There are too many things in this world that go on forever…or at least they seem to go on forever. Hospital stays, visiting your in-laws, the Bush administration. Somehow the worst life has to offer us can bend the laws of the space-time continuum to make minutes pass like hours. Hours pass like days and so on.
Why couldn’t a two hour school delay for snow do that? Instead, the times we cherish, speed by like an old baseball reel of Babe Ruth running around the bases. In this life of ours, our first kiss, school crushes, vacations, our children growing up, all seem to be rounded those bases at the same speed.
My life has had its fair share of three second homerun trots. Hundreds of moments spent during my four years in college, watching a great movie, a concert, the first date I had with my future wife. Unfortunately I had no idea while these times were playing out, just how momentary my mind was recording them (I have seen longer clips of cats brushing their teeth on youtube than I remember my wedding to be). Because of how brief my brain convinces me all of these times to have been, each memory has been given not enough time.
The other night I was once again wishing for just a little more bandwidth on my brain’s youtube clip of a great moment.
My wife works nights which leaves the care and well being of my children planted firmly in my hands. Me and my two favorite ladies are more than capable of holding our own while mommy is out earning a living. Tea parties, playing air band to the OnDemand Music feature on the TV, and leaping off of various pieces of stationary furniture are just some of the ways we find to entertain ourselves. Although the activities we typically partake in are all noteworthy, the other night I had a moment, looking back now, I wish could have had the longevity of ‘Waterworld’ (which could not have gone by any slower nor any more painfully than it did the first time I watched it).
All three of us were up in my room after I had gotten home from work (it is a widely acknowledged fact among parents that privacy, no matter the activity, is non-existent with your children). I was getting changed as conspicuously as I could in the middle of my closet. I allowed the girls to use my bed as a trampoline (judge me if you like but there comes a point when your female children need not see their father in his boxer briefs, so I was willing to exchange their personal safety for possible therapy years from now).
A changed pair of jeans and Marvel superhero novelty t-shirt later and the three of us are doing our best to put the dog, who had decided to join us upstairs, in to a state of such frenzy, her energy could have split the atom.
We get the dog to go on a scavenger hunt for her peanut butter filled Kong and the three of us engage in a rousing game of ‘Acka-Backa’. If you are one of the few to not know what ‘Acka-Backa’ is (myself included until the other night), think the suspense of ‘My Mother’ without the violent undertones of punching and spelling out the color of your mother’s blood while she had been hanging up wash.
It does not take long for me to taunt Hannah as I crush her and her sister. It doesn’t take long after that for Emma to begin taunting me. Hannah chimes in and taunts both of us as her win total mounts.
Fifteen rounds in and we are all tired. School, work, twelve rounds with the dog (who found the Kong and is lapping away on the peanut buttery contents and completely oblivious to us) and trying to figure out the right order to begin ‘Acka-Backa’ in which would eliminate your opponents has all three of us lying down on my bed. I am on my back with my head propped up on a pillow. Emma snuggles on top of me with her head wedged on my collar bone and her arms draped over my sides. Hannah has discovered a comfortable position that has her head pushed into my armpit and her legs curled up against my hip.
And there it was.
For a seven and four year old, it is hard to believe my children have schedules busier than Lindsay Lohan’s publicist. Between them, me, and Alicia, our lives converge on precious few occasions. So now I have my two daughters laying either on top of me or so close to me we could be conjoined twins and I am cherishing every second of it. Getting unprompted ‘I love you’s and kisses from my two girls could never end and it would not be long enough. We lied there quietly for a while. I could feel Emma’s chest move with each small breath on top of my chest. Hannah’s curled body made her look smaller than her tall frame truly is which made me remember just how small she had once been. All of us were quiet with the exception coming from the dog who was still working on that Kong.
No agendas to keep. Not worried about missing an episode of Hannah Montana. They were simply Daddy’s girls. Without saying a word or even moving a muscle, my daughters had epitomized everything it is to be a father. I could not have been more content than I was right then and there. I ignored the pain radiating from my clavicle as Emma’s head had managed to extinguish once firing nerves in it. Hannah’s placement under my armpit had forced my arm to fall asleep and my right arm was besieged by rather sharp pins and needles but I refused to move it. I dared not disturb what my mind had realized as being a moment sure not to last long enough.
And sure enough it didn’t.
After a while both kids needed to recharge with a snack and juice pouch and my moment was over. I was thankful just to be able to have a few minutes with human beings who’s attention spans last as long I season two of ‘The Swan’. I continued to lie on top of the comforter after the two of them made their way downstairs and to the refrigerator (where I am sure they will not close the door all the way putting in jeopardy the cream cheese). I try to properly catalogue in my mind just how special that moment was. My brain works hard to clear away space from less important times.
Before I knew it, I could feel my left shoulder again and the pin and needle pain in my right arm had subsided. I eventually gave up on thinking Hannah and Emma would return to take up their positions again when I heard the ‘Suite Life on Deck’ theme song downstairs. I went downstairs (to close the refrigerator door) but not before I had saved the moment. And now I hope that when the occasion to call up the moment when my girls and I spent some quiet time together, it will be played out longer than one of those old baseball reels.