Why such a specific lesson, you ask?
Because while playing around and being a little maniac, as little kids are supposed to be, our little guy used his head to shatter one of the panes on the doors leading to our ‘sun room.’
Don’t worry – aside from a little pain, he is okay. No bleeding, no cuts. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome on his end. The window itself, however, did not fare well in this battle.
Side note – I wasn’t in the room when it happened. I had stepped outside to attend to a stray cat that appeared to be hobbling by our garage. He unfortunately wouldn’t let me get close to him, but I was able to leave some food and blankets for him to rest and hopefully heal. But that’s a whole other story someday.
When I returned to the house about 90 seconds later, Meg was holding our teary-eyed little monkey in her arms, had a look of pure anger on her face as I entered the house again and was motioning with her head to the door. When it finally dawned on me what she was doing, I noticed the door and the glass, which had the spider-webbing design that you see when an object usually gets flung through it.
She kept him out of reach while I covered up the damage with some newspaper. Before I took it upon myself to dismantle the remaining glass, I wanted to make sure I did so correctly. So, I gave my father-in-law (the man who constructed his own house and master of tools) a call and asked him if I needed anything special. He called back a little while longer while the little guy was napping and told me he was nearby anyway and coming over. So, using a wrench, we pulled as much glass out of the square pane as we could and then, using a putty knife and that wrench, removed the wooden border that holds the pane in place to make sure there were no stray pieces left behind.
Some garbage bags and vacuuming and the area was all set. Although we currently have a hole to our front room in the french doors, something the little guy loves to point out to us whenever he gets near it, putting his arm through and showing me there’s no glass there. Yes, buddy, I’m well aware there’s no glass there. Thank you.
Now, it’s a matter of me going to the hardware store and ordering a piece of picture-frame-type glass that is the size of the square and then putting it back into place with the wooden borders. Of course, as is always the case when something seems ‘easy peasy’ in home repair, hammering out the nails from the wooden borders yielded one successful nail on each piece of wood and one bent, crooked nail. So I’ve still got some work to do.
The point of the story, though is emergency averted, little guy safe and a new skill learned.
Up to his room I went and into the dresser to find something comfy enough for the night, but not so heavy that he’d be overheated. We’ve had some really fluctuating temperatures the past several weeks.
That’s when I suddenly stopped and took notice at the sight beside me. In the mirror on the wall next to his dresser, there was someone looking back at me. The light was a little dimmer than normal, as I had only turned on the small table lamp in his room, but along with that half-lit face, was tints of gray in the (i’m sad to admit) receding hair that sat atop his head. The light accentuated the bags and wear under the eyes and he looked…older.
I stood there for quite a few minutes. Not out of vanity, but out of reflection, and a hint of sadness.
How could this be? Was I not just bouncing around the halls of high school? Wait. No. That was 16-19 years ago. Surely, it was just a little while ago that I was pulling all-nighters to film low-budget movies while studying screenwriting in college, right? Wow. No, that was over ten years ago already. And that plucky young journalist transitioning from a newspaper to broadcasting, that wasn’t that far away, right? It was. It was eight years ago. The guy who leaned over the seats of the theatre and asked Meg out on our first date during a play rehearsal? More than five years ago.
I gazed onward at this figure in the mirror before me, wondering where he came from, what caused him to be. When did it all happen, I wondered, and why is it only in this moment that I’m noticing? I stand before the bathroom sink everyday without a flinch. But somehow, in this moment, in this room and in this light, it was like staring into time and having another version of yourself staring back.
A reminder, I suppose, that no matter how much your life may change, still do everything to make it the time of your life, because it will go by in a blink if you let it.
Improvisational rhyming in the house takes on a whole new level of caution once you become a parent.
Take, for instance, this ditty my wife and I were singing while our son sat on his little potty and ‘gave it a go’ recently…
ME: “We’re sittin’ on the potty, sittin’ on the potty…
HER: We’re gonna sit, sit, sit…
ME: Til’ we –
HER: (abruptly): Are done!