Prioritized Propulsion

We drive, we go, we propel ourselves forward for them. We drive circuitous routes in attempts to follow ridiculous schedules that seem to be planned out by someone who literally just recently started learning about both geography and telling time. Which, for the most part, we are.

A lot of this correlates with teaching but I’m talking about being a parent. More specifically a single parent. See, last night was a good one. The kids and I played an hours long game of Risk where, amidst the senseless massacres associated with total world conquest, the laughter around the table was infectious and quite literally out of control. For hours. We had some over the top solid family time. So today, Sunday, when 2 of 3 were invited out to interact with their friends, I semi-reluctantly allowed it and began the mathematics class word problem of figuring out who went where when and how it, and all the other Sunday things, were going to get done. I literally had to turn on the ignition of my car while the bottom half of my first coffee of the day was still hot. Not warm, not cold. Hot. I definitely still had eye boogers as I pulled out of the driveway in order to bring my daughter out to Woodridge in time for her to join a friend at a church event.

I went straight to the gym from dropping my baby girl and then my car’s engine never cooled before I was picking up my eldest to drop him off at a friend’s. In Woodridge. I even stopped at the Jewel in between the gym and picking up my son still in my gym clothes in order to pick them up lunch because I knew it would be a quick turnaround. I stood in front of the deli case with a bag of oranges in my cart and the clock tick-tick-ticking while they decided on the phone in what seemed like a very video game distracted 5 minutes that they weren’t hungry anyways. Sigh. Finally, I actually had a few solid hours with just one kid which very seldom happens. I let the middle guy pick whatever he wanted to do. Movies? Nothing playing at a time conducive of us being on schedule (hahahaha) to be available for the other kids. I asked him what games were on and he lit up because the Warriors were facing the Timberwolves in 10 minutes and we were going to have a father-son basketball session. I asked him if he wanted to go out and watch it somewhere but he just wanted to cook up the brats he handpicked for lunch (but by this time was believed to be more like dinner tonight, another laughable “plan”) and watch it in our room.

Ahhh. More good stuff. Just kinda soak in it. Brats and sports he’s super into on tv. Chilling. Baby girl calls and asks if she can stay later than the previously ordained pick up time of 4 o’clock and I realize it’s already 3:15 and say that it’s fine and let the Sunday afternoon revelry continue. I needed it, and I think having just finished a basketball season on a down note and with winter workouts for baseball just winding down leading into our first practice game on Friday for a very long and intense baseball season, he was loving it too. He even declined a sleepover invite Friday night citing the need to be prepared for Saturday’s last basketball game. That’s unheard of.

Kids were supposed to be back to their mom by 7 (not like a hard/fast rule, just an agreed upon time for the night). Game ends and middle guy asks for a haircut. As I finish that up my daughter’s friend’s mom texts asking if she can stay for tacos. I say sure if it’s soon and probably laid out all the things I still had to do in a suddenly tiny and shrinking time-window. Then I put my phone in my pocket and swept up hair and got dressed for public consumption and went and got her. Halfway there I looked at my phone and realized they actually had already finished eating and that she’d be ready to go. Bonus! So I’m back in Woodridge (mulling over a Woodridge post for the future, stay tuned!) picking my daughter up but my son in not ready yet even though it is now 6 o’clock and I have to get him and bathe her and do the grocery shopping I do once every 2 weeks for their mom for lunches and stuff and then get them back by 7. Ugh! Also, my wallet is not in the pants I put on whose main feature distinguishing them as being for public consumption was the fact that they had back pockets. Probably just on the table. I would grab it when I got back before continuing this whole Quixotic insanity that is Sunday night.

The wallet is not there. My aunt (more on this situation will play a part in my Write Away part 2 post one of these days) miracles me a bathing of my daughter while I deal with my now frazzled, both sides burnt-wick brain as the laughable schedule continues to resemble spilt milk spreading across a floor I needed as slip-free as possible in order to be where I needed to be when I needed to be there. The Jewel. Under the oranges. Because I had on gym clothes with no pockets. That’s where I left my wallet and when I call they have it. Plus, my son will now be getting a ride back to his mom’s! Sweet. I have to do the shopping yet but that Jewel is very near their mom’s apartment in Woodridge and my mind is now just sparking frayed wires spitting sparks so I run out to get my wallet and do the shopping with my daughter just entering the bath and my son wants chicken wings from the Jewel anyways for dinner so two birds. Get the wallet, do the shopping, forget the wings. Two out of three and I feel like I’m still dominating this situation. Grab the clean daughter and hungry boy and cram them in the still running, grocery loaded car, get the boy some chicken fries (ew, whatever, don’t judge), drive by the jewel I just flew out of and back to mom’s in Woodridge. Where she has a crockpot full of chili cooking. Hahahaha. Oh well.

It was kind of a lot. But I loved it. Anything with them. I was a stay at home dad forever. My life is now filled with goodbyes from my kids. Everyone says I will but I don’t know that I’ll ever be used to it or ok with it. My daughter asked, on the final leg of this marathon sprint, apropos of nothing, if I slept ok when they weren’t there. It was so random my son said “what?!?!?” before i could even understand what she’d asked. So I looked in the rearview and asked for clarification and she asked if it was hard for me to fall asleep when I wasn’t with them. Dude, gut punch. First off I have looked like garbage lately and have been asked by a couple people what was wrong because of it (umm, thanks?) and I think it is mostly because I’ve been especially insomniacal the last week or so. But the truth is the last 2 nights with the kids I passed right out. No tossing and turning. I never don’t toss and/or turn and I realized that, in that moment, I just don’t sleep well alone. Regardless of how exhausted I am all day. I thrive in the insanity of being kept on toes by kids. It is within that storm that I feel calm and properly me. It’s why I coach and teach as well.

A lot of people haven’t “found themselves” yet. And that’s totally ok. Lots of people are lost, adrift, wanderers, confused, etc. That’s different from feeling in your bones which vibrations your life is best tuned to, based on years of experience and history, and not having the ability to actually be that anymore. Maybe I’ll never get used to it. But that doesn’t matter. Because we drive, we go, we propel ourselves forward anyways. For them.

2 thoughts on “Prioritized Propulsion

  1. Love the ending line/title. And it’s nice to see a touch of crazy in someone else’s life. Okay not a touch, a full on tackle.
    The oranges! LOL I’ve been there buddy. I’ve been there. I’m glad you have such a deep appreciation for the time you spent with them as a stay at home dad. My husband is experiencing it this year and let’s just say – his eyes have been opened!


  2. Pingback: fin – Idealiotic

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