Dexter started barking and going crazy. I knew dad Dad turned onto Mulberry. Mulberry is the street where I live. Dexter’s not too bright, but he knows when Dad’s close by. When he hears Dad’s car, he goes into his Dad dance. I asked Mom if I could video Dexter going crazy and make a YouTube video. I told her it would go viral. She said no, Dexter needs his privacy. When Dexter hears Dad’s car he starts turning in circles like he’s chasing his tail, but he isn’t. Sometimes he hops. And, one time when he was running in circles, he got so excited, he got dizzy and fell over. His barking is more like yip, yip, yippie, yip, yip. The reason Dexter goes crazy when Dad is coming home is because Dad always carries a bag of dog treats in his car. He gives one to Dexter each time he comes home. I don’t think Dexter loves him. I think Dexter loves to eat.
Mom and Dexter are by the door, I’ve seen this a hundred times. I think Mom will forget about my homework. I head to my room to grab my tablet. I hear the door open. I hear Dad saying, “Dexter, are you happy to see me? Of course you are. I have a special treat for you. Sit. Shake. Here you go.”
A minute later I hear, “Vinnie? Vinnie? I need some man love.”
Dad says man love when he wants me to hug him. I can’t ignore him. If I do, he’ll be in my room in five seconds, he’ll give me a giant hug, kiss on the cheek or the top on my head, and then he’ll tickle me. I hate being tickled.
I do what any brilliant third grader would do, “In a minute, Dad.”
I did my cool third grade walk into the living room. I had my hands in my pockets, kind of shuffled, and give Dad a smile. My mind’s on high alert. Dad’s backpack is on the floor next to him. He’s down on one knee and his arms are spread wide. He gives me a huge smile and says, “Come on over, Vinnie and give me my man love.”
What can I do? I take my hands out of my pockets and dive into Dad’s arms. This is kind of cool, but I don’t tell my friends about it. He almost squeezes the breath out of me. I bend my head over so he’d kiss the top of my head. I say, “Hi, Dad.”
Dad answers, “Is that all I get is a ‘Hi, Dad? You can do better than that.”
I answer, “I’m happy you’re home. Want me to get you a beer?” Sometimes I say the dumbest things.
Dad says, “No thanks. I want to have some man time with you. Let’s go shoot some baskets while Mom is making dinner. I’ll change my clothes and meet you in the driveway. It’ll give you a chance to warm up. We’ll have time for a game of H O R S E. Don’t forget you have a soccer game at 7. I hope the coach puts you at forward.”
Go Dad. Homework and studying is definitely not happening. I said, “Okay.”
Soccer is okay, but I like other sports better. When I’m older I want to play football. I’ll have to convince Mom because she’s afraid I’ll get hurt. I’m not Lebron James although I am tall for my age. I’m the second tallest in the third grade. Gina Landry is the tallest. Just because I’m tall everybody thinks I’m going to play basketball. If I have to play basketball, I prefer to play it on my Playstation. I forgot all about the soccer game tonight.
Mom hollers from the kitchen, “You boys have a fun time. I’ll call when dinner is ready. Vinnie make sure you eat enough, you’ll be doing a lot running at soccer.”
“I will, Mom,” I said. I hoping I don’t puke. Adults think soccer is super fun. They get all pumped up about it.
One time I asked Dad, “Why do I have to play soccer? I don’t want to be a soccer pro when I grow up. I’m thinking I want to be astronaut or win a medal in the X games.”
Dad said, “Soccer will help you be a good astronaut or champion in the X games. It’s good for you. It will teach you teamwork.”
I had no clue how Dad connected playing soccer to being an astronaut or riding my skateboard to winner’s stand. I said, “Oh. I get it.” I really didn’t get it, but parents like it when you tell them you get it even if you don’t get it. Kids could teach adults a lot about how to get along, but they don’t listen to us.
I think soccer is good for you the way broccoli and asparagus are good for you. As for Mom saying to Dad and me have a fun time? I better not tell them about the fun I had in school today.