Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Do-Over #GBE2

Tonight we catch up with Best Dad Evar in the kitchen. If he’s in the kitchen, it means either he’s washing the dishes (which he isn’t), or it’s one of his two nights in charge of dinner. It also means one of two types of dinners will be served: microwave-from-the-freezer or oven-baked-on-a-cookie-sheet (also from the freezer). He seems to be fretting a bit, his mind lost in thought.
A voice interrupts his train of thought, “You seem to have a lot on your mind, Best Dad Evar.”
Best Dad Evar sighs heavily. “Change… again.”
“Wow, again?” The narrator seems to know exactly what type of change he’s referring to.
“Yeah, again.”
“Wow, that’s five times in what… five years?”
Best Dad Evar counts out the job changes in his mind. “Yeah, you’ve got it.”

“Do you ever wish you could go back and change any of the decisions you’ve made?”
“A do over?” Best Dad Evar responds with what would best be described as amusement.
“Yes, if you prefer, a ‘do over’.”
“Well, my theory is that every decision you make and everything that happens in your life is on a continuous path that led to where you are now. Change one thing and the path is disrupted. Everything changes.”
“So?” the narrator responds expectantly.
“So, I wouldn’t wish for everything in my life to change. I don’t want to have different people in my life, like my wife and children. I don’t want to live in a different place or-”

The narrator interrupts, “But those things wouldn’t have to change.”
“No, not necessarily. But I prefer to think of it that way.”
“Huh, interesting.”
“What?” Best Dad responds, immediately his guard is up, knowing he’s being psychoanalyzed.
“It’s like you’re validating all of your decisions by saying your life would be radically different and almost surely worse if you hadn’t made them the way you did.”
“No, that’s an exaggeration. I’m not saying I made the right decisions. I’m just saying once they’re made, they put you on a path and there’s no looking back.”

“Do you ever look back?”
“Well, of course I do.”
“Do you ever think, ‘This isn’t where I want to be or where I should be’?”
“Yeah, especially with my career… or lack thereof.”
“So, couldn’t you envision going back and changing things that would place you on a different path career-wise, assuming everything else would stay the same?”
“That’s just it, though, everything else wouldn’t be the same. Even if I was with my wife, I’d have different children because they would have been conceived at different times or places-”
“I get it.” the narrator says, sounding irritated.

“Just let it go, I’m not playing the game.” As he says this, Best Dad Evar’s two girls appear in the kitchen, as if drawn to the spectacle of their father talking with his imaginary friend. He chooses to sit at the kitchen table with them, shuffling his aching feet to find a comfortable position.

“What about your children, Best Dad, would they want any do-overs?”
“Well, let’s ask them.” Best Dad says with a devilish grin.
“Older child,” he asks, “is there anything you’d want to do over?”
“Yes, I would like to do over the fight I had with younger child today.” The girl is unfazed by the use of the generic ‘older child’ and ‘younger child’ monikers. There’s a soft chuckle from the narrator as he notices this.
“Really?” Best Dad Evar seems genuinely surprised.
“I want to start from the beginning and pretend the fight never happened.”
“Why do you want to go back and change that?” Best Dad asks her.
“Because it wasn’t something I liked.”
“About yourself?” Best Dad asks hopefully.
“About both of us.”
“Well, you can’t change your sister, you can only change yourself. Right?” Best Dad is now in recognizable parent mode. The girl sees right through it.
“Right Dad,” she rolls her eyes as if she’s heard this one a hundred times before.
“But I can ask her to change.”

Best Dad Evar chuckles and shakes his head. “That’s my oldest child.” He says to the empty seat across the table where he imagines the narrator to be.
“Younger child, would you like to have any do-overs?”
“No, I’m a good girl,” the younger one says with an impish grin, but in a tone of voice that suggests she fully believes what she’s saying.
“Well, there you go.” He says to the space across from him. “One of them wants the do-over to change what the other one did, the other thinks everything’s honky dory and wouldn’t change a thing.”
“Well, she did say ‘about both of us’.” the narrator puts in helpfully.
“I guess so. But where is the specific? What does she want to change about herself?” At this point, Best Dad Evar seems to notice that the girl is still sitting there, looking at him with an expression that is a mixture of anger and exasperation.
“Daaaaaad! You’re talking about me again with…. NOBODY and I’m right heeeeeere!”

Best Dad Evar looks embarrassed for a split second. Then he quickly recovers himself, and growls at her, “Well, answer the question: What would you change about yourself or your behavior?”
She looks embarrassed herself, as if she’d made a mistake. Then she pushes the chair back roughly and runs off.
“See,” Best Dad Evar says, his mouth twisted into a smirk, “I never get a straight answer out of that kid.”
“Well, what do you expect, she’s seven.”
“Yeah she is!” He stands up and wanders over to needlessly check on the dinner that’s being cooked by his automatic appliances. “Luckily we won’t have to do seven over.” He smiles to himself, enjoying his little joke.


Jo said...

Welcome back Best Dad Evar! I've so missed you.
This may be hard to believe, but there will come a day when you will very much want another day, week or month of having the seven back! I'll try to remember to check back about 10 years from now.

Mojo Writin' said...

So good to have Best Dad and narrator back. You have been sorely missed! Nice take on the prompt, and I'll be looking forward to more next week (brick-like hint there *wink*)

danneromero said...

like you said, if we could really do do-over i am pretty sure people wouldn't like the result because what they learned, who they became would be different, even slightly... i appreciate myself a lot more just because of hiccups i encountered, that helped me reflect and stay grounded.

Anonymous said...

I'm SO glad to see the return of Best dad Evar!!

Kathy said...

It is so good to see you back blogging again. I had missed Best Dad Evar!!! I wish my kids could be babies again that I could cuddle and rock to sleep. Those days are gone forever now. Once they are gone you can't get them back. On the flip side of the coin, I wouldn't live through potty training again if someone paid me. Especially with my son. He used to poop his pull ups, take them off and hurl them at me "I poop!". Yeah, no kidding! LOL