Friday Night Lites

The good thing about writing or journalizing is that you can fast forward the dull  and boring moments in life.  So needless to say, this entry begins with me picking up my kids at school after work.  I was really excited because I knew I would have them all night.  Even though I was planning to be on the road early on Saturday morning, I knew the kids would stay up late at my place until their mother picked them up after her evening out.

So Natalie, Daniel and I began our Friday afternoon at Sam’s Club looking for something to fix for dinner.  We collectively agreed on Shrimp Scampi and pasta and headed home, but not before our usual perusal of stuff at the discount club.  That can be really fun with the kids except for when we come across something they feel thy HAVE to have.  Then the stern parent in me has to come out and tell them “No” which is always followed by “Because I say so” which in tern is followed by the scowling “Ask me again and see what happens….” comment.

But it’s usually a fun time with the kids.  I have them sit in the shopping cart and we zoom up and down the aisles at breakneck speed.  “Faster, daddy!  Faster!”  And for some reason the floors at Sam’s are so conducive to sprinting behind the shopping cart and performing a sliding stop thus preventing us from crashing into the elaborately displayed and precisely stacked bottles of Riesling.

We got home and I started on dinner.  Daniel, of course, took to turning on the PS2 and playing a video game.  Natalie, being the adult wannabe that she is, kept asking of ways she could help with dinner.  So after having her clear up the dinner table, she went to the other room to watch TV.  Lee got home and the apartment became a soup of controlled chaos, but in a good way.

“How was your day, honey?”  “Good, thanks.  Traffic wasn’t too bad coming home.  Dinner smells great.”  “Thank you. I was …..  Daniel, lower the volume!  Sorry.  What was I saying?”  “You were talking about di….”  “LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”  “Hey, Natalie, how are you?”  “I’m so happy you’re here.  Let me show you what I made at school for mother’s day.”  “Okay, but give me a second, sweetie.  Let me put my stuff down.”  “Baby girl, can you please turn off the TV in the other room and wash your hands? We’re about to have …… Daniel!!!!! LOWER the volume!”  “But daaaaaaaddeeeeeeee.  I caaaaan’t hear it“  “Dude!  I said……… In fact, turn it off and go wash your hands.  We’re gonna’ eat in a minute.”  “But daaaaaaaddeeeeeeee.  I’m not finished with this level.”  “I don’t care.  Turn it off.”  “Ummmm, Gil”  “Yes, baby?”  “Your pasta is boiling over.”  “Ahhhh shit!!!!” “Daddy, you said a bad word.”  “I know sweetie.  Sorry.  I ….. Didn’t I tell you to go wash you hands?”

Sure it sounds crazy, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  If this is what it’s like to be surrounded by love, I’ll take it every day of the week and twice on Sundays.  We sat down at the table, said grace while holding hands, and ate dinner.  We had conversations about school, work, weekend plans, etc, and the room was filled with laughter and joy.

I thought about something my friend Patti told me.  She said the most important thing a father can do is love the mother of his children.  Even though we’re no longer together, I like to think I display that love for Alex in what I do to help her out as best I can.  Like I’ve mentioned before, we do everything in the best interest of our kids, and I have received many compliments of what a great job we’ve done with Natalie and Daniel given the situation we’re in.

And even though Lee is not the mother of my kids, I love how she loves them as her own.  I like to think that I am setting the example for Natalie to see what true companionship and love is supposed to be.  I want her to grow up knowing and understanding how a woman deserves to be treated, and being strong enough to demand respect and consideration from any man with whom she enters a relationship.  Conversely, I want to set the example for Daniel and teach him that being a man does not necessarily mean being macho.  Rather, it means treating women with respect and love and seeing them as equal partners in
life.

These are the moment I hope and pray my kids remember when they reminisce on their childhood.  I hope they are able to look back with appreciation on these moments and realize that we provided a happy childhood for them.  I want them to become adults knowing what happiness means and expecting to achieve happiness in all they do.  I don’t ever want them to settle for anything but the best, and I truly believe that moments like Friday night are as good as it ever gets.

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