Having crawled into bed at a most unreasonable hour, neither the professor nor I were in any shape to greet Saturday morning, or our boy-children. ‘It’s Father’s Day weekend’ he tried to pass the who’s-getting-up-with-the-boys buck. ‘Tomorrow is Father’s Day,’ I corrected, ‘today is not, plus I need to be somewhere at 10 and I just need a few more minutes of sleep.’
With all three of our wide awake boys wedged in our [too small] queen-sized bed with us, the professor began to sing. ‘Father’s Day Week-end…..it’s gonna be awe-some…..they used to give us a ye-ar, now they give us a da-ay.’
‘Uh, when did anyone get a year for Father’s Day?’ I couldn’t resist. ‘In the fifties’ he speculated. ‘They brought you the paper…..’ he trailed off and, inspired by Mad Men, I found myself finishing his idyllic thought, ‘and the women had drinking problems and affairs with air conditioning repairmen?’
The boys decided it was in their best interest to get their own cereal and headed to the kitchen. ‘There’s no milk,’ someone announced.
This was a terrible way to begin the day, so the professor [eventually] opted to drive to Safeway, since we could not have coffee without milk. As he was leaving, I suddenly remembered that I’d signed the Gort up for a ‘free’ climbing and tennis lesson. In addition to the back-to-back soccer practices. All on a day when I wasn’t going to be around.
When the milk man returned, I [briefly] summarized my series of organizational faux-pas, whilst explaining we had to leave now and, as an added bonus, he had to take all three boys to the Canada Olympic Park.
If looks could ki-ill.
I rushed the boys out of their pajamas and into actual clothes, explaining that Gaga had to go climbing. ‘He’s gonna be scared,’ Percy opined. Ever supportive of his older brother’s athletic endeavors. ‘No he’s not, he’s going to be brave,’ I politically corrected him. ‘No, he’s gonna be scared,’ the not-yet-three year old insisted. ‘No, he’s gonna be brave,’ the Hen countered.
And that was possibly the fifth brotherly argument of the morning.
We hopped in the car-van en route to our various destinations. ‘Father’s Day Week-end,’ the professor started singing, ‘it’s gonna be suck-y.’
Right you are.
When I reunited with the Johnson boys several hours later, the professor had had it. He’d gotten lost in the maze that is the COP campus.The Gort had climbed the equivalent of a three feet high fence. There’d been two hour-long soccer practices. And too many hours of listening to Percy and the Hen do what they do best: make sound….continuously.
It baffles me that the professor and I – two people who operate on the lower end of the conversation spectrum – have produced two children who seem incapable of not producing sound continuously from the hours of 7am to 10pm. They talk to themselves or whoever’s around, they hum, they make sound effects…..they even mumble in their sleep.
‘I finally let them play a computer game,’ he informed me, ‘because I just needed it to be quiet for ten minutes.’
The man was suffering from post-Hen-and-Percy-Stress-Disorder. So I loaded the boys in the car-van and we headed to North Glenmore Park. We ate granola bars and a Subway turkey sandwich and played at the playground; whiling away an hour in the process.
On the way back to the car, we walked towards the bike path overlooking the cavernous Weaselhead area. ‘I wanna throw rocks,’ Percy announced, thinking we were near the water. ‘Can we walk down there,’ the Hen pointed to the far away ‘below’ around the same time his oldest brother announced, ‘I’m running out of energy, can we go home?’
[Happy Father’s Day, Professor. This was my sincere attempt at photographing the beautiful children you’ve given me.]
So I went with the majority and with flip flops and Crocs on our feet, we descended a rather steep trail [read: five inch-wide line of dirt through a variety of shrubs and trees and bugs] towards ‘water’.
Despite my misgivings it was all going surprisingly well. Percy was walking on his own.The Hen was hopping along energized by the adventure, and the Gort, though worn out from the day’s activities,’ was semi-willingly trudging along. The sky was blue and the air was scented with leaves and flowers, and it really was the best outing we’ve had in quite some time.
But, as I’ve come to realize, where children are involved, there will be equal parts perfection and gnaw-on-your-fist imperfection.
We somehow managed to get down to the water and before I could say ‘watch out it’s really muddy,’ Percy had fallen on his butt; his Croc-wearing feet entrenched in four inches of thick, black, stinky mud.
He was rather unhappy and I had no means with which to clean his shoes, and I certainly couldn’t fathom carrying stinky-mud boy all the way back to the car. So I rubbed the shoes along the marshy ground, hoping the friction would remove some of the filth. And I promised a movie if everyone made it back to the car without complaint.
And two and a half hours after we left, we finally returned home. The joy of adventure and discovery effectively erased from our collective memory banks.