Sunday, April 26, 2009
Play like you have them.
Friday Liam had a soccer game. What better place than a game to practice being a dad! The sun was out, we were all in crisp new shorts and shoes with our toes hanging out. We ate licorice and cheetos for dinner.
The game starts and the Tigers, (none of which are much over three feet tall) are playing a good game. Liam is sitting out the first quarter which he's cool with because it gives him time to eat more candy. Isabel has abandoned us for the playground and Fallon is buried in a book on the blanket next to me. Oliver is eating grass and pieces of licorice that get dropped. I am a cheering squad of one.
2nd quarter...it's a good game, no one's scored yet...they're all determined. Liam is in. Usually he just runs along behind everybody with his tongue out. If the ball rolls up to his foot and stops he'll kick it. Other wise it's like watching someone jog with a dog.
Something happens this game though, he gets into it...really really into it, and suddenly for the first time the crowd is calling his name. He almost makes the goal four times but the goalie is good. (Who knew midgets could play like that?) and then suddenly as he goes for the ball he gets kicked in the face and goes down. He's crying and he's looking for me.
Now, the dads around me have been watching their sons going down all evening and they yell things like "Way to go son!...You're all right." so as Liam wanders tearfully over to me and reaches up his little arms I just ruffle his hair and inspect the damage. "Whoa buddy that must have hurt...you'll be fine, get back in the game" He turns around and dutifully returns to the field (it worked) and walks right up to the coach who picks him up and soothes him and carries him back to me. The coach is a man...total daddy...but he's cradling my son his big man arms and carrying him back to me.
"He got hurt." he told me like I didn't know. "He took it on the chin." He deposits my son in my arms and I hold him while he cries. The son of the man next to me goes down like the last bowling pin and the man yells "Good job Austin!" hmmm.
The next time Liam gets hurt I just lift him over the fence and hold him until he's ready to get back in the game.
I consider that dadding is more complicated than I thought. Maybe there is more than one type of dad.
Liam has lost his enthusiasm now and he's back to running with his tongue out, and laying down in the middle of the field, and spontaneously hugging the coach in the middle of the game. I am embarrassed. Maybe some things are easier to handle as a mom.
We lose three to zero and go to drown our sorrows in the sandpit. When it's time to go Liam dives into Fallon and splits her lip open in three places. There is blood and teenage anger everywhere. Dripping our way back to the car Isabel falls down a hill and hurts her arms. We are bleeding, and crying, and yelling. Good job family! Way to go! Takin' it like a man!
I decide to stop at Walmart for ice cream to soothe our ragged spirits (and cuts and bruises). Liam wants Mcdonald's and I tell him we can't afford it. He's mad now. We get our ice cream and I let everybody pick out tv dinners. They are thrilled. Frozen food! Cool! Mcdonald's is forgotten.
At home it is nine and we haven't had anything since lunch. I instruct Fallon to stick the dinners in the microwave since I don't think we'll make 30 minutes in the oven. We'll eat in front of the tv and watch the 2nd disc of "Planet Earth".
Liam's frozen dinner is no where to be found. I offer to share, Izzy offers to share. He cries himself to sleep.
I put Isabel to bed and she says she wants to sleep with me. "No honey not tonight." I tell her. She cries herself to sleep.
Fallon skips dinner and goes to bed early with her fat lip.
The baby doesn't care. He crawls around my feet blowing spit bubbles and looking for dropped crumbs.
I eat my Hungry Man dinner alone at ten thirty.
Being a dad sucks.
After the children have gone to sleep, practice throwing yourself on the ground, kicking yourself in the face, and going to bed hungry and alone.
While doing these things yell encouragement to yourself like "Way to go!" "You're alright!"