We are not those folks that need an occasion to try. And that’s what they call it, too. Trying. As if the very idea of it is taxing. It’s not taxing and we are not those people.
No. We do not go by some magical calendar. Schedules aren’t really our thing in general. That’d be too organized. Too stuffy. Too… I don’t know… too planned. And we’re not the type of people whom plan.
If we could—plan—our lives would be much different. I think. It’s hard to say because this is how we’ve always been.
Our very togetherness is a result of impulse. I’m almost certain that the amount of time it took us to decide to move in together was significantly shorter than the amount of time it took us to remember each other’s names. We might have had our first conversation moments after that first… what I mean to say is we didn’t plan. Because planning would have been much too stifling for either of us.
Then it became, “We should probably get a bigger house.”
And days later we’re in this three bedroom duplex that looks like it escaped Brazil’s Favela. In a blink of an eye I’ve gone from bachelor, the envy to my friends, living in a Southside on Lamar studio with the only true view of the Dallas skyline, to this… floor cluttered in toys, spoiled milk left out on the kitchen table—again—and the constant chatter of Bubble Guppies.
I had this beautiful human Yin-Yang portrait in my living room. Shades of grey. Very classy. It’s in a box now… closeted forever. And instead I’m surrounded by milestone achievements, like a participation placard for soccer. Not even a trophy. They didn’t give out trophies this year because they don’t want to single out any of the kids for being inadequate. This is a God’s honest framed piece of paper that says congratulations for participating. “Good job, honey… you showed up!”
That adorns our living room wall next to finger paintings and family photos and abysmal Mother’s Day macaroni art pieces that I made myself because our three children were either too young or too mature to make anything themselves. I’m a macaroni artist now. Because my photography has been deemed too inappropriate to display in front of the children. Because the words “tasteful” and “nude” apparently have no place together in the same sentence. Because some psychologist told us that we need to wait for our children to be older to—I don’t know—fill them in, I guess.
And so, we don’t have time for schedules or occasions. My wife walks by, and the house is to ourselves, the littlest is sleeping cozily in her room. The oldest is doing, God-knows-what with God-knows-who, and our middle child, the star soccer player, is out of sight, out of mind, learning calculus or chemistry or Texas History or whatever it is they teach third graders these days. And the way my wife looks in her sweatpants and dingy brown shirt (that may have been white at some point, who knows), well it’s enough. We’re knocking formula to the floor and kicking aside chew toys that either belong to our dog or our daughter and my wife is sitting in the kitchen sink, as good a place as any. She tears the blinds down overlooking our fantastic view of a covered parking lot. Nails dig into my back and my hair is yanked and my ear is bit.
No candles. No music. No mood.
She just happened by and I figure, I guess, three girls isn’t enough. Maybe… by some miracle… I might have a boy in me this time.
Which brings me back to the half-day. Someone cold and hateful invented it. Because normal school hours are too much. Because six hours of school with four fifteen minute breaks and one hour for lunch is too much. Four uninterrupted hours of learning a day is somehow too much. And my daughter, for all her hard work, gets this occasional three-hour day that she somehow neglects to tell us about every single time.
Our neighbor also has a third-grader. Thomas. Sometimes Kayla gets a ride with them. Very nice folks. Mormons, I think.
Yeah, well, I forgot to lock the door, and Kayla, my little princess, decided to let everyone in. I’m sure you can imagine their surprise.