FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

The Animal Magic Show

Written By: Scot Butwell - Sep• 02•12

john abramsD and I are sitting on the library floor behind a strip of yellow plastic tape with the words, “Caution: Do Not Enter.” We’ve been waiting patiently for the “Animal Magic Show” to begin for about twenty minutes.

It starts to feel like the plot for Waiting for Godot, an absurdist British play by Samuel Beckett I read in college where two homeless guys wait endlessly for a third character named Godot who never shows up.

The only difference is the librarian and magician have been standing in front of us the entire time we’ve been waiting, and the magician doesn’t appear to be pulling a chinchilla or rabbit out of a hat any time soon.

The librarian stares at the kids to make sure no one disturbs the yellow tape and, sure enough, D earns a reprimand after his foot begins involuntarily kicking the tape, as if he suddenly has come down with Tourette’s Syndrome.

“Please don’t kick the yellow tape,” the librarian tells him.

I want to scream at the librarian to start the freaking magic show, but I don’t say anything–though I am sure other parents are having similar thoughts. Or maybe not. D’s fidgetiness could just be getting to me.

“Where is the magician’s black hat?” D asks.

As I begin to explain that not all magicians wear black hats like Professor Hinkle on Frosty the Snowman, D’s foot takes aim at the boy sitting next to us. Luckily, his kick barely misses the boy’s arm, and I pin his leg down with my arm.

That’s when I realize Dad Mistake #1: We arrived too early to get front row seats! Actually, we showed up a week early (I mixed up the dates) and came back today; we’ve been sitting for twenty-five minutes and, cross my fingers, another hour to watch the magic show.

Then, as I contemplate mistake #1, I realize Dad Mistake #2: his body is squirmy because he needs to pee, not from having difficulty regulating his body, as I had presumed. We visited the restroom when we arrived, so I thought he was “okay” on that front.

But D says he needs to pee again–after I ask him three or four times–and we rush off to the restroom.

I realize Dad mistake #3 in the bathroom: He drank too much water in the car which may cause us to lose our front row seats. And when we return from the restroom, sure enough, someone has taken our seats, D loses interest in the show, playing instead with a shard of carpet, and I ponder how a couple of blunders can lead to the demise of our trip.

I know my “mistakes” are common knowledge for moms, probably for most dads too, and I’m sure in my life as a dad, I will make many more mistakes on the yellow brick road.

However, this is what I’m learning today: I must be aware not only of my bladder, but also gauge the level of D’s bladder, especially when sitting for any length of time will be a requirement.

I mentally bookmark the lesson: drinking too much water equals a need to pee. I know it’s not Einstein’s e = mc squared, but this is what I need to learn as a dad to be successful going places with D.

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