It was pouring rain yesterday, as in severe storm-type of pouring. So, with his little windbreaker hood over his head, I hurried the little guy out to the car in the morning as we headed out for the day.
With the new car seat in place, especially with my tiny car, it takes a little longer than it used to set him in place, get his arms through the loops, and fasten him into place for our morning commute.
So, as I sat in the backseat, half of me sticking outside, I was getting absolutely drenched and did, in that split-second, what made to me perfect sense – I closed the door. I got him all buckled in, gave him a toy for the ride, and then went to get into the front seat when I came across something quite unexpected.
I was locked in.
I had my keys and remote in my hand, so I tried the ol’ ‘lock it, unlock it’ and when I went to jiggle the handle got absolutely nothing.
I tried calling my wife, but she was getting ready herself in the house and didn’t have her phone with her.
I looked over at the little guy, who laughed and clapped (yes, he’s clapping now, and I’m so glad he found daddy as hilarious as I was) and I just looked at my situation and had to laugh myself.
With my little car and his big car seat, getting to the front seat would not be easy. I tried to climb over, feet-first, but couldn’t due to the size of his car seat. I sat back down while he looked at me curiously and took off my shoes. I tossed them over and into the front seat and, as best I could with the small space I was given, tossed myself, head first into the passenger seat.
From there, I was able to make my way to the driver’s seat, get my shoes on and make our way out of the driveway and on our way.
It was certainly an acrobatic start to our day.
My wife and I met purely by chance, when a co-worker of mine, when I first started at my current job, convinced me to take part in a community theater production. I made new friends, one of whom, six months later, I would begin dating when we were both single, and then a few years later, would marry and begin a family with.
It seemed like a random meet. I had never heard of the theatre where the show was, knew no one else involved aside from my co-worker, and had it been just a few months earlier at my other job, I would not have even had the freedom to take part, as I often worked nights.
Maybe it was chance, or maybe it was the stars aligning, as we recently discovered a connection between our bloodlines that neither one of us ever knew existed.
Meg’s grandfather has gone into a nursing home and her family has been going through many of his items. Among them, they found a letter, on what looks like the epitome of letterhead from a bygone, Mad Men-ish era.
And that letter was from my great uncle, who was an architect and had worked on many an occasion with Meg’s grandfather who was managing a bank.
It read, in part:
“We can’t end a fine relationship with a quick handshake and a fast farewell. Your wonderful party last week got me reminiscing.
We put a lot of things together during the past ten years – good things. I’m proud of them and I hope you are. My point is – I could not have done my part of it without your patience, understanding and great help. If I had your temperament instead of my impatience, I would have been the retiree last week!
Anyway,my wish for you and (your wife,) is good health for a long time to come, so that you can enjoy the free time you have earned and richly deserve.
Thank you again for your support and help.”
What an incredibly weird, neat feeling to see this note, with my family’s name at the top, and laid out in the handwriting of a relative long since gone. To not only hold a piece of my family’s past, but to have it be connected to Meg’s family’s past was like taking a step back in time ourselves.
Accompanied with the letter were some newspaper clippings and an obituary about my great uncle’s death in the late 80s; of the things he had done with his life, the structures still standing in my hometown that were designed by his pen and ingenuity. Through these, I read about City Hall, my high school, and the hospital where my son was born all having flowed from the drafting table of my great uncle and into a reality.
Who would have thought that decades ago when these two men were shaking hands that generations later, their families would join as one, and have a beautiful little boy that is the blend of both worlds?
What a weird, interconnected universe we live in.
It’s no secret that Meg and I love a Golden Age long before our own. As I’ve mentioned before, my sister-in-law always jokes that our little guy “won’t know what era he’s growing up in” when his parents are watching black and white movies and listening to music from the Big Band era.
He’ll find his own likes and dislikes, tastes and displeasure, I’m sure.However, Meg and I were both tickled to no end with the amount of enthusiasm and energy our little guy showed when, while looking for Fred Astaire’s “Puttin on the Ritz,” we came across a remix and our little monkey’s feet just started going like a little Gene Kelly…
Since his birth, we’ve carried him around in a Graco car seat carrier, the type that has bases that attach to the car and allow you to just pull up the seat by a handle and snap in and out of place at ease. It really has been a snap for us, especially when he falls asleep, as all we need to do is pull the carrier off the base, he inside, and bring him into the house where he’d often continue to get the much-needed sleep.
But, alas, he has easily grown beyond the carrier and needed what we refer to as ‘the big boy car seat.’ For someone who had to rely on our local police station for help with the original carrier/car seats, I was quite proud of myself in handling the new installations all on my own. We’re still in rear-facing mode, but they were in, they were sturdy, and they were secure.
They weren’t without their own adjustments, though.
The most notable, of course, is that now our little guy gets carried out of the house and into the car and vice-versa, versus the carriers that allowed us to put him in the seat and carry him to the car and snap into place. At his current size of 20+ pounds, however, that was just becoming an exercise in weight training that was unnecessary.
The downside to this is that if he falls asleep, there’s no more bringing him seamlessly inside to continue his slumber. Instead, when that buckle clicks to unlock, he is awake, whether he likes it or not and immediately wants out of that seat and into whatever is going on around him.
It takes some getting used to. For example, I recently picked him up at Grandma’s house after what was a day of a very short nap, teething, and crankiness. A terrible combination and one that left him very unhappy for the first half of our ride home. With some Tchaikovsky on the radio, he slowly was lulled to sleep halfway through our journey, leaving me with quite the dilemma as I pulled into our driveway.
Here, Mr. Crankypants was in desperate need of a nap, but here we were now home, just shortly after he fell asleep. What to do, what to do. I texted my wife, just feet away, inside of the house, my dilemma.
And I decided to wait.
So, there we were. Me sitting in the parked car in the driveway, killing time on my phone, listening to Symphony Hall on Satellite Radio as my son snored away in the background.
After a little while and realizing what was going on, my wife appeared at my car window and said I probably shouldn’t spend the entire evening sitting in the car in the driveway, and helped me slowly get him out of the car in the least intrusive way possible. He awoke, yes, but with his mommy just within arm’s reach, he was much happier with being awakened had it just been his dorky daddy.
There’s no doubt that spring is here, but in case we take it for granted, mother nature gave us a nice little reminder of why it’s such a wonder to live in a place that experiences four seasons a year. It’s easy to get into the habit of complaining about one particular season (“it’s to hot out,” “I’ve had enough of this snow,” etc.) that sometimes we forget why that particular season is so wonderful and unique to itself – because it doesn’t last.
Today in the northeast, we strayed away from our recent trend of 70+ sunny days and took a dive into overcast, breezy and chilly. It was jacket weather, and boy do I love the jacket weather seasons.
I know that many people were already questioning “whatever happened to spring,” but I loved it. The windows slightly cracked on the way to work, some music on the radio reminding me of my high school and college years, and I just thought of all the wonderful September drives to school or to campus. It put a smile on my face, and while so many others were made gloomy by this sudden burst of Fall in our Spring, I was boosted, rejuvenated. I loved it.
And I remembered that the seasons are all fleeting, be their spring, summer or fall, and it’s best to enjoy them for all they are, because before you know it, they’ve passed. So, a little reminder like today was just a nice change of pace and made you not take for granted what the Spring ‘norm’ is.
At the end of the day, I put out the trash, took a look around at the branches of the trees blowing, and re-entered the house, greeted to the smell of Meg’s homemade black bean soup. The baby was fed, his laughter ringing through our home as he squished avocado through his fingers and on his face, and that delicious aroma of the homemade soup just sent a comforting thrill through my entire being.
I poured myself a pint, sat down with a bowl of soup, looked at my lovely wife and son and was reminded that yeah, life is good.