I am laying on my back noticing the rafters of my pink princess castle. My leg hits Bear Dog’s left hand which triggers him to yell, “Green hand!” It’s too early, Bear Dog. Take the morning off. I wasn’t sure if Fischer Price meant for this thing to look like a bear or a dog, so he’s been Bear Dog for about 6 months. I turn to Audrey who hasn’t said a word to me since the day I met her.
I’ve only known her for two weeks. Penelope unwrapped her for her first birthday. Most of her toys are named ‘Dolly’ or ‘Hippo’. You can imagine my surprise when this doll’s tag explained her name was Audrey. That’s a pretty intense doll name. Plus, it carries a little attitude. I have voices for every toy, and keep in mind she’s everyone’s first grandchild. That’s a lot of voices. When ‘British Bear’ that I bought in London is trying to put some time in her diary for a tea party, all the sudden ‘Audrey’ rolls up in her BMW blasting Lady Gaga. Your beamer is double-parked, Audrey. One more pair of shoes and I’m cutting up your credit card, Audrey. Kristin doesn’t like her character, but I like to keep it interesting. I look over at bunny. Dear lord, what happened to you, bunny? Penelope has chewed his face completely off. I’m talking Silence of the lambs action here. Hope this changes before Pre-K or my daughter’s new nickname will be home-schooled Hannibal Lector.
There’s a xylophone in this pink castle. One full octave in the key of C, which limits your song selections very quickly. I start into an off-season jingle bells, transition to Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard, and then try the intro to the 50’s classic Mr. Sandman three times before getting it right. I hope she likes music. I accidentally sit on Bear Dog again, which sends him into an ‘always on, jazz hands’ rendition of head, shoulders, knees and toes. Have you heard these toy voices? There’s this overly expressed sense of optimism fueled at aggressive tempos that scares the crap out of me.
Penelope is now sitting with me in the pink princess castle and I tell her I had lunch with Charles yesterday. I tell her we talked about how quickly things change. Let me reiterate that I am sitting in a toy-filled pink princess castle before 7am telling this to my now 1 year old daughter. The first post I ever wrote for charlesruns.nyc was when she was still in her mom’s belly. Now it’s my second father’s day and I finished my morning workout wearing my charlesruns.nyc guide shirt from last year’s marathon. I explain to Penelope that Charles and I are going to try and raise a lot of money for Achilles this year. I don’t tell her the exact amount that we’re trying to raise. The amount that made Charles laugh out loud at lunch until he realized I was serious.
Every day should have a lesson. Every day there should be something learned. Today, on father’s day, I explain to Penelope to aim really, really, really high at life. It’s better to fail at big things then accomplish the baby steps. Penelope skipped her baby steps. This morning she ran from the only step we have in our apartment to her car, only to trip at 100 baby miles per hour and bump her face on her learning station. All I could think was… wow, look at her go. That will heal. You’ll move on. We’re going to Charles’ place today for a picnic, and I’m bringing my daughter with a big red mark on her face.
I am going to chase our fundraising goal like a toddler. A tiny human infused with life, curiosity, and a four-toothed smile. Many more updates to come. Many more stories about how Achilles has changed the lives of athletes and guides across the world. Many more reflective mornings in my pink princess castle as I help these inspiring individuals share their stories with the world.
Happy Father’s Day, Achilles!