Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Look! It's a Return of the Jedi bikini-clad slave-Leia Lego keychain!

(There was a $500 Millennium Falcon Lego set that I wanted, but I settled for the Indiana Jones Lego keychain for a buck.)

Greetings from Legoland, California! It was not closed and it did not rain out and we did not get into a multi-car collision on I-5 on the way there, and for those things we were very grateful. The first half of the day was spent on the phone haggling with different aluminum dealers about the cost of "Spanish Brown" so, whatever. I felt like one of those 'bad dads' you see at theme parks who neglect their kids and can't leave work at home (wait a minute- I was one.)

But the second half of the day? Ahhh, the second half! There's really nothing like a day at a theme park with your daughter, who came out of the gates running full bore at each height requirement measuring stick. She's at that perfect age where she is not bothered by not being able to go on half the rides, doesn't notice that the Lego sculptures would benefit from a professional-grade pressure sprayer, and yet she has an unbridled enthusiasm about the environment that makes a parent's heart swell with joy. (And at age 2 she also gets into the park for free.)

We had a great time, which was a long time coming. She'd been telling us all summer about how she wanted to "go to Legoland and ride a rollercoaster with Daddy." It's the kind of thing you just can't let go. We did ride a rollercoaster and she shrieked with delight over the first drop, which I will remember for the rest of my life. She went to bed talking about it last night, and awoke this morning picking up right where the conversation left off. And now, here I've got to run off to work again.

There is a sorry, selfish temptation for the father to check that off the list of things that had to be done -going to a theme park with your kid. That's the kind of mindset that leaves your life empty and wanting, as the kids grow a foot every time you turn around. Today she started in on the imaginary friend, who had arrived looking for someone to play with, evidently. I am sitting here and mommy is doing the laundy and the Little Ditchman, well, she's in the other room talking to "Sully" about how they're going to go to Legoland together and go on the boats and the helicopters and the rollercoaster.

"It's normal," Mrs. Ditchman explains, but I've got a sick feeling about it. Then they head off to Jazzercise and all the other unknown quantities of mommy's day and I'm off to screw a bunch of aluminum together in the sun, this last day of September. I'll turn on the radio for distraction, and then I'll get home, too tired to pick her up. I'll pick her up all the same, because I know this little one's doing the heavy lifting of my soul, and it's a daddy's lot to take it.