Today is Father’s Day; Daddaism Day.
What would the day hold? My kids are at the age where they can actually participate in preparation and execution of the festivities. The following is how it all went down…brace yourselves…
1 Day Ago…
My wife is trying to get the girls to help her prepare part of a “surprise” for Daddy. We manage to get me out of the room so they can do their work. Cut to 20 minutes after they are finished and I’m sitting with Julianna when she whispers to me that she just finished cooking my surprise chocolate lollipops but I shouldn’t tell anyone.
The girls and my wife bring me breakfast in bed. The girls enter the room holding their chocolate lollipops over their mouths (shaped like mustaches to match mine) and we proceed to have a group breakfast in bed…awesome. So far so good…I could get used to this Father’s Day thing…
We went as a family to a local pool…had a great tear-free experience…
I’ve gone quickly through the first half of the story so I can focus on the next part…one that I’m not sure exactly how to articulate or keep it from being long-winded, but I’m going to try…
I took Julianna to her first Red Sox game.
Just so you know, when I talked to the girls about the game, Chloe very adamantly stated she had no interest (“maybe in October when I’m ready”). Julianna was in. The interesting thing is that she’s probably watched about 30 minutes of baseball in her entire life. I am a huge sports fan and where its certainly too early to know for sure, if I had to wager a bet in Vegas today, I’d bet that Julianna probably won’t end up a big sports fan (at least relative to the average Boston resident). Anyhow, she was into the idea so we were going. Skip the nap. Father’s Day. Game On. Literally.
On the ride in, she was very excited to go to Fenway Park and eat popcorn and ice cream and pizza; in that order.
We arrived at the parking lot, and per her request, put on her sound dampening headphone things. These things are a life saving device every parent should have. We’ve used them at Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, and a Phish concert. Deal with it. Our kids have been to a Phish concert. Julianna puts these headphones on and seems to become invisible. She hears me talking without me having to speak up so I think it is somewhat psychological but I’ll take it. We walked to the park, took in all the “interesting” sites and people. The entire walk she was part humming/part singing “Take me out to the ballgame…”
We get into the park without a problem and she gets a little quiet as I think she tries to soak in what she is seeing. The plan was to go to our seats and get food from the walking-vendors. She held my hand and walked with me, seemingly not at all nervous or overwhelmed but not entirely sure what to make of it all. We got to our seats (grandstand-covered seats behind home plate with a great view of the whole field). She immediately wants to sit in her very own chair and within about 30 seconds spots a popcorn guy who is selling bags that would feed my entire extended family. When Julianna gets her hands on the bag, she holds onto it like its a winning Powerball ticket and begins her Shock and Awe campaign against it.
It wasn’t long before the pre-game festivities started. For each moment, ceremonial first pitch #1, ceremonial first pitch #2, Star Spangled Banner, etc, she is clapping and stuffing her face with popcorn. Maybe she’s just riding the energy wave from the chocolate mustache lollipop from earlier but so far so good…and then the Red Sox stepped it up a notch…
See, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup less than a week ago making that 7 championships in 10 years from the big 4 professional sports teams in Boston. That hasn’t happened anywhere else before has absolutely spoiled a crazy sports town. No complaints from me. But after they played this chills-inducing highlights video on the jumbotron, the duck boats that the teams use to parade around Boston after winning a championship start to drive out onto the field…with the entire Bruins team aboard. The Fenway Faithful erupt. Julianna is beside herself…loving it…dancing, clapping…she has no idea why but its apparently contagious. After an extended lap around the field, the players get off their duckboats and start walking from centerfield to the infield, holding the Stanley Cup above their heads. Fenway is going completely nuts. Julianna comments on how large that cup is.
Zdeno Chara (the captain of the Bruins and the tallest player to ever play in the NHL) places the cup on the pitcher’s mound. Imagine how confusing this must be for Julianna who knows nothing about baseball. Imagine how I’m feeling as my daughter actually enjoys watching the Bruins players (all of them) spread out across the infield diamond and the Red Sox players all across the home plate area. Apparently the players are all going to through out “first pitches”. On the count of 3…
1, 2, 3..30 balls flying through the infield…I’m sure Julianna is thinking this is the greatest game ever…and we haven’t even started. As soon as all the pitches are “caught”, the Bruins goal celebration sounds, loud. I thought it would startle her because it sort of startled me…but it turns out I’m a sissy. Her grin got even bigger and the dancing re-commenced as Fenway started going crazy again.
Finally, the game is going to start. We are now enjoying pizza by the way. Julianna is fascinated by how we can just sit in our seats and strangers walk by with food she can have. She is on the lookout for “daddy juice” (Coke). Once she spots the guy she makes sure I know so I can get one.
Now, how do I describe to her how this game works…or do I…I mean, who really cares? She’s having fun. Let’s just see where it goes. Top of the 1st is a quick 1-2-3 inning. Cool. Bottom of the 1st…the Red Sox manage to score 4 runs before the Brewers record an out. Every time they score, the Bruins goal celebration sounds, loud. Its awesome. 2 more runs later, the inning ends. Julianna has just finished watching her 1st live inning of any professional sports event and witnessed maybe the most emotionally charged, crazy-happy celebration filled with dancing, strangers-high-5’ing, spilled beverages, and Standley Cups on the pitchers mound. I’m pretty sure I can never bring her to another event again. It is all down hill from here.
So on the game went. We ended up staying for 3 more innings. We didn’t want to press our luck. She had no concept of baseball so after the 3rd inning she asked when we would go home? So we started our journey out. I’m happy. She’s happy. When we got out of the park, we walked past a fleet of bicycle rickshaws and think nothing of it…but then…
“Julianna, you feel like going on a rie on one of those?”
“Yes. Are you going to come too?”
What happened to my shy girl?
So we get on to ride back to the parking lot. The whole ride she’s chatting away with our “rider/driver” about the booboo she has on her foot, the ice cream she had at the game (did I forget to mention that?), and how she has her very own pink bicycle at home and she always wears her helmet.
We get back to the parking lot but before we go to the car, we decide to find a place to sit outside and have a drink and just chat a bit.
The weather was perfect, she behaved like a champion. Here I am, sitting on the steps in front of the Landmark Center near Fenway Park with my 3-year-old daughter, with our drinks (coke for me, poland springs water for her). Its just very pleasant.
I say, “Ok Julianna, are you ready to go find the car and head home?”
“Yup, but Daddy, first we need to go find your favorite: some Fried Dough.”
Are you kidding me?
Being a Dad isn’t half bad.
Happy Daddaism Day indeed.