I never thought that I'd find myself in this situation. Neither in the years before becoming a parent, nor in the 57 months or so since I've been one, did I envision myself as the father of a ball player. It just never crossed my mind, even back when I took my girls to their first Major League ball game last summer, or when I started playing "T-Ball" in the backyard with a little pink plastic set we bought for the girls. Despite knocking the ball around in the yard, I just never had that vision of standing there watching my little ones take orders instruction from a coach. But last night it happened, as Addie (who will be five this year) entered "T-Ball Prep" ahead of starting "Pee Wee Baseball" next month.
It could be said that last night, I officially introduced my daughter to the rock and roll lifestyle. We took a trip into the big city, stayed out late on a school night, and she got ice cream at 10pm. We were living dangerously, and it was all because last night was Addie's first real concert - her first big ROCK show. And what a night it was... at age 4½, my little girl got her first "special pass," met the band, and can now say that she's been on stage at one of Chicago's finest venues, The House of Blues. THE AQUABATS! kicked-off their 20th Anniversary Tour in fine fashion, and being there with my little girl made for one unforgettable night.
Last night, I went back to elementary school... our first visit to what will be our girls' home base for learning for the first several grades of their public school careers. We're about six months out from the start of Kindergarten for Addie, and it's a close call as to what's been more surprising - the fact that we just did the open house for the Fall 2014 school year... or the fact that we'll have a kindergartner. I'm going for the latter, as I still can't believe that this little girl is going to be five this year.
I was named after both of my Great Grandfathers on my Fathers side. "James" comes from the middle name of John J. Magoon, a man who died about a year and a half before I was born. "Charles" comes from the middle name of Bert C. Zahn, who I was fortunate to meet and spend some time with as a small child. I knew that Great-Grandpa Bert had been a pioneer of sorts in the world of screen printing, penning the book SILK SCREEN METHODS OF REPRODUCTION, a copy of which I bought on eBay some time ago. Great-Grandpa John was a little more of a mystery, as I'd been told as a child that he was "a coffee taster," but never really explored much beyond that. Despite all the talk of ancestry and genealogy that's been growing in popularity over the years, I hadn't paid much mind to my own... until a trip to Ohio last Fall opened an unexpected door to my family history.
Earlier tonight, while having dinner at Infields beneath Macy's on State Street in Chicago, my brother-in-law's girlfriend asked me about my family, and if there were any real "Chicago traditions" that we kept going. Honestly, my answer was "no." As a whole, there really haven't been any longstanding traditions rooted in Chicago for us, despite how much I talk up my love for the city here on The Rock Father. The reality is that when it comes to tradition, the ones we have are the ones that my wife and I have been establishing, and those are the ones that will matter most for our daughters. The big one, is our trip to visit Santa Claus... who we actually visit twice. The first time is always at Bass Pro Shops on Thanksgiving night, and the second (the really big event) is when we visit him in Santaland at Macy's. Last night, our 2013 sit-down took place.
Updated and Added to Greatest Hits, 8/10/14
Last night, I took my family to dinner at the local Cracker Barrel Old County Store and Restaurant. It's one of our favorite places for a lot of reasons, and my oldest daughter is quick to point out that "it's like Grandma Cindy's house," and she's right. The decor, the fireplace, the smell of great food and the seasonal offerings in the store section certainly do bring my Mom's house to mind. But last night, as I enjoyed my Country Fried Steak, I realized that I have a problem with the Cracker Barrel.