Brandon's Diary
2024-02-12 00:46:27 (UTC)

Superb Owl.. or something

My family and I are at a Superb Owl party tonight. I've made some friends from a Discord server and we get together once a month or so. They're cool enough that, even though none of them have kids, my kids will frequently join us, and they just understand "These are mom and dad's friends who don't have kids." And they play on their tablets and hang out and they're okay with it.

Anyway - back to the Super Bowl (yes, I know it's misspelled above). It's well after 10 and the kids are both laying on top of me while I try to care about a game between two teams that don't belong there. My favorite team, the Detroit Lions, were ahead in the NFC Championship Game by 3 scores going into halftime, but somehow lost. Anyway, the Super Bowl goes into overtime. I'm just done. The kids are just done. They're both laying on top of me. Naomi on my chest and Toby snuggled under my arm. I asked Naomi if she could move under my other arm and she looks up at me with sas and says, "Dad. You know. If I fits, I sits. And right now I fits."

Oh, well, fuck. I guess I can't argue with that logic! Hahahaha. It was the cutest thing. Anyway, about 20 minutes later she gets up and goes over and sits by Jes. Toby looks up at me with sleepy eyes. He politely asks, "Dad, can I lay my head on your chest?"

"Of course, buddy. Snuggle up however you like, close your eyes, and take a little nap. I'll hold you."

He does just that. I noted that they experience tired in the exact same way. It was about 60 minutes earlier where Toby was laughing so hard at the commercials. He was over on my lap squirming around. He was being so silly and bouncing from wall to wall, anything he could to keep himself awake. Naomi was now at this stage of tired. She was being silly and energetic in her own way. Toby tends to run at Volume 1 or Volume 11. Naomi has a much larger spectrum. This is zero reflection on their musical capability and Toby has a lovely voice; I digress. What happens is that they get sleepy. They get energized. They laugh and do what they can to keep themselves awake; sometimes they get angry in this stage too. Then they get snuggly and want to curl up and be held or warm. This is where Toby is right now. Naomi will get here in about an hour. Sure enough, Toby dozed in and out on my chest for the rest of the night. Naomi's bounciness settled out and she curled up on Jes.

The game ended. Somebody won. We got in the Ascent to drive from Auburn Hills back to Berkley. It was a 25 minute drive, but there were drunk drivers out after the game (I was 100% sober while driving - although I am not while writing this), so I had to be alert and on top of my game. The kids crashed out. Jes began to doze a bit. I was fidgeting with the sattelite radio (such an unnecessary expense that really highlights someone who's in the upper middle class and has just enough money for a luxury here or there - but just the cheap ones, like another subscription to a thing that's nice, but nobody needs...)

I realized that I had the best life. I was observing this in a photo that I had taken a couple years ago. It was my toes in the sand at Folly Beach, South Carolina. The kids were in front of my building a sand castle together. Jes was off in the discance with her feet in the wet part of the sand, where the water washes in and out -- I swear that has a name, but I can't think of it. That photo is something of a dream. That's everything I always wanted since I was maybe 12 years old and Mormonism programmed "family" life into me, while I envied the nuclear family of all my friends vs. my fucked up situation.

I had made it. I had made it in that photo, which was in my mind as I turned from Adams onto Woodward in Birmingham (one of the nicest suburbs in Metro Detroit) as I drove my newer mid-sized SUV home to my 2,000 square foot house in the desirably walkable community of Berkley (only slightly less-nicer than Birmingham, but definitely more our pace) -- I have a pretty fucking great life. It isn't perfect. I'm not perfect. I can easily list out 100 ways my life could be better, but wow - what a good life I have! There are way more ways it could be worse, than ways it could be better.

And I have this despite a fucked up childhood of being raised by a mentally challenged mother, and no father, but with grandparents who were just present enough to assure my mom .. mostly.. didn't fuck up too bad. Her repeated suicide attempts, my years as a dropout delinquent, and that time I maybe sort of got arrested (but never booked) ... my current situation as an upper-middle class husband with a beautiful wife, Disney Channel family, in a quaint, older home in the friendly high-income suburbs is pretty good.

We got home and I tucked Toby in, while Jes tucked in Naomi. We chatted and flirted for a moment in the kitchen. She has to get up early, but a load of laundry needs to be done, so she went to bed while I'm waiting to change over the laundry from the washer to the dryer (really surprised nobody has come up with a "combined" feature of this yet. Maybe in 50 years that will be our greatest advancement. Nah. Anyway, I'm mildly stoned and feeling creating but don't want to embarrass myself my posting something on social media, so I wrote this.

Maybe it will be a fun read down the road. I think I mostly write these for my future self. I hope you enjoy this, 68 year old Brandon. You had a good decade in your 30s. Could it have been better? More successful? More daring and exciting? Probably. But you'd have lost the time with your kids and there are way more ways it could have been worse, less-successful, and unsure. You did pretty well. How many 7 and 8 year olds can say they've been on a family trip to Scotland? I didn't go overseas like that until... well, until I was 37 and took my family overseas like that! Jes really encourages so much good in us, in our family. I have such a great partner. Our kids are so adventurous and daring. I would no have been as chill or excited for the kinds of adventures they've been on when I was their ages.

I don't know. Life is good. I hope this persists. If it doesn't, I can always think back and remember that life was good. And I enjoyed it. I spent time with them. I loved my life and treated her well. I was active with my kids and we loved each other to the moon and back. I make them up bedtime stories probably 5 nights a week! 2023 was a good year, and 2024 has started out to be just as good.