Baseball Mitts and Little Girls’ Heads

I’ve got lots of issues.  One that’s been a bit of a nuisance in my life is that I’m night blind.
My wife and daughters have always enjoyed a morbid thrill of sitting in a movie theatre and watching me standing in the aisle like a big ass with arms full of popcorn, candy and cokes trying to find them.  After a good howl and watching people tell me to “sit down or get out,” they’ll whisper over, “Over here.” They don’t say “dad” because they’d never admit they’re related to me.
Being night blind, kissing my kids goodnight has always been a challenge.
If I don’t trip over something on the way to their bed, the next challenge becomes wondering where their head might be in the bed. I’m just looking at a sea of black.
But the truth is, I’m really not interested in kissing their heads — I just want to smell their heads.
I’m sure you have friends that are into smelling their wine before they take that first sip.
You know the drill; in that smell they imagine the vineyard… The end of summer days just before the harvesting of the grapes.  They can experience their wine and its aroma and bouquet.  They say words like, “buttery,” and “corky,” and “flowery,” “noble,” “piquant,” “vigorous,” and “velvety.”
To each his own.  Some like to smell wine; I prefer my kids’ heads.
Because in that moment of smelling their heads, in that one-second moment, I remember what they smelled like the day they were born.
Like nothing else in the world.
Have you ever gone to a sports store, walked by new baseball mitts, and that new leather hits you?
If you ever played little league baseball as a kid and dreamed of being Ron Santo, one whiff in that aisle and your memory yanks you right back to the park at 10 years old.
Ask any dad.  Going by mitts in a sports store is like watching home movies.
If men had it their way, that’s what cologne should smell like. Baseball mitts.
I’d much rather smell like a new mitt than that sugar-water Chanel nonsense my wife bought me that I’m squirting on my neck every day.
And, tonight, after I stop scribbling this story, I’ll send our dog, Spanky, out the front door to powder his nose, then I’ll turn off the lights downstairs — and I’ll kiss my girls goodnight — who will be long, long asleep.
And in that moment, that extraordinary moment, I’ll remember who they were, feel who they are – and imagine who they’ll be.