This week, I felt the pull of the ticking clock of life as my own personal reality show, "The Older Dad," rolled on with the new episode, "Two Baby Girls and a Daddy."
My daughter is turning 30 this week and planned a trip to celebrate her birthday in Las Vegas with a couple of her friends. At the same time, my wife and I are completing the long-forgotten, but still somewhat arduous task of getting our 5 year old daughter ready for her first day of kindergarten.
Simple tasks and events this week involving these two generationally different versions of each other occasionally turned my brain into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde freak show.
For example, as I drove my 5 year old (excuse me, 5 and a half year old) daughter to a doctor's appointment this week, a call came through my bluetooth mobile, hands-free, don't get a ticket from the CPD, phone from my 30 year old (ouch) daughter. She was crying. The 30 year old. (The 5 and a half year old actually likes going to the doctor and the dentist and never cries about the visits. I think it's some kind of adventure-loving trait that I'm not sure where it came from since her parents are a somewhat reticent about everything Jewish man and an African-American mom who starts to sweat when little bit climbs on the monkey bars.)
As one baby girl sat in her car seat playing a video game on her iPod touch, I answered a phone call from the other baby girl: "I just can't do it (sob, sniff)." What can't you do? I responded in a way of trying to not sound exacerbated and overwrought.
I already knew the answer. It was one day before she was supposed to be on a flight from Chicago to Las Vegas, her passport was expired and she has no State-issued photo ID. Yes, I'm a bad parent for never making this girl get a driver's license. But, she also never got herself an Illinois state ID
"They keep sending me from one office to the other," she said from somewhere in the bowels of a government corridor. "I can't even get a temporary i.d. without my social security card. I got my birth certificate from the County Clerk, I got bank statements from Chase, and now someone told me that I need the social security card. Do you have it?"
Uhhh, no. I haven't seen that thing since it was issued about 29 years ago. Call your mother.
"I did call her. Does it sound like I have it now?"
No need to get sarcastic with me, I thought. But, instead I actually said, "Why do you always wait until the last minute?" Good job making things worse dad.
Baby girl #1, to her credit, didn't take that bait. "I told the second lady that the first lady told me I didn't need a social security card. And, then she said, 'I don't know why she would tell you that, but I'm telling you what you need."
"Do you know anyone there?"
"Someone who works for the state DMV?
Just because I worked for the County for 17 years, does not give me hookups with the State ID-issuing people. They'd make their own mothers wait 2 hours in line if they could.
The next voice was that of a five and half year old. "Why is she crying? I might have an ID in my purse she can use that came with my Hello Kitty phone."
"Shhhhh," I countered, quickly switching from blue tooth to earbuds.
Well, I'm sure it will work out. Maybe you can get your passport renewed.
That's less than it'll cost you if you have to cancel your trip. (I'm so sensitive)
"Oooohhhh, I'll just call you later."
"Is my sister ok?" Baby girl #2 wanted to know.
She's fine, just don't make it a habit to wait until the last minute to do things, ok?
"Ok. Can we get out of the car already? I want to go to the doctor and I have to pee."
Sure, let's go.
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