The semi drunk guy at the football game asks me how much it would cost to buy my hardhat and gets irritated when I respond by saying “more than you can afford.”
I don’t give him time to tell me why he is irked or to answer why I have three of them and he has none.
That is not my problem nor my concern but had he asked I would have followed up with a comment about how I wore it during my two television appearances today.
That is not hyperbole or made up, I was on television twice today though I didn’t see my any of the clips. Don’t think it matters or that anyone is going to call to offer me a contract.
What matters is today was one of those experiences I talk about here and elsewhere. You know the moments you go after because when you try to suck the marrow out of life you take these things on.
A few hours earlier someone else asked me what I plan on doing for Christmas and I told them “absolutely nothing.”
Got the usual look of confusion and explained that I am Jewish and don’t celebrate it.
And then it occurred to me this year will be a different kind of Chanukah.
My daughter’s university was involved in a championship game today. She and her roommate go to every game and purchased tickets for this one.
I had planned on watching it from the comfort of my living room but was surprised with an offer for tickets and accepted. It meant waking up at 4 am and being on the go for most of the day but it was filled with more than a few fun moments.
The game was just a part of the experience and I was reminded about the energy of a crowd and how that can take ordinary moments and elevate them.
After it was all done we took my daughter and her roommate out for dinner at a Lebanese place I like in Arlington.
“Dad, I have decided to minor in chemistry. I only have about three days of classes left, finals are soon and remember mom and I leave for California on the 17th.”
“That caught me by surprise, mouthful of chicken shawarma, “you have three classes left and are leaving in about two weeks.”
It shouldn’t have surprised me, I knew about everything she mentioned but yesterday was labor day so I am trying to figure out where October and November went.
For a moment I stared at the two and pictured toddlers in pigtails holding lunchboxes and carrying backpacks that were too big for them.
And then I realized they were talking about the boys down the halls, what they were drinking and what the student section was like during the game.
That made me smile, because it showed me they are getting the experience I hoped for. It is a rigorous academic environment with a social life they enjoy.
They are being exposed to different kinds of people and growing.
It is not just a football game, it is an experience and it is part of something bigger.
During the conversation with the guy who asked about the holidays I laughed when he asked me if I miss out on anything.
It is a common question and one that is easy for me to answer. I have never felt jealous of Christmas nor bothered by not celebrating it.
Hard to miss something you have never had.
Somewhere in between the conversation and dinner it occurred to me that I think my daughter will be gone for all of Chanukah.
This will be the first time during her entire life that we don’t get to light candles together and that marks another change.
Chanukah is a minor holiday so it is not of paramount importance that we celebrate it together. Rather it is just another sign of the clock and calendar tick-tocking their way into the future.
The girl who told me she is going to need some cash for next semester chem lab is running full speed towards her future and her dreams.
That is as it should be but there are moments like the one at dinner where she makes a gesture or face that reminds me of the toddler, except it is a young woman doing it.
I couldn’t be prouder but if time slowed just a little I might not complain. No guarantees. 🙂
What Dreams May Come
None of us look like we did in those pictures, but I suppose I look the most similar, minus some hair on my head and a few wrinkles.
The boy isn’t a boy anymore and is about my size and the sleeping girl, well we already covered her.
Managed to momentarily lose the car today at Jerry World so we ended up walking an extra mile or so which meant that by the time we found the damn thing I had put in a solid five miles between the morning and afternoon.
Reminds me of a time walking through Central Park and all over New York with my middle sister, brother-in-law and oldest nephew.
My BIL and I carried the boys for a good part of that because they had no interest in being pushed around in strollers.
There is something to be said for being more than twenty years older than we were then. I don’t remember my legs or feet hurting like they did when I got home today.
All that time standing on concrete today played a role as did time.
After I got some food in me and a little coffee I was ready to go for another round or two, could have carried twenty pounds of squirming kid too.
But the benefit of having done my time raising children is eventually you reach this place where you can begin to ask yourself what dreams may come.
You can consider what you haven’t done that still holds interest and what you might set aside because who you are today isn’t compatible with it anymore.
Maybe I’ll put Joshua Tree on like the old days and go for a drive.