Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Perfect Day

You can’t win them all. The vast majority of fatherhood involves dropping your steak in the dirt. The trick is to concentrate on the moments that work. Those rare times when you don’t happen to have a hysterical child squirming in your arms, covered in blood or dirt or steak juice.

A few weeks ago, I had one of these moments.

It was sunny and warm. And Mother Nature hadn’t yet turned on the humidity in Chicago. I was sitting on the back porch with Steve and the clock had just struck noon, which meant it was technically legal to be drinking our ice cold beers.

Elijah and Finn were standing in the middle of our tiny back yard. Each was holding an upside down plastic croquet mallet like a Lightsaber. They were making the appropriate “Pew pew” noises.

Steve and I took turns shooting both boys with the water hose. The boys dodged, weaved and blocked the stream of water with their Lightsabers. All while shrieking the kind of shriek that means they were having the ultimate Star Wars time. The trick was not actually nailing either one with a direct hit. Nothing brings Star Wars fun to a halt faster than a gallon of water in the face.

I know it doesn’t seem like the ultimate father/son moment, but I couldn’t help thinking, “This is why I signed up for being a dad.”

Some dads’ perfect moment is fishing with their son while whistling the Andy Griffith theme. Others find perfection getting sunburned and drunk at Wrigley Field. But me? It didn’t get any better than yelling, “The Force is stronnnng with you, Jedi.”

I’m fairly sure the moment was broken up by Grover attempting to hump the Jedis. Or it was time for lunch. Or we ran out of beer. I can’t remember. But when Eli turns 14 and suddenly decides I am not worthy of hanging out with, I’ll have this to get me through the rejection.

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