Friday, June 18, 2010

A Twofer

This may be my favorite weekend of the year.....unless there is really an exceptional pair of National Semi-Finals on tap in the Final Four. I kid of course. Even when there are two potentially great match-ups that Saturday and the Yankees and Red Sox are the opening game of the Major League season on Sunday Night Baseball this weekend stands alone as my favorite.

On the weekend that was Father's Day Weekend seventeen years ago I became a husband and a father of two at precisely the same moment. And since Suzanne and Rob were already both here at the time Margaret and I exchanged our vows there was none of that typical mess and bother one normally associates with childbirth to impede the progress of the wedding. I went from a solo act to a member of a quartet in less than an hour. Talk about your murderously efficient uses of time; eh?

I was twenty-four when I first met and fell in love with the woman who is now my wife and the two children who I now call my kids. Suzanne is twenty-five now so if memory serves me correctly she was all of six years old when I met her for the first time and Rob was a couple of months beyond his fifth birthday. It is a great, funny story in our house - the story of my introduction to the two of them. It was in an era when Margaret's family rented the same house annually for the month of July down the Shore in a little town called Silver Beach. Way back when, the kids spent every other weekend with their Dad. He had dropped off them down the beach on the Sunday that I met them both for the first time shortly before I met them.

What makes the story of my meeting Suz and Rob so funny is the shape I was in when I met them both. Being a fair-skinned Gael and also woefully dumb, I had spent the day on the beach and in the ocean with my olive-skinned, would not burn on the surface of the Sun at high noon girlfriend. I had done so while wearing little to no sunscreen and my Ray-Ban sunglasses. While stubborn pride would have prevented me from acknowledging this at the time, it is indisputable that I looked ridiculous - not to mention that I appeared to be 8 or 9 minutes away from an all-out sun stroke. I looked particularly ridiculous when I removed my sunglasses to reveal skin that was paled to the point of snow white around both of my eyes, which stood out nicely against the over-sized tomato that the rest of my face resembled.

Resisting both the temptation to run away screaming and to fall down laughing, the kids stuck it out. They survived their meeting with "Mom's new boyfriend." And off we went. The rest, as some say, is history.

Tonight, to kick off my favorite weekend of the year I am running in a 5K race that is taking place at Colonial Park. Long before I met Margaret, Suzanne and Rob Colonial Park was one of my favorite places to go for as a little boy we lived less than ten minutes from it and used to go there on a regular basis to play on the playground and to feed the geese. One of my favorite days from the first summer that Margaret, Suzanne, Rob and I were first bonding with one another (or more correctly I with the three of them) was a Sunday we spent in Colonial Park. We went on the paddle boats and the kids spent quite some time feeding the geese. Being five and six, Rob and Suz were both physically quite small back then, which became an issue (thankfully only temporarily) when a few of the geese started to object to how frequently they were getting fed and literally attempted to bite the hands (and the legs and the butts) of those who were feeding them. In one of the countless photo albums she has chronicling the close to two decades that the four of us have been tripping over each other, Margaret has photos of our day in Colonial Park. I smile every time I look at them.

I was twenty-six years old the weekend I married Margaret and celebrated Father's Day as a Dad for the first time. Whatever you do and wherever you go this weekend I hope your time is enjoyable and your journey is safe. Me? I intend to savor every moment of it.....

They only comes 'round once a year. Days like these.


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