Sunday, December 23, 2007

Perspective

Today was one of those days when I really question why I'm a parent, and it officially started at midnight, sort of like a New Year's Eve in hell.
I was at a home game with friends over cheap poker. There was queso. There were nachos. There was Omaha and wild-card stud and a little bit of Hold 'Em. There was good conversation and hair metal on Comcast. I was in heaven.
Then the phone rang.
"I'm shaky, I'm sick, and the girls want to eat," she said.
And that's how I fell from heaven.
This is the price you pay for twins, and parents rarely talk about little sacrifices like this that we go through every single day. We have one baby, even with the toddler, and Kate feeds her and goes back to bed. But we have two, and so I'm needed at home, especially when Kate feels as if the black plague is crawling through her.
I run upstairs, pat Kate on the head and walk over to the nursery to grab a baby. Andie squeals when I enter the room. It's really cute and endearing. It's also not something you want to hear at midnight.
My fears are confirmed when I work Andie into a side position against my chest to help her sleep and she squirms and starts fighting me almost immeaditely. Translation: "I'm having none of THAT Daddy."
So, being the junkie that I am, I fire up three .25/.50 NL tables on Ultimate Bet and place Andie on a pillow on my lap. She gazes up at me and babbles. Allie, in her carrier, softly whines occasionally, but she seems sleepy.
I win $30 (woot!) and an hour and a half later, Andie goes to sleep, and Allie starts screaming. She wakes up Andie, and I pick up Allie and smell the worst. I open up her diaper. Jackpot!
At 2 a.m., I crawl into bed.
Kate wakes me at 7 a.m. miserable and cranky.
"I need to trade with you," she says and crawls into bed.
I think about protesting that this trade actually would be like trading a fourth-round draft pick for Randy Moss, but I think better of it. Kate's really sick. Poor thing. I go downstairs into chaos. Hi, girls, and hi, Jayden.
I never wake up fresh. It's more like the fog a bear must feel after hibernation.
Kate, through tears, says she doesn't want to drive to Kansas tomorrow. I say we must go because it will actually be harder to do another day with the kids without the extra help. So I:
Pack for Kate, the twins and Jayden
Play a $2.25 SnG while I'm doing this. I take second to a card rack.
Tinker with my computer.
Change the twins. I open Allie's diaper. Jackpot!
Run downstairs for laundry.
Wolf down some lunch.
Pack my suitcase for the trip.
Fold my laundry.
Calm down one of the girls at least 50 times.
Try to calm one of Jayden's tantrums. Unsuccessfully.
More laundry.
Pack more.
Answer "HA!" when Kate asks if I wanted to go running. Yes, but my eight-mile run Saturday will have to do.
By the time it's 1:15 p.m. and Kate's parents arrive to rescue us, I'm so frayed I threaten my beloved dog with a plastic bat to shut him up so his barking doesn't wake the twins.

And then I'm assigned to cover this story. Here's part of what I wrote for Monday's paper:

Shane and Amy Fuller didn’t want to break the news and tear a small piece of innocence away from their 7-year-old daughter, Kaylie.
No one in Johnstown, or any parent, for that matter, could blame them. No one wanted to hear what had happened to Zoe Garcia. But the TV blared Zoe’s name everywhere, and Kaylie knew enough about the Internet to see that something had happened to one of her best friends, and so the Fullers prepared themselves for the kind of news that should only come from the mouths of caring parents, not TV or the Internet. Shane told Kaylie to sit down, and he told her she had been killed.
Killed? But Kaylie was supposed to go over to her house the next day to play. She began to cry. Then she got angry. It was hard for her to understand why Zoe was beaten to death and why Zoe’s sister and her boyfriend were arrested in connection with her death.
“She wanted to know why people would do those things,” Shane said.
They didn’t have that answer. No one did. But they could offer their daughter one thing. There would be a candlelight vigil at Letford Elementary School in Johnstown, where Zoe filled the hallways with her smile and sat next to Kaylie in class.
“We talked about this being a chance to say goodbye,” Amy said.
That’s why dozens gathered Sunday night and clutched sad, shivering candles under a silver full moon and surrounded by neighborhoods lit by colorful Christmas lights.

I'm cutting it out and keeping it in my back pocket. When I face another day like today, I hope the perspective salves the pity I have for my difficult life.

2 comments:

Love_elf said...

Oh my gosh Peaker - you have strength beyond words. Hang in there - I hear it gets better.

The story you wrote was sad and moving, but yet offered hopeful perspective. It's amazing how someone's words can touch you.

Falstaff said...

Bro,

you're one of the good guys. Your sincerity in everything you write and do is inspiring.

Merry Christmas

John