Every time my wife goes out I suddenly forget that I’ve been a father for over a year and turn into a bumbling idiot with questions even the babysitters don’t need to ask. Where are his diapers? What time does he go to bed? Which end is up? Can he eat paper or is food better for him? Seriously…I panic at first. It’s like how cell phones have killed our ability to memorize numbers. I call my sister all the time but outside of the area code I have no idea what her number is “…did I catch a niner in there?” Cheers to everyone that got the Tommy Boy reference. The fact remains…I know how to take care of my son without my wife, I just forget how to for about 5 minutes every time she is scrambling to go out the door.
Last night I was torn between two duties with my wife not being home:
- Putting my son to sleep
- Watching the Wichita State game
I hadn’t put Max to sleep by myself in a few weeks when his whole routine changed. I’ve done it with Kate…but not just me. Then there’s my Wichita State game…last away game of the season and a win equals the MVC Title. Sure I can DVR the game and be caught up to real-time by the second half but my friends text me non-stop during the games so I’d have to turn my phone off. What if my wife needed something? What if I needed something? What to do? The answer was obvious…take Max to a bar and watch the game with a bunch of other WSU fans, and that is exactly what we did.
We sat side-by-side at a table at Heroes Sports Bar & Grill with a great view on one of the new HD TVs. I ordered a brewski…Max had sweet potato tater tots. Max clapped and pointed to the TV every time our beloved mascot Wu-Shock was shown and then he would chant “Woo! Woo!” He calmly ate his taters. I pointed out as much stuff as I could about the game, he is a fan of Joe Ragland so he claps every time he sees Joe. We high-fived a lot, worked on our dance moves, cheers’d glasses, hugged, etc. He is only a 1-year-old but I had the dad dream day with my son…we bonded over a basketball game. At halftime he was still going strong so I ordered another beer and we stayed for the second half. He (as in the first) was a perfect angel.
Max never fussed nor cried. He was happy as could be and we had a blast together. With 4 minutes left he was clearly exhausted…it was 2 hours past his bedtime. I pulled him into my lap, wrapped him up in a hug, and he sat calmly there hugging me from time to time and peeking up to show me his smile. We had a lovely drive home singing songs (the Shockers won and we were celebrating) and before we knew it were back home getting ready for the bath. He was very excited during his bath and played with every toy, splashed profusely, laughed with glee, and drank a fair amount of bath water even though kindly asked not to. Without tears we toweled off, lotioned up, put on our jammies, and turned off the lights. He laid on my lap while I fed him his “night-night bottle” and his eyes never stopped happily looking into mine. Then, before drinking the entire bottle, he stopped and looked at me in a way that said “I’m done with the bottle.” So I carried him to his crib and placed him gently down. He rolled over on his side, I tucked him in, kissed his little head, and off to sleepy-land he went.
That may have been the best night of my life. Those are the nights dads dream of. Sports, interaction, high fives, bonding, and loving tenderness. I thought days like this were years away since most babies like cartoons and baby food. Not my Max. He loves basketball, eats almost anything, loves his Dada, has a few words, knows some sign language, and is so much easier to put to sleep once we gave him a better night-time routine. Some day Max will grow up and read all of this, maybe when he is getting ready to have kids of his own. Max, if you’re reading this…I love you. The day you were born was the best day of my life. Each and every day since has been the best day of my life because every day spent with you and your mother is better than the day before. The two of you make everything in my life sweeter because happiness is meant to be shared.