This list is assuming I’m having just an average day. No big plans to golf with Doan, or head to Montana, or take the wife and get away from her mom and the kids, or watch the Vikings on TV. This is just your standard wake-up-on-an-average-Wednesday list.
The kids wake up late: If the little kids sleep late I have a chance for that perfect day. Without that, I’m ineligible. I don’t ever have to worry about the older kids. They frequently sleep till 11 or noon, but it’s always nice when I don’t hear Mara screaming till around 9am. She usually wakes up anytime from 7:30 to 8:00, and she’s been known to pop up earlier (around 6ish). But every now and again she’ll get that little extra sleep in there, which means I do too. I don’t worry too much about Harrison. He can pretty much take care of himself if he gets up early. The key is Mara. She wants all the attention. It seems like she wakes up in mid-sentence sometimes.
It’s 60-75 degrees outside and partly cloudy: This is out of my control, but everything on this list is. That’s why it becomes the perfect day if they all come together. If the temperature is in the 90’s (or higher) it’s so tough to get the kids outside. And if we do, we jump from shaded area to shaded area as much as possible and come back home within 20 minutes. If it’s a nice cool cloudy day I can keep both of them out there forever. I’ll ride ’em around and run ’em till lunch time. They’ll get so tired playing that both will take a nap right after they eat. That leaves me time to relax, eat, write, go out, watch a sports documentary, read this new book I just got, etc. A nice day is really the foundation for having the perfect day. It can’t exist without it.
I get some surprising good news: The perfect day always involves some unexpected news in my favor. It could be something as simple as a package I ordered that I forgot about finally arriving. Maybe I get a call from one of my hometown buddies I haven’t talked to in awhile and we get to reminisce. Maybe the wife is making something for dinner that everyone in the family likes except for me and she tells me I’m on my own for dinner. That means tacos, pizza, or a burger from one of my favorite spots. Or maybe it’s the realization that one of the older kids did something on their own without having to be reminded. Maybe Travis went out back and scooped up all the dog shit on his own so I could just bring the little ones outside quick without having to worry about it. Or maybe the family all has come to an agreement that it’s poker night and I’m the last one to hear about it. It doesn’t always have to be a huge surprise. I don’t always need a long lost relative I’ve never met leaving me life-changing money. I Just need a good little surprise. It goes a long way towards the perfect day.
I get to talk to Chloe for a few minutes just the two of us: At some point during the perfect day I’ll get some alone time with Chloe. The best times are when we go out in the car and she’s learning to drive. In those moments alone with Chloe I feel like I’m talking to her future self. She has so many mature qualities and they really shine through when you’re one-on-one with her. Other times when there’s so many other people around or so much commotion, I remember she’s only 15 years old. Her child-like qualities come out a lot more then. But hell, so do mine. It’s hard to not freak out sometimes with so much noise and craziness in the background. But a one-on-one conversation with Chloe at some point definitely contributes to a perfect day.
The kids go to bed early without whining or complaining: When 7:30 rolls around, everyone has eaten dinner already, and the kids are winding down, it’s so nice if I can get them into bed by 8. If they appease me in that situation, it caps the perfect day. It opens up so many things. My wife and I can go for a nice, long, peaceful walk. If she’s still working or not in the mood, I can sit down and see what’s going on in the Twins game or see if there’s a close NBA game on. My wife and I can line up a movie to watch and still get plenty of sleep. And I can mix myself a cocktail while doing any of those things. But just the freedom in general, of knowing we’ve got a few hours without screaming kids around, to do with what we please, is intoxicating enough.