People often ask Cherise and I whether we will have another child or not. After our laughter subsides, we assure them there will be no more Khaund children. As I often state, I’m too selfish a human being to handle three kids and I’m barely surviving with two. But I’m not going to lie, I would really have enjoyed the opportunity to have a son. Mind you, I understand the destructiveness of little boys and I’m sure he would’ve run me up the wall, but whether it was someone to carry on the Khaund name or just share stereotypical boy things like sports, it would’ve been nice. That said, I’ve always been careful not to try to push for a tomboy or some proxy son with Iris and Robyn. Every now and then, I’ll get that surprise like watching Iris’ growing love for basketball. But truth be told, I’m a baseball guy and the idea of a father-son afternoon at the ballpark is something I always dreamed about and will never enjoy. Not enough of their friends care about it and it isn’t the rite of passage that it is with boys. For the 150 games that play on our TV throughout the course of the season (I watch a LOT of baseball), the girls don’t manage to stick around for a collective 10 minutes. While I’ve never forced upon them, I have tried to make it interesting for them but it ever really amounts to anything. And let’s face it, at 9 and 6, the girls are pretty much set and nothing’s going to change their mind, right?
Enter the dog.
Now the effect of our new puppy on the family is something where I need a entire blog post and I promise that’s coming. But the most unexpected benefit has me reopening dreams that I had long since put to bed: baseball loving children. After all, when you got an excitable puppy like Tiger Lily, the best thing to do is play fetch the ball, right? There in lies the catalyst for one of the most wonderful chain reactions that I’ve ever had as a father.
First, after playing fetch and throwing a tennis ball to Tiger Lily, Iris comes to me and says she is interested in playing baseball. Now I’m excited, but still, I didn’t want to just buy her a glove at the first instance of interest. I told her if she continued to practice, I would buy her glove. Keep throwing with Tiger Lily and we can have catches with a tennis ball and no glove. True to her word, she kept asking me to have a catch around 4:30 in the afternoon. Now, working from home as I’ve started doing over the last couple of months, has its drawbacks, but one of the great privileges is the fact that your daughter can come to you at 4:30 to have a catch and you can take a 15 minute break to have your own office “Field of Dreams”. There were even times where she asked and I was the one saying no. The father saying no to catch with his own daughter? I was so ashamed.
Oh, it got better.
When Robyn sees this, she wants to have catches and she gets really excited when Iris gets a glove. I make the same offer to her – make a commitment and I will reward it. Again, Robyn starts joining our catches and also asks to have additional ones when Iris isn’t around. When we go to buy Robyn’s glove, she sees the one in pink and puts it on but it’s a little tight. Sitting next to it is an orange model endorsed by third baseman Manny Machado, the ultimate Orioles glove. Hell, I want this glove in my size for me! Still, I prepare her to insist on pink. She is a girl, right? Much to my surprise she says “ooh orange, I love it! I hope fits.” Fits perfect, she takes it, and as we go to pay, she says “daddy, when we are watching the Orioles this year, I’ll wear my glove.” For those of you who don’t have kids, I’m not going to pretend that I’m a good enough writer to express the feeling I got with this sentence. The same goes for those of you who aren’t die-hard baseball fans. Let’s just say this was “see your daughter accept the Nobel Prize” good.
Now I’m not going to lie, I don’t know how long this is going to last. The girls tastes and opinions change quite often and I’m prepared for this to be a phase. Iris is already drifted a little bit away from asking me to have a catch, but Robyn continues to sprint for the glove every time I suggest we go out in the backyard–and she’s kinda got a rocket for an arm. Apparently, the Khaund fastball has been passed to another generation. I can’t wait to show her Manny Machado, the inspiration for her glove. The Nobel Prize can wait…