anyone with kids knows that the hours between 4-6pm are tough. they are the so-called ‘witching hours’ or meltdown hours as i personally call them. nothing against the kids, life is hard when you are little and the day is long and by the time evening rolls around they have had enough. and being kids they express all emotions as honestly as they can. with that knowledge in mind i decided to have the store close at 5, which i hoped would save us from any public meltdowns. we usually make it. most times the walk home isn’t as relaxing as an evening stroll should be and last night stella decided that she was done. she was hungry and tired and did not want to be in the stroller. unfortunately for her we still had blocks to go. so i stepped up the pace and racked my brain for baby calming ideas. then i did what seems to come naturally to mothers. i started to sing.
i had recently gotten a toddler tunes cd for the kids and we had been listening to it fairly often, so one of the many songs always seemed stuck in my head . so, as stella started screaming louder and louder, and i started walking faster and faster, the song this old man started to come out of my mouth. ‘this old man, he played one, he played knick knack on my thumb…’ lincoln of course started laughing and stella, thank the heavens, stopped crying. so here i was, pushing a double stroller down the street at an unnaturally fast pace singing at the top of my lungs. i don’t think we went unnoticed. and sadly, i didn’t know the whole song so i mainly repeated the chorus over and over, ‘with a knick knack, patty whack, give a dog a bone. this old man comes rolling home.’ fact is, i don’t even know for sure if those ARE the words. they are just the words that came out of my mouth. and as i sang it i realized how ironic what i was singing was. this old man comes rolling home. all day long i had been on the phone with family in iowa and on the computer researching last-minute tickets because matt’s dad is very sick.
losing a parent is like wrestling a bear. you might not survive it. and if you do, it’s a fight, and you are forever changed by it. my best friend lost her mother a couple years back. and it was a hard fight, but she won, and i know by looking at her now that she knows something we don’t. i’ve stared into the eyes of the bear, but luckily haven’t begun the fight. my husband on the other hand, he’s been wrestling it most of his life.
without getting into all the dramatics, matt’s father had many near death experiences. there were fires, heart attacks, car accidents, and then a couple more car accidents. matt has been told twice already in his life that his dad is dead. he met his bear very young. because of all this, matt is probably more prepared for this weekend than most people would be. and even if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t let anyone know any different.
matt and i have this saying, ‘free baseball’. we are avid sport fans and go to as many games as we can afford. we poke fun at the fans that get up and leave early because the score is bad or it’s getting late. you buy a ticket for nine innings you watch nine innings. and if you’re lucky, if you are really lucky, then they tie and you get extra innings. innings you didn’t pay for, innings you didn’t plan for. free baseball. and free baseball is the best baseball.
this game was supposed to be over long ago. but we lucked out and we all got free baseball. now the only thing i can hope for and pray for, is that he can finally be done fighting that damn bear.