I understand the sacrifices that come along with fathering five kids: sleepless nights, no social life, spice-less chili, and an occasional Lego hiding in my shoe. I can be as selfless as necessary eleven months out of the year- but not in March. Not when Iowa State has won 9 of their last 10 games. A man must retain at least a shred of his own identity. And by “own identity”, I mean living vicariously through a bunch of 20-year-old athletes that I have never met.
I tend to shut everything out when Iowa State is playing. This past weekend was the conference tournament. The Cyclones played three days in a row. That meant three nights that I would try to take a two-hour hiatus from parenting. Try indeed.
Cady, who had been suffering from a bad cold, went down early Saturday night. Things were looking quite promising. Noticing her absence, the three boys made sure to increase their distraction levels to compensate.
Cooper and Callum fought through most of the first half. I’m used to that. It was easy enough to ignore. I only had to leave the TV a couple of times when one of them was locked in a choke hold that might have been fatal if not broken.
Clane decided to play piano throughout most of the second half. Clane does not actually know how to play piano, but the noise was likely no more or less distracting than an actual song would have been.
I was so thrilled when he finally stopped banging on the keys, that I didn’t even notice what he did next. I knew he was sitting at my feet and I vaguely remember him tugging at my pant leg. It wasn’t until a commercial break that I looked down and asked what he was doing.
“I’m just cutting your pants with these scissors,” he said with a devilish grin. And so, he was.
Since the game was in the final three minutes, I dealt with him as any good father would – I completely ignored him. Those were not my good pants anyway.
I would make it through this game no matter what. I wanted to see the team celebrate a championship and cut down the nets. But, with a few seconds left in the game, Cady woke up.
A crying baby I can ignore but a coughing, crying baby with a raspy throat, I could not. I ran upstairs and eased her back to sleep. The festivities had long since ended by the time I returned to the TV.
If her cold doesn’t clear up by Thursday, I may have to put her up for adoption.