It's midnight, Sunday morning, well before the rise of intelligence when we take to the highway for the Annual Celebrate Our Dads Roadshow.
I'm under the weather, full of popcorn, thanks, Jan, (And thanks, Publix for running that buy one get one on the kernel jars, score!), and ready to drop my shot of NyQuil like it's last call. (Lime chasers optional. But yummy!) And I have nothing to post for Father's Day.
Or do I? The Spin isn't due until Friday. And John's Father's Day is next Sunday when we celebrate him and only him. By taking the kid to see Toy Story 3. (Yeeaahh, I can see how he's getting the bum steer in this one, but if I just talk him into thinking it was his idea, we should be okay.)
Therefore, I will force upon you the Father's Day post I wrote last year, something that still holds true, especially to the little girl that stole my man's heart. (It's okay. I know where she lives. And I have 15 more years to get her back. I'll think of something, I'm sure.)
Before I start the re-run, which may or may not have a commercial, their check hasn't cleared yet, I just want to wish all the dads out there a very happy Father's Day.
He was home. His business trip was finally over.
I hung up with him as I turned into the airport's entrance.
"Okay, Sprite. Daddy's here. Wanna go get Daddy?"
I peeked at the rear view mirror and saw her staring dimly at the DVD player. It was late, too far past her bedtime, way too far past her logic's threshold. We were both running on fumes by now and I had the feeling that I could have dangled the Princesses in front of her face and her reaction would have stayed the same.
Once we parked, the tired child immediately demanded a ride in my arms as we steered toward Baggage Claim.
I looked around, slowing my steps down, trying to peer through the throng of people congregated around the only working carousel. "I wonder where Daddy is." Sprite's head stayed glued to my shoulder, not interested in my one-sided conversation.
Then she heard it. A whistle coming from about 100 feet ahead of us. She straightened and looked into my eyes. "Daddy?" Her voice sounded hopeful after a week of only seeing him through the computer camera.
The whistle sounded again. This time, I spotted him in the crowd. Stopping, I put her down and pointed him out to her.
She had spotted him. Forgetting about the distance and the people she would have to navigate to get to him, she bolted.
He leaned down, his arms opening wide while I fumbled for my camera to try to capture the moment they made contact with each other. I didn't quite get what I wanted.
I watched them embrace and heard her scream with excitement and him exclaim over her dress and her hair, compliments he knew she wanted to hear, the musical voice he knew she loved. He pulled a Belle doll out of his carry-on bag to present to her, but the doll played second fiddle to him. She was much more interested in him.
I walked over to the two of them lost in their greeting, one spilling over with words she didn't quite understand to fill him in on everything he had missed in her week, and the other studying her closely for any signs of change that may have possibly happened while he was away.
Reaching them, I stole a kiss for myself, happy that my partner was back, my co-pilot in parenthood. We secured his luggage and walked out of the airport quickly, as if that would expedite our return to normal, at least the normal we knew.
A few moments later, I realized they had stopped. I turned around and caught them still chatting and soaking up each other's essence. This time, my camera captured exactly what I wanted to see.
Only he can make her smile like that. And only she can make him smile like that.
Happy Father's Day, John. Sprite and I love you very much.
And a happy Father's Day to everyone else out there too, especially if you can make your kids smile just by coming home.