Hand in hand we crossed the street, my daughter and I, and walked home. If the weather was nice we would go to the park in my backyard. Yes, a real city parked was just beyond my meager property line. I did not mind not having much lawn. Acres of tennis courts, fields and playground equipment were just feet away. I would push my daughter in the swing for what seemed like hours to my exhausted body. Twelve hour days, every day, do not give you energy to chase a two year old around the park. I loved every minute of it.
I still find it amazing that you can buy a lawnmower, a coffeemaker, a cheap skillet from WalMart and every package contains operating instructions. Directions to care for a plain white undershirt are stenciled right under the Fruit of the Loom logo. But you go to the hospital, watch a baby slide from your wife's most private of spots, and presto-chango you are a parent! There is no manual in English and Spanish and French with unfathomable blow-up diagrams to direct you in the care and upbringing of a child. It is the toughest job I ever had. Put Tab A into Slot B. That was the easy enough. The next
Even after picking up two more kids at the hospital I was still winging it as a parent. Even though all three of my children think they are grown up, I am still waking up a dad every day. As they too face struggles and life's challenges sans instruction book, I try and help and guide as best I can. I confess I still don't know what the Hell I am doing.
Life was much easier when all I had to do was make sure my daughter made it across the street on the trip home from the babysitters. I long for simple times when I could push her in a swing, when her biggest challenge was getting a drink from the lion's head drinking fountain in the park behind my little house.. That hurdle I could help with. Now I watch my daughter and sans enter life's boxing ring on their own. I know how Mick felt when Rocky battled Creed.
Or my own Parents, watching me.