Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Spilled milk. No crying. Just cleaning.

Today, the littlest and I had a few errands to run. Not really an errand. More like a shopping trip to the golf store to pick up a few things before my annual trip south. (A tough job, but someone had to do it) There were two objectives to the trip:

1. To get a few things and to peruse the clearance items, and

2. To test the "She does not need the "plug" (Binky, Pacifier, Rubber sucker thing) anymore.

I have been saying, much to the chagrin of my spouse ("Cant we let her have it till she's 5?") that it is time to cut the tether. She's almost 18 months old. It's time to "Let It Go!" (I apologize for the Frozen reference. You all had just kicked that horrible habit, I hope.) And I have taken and hid said plug for the last week, at least in the car. She fusses at first, but it is very short lived, and getting shorter as the time passes. (Notch one in the belt for daddy!) And how happy was I when we got to the store and she was asleep. Without it. (Not so humble brag)

Any-hoo, I shopped, browsed and thumbed through a few things, debated a few things, and bought a few things.  Under budget.  Who knew I could go to the golf store and come out under budget? So I decided with the extra, new found (not really, but sort of) money we should have a lunch date. Just me and her. I had done it with each of the other ones, just never really had the chance to do it with her. And why not? So after a visit with Grandma at her work (where the little one was proudly shown off to anyone that was in the building and could not run the other way) we had our lunch date.

It was just a lunch date. At Panera. Nothing fancy. Sandwiches. Yogurt. Apple. Milk. A lunch of kings. (Ha!) My little date is not the cleanest eater.
She's gonna kill me for this picture when she gets older.

And she shouldn't be. She's a year and a half (in two weeks). So as I was clearing the table and putting her in the stroller, I noticed some milk had spilled (probably when she squeezed the box-o-milk, causing a geyser of moo juice). Being one not to cry over such spills, I did what any self-respecting Stay-At-Home parent would do; I cleaned it up. (Because that is what 85% of my day is about) The odd part was, as I cleaned it up, a mother who was also on a lunch date with her little one commented on how nice it was that I was cleaning a high chair. It struck me as odd that someone would not clean their child's mess in a restaurant. I know that people are paid to do such tasks, but during a busy lunch shift, things are bound to be overlooked. Maybe it was because I have waited tables in the past, or the fact that I am just looking out for the next parent, but I feel that my kid made that mess. It is my responsibility to clean it up. And this stranger was happy. She had, as most parents have, come across a dirty table, seat or highchair in the past and silently cursed the person before them.  Perhaps my insignificant random act of cleanliness will inspire her to do the same. Or not. Who is to know?

The moral of this semi-sensical story is this: One little thing will help the next person. And most of the time that little thing doesn't take much time or effort. And it usually is the right thing to do. Even if it is not for the next parent, it will make the bus person/waitstaff thankful for you lightning their load. It's like a silent "Thank You" to them. And the power of that simple phrase is immense. And if you don't know, you have not heard it enough. Go do some random acts of goodness. You will feel so much better. And who knows? It may just come back to you.

And that wouldn't be all that bad.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Someone Get Me A Time Machine

Today is my daughter's birthday. It is my oldest's birthday. (I have to be specific due to all the kids around here.) Not only is it the anniversary of her coming into this world, it is the anniversary of me becoming a dad. A Father. A caregiver. A grownup. (Let us not put too much emphasis on that last one. I will never grow up. What's the use? Staying young is way more fun.)

I was thinking back to when I was eight and trying to remember the things I was doing. My family just moved to a new house. I rode my bike. Played Legos. Played MASK (For those of you who are not familiar with this, it was a television show and subsequently a line of toys that were cars and such and did other things. I kinda can't recall what exactly they did, but I did enjoy it.)  I'm sure I did other, more exciting things, yet I cannot recall much; I'm an old man now (For Pete's sake, I have three girls and the oldest is eight years old! My memory is pretty shot.)

Anyhoo, as I was reminiscing of my glory days, I began to compare my past with my child's present. She draws. She is a good reader. She is a part-time vegetarian. (Read sausage and bacon - good; chicken breast - bad) And she is a phenomenal dancer. She is on a team with other, like-minded dancers who, as a group, are awesome. And she has performed a solo. Four times. She got on stage, in front of a lot of people and danced. All by herself. Four times. And did very well, impressing judges, teachers, teammates and strangers without batting an eyelash. And now she is learning another solo to do the same this year. I don't think I got on stage to perform until I was double her age. She must take after her mother. 

Looking back at all that she has accomplished in her short time, it fills my heart with joy and pride. All that done in just eight short years. I can't imagine what the rest will bring. Someone get me a time machine. Lets go see what she does. Better yet, lets go back and watch it all again.