Monthly Archives: April 2015

Et Tu, Clock Daddy

This morning, my sweet six-year-old daughter missed the bus.

In and of itself that isn’t a big deal, but when taken in conjunction with several other factors, it managed to transform itself into the catalyst that has ultimately led me into a deep sense of melancholy today.

You see, it actually started three weeks ago. That was when my beautiful wife, who for the last sixteen years has chosen to stay home and raise our kids, succumbed to the financial pressure of life and got a job. Now don’t get me wrong, for all intents and purposes, it’s a great job. She only has to work five hours a day, four days a week. She’s there when the kids leave in the morning and she’s there when they get home from school. And to make it even better, she gets all school holidays and the summers off as well. Plus, I haven’t even mentioned how our older children will get to take up to six hours of college classes free of charge because she now works for the local community college. I mean, it really is a sweet gig.

However, there are so many symbolic things about her taking that job that are hard for me to accept. But I digress.

Because my wife is now working, it was easier for me this morning to be the one to take my daughter to school. When I dropped her off, she had a fairly long walk to the entrance, so I pulled away from the drop-off point and found a safe place a little ways down the road where I could watch her make her way toward the entrance. I don’t know why, I just did. And it made me sad.

She looked too small to be walking by herself into the dangerous world I know a schoolyard can be. I wanted to get out and hug her, put her back in the truck and take her home. It was clear that she needed protection. It was clear that she needed her dad.

Except, she didn’t.

And when it comes to walking solo into a schoolyard, she never will again.

Now this reaction may seem extreme, but let me provide some other extenuating circumstances:

  • One, my oldest daughter turned 16 today. There are so many things to say, and yet, where could I possibly begin?
  • Two, my back hurts. And my knee hurts. And while neither predicament is particularly debilitating, the truth is, neither one is likely to stop hurting anytime soon. If I am to believe some individuals, the harsh reality is that they may never stop hurting. Apparently it is related to something called “being over 40.” Well, if that’s the case, let it be known that “being over 40” sucks. I’m not sure anyone else knew that, so I’m just passing it on.
  • Three, my baby isn’t a baby anymore. My youngest is now a precocious 19-month-old and can tell me when she wants to dance, (her personal favorite dancing tune is Back in Black by AC/DC, much to her mother’s dismay) when she wants a bottle, and can personally throw her own wet diapers away without assistance. And just this week, she started calling Mickey Mouse by his correct name instead of Pickey. I miss hearing her say Pickey. It was adorable. And now it’s gone. Just like when my older son used to run in circles with his cowboy hat on sideways because it looked like a musketeer hat that way, or when my younger son would call hamburgers, hangaburs. Special memories that will never be duplicated and will never return.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many wonderful things about seeing my children grow and the things they accomplish. I am in awe of my son’s abilities on the piano. I love to watch age appropriate movies and television shows with my older kids. The list could go on and on.

But just once, I wish I could turn back the clock and hold them as infants one more time. Or hear them say the cute things that once used to warm my heart. Or maybe, just maybe, have them see me for one last moment as the all-knowing giant of a man who can cure any ailment and protect them from everything scary in the world.

Because you see, those are the things that not even eternity can offer. At least not as far as I can tell. And on a day when my oldest baby speeds past one more milestone on the highway to adulthood, that sobering thought makes me a little sad.

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An Open Letter To All Current and Prospective Presidential Candidates

Dear Hillary, Ted, Rand, Jeb, Marco, et. al.

SLOW DOWN!!!

I wanted to be certain before I possibly got ahead of myself so I double checked my calendar and…sure enough, it is only April 2015. Midterm elections were held less than six months ago and new office holders haven’t been in place long enough to figure out which bathroom stall is their preferred sanctuary. All of which means one thing. It is too @*$& @*#$&@! early to be thinking about the presidential election of 2016!!!

Now I realize that Fox News and MSNBC have precious little to say in these months following an election (and will have even less to say once the dog days of summer kick in) but don’t let their siren calls dictate your time-line. I’m telling you this for your own good. I, like every other American, may love everything about you as a presidential candidate. But subject me to your smarmy pandering mugs for more than a year and a half and I will despise the very thought of you come election day 2016. I promise I will. And so will everyone else.

I mean really! You Republicans should know better than this. Didn’t the 826 debates you all took part in four years ago not help you realize that less is more and more is just plain suicide? From all that I have read about the HBO drama Game of Thrones, I don’t believe it is a tough stretch to say that the primary cycle four years ago could be compared to watching multiple seasons of that gore fest back to back to back just for the sick pleasure of seeing which Republican candidate would be subjected to a grisly death that week. (Rick Perry having his head caved in right after he suggested that not providing in-state tuition to children of illegals would be heartless, Herman Cain having his appendages tied to four horses and being ripped apart as he screamed, “The 9,9,9 plan will work, I promise.”, or seeing Jon Huntsman’s head explode every time Ron Paul began to speak…oh wait, I think that last one actually happened.)

Meanwhile, on the other side, I am befuddled as to what you are thinking, Hillary. Nobody is running against you. NOBODY!!! Furthermore, you are still dealing with an e-mail scandal, and if that wasn’t enough, now there is this new book suggesting you provided favors to foreign interests that donated to you. (Gee, where have we heard allegations like that regarding a Clinton before???) Let all that stuff die down. Take a low profile for a bit. But NOOOOOO!!! Instead you choose to announce your candidacy like we all didn’t know you were going to run. So now we get to be subjected to that cackle of yours non-stop for not one but two growing seasons here in the agricultural heartland of America. THANKS!!!

I have to admit, I am not surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. I had hoped for better but had a good idea my hopes would be crushed upon the brutal rocks of narcissism and whoring fund-raising. (Actually, these last three sentences could be cut and pasted elsewhere, minus the fund-raising part, to sum up my feelings about a Ted Cruz candidacy as well.) But I am going to put this out there for any other prospective candidates who might be weighing when to jump into the fray. I, Ryan Rapier, will grant my vote to any person who waits until after Christmas to officially start their campaign.*

There, it has been offered. I don’t expect any politician to accept it, but I had to try. I mean don’t we all deserve just a little break? I know I could sure use one.

*This offer excludes Elizabeth Warren. I mean, c’mon. That woman is bat-crap crazy.

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