The Fabulous Freebirds were a wrestling stable that gained fame in the early 1980s. The original lineup featured Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts. The Freebirds fought as individuals and as a tag team. Their lasting legacy is the “Freebird Rule”, a provision that allows for any two-man iteration of the group to wrestle as a tag team. New Day, the current WWE Tag Team Heavyweight Champions are a three-man group which often defends their titles while utilizing the Freebird Rule.
Similarly (OK, that’s a reach), my family can be broken up into various incarnations, depending on who’s available, who’s at work, and what time of year it is. Clearly, the best and strongest version of our stable is the Full Fam, but that’s too obvious. What follows are the main variations of our family.
Adults Only. Very rarely, Lynnette and I get some time alone, away from the three kids. Sometimes this means we get a date night. Recently, it meant our friends’ wedding. Most often, though, it means 11:00 PM when the kids are asleep. I then pick up Abby and drop her outside the bedroom door and close it behind me. I turn the AC on and pray for magic. And this scenario can only play out in one of two ways:
Lynnette: Good night, Phil.
Lynnette: Hurry up already, make it quick.
The OG 3 (plus Abby). Every once in a while, one set of grandparents will take the twins away from us, leaving the adults and Madison alone to pursue some adventure which might be precluded by the presence of the twins. This might involve a hike or a beach other than Ko’olina. Lynnette and I do try to make some time for Madison because she’s mostly a great big sister and we don’t want her to get lost in the shuffle of managing two 7-month old psychopaths. Most recently Matty and I took turns tossing her around at the beach like we were orca and she was a seal. It probably kind of looked like that too, sadly.
Just the Kids. Now, I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way this group really exists because that would mean neither you nor Lynnette are around, Phil. Well. Let me tell you. This group has existed exactly two times – both this summer. The formation of this group is usually preceded by a lunch run to the nearest McDonald’s drive-thru. The twins were sleeping both times, and I gave Madison strict instructions not to answer the phone or door, not to use any appliances, to remain in the center of our man-made lagoon, and to pee before I leave. Look at them. So cute.
The Higa Girls’ Club. This is the second-longest running group in the family. The second Madison was born, the Higa Girls’ Club was founded by Lynnette and her clone offspring. They soon added Abby to the fold and remained as such in the November of last year. Avery’s arrival tipped the scales in the girls’ favor after equality existed for a mere 18 hours. This is my least favorite group because it is the only group that currently spends time and money coming up with matching outfits. I haven’t decided if Cole and I are going to be one of those father/son combos that rock aloha shirts from Sears yet. It might be in the works.
The Higa Boys’ Club (AKA Bullet Club). Now that I think about it, Cole and I will probably end up wearing matching dry-fit t-shirts in the next Christmas card. I can’t help it. It’s my generation’s version of those horrid Bike shorts that my dad and all of his coaching friends wore in the ’90s. Besides, the dry-fit is functional. I sweat a lot and Cole’s drool game is off the proverbial chain. The Higa Boys Club does cool guy things like laying around the living room shirtless and shortless. It gets pretty hot in the Mill.
Team Gamechanger. They’re only 7 months old and their collective list of accomplishments is pretty distinguished. They’ve annihilated the computer room/my office; necessitated the purchase of a van; made me breakdown in tears in the middle of my work day; required Madison and me to create makeshift walls every single day; unleashed the hipster parent in Lynnette that she always wanted to be. That’s pretty impressive.
Summer Squad. This is what the summer of 2016 looks like. My favorite part is when I finally get Avery and Cole to nap at the same time but then Abby starts barking at something outside for no reason and wakes one of both of the twins up. Whenever that happens, I have to fight the urge to run to the computer, open up Microsoft Word, and type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over and over and over. It’s not all bad. Madison’s a pretty big help and we can run errands, but I’m not too keen on taking the Summer Squad past Aiea or Wahiawa. There are too many moving parts; too many things can go wrong. The best part of the day is when Lynnette gets home. Not only do we then become the Full Fam, but Madison and I can exhale and take a few minutes to not watch the twins obsessively.
Bad Choices, Inc. Bad choices include: talking back to parents, peeing on the carpet, planting turds on the carpet, completing homework incorrectly or messily, barking at no one and waking up the twins, playing videos on the iPad loud enough to wake the twins, licking the twins in the face, digging rubbish out of the trash, ignoring direct orders from adults, and taking an hour to eat dinner.
The Home Team. Abby very rarely goes on the road with the fam. Perhaps this is why the bad choices.