Wednesday, May 5 2021

baby miles, chef rodney, and minnie the retriever

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Wednesday. Want to see what we were up to a year ago?


One year ago today we welcomed Miles into the world. The world was a lot more scary and isolated back then, wasn't it? Marissa shared with me how tough these quarantine milestones are. "I just think of all the things he missed out on," she said tearfully. "We didn't get to take him anywhere, we didn't get to show him to people..."

My knee jerk reaction is to swoop in with the quick-fix. "We're taking him to Dave and Busters next week - that's pretty cool," I assured her.

Dang it. Miles is one years old already. The same feelings Marissa was going through are finally hitting me too. Why do the best parts of life tend to move at break-neck speed? I had this funny little paragraph planned where I was going to talk about how the first birthday is kind of a freebie in that you don't need to make a huge deal out of it, but now this morning all I can think about it how big Miles has gotten. He's a full year old - you can't even call a one year old a baby anymore, can you? "Baby Miles" has become something of the past now. This is as much of a farewell to baby Miles as it is a birthday.


I'll miss you, baby Miles. I'm sure I'll love toddler Miles and kid Miles too, but just between you and me, I wish I could call you "baby Miles" for just a little longer.

Oof, now I'm crying here in the living room by myself. I need a minute to get it together.

Sip. We have a pretty simple birthday planned for Miles. We hung up a single streamer that says Congratulations. Marissa is going to whip up a chocolate cake later today. Along with the Hy-Vee bought 1 candle, she's just going to write CHESS on it, because that seems like something he would like.

But in and around all the birthday festivities, we have kind of an action-packed day today. Rodney has his very first ice skating lesson today. After work, Rodney and I will scoot over to the ice rink and do our best to decipher the very detailed email I received that directs us where to go. You should see this thing - there is a schematic of the building, colored zones, time tables, and a nested outline littered with bolded and italic instructions. I get that they must be running a pretty tight ship with COVID and everything, but this is the type of email I'd expect to circulate around if Rodney and I were going sky diving or visiting Korea's DMZ.

I don't really know what Rodney is expecting. He gets that he'll be ice skating, but he's also entertaining ideas like bringing his spider-man mask, toys, and his hockey stick. I think being around other kids in a structured environment where he can't run the show, along with the challenge of standing up on skates, will be good for him.

There's a chance, however, that he'll just put on skates and immediately figure it all out. Rodney has a good sense of balance, and he has a way of surprising us in teaching himself to do things. Yesterday while taking a short work break on my bed, Rodney demonstrated how we could balance with one foot planted on my stomach, all while swinging at my face with a k'nex sabre.


This is the last thing you see before you get the wind knocked out of you by a child's foot in your stomach.

We had a great day yesterday. I had long quiet day and got to catch up on some quiet things. In the morning during breakfast Rodney asked if I would bring my "boring computer" downstairs again, and it really took him off guard when I said sure. Together we watched the company town hall from the breakfast table, and I'd later head back upstairs.

The work day slipped away, and soon it was time to cook dinner. Rodney, looking for something to do, joined me in the kitchen. "I just want to help," he said. But to my surprise, Rodney didn't just peace-out after cutting up a few celery chunks. He stayed for practically the entire meal, helping me boil green beans, bake rice pilaf, and sear some pork chops.

"Dude, you're like chef Rodney," I said, complimenting him as he swirled a metal pan around the stove.

"No, I not chef Rodney," he said modestly. "I'm just Rodney."


The pilaf had big, jagged chunks of celery, but I thought it added a certain rustic flair. Besides, that's about the best you can do with a child-proof butter knife.

After putting the kids to bed, Marissa called me over to the living room to demonstrate something she found about Minnie. "She's a natural retriever," she said. "Watch this."

Marissa picked up her green frog toy and shook it around. Minnie panted and rand in circles in anticipation. Marissa flung it across the room, and Minnie took off like a little rocket. She picked up the frog toy in her mouth and happily trotted back.


She's a natural retriever, just like her big brother Ollie.

That's what I got today. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. The birthday boy Charles Mingus wishes that you all take a short chess break today to commemorate his first lap around the sun.