While personally I consider myself further outside the World Series of Poker than Pokerati, seeing that I do my "reporting" without pants and nor to I subject myself to the air conditioned Amazon room for 18 hours a day, I am no less rushed as the circus of cards parades in Las Vegas.
But, there are two little ones at home that don't get to see all the spreadsheets, inane meetings about planning a meeting, or the four a.m. Monday morning deadlines for that third job you picked up to stay fresh with work that you actually enjoy doing. They are not privy to the corporate ladder, traffic jams, or why mommy and daddy could really use a drink after a day at the zoo. Lately a sense of growing-up as a parent has been trickling in-between the late-night study sessions, subbing for softball games that have been "forced" to go to (batting a clean 1.000 in four games with 17 hits thank you very much) since speaking to nothing but Microsoft Excel and degenerate poker players could render a human into a ball of doing nothing but charting out historical data on lime tossing bets 24 hours a day.
Kids get to see daddy laying on the ground as a perfect opportunity to pounce, to question, to use as a pillow. They don't care about the two hours of sleep a night for the past four days, and nor should they, because work and play for a parent has the kids in mind first. Sure the hard-working bread winners need to kick back on a side porch with nothing but a microbrew hitting the back their throats, as I will be in two days since my plans to see a group of friends in Vegas has officially fallen thru thanks to airlines who wish to charge the equivilent of a black market healthy liver for a short flight to the nation's capital on sin.
That's in two days, yesterday yet another step in parenting took place in my poor excuse for a backyard. I think landscaping companies check out Google Earth and see my dirt lined yard, drooling at the prospect of trees that need to be uprooted and infinite rows of sod to lay. It was in the patch of grass that my son stood in a batter's ready position with the newly erected ball trampoline behind him to act as a surrogate catcher since his mother was pitching and I took to the field to play all seven positions behind her.
That's when I saw it.
It came briefly after a hard liner nearly headed deep into the trees that separate our land from a pond and some townhouses. Then came back with every swing hit or air. If you want an example of such a smile, and perhaps a perfect frame of one, look no further than Speaker's AJ in the bottom of this post. You can read the words too, I hear he puts together words in a readable manner (THATS INTERNET SARCASM), really read the post then enjoy the smile.
Parents know that there is one reason you go through the arguments of cleaning up the playroom, blood pressure raising rants about changing their mind after ordering food, and the endless shuttles to a new activity. It's that smile. Some parents think throwing toys, movie, and amusement parks in their faces will allow their lips to curl upwards. True, it will but I akin that to a rub and tug versus real sex with another human that you've known for awhile. It's a fake-ish smile so to speak, the genuine grin comes out after a sense of accomplishment, like yesterday when Wyatt's fluid swing started connecting or after he came in the house and instead of going thru a Tom Emanski video worth of things he could improve on I geuninely praised him on the fact he was moving towards the ball, reach out with his glove, and moving the bat in more than one linear motion thru the box.
The next game is tomorrow, and a different father along with a different son will show up to have a different outlook on the same field in my parent's backyard that I grew up on wearing jersey #9 with B & M Video layed across the front of it. And both of us will have that smile regardless of balls dropped or being told to take a seat after so many swings because it isn't about becoming the next Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasberg it's about smiling and enjoying the little time you get to spend with each other.