Today I am feeling grateful for a bowl of soggy Cheerios and cup of cold coffee.
I get up pretty early–around 5am every day–and fix my breakfast, spend time checking various social media sites, and working on Fathers Over Forty. This is the time of the day that is just for me. There are rarely interruptions, it’s quiet, and it’s usually a pretty productive time for me. Today, I spent some time standing on the back patio, looking at the stars, and enjoying the uncharacteristically warm fall breeze. I also spent a little time revisiting the information that we got from my daughter Katie’s parent teacher conferences last night. (There is some work ahead for all of us.) Things like this are all part of a typical, early, quiet, peaceful morning–my time.
About the time I sat down to try to work on a blog post, I heard Jake, our one-year-old, crying upstairs and then I heard the floor squeak overhead to let me know that Jenny was getting out of bed to go soothe him. I decided that it might be nice to go upstairs and help her with the baby. While she fussed with a few baby-related things and came downstairs to pour her trademark glass of sugar-free orange Kool-Aid, I lay in bed with the baby and stroked the bottoms of his feet. At one point, one of his little feet rested in the palm of my hand and he stretched and contracted his toes against my hand. It’s not easy to put this star-fishy, tuggy-pinchy, baby-foot-against-your-skin-pulsy-feeling into words, but I think we can all relate to the feeling of when a baby wiggles his toes in the palm of your hand. There’s nothing like it in the world. It’s one of those special, fleeting feelings that connects you with the shared “humanness” of your children.
As Jen, in a half-awake state, stumbled and tumbled back into bed she said “Sorry for interrupting your breakfast, Mister Buddy” (which is one of her pet names for me), I kissed Jake on the forehead and said “No problem, Baby-doll” (one of my pet names for her) and I headed back down to write this blog post.
Staring into a bowl of soggy cheerios and a cup of cold coffee, I had a moment of clarity: Most days I run from task-to-task at work. I race home to help around the house and make sure my kids have the best that I can give them in every area of their lives. Some days I long for “alone-time” with my wife–time that would ideally be spent with just the two of us languishing around European cafes and hotels in a romantic, sepia-toned, cinema-reality. Each night I fall into bed exhausted, wondering when I made the transition from the kiddie pool of life and into the deep end, where the grownups live and do their best to tread water and occasionally splash around, playfully, with their family and loved ones.
Before I came back downstairs, Jen said “Oooof. I’m feeling really crampy. I think this baby is gonna come early.” I think she’s right. Within a few hours/days/weeks our little family will grow to include another warm soul–a beautiful baby girl–whose star-fishy feet will also some day fall into the palm of my hand and warm my soul. This, my friends, is totally worth a bowl of soggy Cheerios and a cup of cold coffee.