It was the week that put the work in “working vacation — eight days to finish getting the house in order before the Kid’s first overnight stay with us. It was also the first truly sweltering stretch of the season, coming right on the heels of having four of my teeth extracted.
By the time it was over, I’d shed ten pounds through my sweat glands, inhaled enough cleaning fumes to fill a tanker truck, and assembled so many pieces of Ikea furniture that I cursed the inventor of the hex wrench.
It was a hellish ordeal, but the weekend with the Kid more than made up for it. Ever since 2014, it felt as if I’ve been rotting in place. It wasn’t depression, but a prolonged stretch of living for the moment and not contemplating any long term goals. The early stages of the adoption process were unfolding, but distantly and at a pace so glacial it became a theoretical abstraction.
I don’t wan’t to sound like one of those parents who treat their roles as the highest calling, with the implication that childless folks are missing some essential human experience. We all have own hearts to follow, so you gotta go with what works without some asshole shaming you from the peanut gallery.
In my case, these recent developments feel like some loose bit of the cosmos has been snapped back into place — which, in turn, has motivated me to start looking for other frayed edges to fix or trim away. Having breakfast with her while Maura slept in, playing co-op videogames on the sofa, watching Match Game ’75 with Maura while the Kid sprawled on the carpet with a craft project — the vibe was simply “this is how it was supposed to be.”
And now it is, with the best daughter a parent could ever hope to have.
A stack of packages arrived shortly before the Kid did, a mix of household items and some presents for myself. Among the latter was the 7-inch release of this classic dance jam…
…”The Only Way Is Up” by Yazz (with the two z’s, not one) and the Plastic Population.
I bought it off the Discogs marketplace after watching the Top of the Pops Story of 1988 special during my post-extraction convalescence. A late 80s techno-pop cover of a Northern Soul stomper would’ve been irresistible even without the Vicodin haze clouding my judgement. It was just another impulse purchase, yet over the course of the weekend transformed itself into an anthemic affirmation.
“This is it. This is happening. This is real. This is good. This is how it was meant to be.”
When Maura drove the Kid back to her foster family, I spun the single at least a dozen times as my mind processed the events of the past couple of days. And I kicked out my leg Van Morrison-style after every “up” in the chorus…which would explain why my knee feels completely wrecked today.