Again, this is not that kind of advice. I mean, really, for that one just make sure only to fire off the Y’s and not the X’s. Or is it the other way around? No matter. I’m here to talk about what it’s like to be a father to a precious five year-old girl.
My kids have busier social calendars than… Crap, I can’t think of someone with a busy social calendar who’d also be relevant today. I was going to say Ivana Trump but who’s heard from her in like a decade, right? My two angels have piano and violin lessons, art classes, basketball, ballet. And that’s just on Tuesday’s. Imagine my horror, then, when Daughter recently expressed a desire to…
“I wanna’ do gymnastics!”
OK, well first, it’s “take” gymnastics but I suppose we’ll see what we can do. And of course my wife, the most wonderful of women, found a local gymnastics class where the first month of classes were free in order to discern whether this was something we actually wanted to pay for.
And being the good dad I am, this meant I got the chance to run out the door on a Saturday morning to “do gymnastics”.
I had not nearly enough coffee. I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt. My baby girl was wearing something quite different. In fact, I’m not even sure where she or my wife found such a combination of clothing. Just as I was calling out to her that we needed to leave; she presented herself to me in what looked like puffy shorts and a unitard — all in five different shades of lamé.
“Sweetheart… You look like a backup dancer on Star Search.” She looked puzzled. “That just means you look beautiful as always!”
We hopped in the minivan and drove across town, stopping at the library first to drop off some overdue books. Along the way my daughter, excited and nervous at the same time, spoke up from the back.
“Daddy?” “Yes, baby,” I said. “I love you.”
Forget the coffee. Life is beautiful right here.
We got to the gym and… You know what? Let’s back up for a sec, OK? That last exchange is why I live. OK so…
I signed her in and she went with the coach across the floor while I watched from the bleachers. For the next hour I watched as my daughter followed along with four other girls. They ran and jumped and that was about it since it was a beginner class. “You’re doing great girls!” shouted the coach. From my seat I interjected (somewhat under my breath) “Only another few years and you’ll be slightly taller than a primordial dwarf with no sign of menses in sight!”
Maybe I should have had more coffee.
And then there was the music. It wafted toward my ears softly at first. What is that playing, I wondered. But it became all too clear. It was Call Me Maybe, the repulsive pop ditty of a few years back. After a few minutes it was evident that I’d be trapped in Carly Rae Jeppsen hell until the girls came off the — wait, what is that thing? Looks like she’s got rappelling from a rock wall. OK, I’m impressed. On the music front, it got worse. It wasn’t Jeppsen. It was… Kids Bop. How about I stand under that rock wall and one of you kids could fall on me?
Time was winding down and it looked like I’d escape my Saturday morning with a shred of dignity. And then I got a text from my wife.
Can you stop at the address below and pick up two 50 lb. bags of san mixed with chicken manure?
Little Miss Solid Gold came over to me and put her shoes on. She had enjoyed herself. I strapped her into her booster and we drove off together.
“Um, this isn’t the way home…” she said. “No, sweetheart,” I replied. “We have to pick up something for Mommy.” She thought about that and then asked “What is it?”
“Just a few hundred pounds of chicken shit, dumpling.”
I then explained to her that Mommy is gardening and that chicken waste was apparently good for plants. She wasn’t buying it. Neither was I. And so we both started laughing, my little gymnast and me.
And with a enough poultry poop to fertilize the Adirondacks we drove home laughing. And when the laughter stopped she did it again.
“I love you, Daddy.”
I love you too, sweetheart. I love you too.