Yesterday all my girls made me pretty damned happy. I'll talk about them in the order that I met them.
She played some awesome soccer yesterday. On the way to the past few games, I've been giving a small strategy hint, like "sprint past the player with the ball, then engage her," or "position yourself to surprise the player with the ball - move back a little, then sprint at them when they lead the ball out," or "position yourself to receive a pass, spread out when two of you are near the ball." None of these strategies were really applicable, as little girls soccer doesn't play like a professional game does. No, kids' games are much more fun and interesting. I don't think that 5 minutes of coaching and pep talk during the drive to a game will turn Stacey into an elite footballer, but I think engaging her to think about the game, encouraging her to pay attention to where people are and what they look like they're about to do, lays the foundation that she can build her own strategy from. Basically, it really wouldn't matter what I said, it's just important to get her mind fixed on the problem. Her fantastic mind that far exceeds where I was at her age.
Yesterday she had her game on, blocking shots at fullback, making steals and good passes at midfield, and making three saves at goalie. Goalie is where she really shines, gaining much coach, team, and sideline praise. She has never been scored on (which I try to say as much as I can while it's still true), and is often 10 feet away from the goal, fearlessly running out to grab a ball before the opponent gets set for a shot. It was fun to watch, and she was happy getting the positive feedback from an otherwise demanding and elitist group of kids and parents.
Liberty and Scout came to the game, and when Stacey made her first big save, I was standing near her on the sidelines holding Scout, and the two of us yelled out cheers to her. I could see the glee on Stacey's face, making a good play with family watching and cheering her on.
Although I'm not competitive, don't angrily push Stacey to be the best, and have the sense to allow her to be as engaged with her activities as she wants to, I was happy to see Stacey start to break through the barriers in her game and her interaction with the other girls, getting some camaraderie with her team, and gaining not a small measure of confidence. As her dad, I couldn't have been prouder.
This upcoming Monday we'll have been married for a month. I swear I've never loved a woman more than I love her, even now that we're settling into a routine, and each of us is thinking "OK, now what?" She's still amazing, and as beautiful to me now as the day I first saw her on the sidewalk by PF Chang's at Easton last September 1. I'm not the type of man to be smitten, and have always maintained some reserve around women I've dated. But with Liberty, I quickly lost all pretense of having any sense around her. She is everything I have ever wanted in a woman, and she came to me on her own, sized me up, and liked what she saw. She has the hippy mentality, a healthy dose of pessimism about the way things are, but not so much that she can't find a hundred things to laugh and smile about every day. The look. God, the look. A little spice here and there on top of the body type that, well... I think my kid might read this some day, so I'll skip that part. I've also said before that I suspect she's smarter than I am, and isn't shy about disagreeing with me when she thinks I'm full of hot air. Keeps me honest.
So, yeah, I fell for her. And I married her 6 and a half months after we met. And if I could change anything about how that worked out, I wouldn't have waited so damned long.
Yesterday Liberty had the day off from work and a court date in the afternoon, so we watched Scout from home in the morning, and I got to see a few hours of mommy bonding with her baby girl. She read to her, played with her toys, braided her hair, and gave her the smile that always makes me melt, and words of love and comfort that only sound right coming from a mom. Scout felt cherished, and safe, and wanted. When I see Liberty with her daughter, just naturally affectionate and giving, real, with no affected sing-song voice or baby talk, I fall in love with her all over again. Every time. And as a bonus, when she's focussed on Scout, I can still sneak in a kiss or two.
So Yesterday I watched Liberty work her charms on Scout, and the two of them came to watch Stacey totally kick ass at soccer. She likes her stepdaughter a lot, and despite not being into sports, comes out in support of Stacey. The two of them have spent some time together a few times without me, without needing any coercing. They've gone go-carting at Magic Mountain, and Stacey has learned some of the fine art of retail sales at Liberty's work a couple times (unless you work at the same company, in which case she hasn't, that was a complete lie).
She's the best, as good to me and Stacey as she is to her own daughter. Those of you who had the chance to snatch her up and failed to do so lost out big. What were you thinking? I mean, seriously.
"Daddy, om my up."
If I need to tell you what that means, you won't understand how it makes me feel to hear it. My ears remembered the words, and my arms knew what to do. And we never said "hey, Curtis is your daddy, call him daddy, ok?" She just did.
So those are my girls, and why I'm a happy man right now.
The Last Bridge.
13 hours ago