Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Was Your Best Day?

     What was your best day?  This question was asked of me recently, and its one of those queries that you have to think about for a moment or two.  Could it be sitting on a river bank in the cool shade on a mid summers day? Maybe.  Could it be the day that the miracle of life blessed your family?  Maybe.  Could it be the day you said, "I do" to your soul mate?  Maybe.  How about the very day that you entered this world, and set into motion the events that would be a life.  Could be?  It's different for everyone, and it's hard to settle on just one.  In fact once I really began to do some deep thinking on this question I couldn't narrow it down to one day.  I decided to break it down into three days, and that was difficult.  Three days chosen from a life that has been lived to the fullest.  Tough, huh?  I have been extremely fortunate in my life to have experienced different stages of happiness with different people that I care about.  Some of these people have left this plane of existence, but are forever in my heart.  My best day?  Well, here's three.  One from my youth, one from my early days of marriage, and one with my little miracles involved.  It was actually a very fulfilling exercise to look back at happiness and good days.  I would recommend it, highly.
     When I was growing up my family was not your run of the mill bunch.  We were a little different than the rest.  It surely wasn't "Leave it to Beaver" or "Ozzie and Harriet" at Frank and Patsy's place.  My parents were, quite possibly, two of the greatest influences on my life, and that is as it should be.  It was extremely rare for all of us to get together, extended family and all, but it happened normally on some type of holiday.  Funny thing about this day, I know it was a holiday, but I can't remember which one it was.  Probably Thanksgiving, but I'm not positive on that.  I remember that my mother had given me control of her camera on this day.  I was probably 10, maybe 11, and I was running around the house with this antique camera with one of those flashes on top that was disposable.  You had to actually put film in the camera.  The horror!  I remember very well all the men went outside to talk about football, politics, or that new fangled microwave oven.  "That thing can cook a hot dog in under a minute!?!?!"  While the men were outside, the women were inside doing what it is that women do, "Take care of absolutely everything.....food, dishes, seating arrangements, entertainment,...Heck, you name it.  They did it."  Let me tell you one thing, I've had my run as a Mr. Mom and I don't know how they did it.  That's a fact.  They took care of everything and everyone, and did it all with a smile on their face.  The smell coming from inside was absolutely intoxicating.  Turkey and Dressing, casseroles from everywhere in the world it seemed, and desserts....Oh my goodness!  The eating alone was worth attendance.  However, that is not why this day made my list.  This day made my list, because of who was there.  Many of these fine people are no longer with us, and the world is just not the same without them in it.  This is life, but it still is one of those bittersweet things that has some serious nostalgia attached to it.  My mother, my father, my dear "Granny," aunts, uncles, and friends of the family are no longer with us in the flesh, but just the fact that I'm writing this proves that the spirit is eternal.  I picked this day, because I would like to see it again.  I look back at all those pictures I took that day, and I can feel the love, taste the food, and reminisce about the way it was, and dream that it can be that way again.  That was a good day.  To quote Bruce Springsteen, "Nothing feels better than blood on blood."
     If you're picking a "best day" it should include your better half, and it better include her if you know what's good for you!  I've had plenty of awesome days over my nearly 16 years of marriage, and to narrow it down is difficult to say the least.  I went back to a time when it was just the two of us.  Before car pool lines at elementary schools, day cares, diapers, baseball practice, dentists, gymnastics, birthday parties, and all that stuff that comes along with children.  It was just us.  We were sitting on a beach in Florida.  Ft. Walton Beach, Florida to be exact.  The day was perfect, and the company wasn't too bad either!  I remember distinctly how lucky I felt as I was sitting in my free beach chair (I used my skills as a master of rhetoric to obtain a free beach chair for the day.  The Beach Chair guy was really cool.  I've often wanted a job like that....another story for another time.)  I sat on my gifted chair, and watched my lovely wife attempting to feed seagulls.  She walked up and down the beautiful shore of white sand with emerald green water crashing over it, and right in front of her was a seagull walking with legs all aflutter.  It was a beautiful sight.  Not much excitement, not much activity.  Just happiness, and an absolute contentment with where I was in life and who I was with.  It feels good, really good when you're with the one you love.  Heck, we could have been on the surface of Mars it wouldn't have mattered.  Well, maybe the atmospheric pressure and the poisonous gases that would have killed us may have cramped our style, but the point is....I'm a lucky guy.  Lady Luck was on my side when I met that doctoral student from Wisconsin in Fultondale City Court way back when.  I've never considered myself too terribly lucky when it came to mundane stuff like money, status, and stuff of the like, but when it comes to the things that really matter, I've done pretty good.
     Two dates changed everything.  The first was May 12, 2003, and the second October 31, 2008.  Destiny happened on these days.  My children were born on those two days respectively.  The entire script was flipped when the children came into the mix.  Almost 11 years ago I was a Police Sergeant doing my thing, and Cheryl told me she was pregnant.  Not a surprise, since I do know where babies come from, but a game changer to be sure.  Flash Forward to present day, and the world has been turned upside down.  I'm the "Uber Dad" in addition to being a soon to be 42 year old Graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  You know what?  I wouldn't change a thing.  I love those kids more than anything I've ever loved in my life.  I would willingly give my last breath to see them happy and safe.  What was the best day I ever spent with my wife and kids?  Every single day.  I count them all.  Good and Bad.  Hard and Easy.  Happy and Sad.  I get to be a dad to the two most wonderful kids on God's green earth, and husband to the best gal around.  Every day should be a party!  It's not, but it should be.  I did say in the paragraphs above that I picked a day, so I will.  It was Labor Day I think a few years ago.  It was hot.  Really hot.  The natives were growing restless around the house, and we decided to go up to the Mount Olive Community Center to play kick ball.  Yep, kick ball.  We went up there and sweated our butts off, and played kick ball...on Labor Day.  Most folks would have thought we were absolutely crazy, and we probably were.  The moral to this whole story is:  It just doesn't matter what we do.  As long as we're together all is well in the world.  These wonderful human beings that I share my life with are without a doubt the reason that I'm here.  No question about it.  I don't care what my job is.  I don't care how much money I make.  I don't care what I look like....well that's not 100 percent accurate, because I like to look good.....sorry, I digress.  I am truly amazed that I have been fortunate enough to do what I do everyday, and the people I get to spend time with are the best around.  That my friend, is a fact.  Write it down.  I'm the luckiest man alive.  Sorry Lou Gehrig, but I got this.