CINCINNATI -- We brought our newborn twin girls home from the hospital just before Christmas, and I thought it would be a good idea to get our 3-year-old son working for the team.
"Sam, do you want to help give Lydia a bath?"
"Oh, sure," he said in a singsong voice. "I'll get the soap that stings our eyes."
Welcome home, Liddy.
Having taken a circuitous path to the love of my life, Carrie, I had made it to 40 before Sam, our first, was born. For the previous 20 years, I went to movies and restaurants when the spirit moved me.
I ran marathons. I nursed hangovers.
Now, I nurse one or two beers lest I nod off while a friend describes a new movie that I'll be able to watch on Netflix next year. Once or twice a month, we break camp like nomads to eat out, spreading our car seats, diaper bags, toys and burp cloths across tables and chairs while wild-eyed patrons gird themselves for a baby meltdown. If there's a candle, Sam sings a quick round of happy birthday and blows it out. The mood is set.
Exercise, like print journalism, is a distant memory, replaced by chasing Sam around the house by day and wearing a path between our bedroom and the twins' by night. (Okay, my sainted wife covers most of the night shift so that I might be semi-conscious at work, but that's for a Mother's Day column).
Friends without kids buy three-day passes to Midpoint Music Festival and Bunbury and have actually heard of some of the bands that are playing. Friends who started their families in their 20s and 30s go to watch my beloved Reds while I watch "Dinosaur Train," having given up my Reds partial season package after struggling to make it to a handful of games last season – pre-twins. I'm cautiously optimistic I'll make it to a game this year.
And sleep. Oh, the memory of eight hours – Seven! Five!!! – undisturbed by screaming demons masquerading as cherubs.
Rest, bar hopping, long runs, disposable income. It's gone, all gone.
And what do I get in return?
Insiders can see what makes it all worth while, even during my sleep deprived moments.