and replied, "You're not broken and I love you."
I've got Wednesday and Thursday off this week. I don't think we can top last Friday's outing, but we sure will try.