I’m become a bit of a sap in my later years. Having a kid does that to you. There is this gush of unconditional love that blossoms forth from a six year old, the kind that you didn’t know could even exist until you find yourself as the recipient of the absolute focus of awesome emerging from your kid as they plan for your day together.
I was feeling selfish, too. I hoarded this day to myself: I discovered that those once-so-frequent but now-so-rare days together was due on the Monday stat following Easter — she had the day off, I had the day off, but Karin had to work — and I was keeping it to myself.
We had plans. Sorta.
Swimming at the local pool, we were basically the first ones there when the place opened, save for the presumably-standard crowd of retired folks swimming slow laps in the deep pool. We owned the place for about twenty minutes, going round and round the “crazy (lazy) river” and hitting the water slide sans line up. I can imagine that place was crawling by the time ten o’clock rolled around, but by then we were already long gone.
Back when Claire was a lot younger we did this thing where I would take her for breakfast at Ikea. If you’ve never been for breakfast, then I’ve got two words: crap and cheap. You get what you pay for. It’s something resembling food, some kind of flaky white stuff that may be scrambled eggs and some brown, salty sticks of possibly meat. The potatoes are probably real. But it’s only a buck. A dollar for breakfast. We both eat, with drinks and a cinnamon bun on the side to share, for less than five dollars. It’s like winning the food lottery. And I can eat a crappy meal now and then, especially when it feels like “our thing” and she’s the one who requested it.
Then we went shopping. Some landscaping supplies, first, filling the back of my little car with a few bag of topsoil for the flower beds out front, and choosing some of this years vegetable garden seeds. Done-and-done. Next we hit up the grocery store and made sure to get everything that was on the list we’d been left — and few extras on the side. Spoilt!
Back home we had a light lunch. The dog was a little stir crazy because she could tell the weather was nice and we’d been gone for most of the morning. Not fair, huh, so we spent about twenty minutes spring-tuning Claire’s bike before going for a dog-walk-slash-bike-ride to the park. Claire rode laps around the one-klick perimeter when the dog and I moseyed at a more leisurely pace, sniffing and scratching at the dirt… or at least she did that. I took some photos on my phone.
I had pre-purchased movie tickets. We don’t get out to movies as much as we would like. It seems odd, especially now that they’ve built an awesome new mulit-plex theatre right near our house, a five minute drive away. Unfortunately, the movie I’d promised wasn’t showing THERE. It was however, showing at the slightly larger, slightly older theatre in South Common.
She’d been giving me the gears about taking her to “The LEGO Movie” for about a month. Apparently it was a hit with a bunch of her friends at school, and everyone was singing the “Everything is AWESOME” song that plays over and over throughout the show. At some point I’d said “sure… we’ll go…. sometime.”
We killed some time at the book store prior to the show, because little-miss-impatient just couldn’t wait to get there. And then, popcorn in hand –because what’s a movie date with daddy without popcorn, you may ask– we watched the show… finally…
And dad was serenaded all the way home in the car with the aforementioned only-awesome-for-about-five-minutes theme song from the movie as sung by a six year old pumped up on Fruitopia, M&Ms, and lightly buttered popcorn.
We’d bought the ingredients for homemade pizza. Not the crust… we buy that. It’s not worth the effort for just an everyday pizza night. But lately we’ve been making a double deal: the grown up pizza which has all those yucky vegetables and spicy salami, and the kid pizza which is loaded with cheese and pepperoni. It’s a make-your-own night, kinda. She loves it.
But around the time the pizzas were emerging from the oven and slices were finding their way onto plates, mom came home from work and the normal, back-to-reality routine settled onto the house for the evening once again.
This daddy, dazed as expected, crashed on the couch by nine o’clock… mission accomplished.