So I'm driving out of my neighborhood this morning; heading to Bangerter Highway so I can get to I-15 and head to Happy Valley to my place of employment.
Along the way, I see two young girls walking to school. Well, one of them was walking. The other was stopped in somewhat of a crouching stance, periodically jumping as if she were practicing ollies on a virtual skateboard.
As I approached and past, I watched her jump a couple of times... one being right as I passed her.
Curious, I checked back in my rear-view mirror a couple seconds as I continued down the road... to see the girl hop a couple more times. Then it dawned on me why she was doing this.
Remember when you were young and you used to do really cool things like floating popsicle sticks down the gutter after a big rainstorm, pretending they were boats? Remember walking home from school on a cold winter day and taking 20 minutes at the end of your street to have contests with your friends to see who could slide the farthest on the ice? Remember walking to school on a spring/summer day and stopping to jump over shadows as if letting them touch you would induce a fate-worse-than-death?
That's the game this little girl was playing, my friends; and I was jealous. I remember hopping car shadows on my way to school... having to try to jump extra high on the ones that drove past slow or were extra big (like garbage trucks or semis with trailers...) Ah, good times... good times!
As if that wasn't enough to sweep me away, all the music cycling through on my mp3 player was stuff I loved in high school. That took me back to memories I have of other dorky things I'd do with friends from that era of my life, like: toilet papering someone's house, driving past a girl's house that I liked half-way across the valley (we won't mention any names... *Gina*), going for slurpees at 1:00am, coming up with silly "insider" code words for discussing things with your friends at school in public, but making sure only you understood them (donut gems and gold chains... *Ben*) :)
Why does life have to get so freaking complicated and laden with responsibilities when we "grow up?" Ok, let me rephrase that... when we get older and are labelled an "adult."
I've become this crotchety, ornery old fart (emphasis on the word "fart") and I want to go back to being the care-free, fun-loving, people-actually-liked-to-be-around-me guy that I was back in the days of pre-adult times... if not for anything else than to have my wonderful children see who I REALLY am deep-down.
My poor kids, they just see this man who is hustling in the morning just trying to get ready for work and with whatever spare time is left, trying to help Gwen get the kids ready for and off to school. Then I go to work all day (and sometimes night) and when I do get to come home before bedtime... am stuck just rushing to get dinner over with, homework finished, kids in pajamas, teeth brushed and whisked away to bed. It doesn't seem like much of a life with "Dad."
Of course, if I tried to go back to care-free with no responsibilities like I was back then, we'd have no house, food on the table, and most importantly to the kids... no video games/computers/TV... Dad becomes more of a loser.
So how do we win in this game called "Parenthood?" How does one "keep the child inside alive" whilst meeting financial obligations and other responsibilities?
I'd love to hear from my other friends in the same sitch and see what successes/failures you've had in trying to find the happy medium of having fun and staying responsible, without dying of ulcers, muscle tension and migraines from the stresses of the latter... because this kid wants to be a kid again!
I think I'm going to start by taking my kids on a walk... and we'll try jumping car shadows.