But I got addicted… and after that first time, I decided to officially change my format of writing about you, to where I write to you.
Exactly a year has passed since that night I sat at our coffee table and cried so hard, realizing my love for you.
Tonight, I’m less emotional in that sense. Instead, I’m feeling fully grounded in how I feel about you and how I understand my love for you.
Instead of a groundbreaking ephiphany, today I simply am grateful for the gift of peace of mind and heart; a gift the world can not give.
In this moment, that is my life. I think of that song, “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, to describe how I feel about you and me:
“I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.”
Every time we visit my parents’ house, you take back with you a few souvenirs.
Typically, they are my old Hot Wheels from when I was about your age in the mid 1980s.
You now have so many toy cars that you regularly ask me:
“Daddy, where’d I get this one? It was yours when you was a boy?”
I’ll look over and see an orange paint-chipped Gremlin or Snoopy driving a tow truck (that was before Mater was cool) and reply, “That’s right: Nana and Papa got me that one when I was a boy, like you.”
You are lucky that my parents didn’t give away any of my childhood toys. So each time you visit their house, you can try out and even walk away with anything on display in the 1980s museum I grew up in.
“Hey, that’s a Smurf car!” you so excitedly announced, holding a red car being driven by Smurfette.
I guess you didn’t realize that Smurfs are in their offical comeback phase- that at one time, they were 20 times cooler than they are right now.
You like to take my ’80s cars into school each morning, only to store them in your cubby all day. I take it as a compliment. It’s your way of taking a piece of me with you each day when I can’t be with you.
Sure, it’s been a few decades since I’ve been a boy, but I can totally relate to your excitement about toys- especially ones from the ’80s.
It also subconsciously points to something we share in common: boyhood.
You recognize that I’m an adult, but you understand the concept that I was once a boy who was a lot like you:
I was a boy with an orange Gremlin and a Snoopy tow truck.
I remember what it was like being about your age; thinking that spinning myself dizzy in the living room was like the coolest thing ever.
If I remember correctly, my parents would have to warn me to stop; mainly because they never knew what I was about to knock myself into and, therefore, knock over.
Well, that’s what’s new in your life right now. This is your “I want to see how dizzy I can get and still stand up” phase.
Sunday afternoon I watched you get the biggest thrill out of repeatedly spinning yourself dizzy as Thomas and Friends played in the background.
Again, I can relate to what you’re experiencing. That was me about 30 years ago. Now it’s you.
However, I think I killed enough brain cells doing it, that now, I can’t stand being dizzy.
It’s one of the most annoying things in the world, to me.
I get dizzy so easily that I nearly got dizzy following you around to take these pictures of you spinning. (Even just looking at these pictures is making me sort of dizzy!)
It was hard to get a good shot of you because you were spinning so fast!
But you’re a kid. You still think spinning around until you fall on the floor is a fun thing to do.
You might as well live it up, until you get your fill like I have.
Back in the 1980′s when I was a kid, there were such things as merry-go-rounds, which were a playground device that allowed several kids to spin on a moving wheel platform on the ground, while a few other kids pushed them as hard as they could.
Of course, I would always try to jump off while the merry-go-round was going its fastest. And I never got hurt.
I guess, though, some kids did, and their parents sued and won some good money. Because I haven’t seen a merry-go-round in about 20 years.
To everything there is a season. This is your season to be dizzy.
We drove away from the Nashville Zoo this afternoon with you asking me, “Daddy, why Giraffe Man? Why he there?”
I attempted to explain to you that he really likes kids and giraffes.
But that just raised even more important questions.
You evidently concluded from my answer that “Giraffe Man” sleeps in the zoo with the other giraffes but has the privilege of walking through the midst of human families at the zoo and having his picture taken with them.
We kept talking about Giraffe Man even after we got home.
I’m pretty sure you want him to join us for dinner in the near future.
At some point, you’re going to ask me if Elmo and Mickey Mouse and Giraffe Man are real.
That will be a sad day for me.
I love it that your imagination leads you to believe that these mutant creatures might actually be part of the real world, instead of people in costumes or controlling a puppet.
As I look at the ridiculous picture of us with Giraffe Man, I sure hope that of all random events you may or may not be remembering for life right now, that you remember this day.
It would be awesome if in a few years from now, you ask me about being at the zoo with me and seeing a giraffe person or something.
Then I can say, “Yeah, that was from when I was training for the half marathon and you and I spent a Sunday afternoon at the zoo together. I ran while pushing you in the stroller throughout the whole zoo and at the end, we had our picture made with a man (or woman) in a giraffe costume.”
I never really know what you’re actually comprehending or remembering at this age. It’s interesting to think about, though.