Monday, September 30, 2013

Forever Young

Today, my little girl broke my heart. Multiple times. Intentionally.

To start with, somebody told her it was acceptable for her to turn sixteen. I don't care what anyone says. I don't care what year it is versus what year she was born. I really don't care how many birthday cards she received, nor do I care how many people came to her Sweet 16 party, she is not sixteen.

She looks like this:

Or, like this:

But that's as far as I'm willing to take it. Just barely out of diapers, but not in high school, not studying a level of calculus that makes me dizzy, and not, most definitely not, driving.

Nope! Stop it! Not even looking. (Fingers in ears, chanting "La, la, la, la, la, la, la...) Who gave this rotten kid permission to grow up?

Okay, so maybe she isn't a full-fledged adult, yet, but she has her driver's license and we were stupid enough to buy her her own car. You know what she did today after dinner? She drove herself to dance. By herself. Without so much as an apology for not needing us to bring her anymore. How am I supposed to accept the reality of her being allowed to roam the roads unsupervised when it seems like only yesterday I was bathing her in the kitchen sink and buttoning her onesies?

Let her grow up. See if I care. Let her turn into a little old lady, if that's where she's heading. No matter what happens, or how old she gets, or whatever she accomplishes in her life, in my mind's eye she will always look like this:

© 2013 Mark Feggeler

Sunday, September 8, 2013

To Sleep: Perchance to Dream

Sleeping in doesn't happen much once you reach a certain point in life.

I was one of those kids who could sleep until noon, take a nap around three, and be ready for bed by eleven, so this whole not-being-able-to-sleep-late thing has taken some getting used to. It all started when I got married.

My Lovely Wife is one of those early-to-bed/early-to-rise people who can barely keep her eyes open passed eight-thirty and can't stand the idea of wasting a nanosecond of morning light. I've never understood that kind of thinking, and twenty-plus years of sharing my life with someone who belongs to that bizarre cult has done nothing to enlighten me to its advantages.

Then along came children. You want to know the best part of having a newborn baby in the house? When the bundle of joy goes down for a nap, all noise in the house must cease. All phone ringers get turned off, televisions are muted, and even the gentle rustling of pants can echo through the nooks and crannies of your home like ricocheting bullet, waking the baby and earning you a nonstop, red-eye ticket to hell. The only thing one can do when the baby goes down for a nap is stretch out on the nearest cushioned surface for a sympathy nap. But our children, not even one of the little ingrates, held to the napping routine for more than two years, so those lovely mid-afternoon Saturday naps vanished as quickly as they had appeared.

As if losing nap time wasn't bad enough, once the children became mobile they were capable of unspeakable atrocities, such as getting out of bed before the sun rises, walking into your bedroom, grabbing your eyelid, and demanding a breakfast of frozen toaster waffles, or "waffies" as the Italian called them.

You'd think after the children aged out of their parasitically co-dependent early years and gained the ability to prepare their own unhealthy breakfasts that a guy could finally grab a few extra winks in the morning, but no. Thanks to middle age setting in, we are now exercising.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against a reasonable amount of exercise. Like red wine, chocolate and stinky cheeses, exercise in moderation can be good for you, or so I've heard.

The problem I have with exercise is that in order to squeeze in a session of sweating out all the delicious toxins I take in each day, we have to get up at five in the morning. It never occurred to me when I was young that there might be otherwise normal-seeming people who jumped out of bed before the cock crowed just so they could feel a little better about their love handles, and here I am cycling and treadmilling along side them, giving up a perfectly sound extra hour or two of sleep for the sake of one more losing round in the battle of the bulge.

Some day, when I am no longer working, when I no longer have children to shuttle from here to there, when I can attend yoga in the middle of the day and nap at noon if I choose to, I am going to turn off all the phones, draw the blackout curtains, mute the television and attempt sleeping in again. If you hear the sweet sound of snoring when you pass my house, please do me a favor and don't ring the doorbell.

© 2013 Mark Feggeler