Seize the (Tues)day

As a working papa, I get exactly as much quality time with my son (no more, no less) as I can manage to wrestle away from the punishing weekday schedule. Never in my life has a diem been more worthy of carpe-ing than it is now that Greyson is a part of each and every one of them. And today was a perfect example of a day well seized.

From my perch in the bathroom this morning, while checking Facebook, I could hear my little man wake up and commence his morning gurglings at 6:35. I knew I had to jump in the shower no later than 7:45. That gave me 70 good minutes. Greyson greeted me with a mile-wide smile as I entered the bedroom and pried him from the tender grip of his relentlessly lovestruck mama. And then my little man and I got down to business.

I sing-songily changed his diaper, dressed him in shorts and a T-shirt, gave him some fitness time in the jumper while I checked my Twitter feed, picked him up once he grew tired of his Tigger-ing, collaborated with him on stacking some plastic toy cups, plopped him down next to me on the couch and read him a few books (my favorites are the ones about a papa bear and baby bear), put my shoes on and took him outside into the cool morning air, carried him in the crook of my arm as we walked around a nearby wooded trail (in what I like to call Greyson’s Glade), ventured down to the playground, pushed his blissed-out self in a baby swing for a while (he’s already a pro at this), carried him to the top of the jungle gym and slid down the slides with him in my lap (soaking my butt with morning dew in the process), and then sang him a few songs while we hiked back home to get ready for work. To describe this as 70 minutes well spent is a happy understatement.

After my work day I arrived home at 5:45, mowed half the lawn since Greyson was napping, and finally got to see his sweat-matted but beaming face when he woke up at 6:30 (note to self: I’d better bring up the A/C unit from the basement tonight). With bedtime looming at 8:00, I knew time was of the essence. Tonight’s pre-dinner activity of choice? A family run. But as Danielle had already worked (out) her tail off earlier, this time she opted to give us some papa/son bonding time. So I strapped Greyson into his state-of-the-art BOB jogging stroller (thanks, Art & Gayle) and headed out for a run in the once-again-cool evening air.

This was my first experience running with Greyson but without Danielle. I quite savored the challenge. I liked trying to maintain communication with my tiny barefoot passenger even though he couldn’t see me. (Even through his little sunroof, he would have to look straight up while I crane my neck to look down through.) But we have found that Greyson is perfectly content, a majority of the time, to just sit back and observe the sights and sounds and smells of the countryside. He is a consummate observer of the natural world.

He does like to hear our voices, though. So since I was running without my usual conversation cohort (Danielle and I talk and joke frequently while we run), I made sure to be as verbal with my little man as my still-a-bit-out-of-shape lungs would allow. I called out affectionate nuggets of reassurance — “We’re almost halfway home!” “You’re doing great, buddy!” “Look at the sheepies!” — and Greyson cooed and babbled in response. There is no sound as sweet as the sound of a baby talking. Words are overrated, as it turns out.

It bears mentioning that pushing 50 pounds of weight (between Greyson and his helpful vehicular friend BOB) makes running decidedly more arduous, particularly in the uphill direction. Danielle and I may not be gym members anymore, but we are no strangers to these Greyson-assisted resistance workouts. My, um, running joke is that if you like running but want to increase the difficulty level, all you have to do is follow this 3-step process: procreate, then wait 6 months, then put your baby in a jogging stroller. No sweat! (On second thought: YES SWEAT.)

I also savored the challenge of keeping the sun out of Greyson’s eyes. Even with the ample canopy provided by the stroller, the low-lying evening sun kept finding a way to sneak in. So at times I stood directly in front of or to the side of the stroller, pulling it along behind me, acting in a moon-like capacity to create a a kind of “paternal eclipse” effect. And I’m not going to lie — it makes a guy feel mildly heroic to shield his defenseless baby boy from the scorching ravages of the unforgiving sun.

It occurs to me that I could pretty easily spin my papa/son jogging stroller bonding experience into a microcosm of parenting. Something about gently pushing our children out in front of us in order to show them the world — not being able to maintain direct eye contact, but using our steering ability to guide them safely toward beauty and our anchoring voices to reassure them that they are loved and supported. I could easily do that. I’m a sucker for a nice, grandiose allegory.

But really, it was just a fun and well-seized day with Greyson. And that’s more than enough for me. T minus 6 hours until I get the chance to do it all over again.


5 thoughts on “Seize the (Tues)day

  1. Sounds like such a fun day of activity! Wish they could come up with jumpers for adults; I’d probably look pretty silly, but Tigger-ing would be enjoyable! Thanks for the vivid mental picture of this day in the Life of Papa. You’re a great one.


    • Thanks, my brother. I’ve learned from some of the very best, including you. And as for adult jumpers, let’s take the kids (minus Greyson for now) to Sky Zone again one of these days! We can act like it’s primarily for *their* enjoyment, but deep down we’ll know better.


    • The ravages of my wordplay are at times quite grizzly. I try not to maul the English language too much, but sometimes I should probably keep my paws off the puns.


  2. Another well-put rendering, Papa, that leaves me smiling! Keep creating these verbal sketches for us to joyfully revel in.


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