Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Letter to Emelia and Hannah

We take photographs for all sorts of reasons, but mostly to capture a moment in time. In this post, I will try to capture a moment in time of roughly 72 hours. It's not about the family, though everyone is part of it; instead it's about your father, as he is at age 43, an age that probably means little to you personally when you'll read this, but also an age/time in my life that you'll have scant memories about me as a person. I can't say that these are typical days -- I think it might be the first time since we've become parents that I went out three days/nights in a row. To Hannah I apologize -- you're only two at the time these events transpire, and so even as our interactions are wonderful, they're not particularly memorable, or more accurately, distinctive for purposes of this letter. As such, Emelia features more prominently than you do in this letter.

This has been a winter of no winter. I had used my heavy coat for three days of the entire winter. It was in the 40s on Saturday, but in the 60s on Sunday, and the 70s and 80s Monday through today.

On Saturday night, I went to DC United's season opener, a game that ended in disappointment because despite getting outplayed, the scoreless draw was in reach until an added-time goal sent the team to defeat. In the stands we engaged in gallows humor to pass the evening, a sadly too familiar past time at United games these past few years. Still, it was nice to be with the gang again after the five month offseason, even though I have little to do with them outside of United games.

Sunday morning as we were adjusting to Daylight Savings we all went to visit Sharon, Gary, Andrew and Declan for breakfast, a visit that was pretty enjoyable. When Hannah showed signs of needing her nap, I drove everyone else home, and headed to a beer tasting. I had just lost 19 pounds from a diet I went on at the start of the year, and this was my first local tasting in several months. Between cuts in my personal budget and my waning interest in beer gatherings/ratings, this was something of a treat. While there I watched FSU defeat UNC to give the team its first ACC championship. And I tried a lot of beers and ate way too much food. A beer tasting doesn't involve a lot of volume -- most beers I only drank a couple of ounces, so that the 35 or so beers I drank was about a six-pack of volume -- that's a sizable amount, but not so much when the consumption was spread out over 7 hours. As with the soccer match, it was enjoyable even though I'm not close to any of the other attendees. Where once I had close ties to some of the local beer geeks, the ones I've cared about have moved or moved on, and the current regulars generally aren't people that I'd ever do something socially with outside of tastings.

I got home at a decent hour -- Kathy was still up, and we chatted a bit before we both went to sleep. Alas, at 12:30 or so, Hannah woke up because her pacifier fell out. Kathy responded to it, I woke up when she went to attend to Hannah, and I never could fall back asleep. Two hours of sleep on the night left me pretty tired the next day. I had had visions of going to a concert on Monday night, but lacking sleep and a ticket to the sold-out show, I gave up on that. At 4pm, however, I was offered a ticket, and went to an amazing show. Back around 11, I still stayed up another hour or so because I was so pumped up from the show. Six hours of sleep left me in pretty bad shape in light of the sleep shortage the previous night as well.

Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of walking Emelia to school. We both were enjoying the fantastic weather on the walk. As is often the case, our conversation was all over the place. It started with my trying to convey how wonderful the concert experience was, and Emelia claimed to completely understand, because she's five. I told her that we would go to Floydfest that summer, where I looked forward to sharing some music experiences with her. At some point the conversation shifted to dreams/goals, and Emelia informed me that she intends to marry her best friend (for the past two weeks), Timothy. I asked what happened to Jonah, as she had said she was going to marry him just a couple of weeks ago. Emelia explained that when our families had last gotten together, Jonah indicated that he probably was going to marry someone at his current school, so Emelia had set her sights elsewhere. And it made sense to me that she would select Timothy because Kathy had just recently explained that she was married to her best friend. Emelia had been changing her designated best friend quite frequently, and I couldn't help but wonder whether/how Kathy's statement was coloring Emelia's perspective.

On my way to work afterwards, I had a most unusual experience. As I was leaving the L'Enfant Plaza metro station, a man was going down the up escalator. He stopped a little in front of me, and I walked past him. A few seconds later a second man was walking down the up escalator, and he was completely naked. He had a shirt or something loosely covering his genitals, but that was about it. I have no idea what was going on, only that I had no interest in trying to find out. His shoes and the rest of his clothes were at the top of the escalator, unable to follow the conveyor as it slid underground.

Tuesday at work (yes, I was working amid all these activities), we released a big item that I had worked on for a couple of years. I had a bit of pride in completing it, but the greater feeling was one of relief. It was a challenging, difficult, and often frustrating process, and I was glad to leave this portion of the project behind.

Tuesday evening, when I got home, Kathy was set for us to enjoy the nice weather to go to Lincoln Park for a picnic (Emelia's idea). I was beat and not up for it, and Hannah was showing signs of being tired too. Still, I did my best to rally and we went. Hannah insisted on holding both Kathy's and my hands on the walk over, and got upset when we weren't doing that. At one point she threw herself to the ground in a decidedly two-year-old way; unfortunately she's more used to the floor at home, and hurt herself on the harder surface. After a few cries she rebounded, and we got to the park a couple of minutes later. We stayed there for a few minutes, but it started to rain, so we hurried back home and ate the rest of the picnic on the living room floor. Hannah went to bed shortly after that, and with that, the 72-hour window into my life has elapsed.

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