Happy 3rd Birthday, Abby!

Whenever I think about faculty meetings, my thoughts usually wander to the worst-case scenario version of them. I think of two-hour international snooze fests during which my mind is alternately transported to a place far away and torn into a thousand-billion tiny pieces, then put back together in a haphazard fashion. And then I imagine having to drive home in traffic as a 40-minute long podcast falls short of getting me home by 20 minutes. Luckily, none of that happened yesterday. The faculty meeting was brisk, traffic was not horrible, and I was entertained for the duration of the ride. I stopped by the Big School to pick Mad up.

She would have made both Alden and Matthew Higa very proud.

She would have made both Alden and Matthew Higa very proud.

Madison’s been struggling in the morning. Aside from having difficulty getting up, she’s been clingy and teary when Lynnette drops her off in the morning. My phone rang yesterday morning. It was Lynnette. I could hear Madison crying in the background. I tried to talk to her, but I don’t think she could hear me over her own words which were punctuated with those gasps for air mid-cry.

When I got to her school in the afternoon, I sat her down before heading out to the car. “I heard you cried again this morning,” I said. “Yeah,” she said. “I just get nervous and I want to stay with you and mom and I want it to be summer all the time.” “Me, too,” I said. “But if you keep crying in the morning, mom’s going to be late to work, and she’s going to get in trouble. Do you want mom to get in trouble?” There was a brief pause. “No,” she said. “Then you have to let her go,” I said. “No more crying, okay?” “Okay, dad,” she said.

I went on to explain to her that if mom loses her job, we won’t have enough money to go on a trip. “I think you and mom should get all your money and put it together to sort it,” she said. “Oh yeah?” I said. “Yeah, I have plenty monies in my Tinkerbell bank. You can use that for a trip,” she said.

Now, I realized this is a guilt trip, but maybe it worked because she didn’t cry this morning. Maybe my explanation was a little dramatic and oversimplified, but it wasn’t a lie. I have a clear conscience.

Woman holding cheeseburger is just one of my personal definitions of sexy.

Woman holding cheeseburger is just one of my personal definitions of sexy.

Madison had dance class yesterday so I dropped her off and had planned to walk around Costco for an hour before picking her up. I ran into a old friend, however, and ended up talking to her for 30 minutes. It was a awesome catching up and I enjoyed meeting her children, but perhaps the single greatest benefit of this conversation was the fact that it prevented me from buying anything.

We had a dinner date of sorts at the Mauka McDonald’s. I think the longer days of school is stretching her appetite out. There is also probably some tie to the fact that she doesn’t have “dessert” every 40 minutes. Well, whatever it is, she’s been destroying her meals at a pace previously unseen. She’s even asked for more dinner twice this week! Unbelievable. The best was when she finished her dinner except for a small mound of rice. She forgot to take her plate to the sink. Twenty minutes or so later when I got around to doing the dishes, Lynnette told Mad to deliver her plate to me. She went to the table, and then decided she wasn’t done. She shoveled that mound of rice into her mouth, then brought me the dish. Lynnette and I were astonished. What the hell is going on here?

Madison ate her four nuggets, all her fries, and every apple slice that came in her Happy Meal. She was nearly finished by the time Lynnette joined us. Lynnette had an extra stop after work and it worked out perfectly because she arrived only ten minutes after we did. Then we all went home to celebrate Abby’s 3rd birthday.

Everybody's happy!

Everybody’s happy!

Because Lynnette is Filipino and therefore is hardwired to look for any reason to celebrate and/or throw a party, she saw Abby’s birthday coming up on the horizon long before I did. We purchased a lei made out of peanut butter dog treats at the Made in Hawaii Festival for this occasion.

By the time we made it home from McDonald’s, the sky was already a dark shade of blue and Abby was at the top of the stairs doing involuntary propeller spins because she was so excited. “Happy birthday, Abby!” Lynnette shouted from the bottom of the stairs. The echo probably shaved a couple of years of hearing off my ears.

As always, we set ourselves on the island in the kitchen and set up the camera with the automatic timer on the dining table. We didn’t have time for a cake or doggie cupcake this year, but the way Abby inhaled her treat, I don’t think she cared. To my surprise, she did not make a serious effort to eat the lei as she was wearing it, but maybe – like her sister and mother – she really just likes accessories and decided against it.

Abby is now three, and if she hits up a doggie bar this weekend, she can have a drink legally. I just hope I don’t see pictures of a turnt up Abby appearing on her doggie Facebook, or videos on her puppy Instagram. Most of all though, I hope I don’t get a phone call at 2 in the morning with a hammered Abby panting on the other end. “Ummm, dad?” “Mmm,” I will reply. “I can’t run home,” Abby will say. “What? Why? What time is it?” I will say. “Can you just come pick me up?” Abby will say. I will hand poke my phone at Lynnette until she wakes up and then say “It’s your dog.”

Happy birthday, Abby!


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