Heads up! We’re out here on the driveway. All responsibilities have concluded. And once again, a tennis ball soars over my head. We’re playing “Butts Up”. The ball gets caught with two hands by the seven year old rookie straight out of South Orange County. He winds up and throws it in; low off the garage door for a quick hopping gopher killer. I’m in perfect position to scoop it up and make the throw. Except…I’m two short tumblers into my Dad-duty-wind-down (bourbon whiskeys). The tennis ball hits my fingertips and passes by me for a slow-bleeding-driveway-dribbler. I turn and hustle for the garage door. I have two outs. The Rook makes a one handed grab and throws a weird looking sidearm slinger. The ball hits the garage door before I can tag it. “Yeah! That’s three outs! Butt’s! Up! Dad!”, he celebrates. He beat me. Fair and square. I’m dying of laughter. I never let him win; I love this game too much to curve my effort. And not only that, but after a week’s worth of Kingston’s sucky attitudes, back talk, and my unpredictable dictator-ish demands…chucking tennis balls at each other is wickedly rewarding. But now, it’s my turn to face the music. Face my glass, and take a swig. Jim Beam Black deliciously saturates my tastebuds. Gulp! I’m ready to face the “Butt’s Up” punishment. The palms of my hands now rest against the garage door. I spread my legs apart like it were a nightmarish prison movie. I could hear revenge in Kingston’s laughter. I love it. We’re in stitches with our cackling. Kingston gets three throws from fifteen feet away to hit any part of my body. I’m ready for a good ol’ bean ball. Shhhoo! BAANG!, roared the garage. Kingston wasn’t wasting any time. His first throw was a wild fastball thrown out of spite; way off target. Which is fine by me, but it almost hit my head. “Head hunting now! Okay.”. The little rookie smirked. “Watch. Just wait!”, I threatened. He winded up again. Shhhoo! THUD! A nasty beanball straight into my kidneys. If I wasn’t born with phenomenal balance…it would’ve been “Down goes Frazier!”. He threw a heater; a deliberate and vengeful fastball right at my back. I rubbed it off, and took it like a Dad. Sip. Gulp. He has one more throw. “Freakin’ kid. He’s pitching too close for his age.”, I thought. Again, Shhhoo! BAANG!, vibrated the garage door; a poorly thrown ball misses me. The game ended. “Good win, little man.”. We went inside.
Enter Chapter 151 part 97: The Proof is Real
A mimosa here. A glass of pinot there. Another liquid lunch at the kale and roasted cashew restaurant. Playdates are poppin’ off and going down the hatch. Our friends-in-parenting, Tonic Tiffany and Minibar Matt are terrific people. They know the working hours of every local liquor store, and know exactly how many mini bottles of vodka fit under a hat and beard. Not only that, but as Tiffany and Matt…they are outstandingly responsible. Never have the kids gone missing, gone hungry, or showed up late to an event. Their accountability as parents is iconic. And so to are their “happy hours”. When all is said and done, bathed bodies and brushed teeth, and with no need to drive among these streets…it’s bottoms up when it’s time to put the kids to sleep. Let it all haaang out. Let loose. Drink Responsibly!
Inside. Our dear little Quinn plays. She had periodically come running in and out of the house as we played “Butt’s Up”. “Go wash your hands and face, Kingston.”, I said as we entered the house. The living room had went through a Barbie/My Little Pony/L.O.L doll makeover. Quinn’s world was spread across the floor. “Hi Dad!”, she shrieked with excitement. “Dad, play with me!”. She sat in the middle of an elaborate setup of tables, houses, horses, and food. “Play, Dad.”, she said. I was well into my glass. Two sheets into the wind; one more generous pour and I’ll be set sailing with the Santa Maria in the Sea of Doofus Daddy. “Okay, give me a sec.”, I mumbled. “How can I say no?”, I thought as I poured myself a sliver of golden brown liquor. Preheated the oven for a homemade cheese pizza, and entered Quinn’s world. “Hi! May I have some tea?”, I said in my best high pitched pony voice. Quinn laughed, and played along. We had a good time playing make believe. Soon, the pizza was cut and served. I had two busy eaters. I might have lost at “Butt’s Up”, but at this very moment….I’m winning at parenting. Gulp! Cheers!