While I haven't been in Mr Lady's life for long, I do have the pleasure of being in the room while the song "Whiskey In My Sippy Cup" was written and recorded. I also had the pleasure of meeting her son T while doing laundry. He was golfing down the basement hallway and asked me for change for the soda machine. I gave him some quarters and then we golfed.
T is the ulitmate wingman. And T is how I met Mr Lady:
Back when she smoked, she and her children spent ample amounts of time on the apartment stoop (stoops are a wonderful thing, by the way). I could never get past the stoop without interacting with them. One day, T was telling some crazy story about running really fast and then Mr Lady responded with, "Next kid, less crack." I honestly thought she was serious.
Six years and one kid later, I still suspect she was serious although I'm not convinced she held her promise. :)
But anyways, since this blog is about...parenting...and whatnot I feel I should say something about what I've learned about it from Mr Lady. But understand that I'm only a parent to a dog, Lucie, and she's more of a roommate than anything.
Mr Lady's kids are awesome. I love them. I have their pictures in my wallet, and I helped them win a Pinewood Derby and a Raingutter Regata and taught them how to play Grand Theft Auto. From them I have relearned how to imagine.
When I met them they lived in a 900 sq. ft. two-bedroom basement apartment with security bars on all the windows. It was very cramped for four people and very depressing. Their playground was the sidewalk -- I often heard people in the building talk about how sad it was they had no place to play. They attended school in the worst district in the state. You wouldn't think a scenario like this would yield three kids that are kind, respectful, incredibly smart, and academically focused.
But what they do have is a father that puts tremendous effort towards providing for them, and a mother who anchors the household as firmly as any I have known. The house is always clean (or being cleaned), a home-cooked meal is always prepared, and there is always a schedule. They have a set bed time and a prescribed time carved out for TV and video games -- after homework.
When I compare Mr Lady's household with others, single-parent or not, and privileged or struggling, what I see is that the homes with schedules and good meals always have children that are a pleasure to have as friends. The homes with no structure always have children that are nothing but birth control for guys like me.
Now that I'm an uncle, I am enjoying the opportunity to confirm my theory about schedules. Whenever my sister and brother-in-law stray from the schedule, I hear reports about the rough days that followed. I also get to see how challenging it is to keep a schedule and that it takes more effort than probably anything else in Life.
So if I'm ever lucky enough to talk a girl into going on a date with me, and then charming enough to get her to alope to Las Vegas for a Buddy Holly wedding, I'm going to make sure at least one of us is an anchor for the family. We'll have bedtimes and a daily schedule that trumps anything, including colds, vacations, movies, puzzles, visitors, and Sunday dinner with the grandparents.
And maybe somebody will enjoy having my kids as friends, just like I enjoy B L and T.