Saturday night, at 1:30 in the morning, as I wedged myself onto the dog couch with a yellow lab at my feet and a black lab on an adjoining ottoman, I realized I had experienced a perfect day.
Yes, with who knows how many days left to go in my life, I did it.
Jackpot. Hole in one. Full-court basket. An elusive occurrence indeed.
It started Saturday with the first day of my three-week vacation from work (future blog post). I woke up with relief that I didn’t have to think about email and projects for Monday. And what a difference that makes in enjoying a weekend.
I took the dogs on a long walk in 70-degree weather. Other than making the mistake of wearing my flannel-lined pants and having to strip off a couple of t-shirts during the walk, it was April in December, with the sun’s low angle the only difference. And maybe the brown lawns. An no flowers. Nevermind.
I returned and played “Rayman Origins” with my daughter on our new Xbox. The 9-year-old monkey is testing me on video games now. I’m the king of video games but she’s playing with a faster network of nerve impulses from her brain to her hands than I am and it’s everything I can do to keep up with her.
Later that afternoon, we did a parent doubleheader when our daughter played guitar at a recital, followed by a soccer game.
She strummed Silent Night and some other Christmas song I can’t remember because I was doing my best to keep tears from spraying from my eyes like a broken fire hydrant. Something about the experience knocked up my emotional cortex, and watching her up there, dressed up and concentrating, made me feel so lucky to experience the moment it was hard to maintain my composure.
At the end of last year’s soccer season when my daughter’s opinion of her effort didn’t match reality or our opinion, my wife and I had what was one of the hardest conversations we’ve ever had with her. We’re not of the school that we tell our child she’s great at everything-but we’re not about destroying her self-esteem either. However, we gently told her we didn’t think she gave the season very much effort.
And boy did she grumble. And she may have cried a bit. But to her credit, she came back this season and played with more effort and skill than ever before. And it culminated in the last game of the season where she played a great game. She’s not the best player on the team, but it’s about being engaged and trying hard. And she did that. So, we celebrated by going out to dinner and letting her pick the location.
At the Argentinian restaurant she chose – she likes steak – I stole some of her rib eye and ordered a black and white lobster ravioli in a pink sauce that was mind-blowingly good. I followed it up with a dessert at home of Tropical Rainbow sherbet and Oreos. Perfect finish, a foodie touchdown.
After more Rayman where my daughter and I ran circles around my wife, who spent her youth studying and listening to Tom Petty and Bee Gee records and not hanging around 7-11 stores playing video games, we put our little superstar to bed and watched Friends with Benefits. It was the perfect “I don’t have to think hard to watch this movie” movie, and got me out of the doghouse for choosing Melancholia a few weeks ago.
Then came SNL with Katy Perry hosting and more laughs. And at 1:30, when I went to bed, I realized I had achieved an elusive goal – make each day great.
Saturday, December 10. Check.