I can still remember it vividly… It was flat-out unwatchable, perhaps the most pitiful display of high school athletics I’d ever witnessed. At the time, I was a sophomore in college, attending my sister’s high school softball game as a gesture of support.
At the conclusion of the game, my sister ran over to where my family was sitting.
My sister: “Did you see my four home runs!?!”
Me: “Yes I did. Well, actually, you had four singles. Because there were multiple fielding and throwing errors committed by the defense, you were able to score on each hit. Just so you know, those aren’t considered “home runs”. Technically, you had four singles and the defense committed eleven errors while you ran the bases. That’s how it should be scored.”
My sister: “Whatever, you’re just jealous.”
Me: “I can assure you that I am not.”
My Dad (glaring at me): “No, those were some great hits Sweetheart. All of them were home runs.”
And so it goes. Mercifully, that was the last girls’ softball game I ever attended.
As we left the ballpark, I thought of my parents, willfully sitting in the stands watching every single game. My dad wasn’t reading a newspaper during the game. He wasn’t sipping from a flask either. Instead, he had a pencil and a little piece of paper and was keeping track of all my sister’s at-bats. He legitimately cared about what was going on in the field. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around that.
I have a feeling that is about to change. While this episode happened almost ten years ago, I found myself thinking about it again this week. You see, we found out on Tuesday that the bun currently roasting in my wife’s oven is a female bun. In other words, we’re having a little girl.
I started this post with the story about high school softball for a reason. I’m slowly finding out that the prospect of having a girl makes you think about things like this. It’s weird, to say the least. This is on top of the usual worries dads face, you know, about having to one day threaten a high school boy with physical violence, having to put off retirement for another year to pay for a wedding, and having to deal with a son-in-law that spends an inexorable amount of time playing video games and dressing up like Star Wars characters.
I’m not looking forward to any of these things, but they are in my immediate future. I’m starting to think that this is how my Dad was able to enjoy himself at softball games. Instead of putting asterisks next to the “home runs” being hit, he was simply happy to spend time with his daughter and put off worrying about things like the possibility of a future prom date pulling into his driveway with a windowless van. Ah, fatherhood…
With that said, here are a few answers to some FAQs:
A girl, huh?
How do you feel about that?
I’m warming up to the idea. On the one hand, it will be an entirely new experience from having a boy. I’m sure I will gain a lot of new perspective on life in general in this process. And, I think gray hair can be a dignified look on a man.
Any ideas for a name yet?
Actually, “Prudence” has a nice ring to it.
Truthfully, I haven’t given it much thought. Because we are having a girl, it likely means I won’t be able to revive the effort to name our child “Lando Calrissian Ring.”
How is your wife doing?
Excellent question. As soon as she’s done insulating the crawl space, I’ll ask her.
When is the due date?
March 17th. I’m banking that the hospital will be serving green beers in the cafeteria.
How is little Charlie taking the news?
As you would expect, Charlie is taking it like a man.
C’mon… Did you pull off a snipe?
I won’t lie, it actually took me two shots this time. I don’t know what happened. Maybe I didn’t properly account for wind direction or the humidity. Sometimes, in the murkiness of battle, miscalculations can occur. However, I made sure to track the flight path of the first round, and adjusted accordingly on my next shot. As you might expect, my second shot went dead-center through the ovum. Mission Accomplished, time for extraction.