Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Buddy, Part Two

Nine years ago today, my youngest was born. The boy who calls me lazy, who believes our dog hates me. (For the record, she doesn't.) I've never coached his brothers, but I do him, maybe not well, but I give it a shot.

He woke up today while I was leaving for work. He's been a bit under the weather and this morning he dragged out of bed and leaned against the wall outside his room.

"Happy birthday, buddy," I say.

"Thanks dad."

He doesn't insult me. Clearly he isn't feeling well.

I lean down and give him a quick hug.

"Happy birthday," I say, this time like I mean it. "You're a good kid."

"See you later," he says.

I leave, go to a couple meetings, work at home the rest of the day. He gets back from school and we're rushed like always. I jam some food down his throat, talk to my middle son about his homework and his soccer, listen to my oldest complain about his math ("Have you ever used quadratic equations at work? I didn't think so!"), get him ready for baseball.

At the game, after a shaky start, including a lot of batters walked by my kid and a brief argument over rules, things turn out well, with the good guys winning 14-9. The best part of the night is when a kid on the other team, one who's played the last few years with my youngest and Coach P.'s kid but this year is on a different team, hits a line drive shot to the outfield. At school he has some struggles, some learning disabilities, some physical disabilities. Boy, did he hit a rope tonight, though. Coach P. and I yell, "Nice hit!" and so do some of the other parents from our team, and those from his team of course, and he stands on first, beaming. When the game ends and we're shaking hands my youngest tells him "Way to go," and I'm proud of him.

So we win and my youngest asks to go out for a treat. It's his birthday and he's done the right things and even though I need the money for retirement, we go. A few of his buddies are there and, under a clear, cool sky they eat their ice cream and relive their games. I talk with their parents, and we hash through our days, and laugh about our kids, and later I think that without my youngest son my world would not be as full.


Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday to the youngest Snaglet!

It sounds like it was a nice night. What flavor of ice cream did you get, Snag? Frisbee Critter?

Chuckles said...

I think you are a bucoholic.

Snag said...

Chuckles, I'm glad you didn't spell that with two k's.

Jennifer, I had a buzzard blizzard.

Anonymous said...

Snaglet?! I love it!

(For the record, she doesn't.)

That's not what Katie told AG you black eye child abuser!