One day back when my daughter was five:
PEYTON: Daddy, can you watch the dinosaurs while I go to the bathroom so Brandon doesn’t mess them up?
PEYTON: They’re going bicycling.
PEYTON: They’re wearing their helmets.
They’re actually rocks and boulders from the Animal World Big Tub of Dinosaurs.
So I know a guy who works for the environmental services department in a children’s hospital down in Florida. For those of you who don’t know what that is, environmental services is the department that’s responsible for cleaning the rooms and the medical instruments and so on.
This guy—who’s in his 50s—has been doing this job for several years now, but even just after a few months working there when he first started, he quickly developed a reputation in the hospital.
ME: [Bugging my eyes out and staring at Peyton while she eats her popsicle.]
PEYTON: Daddy, why are looking at me like that? [Bugs her eyes out and stares back.]
ME: [Keeps staring.]
PEYTON: You’re giving me a nightmare.
It felt like absolutely nothing could drag me down. I was with my friend Kaley* driving around a bustling New York City on a cool, summer evening. Just a couple weeks prior I had received my bachelor’s degree, and I was still riding high on the euphoria graduation leaves in its wake. With seminary still months away, I knew the intervening summer would be filled with long naps, road trips through breathtaking landscapes, and late evenings of carefree conversations over drinks and pizza. While coasting along one of the avenues and with Erasure playing in the background, I felt a lightness that comes with knowing that I could toss all my cares to the wind. In fact, as I rolled down the window to take in the nostalgic smell of the city, I knew I actually didn’t have a care in the world. The world is my oyster, I thought. And I’m going to use this summer to crack it wide open. The worst case of senioritis can’t hold a candle to this.