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Warm Nuts for the Flight

A challenging day or two a week ago has Daddy arriving for pickup armed and ready.

D (stopping them and lining them up at the playground gate): Everyone, before we board, we need to get clearance that our vehicle is ready. My apologies.

They watch Daddy as Daddy watches the car a few feet away.

D (nothing having changed): Okay, folks, we’ve received clearance to move onto the tarmac. If you would please come with me, we can make our way across the park…I mean, tarmac to our vehicle. Right this way.

They comply.

D (opening the door to the backseat): Welcome, Mr. Medeiros, may I take your luggage?
F: Oh, thanks, Daddy.
D: You’ll be sitting in seat 2A today. If you’ll just make your way across the car…there…and Ms. Medeiros…(she’s smiling)…you’ll be next to your brother in 2B. Here, can I take your luggage as well?
C: Daddy, can I tell…
D (depositing their backpacks in seat 1B): Of course, you can, but before we get into all that, here, hold on, let me just get this door for you.
Daddy closes her door and moves around to settle into Seat 1A.
D (turning to them): Now, my name is Mr. Wickey. I’ll be your captain for this trip. Can I ask you to buckle your seat belts for the short jaunt home today? If you need help with your buckle, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
C: Daddy, can I tell…
D: Sure, sure, Ms. Medeiros, but before we jump into that, I do want to let you know that I’ve prepared a bowl of warm nuts for our journey. (Handing them each a bowl of cashews.) Now that you’re buckled, I’d love to have each of you enjoy your nuts while we are waiting to depart. We have to wait for our signal to takeoff, so each of you has plenty of time to finish your nuts.

They move cashews from bowls to mouths, smiling at Daddy. Daddy watches. Other parents pull up. Others pull away. Daddy sits there until both can show off an empty bowl.

D: Okay, Mr. Medeiros, Ms. Medeiros, let me take those away for you. Did you enjoy your snack today?
F/C: Yes.
D: Good, good. Now, we can begin our journey. It’s always best to start a journey off with stable blood sugar. It’s just the thing for a journey, even as short as today’s. Does one of you have a story for me? (Silence.) Come on, guys, can anyone tell me a story from your day?
F (cheekily): A captain isn’t supposed to talk to us like that.
D: Oh, no?
F: No.
D: How is the captain supposed to talk to you?
F (putting on airs): Oh, Mr. Medeiros, how are you so good today, can I get you something for your super trip home today?
D (laughing and reaching around to nudge his closer knee): That’s right, Mr. Medeiros. Please forgive my impertinence. Ms. Medeiros, are you ready for departure?
C: Yes, Daddy, now can I tell you something?
D (still chuckling): Yes, of course, Ms. Medeiros. How can I help you?
C: I missed you today, Daddy Captain.
D (stopping a little short): Well, thank you, Cory Bee. I mean, Ms. Medeiros. It is such a pleasure to drive you home.

She smiles and looks away, out the window, something in her tummy.

F (continued airs): Mr. Captain Man, can you please drive now? It’s getting on to be time…

Yes, now it is.

Home Court Jester

Daddy lets slip the possibility of a two-week theater camp this summer, the end result for which would be a public performance of “Aladdin”. Great, right?

F (0-to-60 bawling): I don’t want to go to theater camp!
C: Do we have to stand on stage?
D: No, see, guys, you make the costumes and the sets — the trees and the houses and the rooms — for the play, and some kids get on stage to act and some…
C: We have to stand on stage?!
F (having never been): But, I HATE theater camp, Daddy!

That evening three other families come over for fajitas and a playdate. It is always just a matter of time before all the girls end up dressed up in stuff from the kids’ costume box. This time, Olivia shows up already decked out in her Elsa dress, so even faster than usual, Cory is back in her Brave getup. Chloe digs out and pulls on a “50s girl” costume. They get the attention sought.

Fisher’s second instinct is to go superhero. A bit later, he and a neighbor boy prepare to thoroughly confuse Gotham City by having two Batmen show up, since there are two of those and no Robin costume. But, his first instinct is just to match the girls, dress up for dress up.
First, he comes out with a ballerina mini skirt pulled over his pants. He hams it up. Comments and laughter. After that splash starts to settle, he heads back in…to return moments later with a jester’s hat on. More mugging. Smiles and more comments. He exits the stage and comes back with a pink mustache hanging on by one last drop of last year’s skin glue. Then, it’s a blue superhero mask…followed by the 50s scarf that Chloe discarded…then a partially made Valentine glued to his chest, each added to the developing look. It gets hard to give him the amount of attention that he wants, but he keeps going. Out come a pair of Cory’s fancy shoes. Then a little twisty balls-on-strings, two-headed hand drum, banging away. Then…

Yah, this kid will just hate theater camp. HATE it.

It’s a Magical World

P: …Hobbes is a tiger, a stuffed tiger, like one of the stuffed animals in your bed, and everyone knows that. Well, everyone knows that but Calvin. Calvin thinks that he’s real, but everyone else, they know that…

Papa takes the twins just around the corner, to read to them. Daddy gets a yogurt from the second fridge. As Daddy sits in the kitchen and mixes the honey through, Papa explains, in a house where everything is within earshot, that he loves Calvin and Hobbes, that he got this book as a gift from an old friend, and that he will read them parts of it, if they would like him to, that this book will be something shared between Papa and them, especially.

F/C: Yes!

Over the next half hour, Daddy hears words drifting around the house, but none of them stick. The words are eclipsed by the laughter. They are tracking at sixty, maybe seventy percent, content-wise, but they are laughing. From the gut. Laughing and loving it. And laughing some more.

It’s a magical world.

Beachfront Misery

After a few good days…

C (whispering in the dark at bedtime): Daddy, I’m never going to live some place without you there, too.

Physically tired, Daddy squeezes her, imagining an older, Sharapova-esque version spending a healthy fraction of her Wimbledon prize money to add a comfortable wing onto an already spacious beachfront mansion, realizing an oft-expressed desire to keep close.

C: Because I love you so much.

After a subsequent few, not-so-good days…

C (whispering in the dark at bedtime): Daddy, I don’t ever want to live anywhere without you there, Daddy.

Emotionally drained, Daddy squeezes her, imagining an older, Kathy Bates-like version placing a four-by-four block of wood between a sleeping Daddy’s ankles, bringing a sledge hammer down heavily, first one way and then the other, realizing an oft-expressed desire to keep close.

C: Because I love you so much.