Sunday Jenn and Grace left with Pap Pap on Grace’s first international adventure…Ireland. It was complete with an overbooked flight that resulted in a late arrival, an extra day in Ireland, an awesome future credit and a trip-within-a-trip to New York.
While I was excited for them, I was also a little nervous because I knew this now meant I would be balancing the solo parenting / full time employee work life thing a little longer. If this goes bad, it could be a very long week. To be fair though, I did know that I would have some extra help from Grammy.
November is a month about being thankful (at least according to Facebook). So I am thankful that my bad hair gave me the chance to meet my wife, that adoption introduced me to two of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life and that I have had an opportunity to spend over a week one-on-one with Nolin (Grace, I am looking forward to our time in the near future).
On Sunday we dropped the three amigos off at the airport. As Jenn said goodbye to Nolin, we conveniently shuffled Pap Pap into the terminal without Nolin seeing. As we drove off, Nolin said Stop dad, you forgot Pap Pap! I took a deep breath in as I determined how to respond. I could either tell him the truth now and endure the backlash of leaving Pap Pap for the entire trip home, or I could tell a little white lie and hopefully redirect Nolin’s attention to something else until he forgot that Pap Pap, Mommy & Grace were gone.
Well Pap Pap went to Ireland with Mommy & Grace. Silence. Nolin pondered his reaction. I studied his face closely in the rear view mirror. I took a deep breath in and prepared to embrace the hurricane of tears I had just inevitably unleashed.
Oh…well that was really nice! And this would set the tone for our week together.
That afternoon we got home and went for a long bike ride, and then spent some time on the playground. Before we left Nolin wanted to race me around the perimeter of the soccer field…twice. He is his mother’s son.
Winded, tired, realizing that I still had to ride the bike back, and wanting to get home in time for Grammy’s Shepherd’s Pie, we made our way. As I put Nolin into the bike seat, I once again prepared for the meltdown…Thanks daddy, this is an awesome bike ride!
I didn’t want this perfect day to end, but it was time to say goodnight. We read stories, told jokes and got ready for bed. This was the moment I had really been dreading. Nolin’s sleeping has been inconsistent lately with him trying to get in bed with us a lot. The only problem is now, I would not have Jenn to share in the waking hours and I would still have to go to work in the morning.
We talked about it as he went to bed. That night I lay awake in bed waiting for Nolin’s arrival. I was greeted with an excited grin and huge smile as he announced…I slept in my bed all night…and I get a quarter! (OK, so a quarter is a small price to pay), this would be the trend for the rest of the week.
The week would consist of me and Nolin spending nights telling stories, creating new inside jokes and really just hanging out. It would also involve me trying to keep a house up and get him prepared for school. The first day of school, I had Nolin’s principal, teacher and a parent ask me how Daddy/Son week was going so far.
So apparently word is spreading. Great, now I have to worry about making sure that Nolin’s clothes match every day, that he has a well balanced lunch, and that he has everything he needs as not to give dads a bad name. At least this time I didn’t have to worry about leaving a child behind in the class and Nolin only seemed concerned with showing me around.
After a successful first few days, I thought maybe I should send him to school with a hot dog, a soda and some chips for lunch and then see if Jenn would hear about it. Needless to say I didn’t.
After a great week, I wanted to do something to celebrate. He has never actually watched a real movie. Not because we don’t want him watching TV, but honestly it just hasn’t happened. Jenn and I have talked and said that Finding Nemo would be a great first movie, so Saturday we watched it.
Jenn may kill me, because this blog may be the moment that she realizes that she was not part of Nolin’s first movie, but it wasn’t exactly the first movie experience that I thought it would be. Nolin quickly lost interest as soon as Nemo was separated from his dad.
He kept walking away from the TV and saying Daddy, we should just play together. It did also freak him out that bad decisions and running off would result in him losing us.
While I was not expecting Finding Nemo to be a horror movie, I didn’t exactly discourage this new line of thinking.
Saturday night Grammy babysat because I was playing out, so I was determined to make the most out of Sunday that I could with Nolin.
We woke up early and went for a run (while not really important, I just wanted to make sure that this was documented), and then we headed to the pool store. Nolin loves it because they give him popcorn when he walks in, they love him because he tells them the same jokes every week.
Next it was off to the science center. Nolin was a kid in a candy store. We only made it up to the second floor of exhibits. But he did see his second movie…Sea Monsters…after all it was a daddy/son weekend.
On our way home, I turned the radio off so that we could talk. Plus I don’t think I can listen to Six Weeks by Of Monsters & Men (aka The Marching Song) one more time. Nolin began singing a song to himself. I recognized the song and was trying to place it.
I have not written a new song in almost 10 years. Two months ago I wrote my first new song for Nolin & Grace. I tried to record it, but didn’t like how it turned out. Nolin walked in as I was listening to the recorded song trying to figure out what wasn’t working. Here he was two months later singing my song back to me. He will never know what that meant, and if I could have only recorded his version it would have been perfect.
After a cancelled flight and an extra day in Dublin, I think Jenn and Grace are coming home today…I am beyond excited. I am also sad. It is kind of like summer camp or a great vacation…you are thankful for the experience, but you know that you will never be able to recreate the same experience that you had and can only hope the next one is better…in its own way.
Either way, I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to Find Nolin.