Last Week of First Grade

I dropped Lila off at school this morning.  As usual, I woke her up at 5:45am—and she didn’t fuss at all.  Of course I turned on some Scooby Doo for her viewing pleasure—Scooby Doo is a total fuss deterrent, and for that I am thankful.

I made her french toast and covered it with honey—then added a side of blue berries and gummy bear vitamins. Ok, ok—I didn’t “make” the french toast, I merely tossed the frozen premade slice of sugary bread onto a frying pan and added a bit of butter.

As we drove to school, I began to reflect on the weekend.  We went to a festival in downtown San Jose on Friday called, Sub Zero.  We didn’t stay for very long—but it was nice to see the activity downtown, and we ran into some friends.

My friends (these are the guys I hang out with a lot, and have for a decade) met us at the South First Market, which is a food court type venue that has an array of food and beverage choices.  It is a family friendly location, but does include a large bar area.  I bought Lila a Bay Area priced popsicle for five dollars—and my friends of course ordered several beers.

My closest friends LOVE to drink—and I love them, but it’s starting to get old.  Thankfully my buddies aren’t the obnoxious type of drunks, but since they like to hang out in bars, I get to see my old self quite a bit.

I see the drunk-guy yelling at the television, shaking his fist at the refs calling a sports game…stumbling and slurring his words.  I see another guy being rude to strangers for no reason at all—somehow alcohol consumption turns some of us into someone we’re not…aggressive and mean.  I remember people used to tell me “Leif, I can’t believe you did that last night.”  I see the drunk guy high-fiving friends as he leaves the bar, car keys in hand—I just pray that he doesn’t hurt himself, or god forbid a family on the way home.

Sitting in a bar makes me cringe because it brings back random memories of so much time wasted being wasted.  On the flip side, it provides a sense of gratitude knowing that I’m not “that guy” anymore.

My friends have made comments about me “not hanging out” as much anymore.  How do I tell them I don’t want to watch them guzzle 15 beers and shots of Jameson each time we go out?  How do I tell them I’d rather go for a hike, or catch a movie?  How do I remain friends with a group of guys who need alcohol to socialize?

As Lila took the last bite of her five dollar popsicle, I gave my friends high-fives and hugs–we went on our merry way.

On Saturday morning we went to the mall and did a bit of shopping at Old Navy.  I was satisfied with some of the deals occurring at the store—so I bought Lila a new bathing suit (apparently she has outgrown her My Little Pony swimsuit) and some workout clothes for myself.  Then, we drove home and went swimming.  Lila loves to swim—the kid is like a fish, and can swim for hours at a time.  I enjoy seeing her smile, laugh—and I could listen to her say “daddy” all day long.

After swimming, we ate lunch then went to see the movie Alice through the Looking Glass.  I’m not a big fan of Tim Burton’s recent films—but when I see Lila enjoying the moment, I realize that it doesn’t matter what I like—her being happy is my main objective.  If she is happy, I am happy.  Fucking right man.

I suppose that has been the most thought provoking aspect of being sober for over two years now.  It’s not all about me!  I think back to how selfish I was when I was a drunk.  Our schedule revolved around my first drink—and the night usually ended with my fat ass passed out on the couch with crumbs scattered all over the place from whatever slop I conjured up as the Drunk Chef.  I’d wake up with swollen eyes and a mind and heart full of regret—craving my next drink.

On Saturday, we went to the beach.  We hit up the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and rode the: Cyclone, Double Shot, Giant Dipper and a little train ride.  We dug holes in the sand, put our feet in the ocean—and we hung out so long that I got a hefty case of sunburn.  After the beach, we drove home and went swimming—then watched the Warriors destroy the Cavs in game two of the NBA finals.  A hell of a weekend!

I gave Lila a big hug before she walked into school this morning.  It’s her last week of first grade—and she has done such a great job this school year.  I understand that with a blink of an eye she will be packing up and going to college—and my goal in life is to maximize our moments together.  I am blessed to be a father—I am blessed to be sober—and I’m going to try my best to keep a clear and level head.

We have a big summer planned—it’s going to be awesome.

Bless you and yours.



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