In case their lives weren’t charmed enough already.
It started about three years ago. Our family was finally introduced to the strange people of Arendelle. Papaya got into the full swing of Frozen fever about six months ago and has been predictably obsessed ever since. She sings the songs, wears the clothes, and uses ice powers whenever that level of force becomes necessary.
Nashi has since grown out of it a bit, but I think part of that is he no longer feels allowed to celebrate princesses, sparkles, and dresses like he used to. Look closer – there he is, totally not at all jealous and not at all pretending like he could care less about putting on an amazing sparkly dress.
Yep, nothing but plain primary colored clothes for this guy. Oh the struggle of fighting your own interests against socialized expectations.
So rewatching Frozen over and over is good, and having a sequel come out and getting taken to it twice in the theater is nice too, but you know what would be better? Having a massive amount of people, talent, time, and money go into bringing an amazing Tony Award nominated live performance right in front of our eager little faces!
So off we went, with sick Mama at home (although as a money saving measure, we never planned for both parents to go). Papaya even got to meet up with a classmate.
The show was of course wonderful. Also, turns out the combination of seeing something like this with your kids, seeing it through their eyes, the quality of the performance, and subject matter of heartbreaking and heartwarming sibling dynamics is something that makes this bloggin’ dad emotional and teary-eyed. But don’t worry, the parts about the sibling stuff were only heavy during the first and last forty five minutes of the two hour show.
The kids loved it and I spent a lot of time looking at their faces, mouths agape in awe. Papaya even shushed my ass when I had the audacity to fucking sneeze once during the show. I do wish there was enough light to shamelessly take pictures of them watching it. Nashi was playing it cool beforehand, saying he wasn’t sure he was going to like it, but he was just as captivated, especially during the big loud musical numbers.
At the end of the show Papaya said she wanted to go up and meet Elsa. This sounded reasonable to her I think because we’ve gone to small local performances where there’s a meet and greet that follows. I told her that won’t happen here, but when they all came out to take their bows it was her chance to say hi from our seats. So during that part, I helped her stand on the top of the back of the empty seat in front of us and she was screaming “Hi Olaf! Bye Olaf! Hi Anna! Bye Anna! Hi Elsa! Hi Elsa! HI ELSA! Bye Elsa! BYE ELSA!!!” and it was super sweet. She’s also very loud (if you haven’t heard) so everyone within earshot could hear this and looked this way, clearly super charmed as well.
As I walked the kids out of the theater some dude said to me “you’re a good dad.” This randomly meant a lot to me because my day started with a kiddo wake up call at 6:55am, when I then got up to make breakfast for everyone and pack Nashi’s lunch, and rushed to get out the door in time for his drop off. Straight to work from there, and then head home after work with a quick and hurried stop at the grocery store to then put Papaya down for a late and mission critical nap at 4:30pm. Once her nap was secured, I snuck out of the bed to take Nashi to his 5:45pm violin lesson across town with an extra eight minutes to spare in order to squeeze in some soccer that I promised him. After lesson it was time to go home and get Papaya, eat a quick bite with the help of Mama, and rush back out to get downtown in order to be in our seats by the 7:30pm start time.
We went to the Thursday show, aka a school night, and it was going to start forty five minutes before bed time and Nashi (who doesn’t nap anymore) is already getting tired. The combination of my late-bedtime anxiety and expert level Frozen knowledge forced insane intermittent thoughts into my papa brain throughout the performance like “it’s past 8:30pm and you’re only now getting to Love Is An Open Door?!” and “aw hell naw it’s almost 9:30pm, we don’t have time for Fixer Upper!” None of those thoughts expedited the show however, and I think it was after 10pm when we finally got home. Nashi fell asleep in the car, Mama came out to help with Papaya as we ushered them through the house and into their pjs after washing the Corona virus off their large-crowd visiting little bodies, and it’s then 10:45pm by the time my packed day is over. While Nashi crashed right away, Papaya with her late nap and Frozen experience was completely wired and came out of the bedroom about ten times before finally going to sleep. Oh, and on the walk back to the car after the show some Uber driver blasted out an alley as we approached but luckily I was carrying Papaya at the time and Nashi was close enough for me to grab and pull back.
As I lied there in bed contemplating the past sixteen hours of non-stop working and daddying action, I’m also feeling bummed about the cleaning and laundry that I’ve fallen behind on. Poor Mama has been super sick for over a week now and we’ve been trying to get through it all. Then it occurs to me: in as little as ten years, my forty-eight year old self is going to wish I could I have a day like today.
Here’s what that day actually looked like: I woke up to two energetic kids who are stoked to be starting their day, and their idea of the best possible first activity is to come running to us in bed (ok, to Mama, but whatevs). I get to feed them hearty food and take Nashi to school, where he always wants me to carry him from the car to the class line because he still finds comfort in me and it probably calms him as he approaches the day at his big school. I then get to go to a job that’s finally at a place in my career where I have the income and flexibility to be a significant value add to the family, as opposed to a sacrifice/transition period as I try to gain a foothold in tech. From there I get to go home and snuggle the three year old who is much more likely to relax and nap with me than with anyone else. Then I get to take Nashi to violin and participate in his musical education that establishes the kind of foundation that can only happen when you’re young. Maybe music even becomes a deep and significant part of his grown up life and his memory of where that came from relates to our shared experience. Then to top it all off, I get to take those eager and imaginative kids to experience the large budget musical version of their favorite childhood movie. Early childhood is the only time when this kind of thing is pure magic. We walked back to the car talking about whether that was real ice powers we just saw and if Hans’ sword was real, and drove home listening to Papaya sing Let It Go.
My forty-eight year old self will be important to my thirteen and sixteen year old children, but for very different reasons. He will read about this day and either be disappointed that I treated it like a bunch of busy chores, or be very happy that I clung to and appreciated every moment I could while I had the chance.
I then happily fell right asleep.
What a perfect papa day!