I never really got into soap operas. For one, they air at a time slot when I am rarely watching tv, and then there's the fact that the story lines and acting never really appealed to me. My only exposure to soap operas was when I was home sick (and you had to really be sick to get to stay home in my house growing up) or whatever I saw on the cover of a magazine in a checkout line. That said, the constantly changing vignette style of the soap opera isn't a bad metaphor for my summer schedule. There is the family breakfast and morning chores vignette, followed by a drive in the car, followed by the children at swim practice vignette, followed by a drive in the car, followed by anything from "run errands" to "do laundry at home" to "Penn State" (for any number of reasons), followed by another drive in the car and kids to grandma's and me to work, followed by another drive in the car, then the family dinner vignette, an evening activity which requires more driving about 50% of the time, and finally, the put everyone to bed vignette, followed by adult interaction, and finally, the pass out cold in bed scene. It's been fun, a little heavy on gas usage, and actually rather satisfying. After three semesters of feeling pulled between school, kids, and work (pretty much in that order), it's nice to only feel pulled between kids and work--and because Gaye is so great about watching the kids, and because a long day at work is only 4 hours--not really feeling that pulled. We're getting scouting done, the kids are getting excercise, the family is getting our scripture study and family prayer in there, and we're nearly caught up on the dishes. So life feels kind of soap opera-ish, cutting to different camera angles and different backdrops frequently--except the scenery isn't fake, the tans on the kids are real (and there are no tans on the grownups--I burn. I hide in the shade unless I'm timing at a meet.), and the only dog hasn't been groomed in a month. Oh, and the carpet. The gross, icky, carpet. Oh, well. I guess you knew I wasn't going to take the soap opera metaphor too far.
So we just had Father's day. It was low key in this house. It's always low key. Gaye took us all out to a great dinner at Applebee's, and we all gave Chris cards. Gaye bought Chris a little helicopter. I gave him free kisses. It was good.
Tonight is an ordinary Tuesday and Chris is coaching Max through his monologue for tomorrow's summer theatre audition. Max is already in the program, and they have already offered him a full scholarship, but the performance has not been cast yet, so tomorrow are auditions for that. I am sitting in another room listening to Max and Chris talk, their voices rising and falling. Max has a deeper voice now. Sometimes this year if I was working at my desk and he came down the basement stairs and make a noise it would startle me. He would make "strange man" noises. The noises of a man I didn't know. It would about put me out of my skin, honestly. Gradually, I got used to his man-noises. I recognize them now as him. But I . . . it saddens me that I can't remember his boy voice anymore. I don't have that kind of memory. I recall the gist of things, the big picture, the message--I'm not good at word-for-word, or what color it was, or exactly how it sounded. So I keep listening to my man-cub talking, hearing that it is still a little strange to me (for one, I think it keeps changing little by little as he keeps stretching for his father's height, little by little), but unable to put my finger on exactly how it is different.
Chris on the other hand, Chris sounds as he has sounded for over 20 years. We're a couple weeks away from our fifteenth anniversary and I am grateful to him for all the ways he has changed and most of the ways he has not. I am grateful for his metamorphosis into a complete hands-on Dad. I am grateful for his willingness to first, follow me on a journey of Faith, and then to take the lead. I am grateful that everyday he goes to a job that, as the Dirty Jobs guy says, he is not passionate about, but to which he brings his passion for life, anyway. It makes him good at what he does, and with that I can pay the mortgage, which is way more important than I thought it was 20 years ago.
Right now he is making Gorilla noises. It's part of the monologue. I smile. He made me laugh out loud when I was 15. He is still making me laugh 27 years later. I am grateful for that, too.