My one-year-old son is a very light sleeper, much like my wife, except he doesn't cram wax into his ears and strap a sleeping mask to his face. A few nights ago, while he was dozing, I attempted to sneak into his nursery to retrieve a pair of my shoes from his closet. My wife, you see, has taken up all the room in our other closets and there is currently a six-month waiting period for me to get space in her walk-in closet, so I've been forced to steal space in my son's closet, since for the moment he can't say "Dad" or take me in a fight.
This shouldn't be too difficult, I thought as I traversed the thick shag carpet. I mean, after all, there are no lazer-beams shooting across the room that I have to elude and limbo under like in those Mission: Impossible movies. I simply have to cross the room, quietly open the closet door, and retrieve my shoes. How hard is that?
It's not easy being a first-time dad at the ripe old age of fifty-four. Last week my son threw up on my AARP magazine and then finger-painted the walls with my Just For Men hair dye. I would have cleaned up the hair dye, but I found that it made our walls look much more youthful and confident, so I just left it where it was. Though this shoe retrieval seemed simple, the expedition was just one more thing that tested the limits of my age. As I tried to stealthily cross the room, the loud popping and cracking of my aged joints sounded like I was walking on a strip of bubble wrap. Someone younger and more limber could have made this mission an easy success, but I knew it was only a matter of time before one of my body's audible warning signals would set him off.
Sure enough, my right knee eventually began to sound off like Jiffy Pop in a microwave. Almost as if he had been waiting in bed for his cue, my son bolted upright. I stood frozen in the middle of the room, thinking that as long as I didn't move he wouldn't be able to see me. I remained quiet in the "Peeka" position of Peeka-boo. I knew I would not be able to maintain this position very long without my joints locking up, but luckily he soon drifted off back to sleep.
Once I reached the closet, I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and used it as a dim flashlight to find my black walking shoes with the orthopedic inserts. "That wasn't so bad," I thought as my neck let out a small 'pop.' Of course, that momentary hubris quickly did me in. I was almost back in friendly territory when my cell phone began to blare "When The Saints Come Marching In." I fumbled it in my hands as I quickly tried to mute the ring tone, but I was too late. The baby was up again with a blood-curdling wail.
"Hello?" I yelled into the phone. It was my pharmacist. My beta-blockers were ready to be picked up anytime. But first, I had to get my son back to sleep. I slipped on my shoes, picked him out of the crib, and began to walk him around the room. There's nothing like holding a baby and wearing orthopedics; hey, at least we're both riding in comfort.