Sometimes when I am bored (or get home late from a work event and cannot sleep because I fueled myself with caffeine all day), I look through my Instagram profile. I’m not really looking for anything, and I suppose I know exactly what’s going to be there, but there’s something appealing about scrolling through old-ish photographs. Last night, I went all the way back to the beginning. Since my mind was addled with the aforementioned stimulant, my mind started racing. No throwback pictures because well, these are all pretty much throwback pictures now.
June, 2011. This is the very first picture I ever posted to Instagram. Obviously, it’s a bad timing shot of Madison bombing off of the “soft playground” at Windward Mall. When we first started going there, I was hyper-aware of Madison’s location. I didn’t want her to get trampled by older kids. Now, she’s one of those older kids running around, jumping onto and off of things, and I have to remind her to be mindful of younger children. “But I wanna run, dad,” she’ll often say. I know, Mad.
July, 2011. Even though my overall artistic skills are severely limited, I still like to think of myself as a creative person. I write a bunch, I used to draw, and I’m slowly, like glacier-slow, coming around to figuring out how to use the expensive camera I bought myself. This picture’s always been a favorite of mine, taken in bed on a lazy summer morning. 2011 wasn’t all that long ago, but it was far away enough that Madison could still sleep in our bed, between Lynnette and I, without accidentally murdering us in her sleep. Madison moves around so damn much and while she is not powerful, her pointy elbows and knees can do damage to unsuspecting adult humans. Every single time she’s talked her way into sleeping with us, she’s unleashed a fury of blows that would all earn her technical fouls on a basketball court and straight up knockouts in the ring or octagon.
July, 2011. Maybe it’s because we don’t take Abby out enough, but she still gets jittery during car rides. She makes this whimpering noise that can range from “mild annoyance” to “headache inducing” to “tie her down to the roof.” When Abby was rocking this cone, I could almost sense her irritation as she could not do the things she always did the normal way. She had trouble mounting the top of the couch, so she cruised on the floor. Whenever she drank from her water bowl, her cone would be a mess. Abby’s replaced Madison in bed. She sleeps either at the foot of the bed or curled in Lynnette’s tummy when she’s in the fetal position. She still takes spite dumps on the carpet when we’re out of the house for too long. But even I have to admit, she’s perfect for our family.
October, 2011. This past weekend Madison saw a shoe she liked. It was a Jordan high-top in bright pink and gray. She tried them on. “You look like John Cena,” I said. “They’re a little tight,” she said. I bent down to check where her toe was. “You’ve got enough room in the front,” I said. “No, no, it’s tight on the sides,” she said. I pinched the sides of the shoe where the balls of her feet were. Sure enough, I could feel them pushing against the sides of the shoe. The inward sides slightly muffined out over the midsole. She has my feet. She’s destined to wear flat sandals and find that the sides of her feet might often graze the ground below.
October 2011. It might be too early to tell, but I have a distinct feeling that I may have made a slight miscalculation as a father. Madison dressed as Cinderella during this particular Halloween, and we had a small party with both sides of grandparents invited. I can’t remember what prompted Madison to make this face, but when I saw it, I asked her to do it again so that I may take a picture. Fast-forward to 2014, and my daughter is a character. Who knows? Should Madison continue on her current trajectory and into full clowndom, will I look back at this picture and wonder if this was the ground zero for it all? She tells knock-knock jokes that feature some of the worst puns I’ve ever heard (Knock-knock. Who’s there? Chee. Chee who? CHEE HUUUU!), and damn it, I am proud of her.
February, 2012. I still don’t know what’s going on here. I think I took this picture as a representation of what life in our home is like. It’s just bodies all over the place, man. Madison was still in her budding music producer phase – she’s since moved on to destroying eardrums with her xylophone – Lynnette was engaged in some kind of tomfoolery with Abby. This is real life. I’ve read variations on this theme: happiness never lasts; life is suffering intermittently broken up by fleeting moments of happiness; nothing gold can stay. I understand how those concepts are true. In my very ordinary life, the highs don’t come true frequently. I think that’s why you have to try to find the beauty in even the most trivial of things. Of course that’s super-lame, but that’s why I’ll always begrudgingly admire the movie Click. Yeah, there’s tons of boring stuff I’d like to plow through. Work. Standing in lines. Traffic. Musicals. But all that minutiae is the most of life. Might as well make the most of it.
April, 2012. Madison’s favorite fish is the Humu. It was the first fish she was able to distinguish by sight. Every time she sees a Humu, see (or I) shout “Humu!” Our favorite Humu lives in the water surrounding the Blaisdell Center. Whenever Lynnette brings us along on an Expo, Madison and I must look for Humu first. Our little Blaisdell Humu is very much a swimmer. He just runs circles around the pool. He looks so happy just to putz around, and Madison and I gladly walk along the railing to trail him as long as we can. Madison always, always, always says goodbye.
May, 2012. Last night I returned home from the Open House after 9 PM. I have this thing where I must unwind before I am able to fall asleep. I spent about an hour writing Brent Limos jokes, writing nonsense on Twitter, and reading comments on the Yankees signing of Tanaka. Apparently, the Evil Empire is back. I went to sleep around 11 PM and had the most disturbing dream I have ever experienced. I don’t want to even attempt relaying the dream, but the main premise is that I was set up in the murder Shawn Michaels. Yes, that Shawn Michaels. A few of my high school friends were in the dream in various roles of importance. What shocked me wasn’t the content so much as the way the dream played out. The two following things are true about nearly all of my dreams: 1) there is no real plot or sequence of events, 2) at some point during the dream, I come to the realization that I am dreaming. Last night, my brain somehow set the dream up as one long narrative, something I had never experienced before. Additionally, I never came to the understanding that I was dreaming. In fact, the only thing I remember being even the slightest bit curious was the fact that I had been out partying all night and had not called Lynnette despite the fact that I awoke the next morning at 6 AM. Even in my dreams I know to call home.
Anyway, I woke up, used the bathroom, then sat on the edge of the bed in silence. I tried to make sense of what the hell just happened. It wasn’t the “realest” dream I ever had, but it was the most unusual. “What’s wrong?” Lynnette asked. I thought she was sleeping. I explained the dream – in even less detail than I did here – and we ended up talking story – just trivial stuff – for half-an-hour. It was 2 AM. And then – I don’t know how I even thought of this – I said “You know, other than a few handshakes and fist bumps, I don’t think I’ve made physical contact with anyone today.” She shimmied over to my side of the bed and put her hand on the back of me neck. I felt so much better. She didn’t mind at all that I ruined her night of sleep. All this and looks, too.