Several years ago, the Baltimore Orioles signed a reliever named Mike Timlin to be their closer. For those who aren’t baseball fans, the closer is the guy called on to pitch the last inning of the close game when the team is in the lead. He’s usually the best pitcher on the team and manages to finish things off. Well, Timlin didn’t do such a hot job during his first months as an Oriole. In fact, he downright stunk (not the word I used back then, but this is a family blog). Game after game, the Orioles would be winning only to have Timlin blow the game in the 9th inning. What was worse was that he was being paid millions to lose these games. They interviewed Timlin about his woes and I never forgot his response. He basically said "It is tearing me up, but when I go home to my son, he doesn’t know anything about it and he still thinks I am great." At the time, the comment drove me nuts. Who cares about his son? My team was getting killed in the standings–and by the Yankees, no less!! Ugh! Well, I owe Mr. Timlin an apology. Eight years later, I now get it.
Friday, I had one of those days. You know what I am talking about. It was one of those days when you’re just really annoyed and frustrated by the day’s activities. I came home really tired and ready to just explode. But then I saw Iris. Suddenly, I didn’t even remember that I had a job. That smile melted everything away. We read our books and sang our songs (well, I sang and she nodded in amusement). The next morning, we danced around in the living room, had a sloppy breakfast (mmm, yogurt), played soccer in the kitchen (shh, don’t tell mom), and went for a leisurely walk to Starbucks (where we got in a lot of peekaboo amidst the "that’s so cute" reactions from everyone who walked by). Later on, I had night duty as Cherise stepped out for an evening on the town, which gave Iris and me even more bonding time–including a bath, which usually doesn’t happen without mom. OK, giving her medicine wasn’t as much bonding time as it was legal torture, but the rest of the night was kinda fun.
As I was going through the day, I realized Mike Timlin was a pretty smart guy. The highs and lows of work are fleeting, but Iris is forever. While her behavior is anything but constant, our relationship is. She will always be my daughter, I will always be her father, and as long as I respect that, we’ll always have each other. As far as she knows, I’m a professional singer (yes, that is funny). Nothing that happens from 7am-7pm really affects her. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still the same guy I was before and I am still pretty driven (to keep a balance, I watched "The Godfather Part II" after Iris went to bed). But at the end of the day, as long as I’ve got a great relationship with my family (both Cherise and Iris), other things seem secondary.
As for Mike Timlin, he pitches for the Boston Red Sox now. Far be it from me to ever root for the Red Sox, but I suppose the next time I see him pitch a good game, I’ll think of 10-year old Jake Timlin and smile.