As you can see from the pictures this week, one big event this week was Mandy's christening. Which she slept through. And not being a Catholic, I'm kind of with her on this one and I'm still not exactly sure what the deal is. I was raised Southern Baptist, where baptism was something you volunteered for once you were old enough to fully and rationally comprehend the wickedness of dancing, gaming with dice, and the new Def Leppard album. I spend a lot of time with Mandy and it doesn't seem to me that she's sinful to the point where she would need to be washed clean, but I have to admit I can't watch her all the time.
Still, like many ceremonies it's symbolic and as much for us and the other members of her family as it is for her --even more so in this case. And I'm sure that my little girl will have plenty of future opportunities to tell the general public what she's done wrong. Her first Senate Special Investigative Hearing, for example.
Sam is still cruising along just fine. The weather is still uncooperative, but last weekend we did find a big enough warm patch to go out to the back yard and play on the swing set. When we do this, I often like to engage Sam in conversation, just to see what she's capable of and what goes on in her head. For some reason she started talking about our house in San Diego, California.
"And we had a changing table upstairs in our house, Daddy," she said as she swung on the tire swing. "You changed my diapers there."
"Yeah," I said, giving her another push. "That's right. What else do you remember about California?"
"There were parks and playground and Risa."
I looked around the yard. It was certainly bigger and better furnished than the one around our house in San Diego, but we were both wearing coats and there were still patches of snow hiding in the shady spots. Like Sam, I missed my friends from Cali and I missed all the comforts I had taken for granted there. "Yeah," I repeated, and in a burst of melancholy I slumped a little and added "I miss California, Sammy."
Sam locked eyes with me, frowned a little, and tilted her head in sympathy. And then she said, in perhaps the most adult, mature tone I've yet to hear her use, "I know you do, Daddy. I know you do. But we live here now."
I had to laugh, and after a second Sam joined me. Both what she said and the way she had said it caught me totally off guard, but I agreed with the sentiment. Life is full of choices, and sometimes none of them are perfect. And sometimes you do what's right for others in order to do right by yourself. Sam and Mandy get to grow up around their family and Geralyn is happier even though she sometimes waxes nostalgic for sunny California as well. And I guess I get a big finished basement with a HDTV, a wet bar, and a mini fridge.
Sometimes it takes the example of a three year old lead by example and teach you how to just shrug and roll with it. She's a good kid.