Knowing When We Are Out of Our League


Yesterday my daughter came downstairs to pour a cup of morning coffee. She realized we were out of coffee creamer after looking through the refrigerator. She thought her day was ruined, but I came to her rescue.

We drove to our local convenience store for her favorite vanilla creamer. She went inside to seek it out, and I waited in the car for her to return with her day-saving liquid.

While I waited, a young father came out of the store with his three children. Two older boys looked at their score from the candy aisle while their little sister carried out her large light blue slushy. I watched the young father try to motivate his children to his car, but his daughter had other ideas. She took her little hands and squeezed the slushy cup, squishing out the slushy ooze out the top watching it run down the cup, pouring over her hands. What a mess to see. It was beautiful.

I watched the father run to his little girl and take the cup from her before the mess could get out of control. He was too late. The blue ooze covered her hands and plopped several splats on the sidewalk entryway to the store.  He took the cup from her but experienced everything that made his little girl giggle, the perfect and complete mess. While he worked to clean the cup, his little girl decided the slushy on the ground would be fun to make splashes.

As I watched this unfold, I wondered what was going on in his life situation to lead him to such a messy and seeming innocent trip to the store. Maybe he told his wife to have a fun day, and he’ll take the kids to have some fun. It seemed like it would be a nice gesture. But then I realized I had been there before on many occasions.

He was outnumbered, and he was in too deep. I’m not sure what his life situation is, but I recognized someone out of their depths – out of their league. The kids owned him, and the master of the children was his own little girl. She owned him, and she did everything to make her point. The mess was absolute proof she was the one in charge. Dad got owned…

Sitting in my car and watching all this unfold I thought of his wife. She would have likely managed the situation much different. She has all the experience and the multi-tasking of the young energy knowing when, where, and how to motivate the kids to her will. Mom knows from long experience how to manage the children. She was probably laughing somewhere on her mom’s day knowing her husband would try, oh he would try, but he was in for an experience. An adventure, mystery, and a huge mess. She had to know, I mean how could she not? I believe she was smiling somewhere.

After my daughter had come out and we left for home, she asked me if I was bored waiting for her to come out of the store. My answer – “You have no idea.”  It was entertaining and a nice trip down memory lane. I remember when my kids reminded me how things were – The days when I was way out of my league.