Friday, April 09, 2010

Madeleina's Birthday!

It's my baby Madeleina's birthday, but she's hardly my baby anymore now that she's hit 13!!!!! Yikes! I can't be that long ago that I was helping pull her into this world and she looked up at me, eyes open and said "Hep...hep" and it sounded like "Help...Help..." to me but I couldn't help, couldn't put her back inside. No, she was angel turned human and the only help I could give her, and what I promised to give her was to be a good father, someone she could count on.
And then she got more and more solid as the weeks passed until she was completely human and so many times I've failed at what I promised: Yelled at her for things or stormed around the house, or made demands when I could have tried more cajoling. Other times I've been a good dad--caught myself before I yelled or came up with funny ways to get her to do what she needed to do. I guess it's all part of living but I often wish I could have been better, more often.
Today was a case in point. I got up at 5 but thought I could grab another half hour of sleep. I wound up getting up at 7:30 and woke her with a "Happy Birthday! We're gonna be late for school!"
She got up, saying she was refusing to be a teenager. "Teenagers are gnarly, dad. That's why I'm not one. And I'm never going to be one..."
Unfortunately, when I looked out the front window as I was dressing I realized the goat, the lovely goat, had gotten free and was eating the tulips. I went out, grabbed what was left of his rope and tied him to the gate, then came in and called for Madeleina. "Madeleina, the goat got free. You need to tie him back up..."
Note that I didn't offer to tie him back up. I was too busy needing my coffee and a couple of smokes and wanting to look at the email that had come in overnight.
Madeleina went outside, told the goat she felt like kicking him into the next county, then came in and asked where new rope would be. I told her and she went and got it. I doubled it, told her how to make it tie securely to the other rope and went back to my coffee.
By 8:10--when we're in danger of being later for school, I went outside to look for her. She was wearing the same clothes she had on yesterday at school and which she slept in, hadn't showered, hadn't opened her bookbag--she said she wanted to stay up to do homework and study when I went to bed--and suddenly I found my dad voice coming out.
"Madeleina. You going to wear those clothes to school again?"
"What's wrong with them?"
"You wore them yesterday. You slept in them. You look like a mess."
"Who cares. Nobody cares."
"I care. Your my kid and I like you to look nice..."
"If you cared you wouldn't have had me outside working with the goat for half an hour while you had coffee...."
"Touche. But what about your homework? What about studying. You didn't open that bookbag..."
"And your point is?"
"Darling, where's your brush? You have a rats' nest, not a head of hair right now...."
"Stop bugging me dad."
"You know why parents hate teenagers, don't you? Because of attitude. You know, attitude. Like wearing the same clothes and sleeping in them. Like not doing homework, like losing your flute again, like a million little things...."
"And you know why teenagers hate parents? Because they are all buttheads.:"
"Darling, did you make that little list of presents you'd like to get tonight?"
"No dad. If you forgot what I want you're not much of a dad, are you? So let's see what you remember. Or don't buy me anything. I don't care. I don't want anything..."
By then we were in the car and she was very very lazily brushing her hair.
"Madeleina! Get that stinking hair done. NOW!"
We didn't talk much on the way to school but managed to make up a little when one of the cops directing traffic was a dope and made her laugh. "Where do they get these guys? He's got everybody going at the same time!"
I remember most of what she wants and will take care of it. And I'll make a feast as well, though I'm not quite sure how many people are coming over, given that it's a friday, not a weekend. But there should be a few cousins, and Chepa and the babies are due back today and she'll bring some friends.
So somehow, while I've got a cover story on serious deadline and in need of 10 phone calls that people have not responded to as yet, I'll make a feast. I'm making a couple of racks of pork ribs, some hot sausage, some marinated grilled chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. I'm gonna make a potato and egg salad, a macaroni salad with a balsamic bite, a thin sliced cucumber and red onion salad in white vinegar and black pepper, homemade coleslaw, and then grilled asparagus and broccoli. Oh, and rice and good beans too. I bought some beer, a couple of bottles of inexpensive Cook's champagne and some red wine. I've got plenty of water and apple juice.
Where is the time going to come from? I have no idea. I'm just praying the people I'll begin to call in the next few minutes are in their offices finally and will give me the info I need. If they are, I'll be okay. I can do the actual writing over the weekend. If they're not, I'm gonna keep calling them till they are.
And by tonight, I'm gonna forget it all and just wish my baby the very best 13th birthday and happiest year possible. And I'll silently vow to do a little better on keeping that dad voice in check.
Happy Birthday, Madeleina! I'm very very glad you let me be your dad.


Kuchinta said...

Happy, happy birthday, Madeleina!

Morgan said...

Madeleina, Madeleina,
Up, Up & Away Now!
Happy Bird-day Madeleina!
Bappy Hirthday Madeleina!

So very nice to meetchya
You're an Angel, a Teacher!
Looks like I'll see ya...
this time, in Iquitos
and deep in the Jungle,
The Jungle! The Jungle!



from Morgan & Laurita