Friday, September 3 2021

joe beaman day, kindergarten, and naptime

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Friday.

Since the school routine started, I now enjoy a brief ten minute breakfast with Rodney in the dining room before he lives with Marissa, and I can already tell this time together will yield all kinds of pithy and amusing conversations. This morning, I greeted Rodney with a cliche. "Dude, TGIF," I proclaimed. Rodney smirked and furrowed his brow.

"TGIF," I repeated. "It means Thank God It's Friday. It's Friday dude."

Rodney shook his head and dipped his hand back into his meager bowl of Captain Crunch.

"You know what, dude?" I continued, uninvited. "You should, like, say that to your classroom this morning. When you walk in, you should say 'Hey everyone. TGIF.'"

Rodney, who had already gotten up from the table to put his bowl in the sink, gave me a look I had never seen from him. It was the You're Lame, Dad look.


You're lame, dad.

Fair enough. This is public school Kindergarten we're talking about. They would Rodney alive if they caught him saying something whack like TGIF. Don't sweat it, Rodney. Your dad can handle all the cliches.

Sip. TGIF, everyone. Thank God it's Friday. I've got a fun work day ahead of me. I'm chipping away at an interesting new script to automatically reroute traffic during AWS outages. And later today the Madison chapter of the Network team is going out to lunch.

To be clear, only two people make up the "Madison chapter". Just me and my teammate Joe Beaman - the rest of the crew resides around the San Francisco bay. My boss Scott suggested we connect over an expensed lunch date. Also, by coincidence, I'm meeting with Joe over zoom this morning to work together on some code.

"It's like Joe Beaman day," said Marissa.

Maybe I should just make a whole day out of it. Joe, if you're reading this, I'm going to make a hard pitch over lunch about why we should also go clothes shopping at the mall or just spend the rest of the day walking around the zoo. Joe Beaman day only comes around every so often, you know.

In other news, Rodney's first day of school is in the bag. "Where is the letter board that says 'second day of Kindergarten'?" I teased Marissa on their way out the door. "Are we not going to do that every day?"

We picked up Rodney as a family after school let out. I would compare the scene to trying to get out of a Jason Mraz concert. A narrow one-way street wrapped the parking lot flooded with pedestrians, bikes, cars, and busses. But sure enough, once we had inched through the chaos to the front of the drop-off line, we saw Rodney's bright blond hair break from the pack as he eagerly ran to our car.

The car door creaked open. Rodney climbed into his seat. We waited in silence while we fiddled with his seat belt straps. "I'm so hungry," he said. "Can I have a snack now?"

Rodney gestured to Marissa's special after school snack bin wedged in the center console of our car.

"Dude, how was it?" I asked.

Rodney told us what he remembered in the heat of the moment. They watched a video about soccer. They watched a different video about a cat "rocking out" on its first day of school. They danced in gym class. He struck a friendship with a kid wearing a Batman face mask. Pressing Rodney, even with the bribery of an after school ice cream stop, it became clear we weren't going to get much more out of him. Only Rodney, our unreliable narrarator, knew how his first day of school really went down.

And that's perfectly fine. As much as I'd love to cross examine him with debriefing questions over icecream, attach a GoPro to his head, or follow him through the hallways with a remote control drone, I'm finding a different kind of enjoyment just embracing the mystery. Rodney has his own story line now. I no longer get to watch all the little moments in his life unfold within our parenting bubble, but the way I see it I'm exchanging that privilege for a new one. Rodney is a bit more mysterious now. It's like he's unlocked a new ability to surprise us.

Meanwhile, Marissa and I tended with the weirdness of daily life without Rodney. Miles dealt with his brother's absence poorly, to say the least. He spent the duration of his morning playtime screaming, whaling, throwing toys around the room, and wildly clawing at our mesh baby gate like a destitute prisoner. We didn't expect Miles to react like this. Who knew that Rodney was running so much interference for us in the mornings?


Chill out, dude.

Miles screamed all morning. We carried our stumbly monster kicking and screaming into his room for his nap. He lost the will continue his protest after only five minutes, falling asleep with his head buried in his tear soaked bed sheet.

Let me tell you, morning nap time was magical. With no bleating children's TV or rattling of plastic toys, our house felt serene. I lingered during a coffee refill so I could drink in the religious experience. Marissa fell asleep on the couch as quickly as Miles did in his crib. "I actually slept," she recounted at lunch in disbelieve. "That was amazing."

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a wonderful Friday, and I'll see ya when I see ya.