The first half of summer is full of celebrations at the Goof home. Father's Day, Fourth of July, my birthday (on the one hand a reminder of my spiral towards decrepitude and death - but also an excuse to loaf and have a drink with lunch), and another one, ummm, yeah...
We were married on Father's Day, so when it comes it should be a bit of a head's up to yours truly. This year on our anniversary, as we went through our morning stumbles, my wife asked me, "What day were we married?"
It wasn't a trick, we were both so tired and overwhelmed that we just forgot. Still, I felt bad. At work I asked all of the women I worked with if they had any jewelry they could spare? They were not sympathetic.
I did convince an intern to take on an emergency baby-sitting job so I could take the long-suffering Mama Goof out. One of my big problems with baby-sitters is that they are one of the only elements of the economy that still require cash (along with vending machines.) Why can't today's web savvy baby-sitting teens get Paypal accounts? At $12 an hour, the extra 20 minutes to get to the ATM to pay them is a defacto surcharge.
Here, I was saved by mamawla. I still had the wad of bills she had foisted on me for Father's Day - and could pay off the baby-sitter.
No hard feelings, because on my birthday I got the best present - exactly what I wanted. It was a weekday, but I got to sleep in (until 8) and my wife took on my major morning chore. She applied the sunscreen.
I've written before about all of the tiny factors that make parenthood much harder today than it was in the past. One is lunches, which absorbs my wife's energies every morning. Our kids don't have food allergies, but their classmates seem to have a full spectrum of vulnerabilities that need to be navigated.
I take on the other great enemy of health - the sun. Every morning the kids fight me on the sunscreen issue. I can't just hold them down, because the sunscreen makes them all slippery. Plus, in chasing them around I get sunscreen all over the house (I don't corner as well as I used to.) So I threaten, cajole, and beg. All this without coffee (which I invariable manage to flavor with sunscreen.)
When my mom called to wish me a happy birthday, I asked her if she had to chase me around the house to put on sunscreen? She laughed, "Only at the beach. For a regular day at camp, there was no need."
"No need! Did you want me die?"
She reminded me that when she was young sunscreen didn't exist, people put on oil and just sat in the sun like rotisserie chickens. She was a product of her times. Simpler, easier times...