This took place a few days ago… exactly a few days ago. It was my birthday. For those that know me well, I tend to get down on my “special” day. Like really down. Mostly it’s happened since we lost Dad. I want him to be here to see the kids, meet Abbe, have his crotch sniffed by Titan… you know, the good stuff.
But I also make that fatal mistake of sizing myself up against Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and see how short I come to that very top of the triangle, the self-actualization.
Life is better now that I’m at TD, but we’ve still got a ways to go before I can really think about good stuff like taking a vacation that doesn’t involve an air mattress on the living room floor of my in-laws. Don’t get me wrong, I love being at my in-laws… I just think Abbe deserves to have her toes in some sand near some water. And Abbe didn’t dig the whole stick-your-feet-in-the-cat-box-next-to-the-bathtub idea.
Sorry, I digress…
Anyway, I was my usual birthday boy boo-hoo, and in the midst of all of that, Viv had her first day back to school after missing a day to have her broken pinky seen by a specialist. She had a ton of homework. A crazy amount. The homework was the perfect storm of missing the day with the injury, plus catching up from the PARCC testing last week. She was out of her head with worry that she would miss having a sleepover at her Mom’s. It was difficult for her to write (she broke the finger on her dominant hand). There was this crescendo of stress she was working herself up to by the frenetic internal orchestra conductor in her noggin, and I had one of my greatest dad moments ever.
Calmly, without meeting her own volume, “I said, well, this sucks that we have this much to handle, but let’s get to work. I’ll write, you do the thinking, OK?” Abbe came over and started helping her with her Spanish flashcards too. Viv wasn’t entirely convinced at first. I said, “It’s 6:30pm now, I bet you we are done and in the car by 7:30pm to drop you off at Mom’s. Would you be happy if we did that?”
“Cool, let’s do it.”
And we worked. There were common core math problems, science worksheets, regular math problems, English homework, etc. As we progressed through all of it, I saw Viv’s shoulders unwind, and slowly see that we were making progress and yep, she was happy. She was herself again.
At 7:25pm when we were swinging around the roundabout at Nokomis Field on our way to her Mom’s, I pointed at the clock, and gave her the Dad “I told you so”. She said she knew we’d do it and she was just kidding anyway.
And that’s when the thunderclap of duh struck me… she fixed me, not the other way around. The 11 year old with the ridiculously big blue cast fixed my birthday boy boo-hoo’s.
We pulled up to her stop, and I thanked Viv for making me smile tonight.