The Mayans were thankfully wrong. It really screwed me up too because I changed a bunch of work deadlines to after the Mayan Apocalypse and now I am scrambling to get the work I thought would not matter with the impending end of the world. Damn Mayans!!! I think a lot. I think too much. Everything in life has some value to me. Simple acts mean great things to my analytical mind. This year had many great moments and I want to share them. These are the moments that shined brightest in my mind in 2013.
In April I went to a Pirates game in Pittsburgh. I went with my wife, father in law, and daughter. When you think of baseball you think of warm weather and sunny skies. The day before this game there was snow on the ground and the day of the game was cold as a mild winters day with dark gray clouds and threatening rain. We were freezing in the bleachers but dammit I wanted to see my St Louis Cardinals. What made this day so special was my father in law got to take his grandgirl to a ball game. I could see the huge smile in his heart when he was walking her through the park. What meant even more to me was none of the group that went to that game would have gone were it not for my wish to see a game. They went for me. It was not way out the way to go for my father in law but he does run a business and his time is precious. The gesture of simply taking me to the game was not lost on me. My wife and daughter had a moment too. My wife does not get a lot of time with Emma and sometimes when they do Emma tests her and it stresses my wife. Women never want to feel like a second banana and my daughter knows how to do that to my wife. My daughter crawled up on my wife and slept for a couple of innings. It would have normally been my lap but not that day. Shannon was uncomfortable but she would not have given the moment up for anything. It was cold but my wife did not care because she was holding her little girl. We went on a day where kids could run the bases at the end of the game. My daughter mentioned she would get a trophy after running the bases. I told my father in law Joe that he would be a hero if her had a trophy for her. Joe had a trophy made with her name on it. As we waited to run the bases he kept telling Emma that girls could not run the bases but she proved him wrong and MLB bases are a great distance for a three year old to run. When Emma crossed home plate Joe gave her a trophy. She held it up like she won the World Series. Other kids looked at my daughters trophy envious and confused. Getting pictures of Emma, Joe, and Shannon on the field will forever be in my mind. I also surprised my wife with a message on the scoreboard that told her I loved her and Emma.
Another memorable moment was my daughter running a lemonade stand for Childrens Hospital of Kings Daughters. She was only three so I did not expect her to stay long. Once she got to the stand she kept it cleaned and organized and made a couple hundred dollars in just a couple hours. She made more in a couple hours than the stand made all weekend. She did not let any customers get by her and handled herself like a pro. I was in awe of her understanding of what she was doing and her focus to get a job done.
In November my daughter ran the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. It is a one mile race. I told her I did not care if she ran the whole thing as long as she finished it. The night before the run the four year old rode her bike 2 and half miles. I was optimistic that she would complete the run after such a big burst of energy a little over twelve ours before the start of the Trot. She woke up super early for the run as well as her Mommy and Grandparents. She never complained. As we lined up with hundreds of other runners she was giddy about getting the race on. When the race started she took off like a bolt of lightning. Every time. She ran nearly a half mile before taking a walking break. She did not walk for long because every time a kid tried to pass her she started running again. Most parents were encouraging their kids and a couple were berating them to motivate them. I will never understand negative motivation. We were about fifty yards from the finish line and she asked me to carry her. I put her up on my shoulders and started running with her on my shoulders. I reminded her I wanted her to run across the finish line and she promised me she would. I ran a very short distance with her on my shoulders when she asked what the big black inflatable was in the distance. I told her it was the finish line. She ripped her self from my shoulders and bolted for the finish line. People were cheering as she crossed the line. I was nearly in tears that we had done this run together. She is the greatest muse.
We had a trip to Disney in October that will to this day is the greatest vacation ever. This would be our first full week out of town in two years. Emma was mystified by the magic of the culmination of Walt’s ultimate dream. Once we arrived she immediately decided she wanted her picture taken with every single Princess in all four parks. One of the first ones she met was Cinderella. She spontaneously began dancing with Cinderella. It was a moment that stopped your heart. There were many memories from this trip but three stand out. The first was the total connection my wife and daughter made on the trip. Sometimes they but heads but this entire trip they were both in their private Neverland. They played and played and giggled. I was audience to the magic of a little girl bonding with her mommy. It was the single biggest moment that did not directly involve me of the year, true pure beauty. The next key memory was watching Emma get her Princess makeover. She was picked to have her makeover done in the window display in the front of the store for all to see. She had her own photographer. She morphed into an amazing princess before my eyes. Again tears threatened. She immediately walked in the princes parade. I could see the magic in her eyes. The last moment and my favorite moment of the year was our last night at the park. We stayed at the Magic Kingdom until nearly midnight. No one was in line for the Teacup ride and we rode it several times in a row. It was moments before closing and I told Emma she had forgot dinner and her mommy was going to get her some chicken tenders. I told her this would be our last ride because I needed her to eat. We sat near the Teacups eating. There was no more than three minutes left before closing when I leaned into Emma and said “Bonus Teacup Ride!!!” she ran like the wind to the ride and we had an unexpected final ride on the Teacup. To be able to surprise her with that last ride and watch her smile like the Cheshire Cat is a moment I will never forget.
The last moment ends where the first moment in this blog began, a baseball game. This game was in Washington DC. It was Emma and I only. She was so excited to get to the park. She played in the park playground immediately. It was brutal hot and drizzling nearly the entire game. She never complained. I watched her play in puddles and I could have cared less who was winning the game. While in our seats she noticed some Cardinals sighing autographs. She immediately flew down with her ball and pen to get some autographs. I learned no one will say anything to a then three year old squeezing her way to the front to get her autographs. It rained harder and we never left our seats. The Cardinals lost (my team) but I did not care because I had a private moment that no one could ever take from me.
Life is a series of moments. It is easy to miss the magic in a moment when you are too busy worrying about the things that don’t matter. When a magic moment occurs it happens quick and nearly never announces itself. Listen to the heartbeat of your life and you will see magic everyday. Happy Year of The Snake everyone. I enjoy you and I hope you enjoy yourselves.