For Father’s Day

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I won’t say that my Father’s Day was better than yours. I won’t say that my spouse loves me more than yours loves you. I won’t say that my child loves me more than yours loves you.

I will say, however, that I’d be hard pressed to recall a time that I felt happier and more loved than I did yesterday.

First, I need to run down the day before. We went to Sarah’s parents’ house for a family gathering/mini-reunion/party. We arrived around one in the afternoon, so by two I was drinking (cheap) tequila. As a result of this (and of not being in my early twenties anymore), I began developing a hangover before I went to bed. I think the only mishap that day was when Sarah’s dad was attacked by gravity and a concrete driveway. It wasn’t his fault though, because the canopy tripped him.

We slept in a tent that night, in Sarah’s parents’ back yard. When I awoke Sunday morning, the only hangover symptoms I had remaining – aside from still being very tired – were a strong need for coffee and food. This, coupled with the fact that Uncle Curt makes amazing breakfasts, started my Father’s day on the right foot; it was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.

We hung out for a bit, packed up the tent, then drove home. Sarah, Tyler, and Delilah were all sleeping within five minutes of being on the road. We got home and I carried Tyler to his room to continue his nap. After helping Sarah uload the truck, she sent me upstairs for a nap.

After my glorious nap, I felt awake and refreshed. Tyler hand-picked a Spiderman-themed Father’s day card for me, telling Sarah, “Piderman for daddy,” when they were shopping for one. Then, they both surprised me with tickets to see Toy Story 3, in 3D!!

“Thank you, Mommy. Thank you Tyler. I am so happy.”

Tyler wrapped his arms around my neck, kissed me , and said, “Happy fahdders day, daddy.”

“Thank you Tyler,” I replied.

“I so pwoud of you daddy.”

There are no words to explain how I felt at that moment. None.

On the drive to the theatre, we told Tyler about the special “movie glasses” we would have to wear for Toy Story 3. He clutched the Woody toy that his Aunt Acey bought him and said, “yeahhh, moovie gwasses.”

When the lights dimmed, and the movie started, Tyler signalled his approval with “Wowwwwwwwwww.”

Twenty minutes in, Tyler loudly asked, “Daddy, what is that, daddy?”

Later, halfway through the movie, I whispered to Tyler, “Are you having fun?”

He looked at me with his special movie glasses and said, “Yeah!”

At the end of the movie – and I’m not embarrassed to say this – Sarah and I both cried. Not for any other reason than the realization that Tyler is going to grow up and move out one day.

Saying this was my best Father’s Day ever doesn’t mean much, because this is only my second Father’s Day. But, it was honestly one of the single greatest days of my life.

Also, since it’s now on Facebook, I think it’s okay to announce it here as well… On or around January 9th, 2011, I will be an uncle again. My sister (in-law, just for clarification, because I view all of Sarah’s sisters as my own) and her husband have a little plum-sized bean growing. They announced it at the party on Saturday and I couldn’t be happier for them as they travel down such a rewarding and trying path.

A few conversations

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The scene: Tyler and I are hanging out. It’s a real scorcher outside, and Tyler is sitting on the floor with a cup of ice water. Presently, he is putting his hand into the cup, pulling out a piece of ice, and eating it. It’s getting close to dinner time, so I decide to ask Tyler about it.

Me: Do you want pizza?

It suddenly strikes me to cook the pizza outside on the grill. Now, I’m more excited than normal for the prospect of eating pizza. Tyler’s also a big fan of pizza, so this should be a guaranteed win for me.

Tyler: No, I drinking ice.

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The scene: Tyler and I are playing in the house. Tyler got wrapped up in his barn animals and farm toys, and soon forgot that I was even there. Bored, I played a drum solo with my hands on the carpeted floor.

Me: *thump, thumb, bang bang bang thumpthumpthump*

Tyler: “Daddy, no say that daddy please.”

Me: *correcting Tyler’s grammar* “Daddy, please don’t do that.”

Tyler: “No no won’t no don’t no do that please daddy.”

Close enough, I guess.

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The scene: Currently, the only time Tyler is allowed to have his pacifier is when he is napping. He doesn’t have it during the day, and he doesn’t have it while sleeping at night. I’ve set a hard line of him being completely done with the pacifier by his second birthday, so I’ve been telling him that pacifiers are for babies, and that Tyler isn’t a baby anymore.

I also have to introduce you to another character in the house. Abby Dabba is a stuffed dog that Tyler and I made at the Build-A-Bear store for Mother’s Day. When you squeeze his hand, he says – in Tyler’s recorded voice – “Happy Mommy’s Day, LUH-LOO!” Luh-loo is how Tyler said “I Love You” back when we made it. The dog’s name started as Abba Dabba, but Tyler soon changed it to Abby Dabba.

Abby Dabba is sitting on the top of the couch. Tyler spotted a pacifier lying around and tried putting it in his mouth. I promptly reminded him that he wasn’t a baby, and he wasn’t taking a nap. He then climbed onto the couch with it.

Tyler: “Abby Dabba have paci. Go sleep.”

Me: “You’re going to give Abby Dabba a paci so he can take a nap?”

After a few short moments of fiddling with the pacifier and with Abby Dabba, Tyler drops the pacifier onto the floor.

Tyler: “Abby Dabba no have a mouth.”

We’ve got company

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On the fourth day of our five day camping trip, my big brother and his two sons stopped up for the day. It was a nice treat, because Sarah, myself, and Tyler hadn’t seen them in a while. Here’s a quick rundown of the day, via pictures…

The very first picture I took on this day was taken just so I could dial in the manual settings on the camera. Upon later inspection, however, it was decided that I had to keep the picture. It seems that I have busted my big brother being a bad uncle. See for yourself. Here he is, giving Tyler a piece of gum. BUSTED!

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Later, Tyler and his cousin Shawn had fun drinking water directly from the spigot.

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Wait, see that bottle of water in the last pic? Directly above Tyler’s head? That’s Uncle Scott (my brother) pouring water on Tyler as he drinks the water. Always the practical joker, that one. Tyler didn’t seem to mind, though, if these pictures are any determining factor.

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Later, Tyler and Shawn took pictures together:

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Monkey see…

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Monkey do….

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Then, we went fishing. What do you think is going through Delilah’s mind here?

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Cousin Kevin caught a frog for Tyler and Shawn to touch!

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Later, just Shawn and I went fishing together.

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And even later than that, after our very welcome company and made the drive back home, we (my parents, Sarah, myself, Tyler, and Delilah) all went into town for some Dairy Queen. Even Delilah had an ice cream cone. Then, Sarah and Tyler sat on the edge of the lake for a moment.

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This was our last full day at the campground, and it was a very great day.

If you would like to see all of our camping pictures, they are here. Or you can view them one day at a time (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4). Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. This was Tyler’s first camping trip ever, and we all absolutely loved it.

I may or may not have one bonus story to share, but the memories of all the dialog have faded a bit. I’ll try to get it up, because it’s awesome, but we’ll see.

Swimming and snake wrangling

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You’ve already seen a glimpse of the third day of our camping trip on the last Wordless Wednesday post. Two very substantial things took place on this day, which I’d like to share with you now.

Early in the afternoon, while Tyler was napping, I took Delilah for a walk. She seemed pent up, so I wanted to take her to a secluded area where she could run free and burn up some energy. We had a great time walking running through the woods, and through the marsh (which I found purely by accident). I could have taken Delilah back to camp covered in mud. I actually wanted to, so I could show off the fun we had. The problem was that Delilah crashed into me while running around. This was while I was snapping off some landscape pictures. She knocked my foot off of the fallen tree that I had presently been perched upon. When said foot contacted the earth, it promptly sank eight inches into warm black mud. This, my dear friends, was unacceptable. Next stop, the lake.

I share a trait with Delilah in that neither of us can swim. I promise to write about my reasons later. Delilah just thrashes around. This day, our third day of camping, Delilah “got it” and simply started swimming.

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Later, my step-dad (Ganpa) and I had just finished a little fishing and were walking up a hill when he brought my attention to a snake slithering by. Minutes later, Ganpa was (nervously) driving us back to camp while I tightly gripped a thirty-six inch snake in my hands. I looked down to see blood on my hands. Resisting the urge to drop the snake, and likely cause Ganpa to send the truck careening into the lake, I carefully inspected my hands as the snake redoubled its efforts at escaping my grasp. I began to suspect that the snake was poisonous and had injected me with an anesthetic-like venom, because I didn’t feel any pain. Just as I processed that thought, the snake performed a barrel roll in my hands and I spotted a wound on its tail. It appears to have happened recently, but I know I didn’t do it, so I just made a mental note to scrub my hands later.

We arrived at camp seconds later, and I beckoned Tyler to me. Ganpa was able to get some video before his batteries died and caught me being an evil daddy by scaring Tyler with the snake.

In case you don’t have 2 minutes to spare to watch the video – really, you should watch the video – you can forward to the one minute mark to watch me scare Tyler with it.

Tyler helped me release the snake a few moments later.

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Tyler then decided to make like his daddy and set off chasing the snake. AND CAUGHT IT!

He held it up by it’s tail and said, “Lonnnng.”

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Then, he held it with both hands and STRETCHED it. I was preoccupied with laughing and taking pictures, so my mom (Gamma) had to tell Tyler it wasn’t nice to stretch a snake.

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For reasons unknown to all of us, Tyler then put the snake up to his neck like it was choking him.

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Afterward, Tyler set the snake free and we all went back to camp. The fearlessness of my son amazes me and warms my heart.