The stars aligned unexpectedly last weekend, bringing many good friends into close orbit.
First I was sucked into a time warp, into a bizarre echo of my life circa 1995. By rare chance, both Martha and Wai Kee were visiting from California the same week, allowing for a reunion of Ka Leo survivors. Donica pulled us all together, also bringing in sweetheart-turned-husband Jason and old advertising stud Stephen. Even Baron made a late appearance.
Katie came along, and charmed everyone. And everyone was in a merciful mood and didn't tell Katie about any of the stupid things her daddy did in college.
It was pure genius to pick the UH Men's Volleyball Alumni Game as the venue for our get together, as it took us all back to the days when we'd almost make deadline, then stroll down to lower campus to cheer on the 'Bows. The topper? Many of the names on the alumni roster were veterans from our time: Jason Olive, Rick Tune, Aaron Wilton, Sivan Leone...
Of course, back then we were crazy kids who thought they knew everything, making trouble at a daily college paper. It's amazing to think how much has changed in ten years, and yet how little. Cutesy newsroom couple Donica and Jason both Star-Bulletin employees today are not only married, but are also new parents. Even Stephen, who has worked all over, has returned to his roots in a way: he just joined the Star-Bulletin, too... on the advertising/design side, of course. Martha never lost the journalism bug, and is now a network news producer in Los Angeles.
With Doni and Jason's new baby, I finally had someone in the Ka Leo posse with whom to talk kid stuff. We traded notes on diapers and toys and sleep deprivation while Martha and Wai Kee alternately cringed and rolled their eyes.
The most hopeful sign? I think our days at Ka Leo only came up a couple of times. (Much to Jen's chagrin, earlier gatherings were almost always dominated by talk of days gone by.) Instead of war vets replaying big battles over and over again, we were finally just old friends catching up and talking about our real, current lives. Maybe we finally realized how interesting they actually are.
After the game (the alumni team won), we put the perfect cap on the evening by heading down to Bubbies for some dessert. The prices are quite a bit higher than they used to be, but the ice cream is as good as it always was.
The very next day, the whole family got to see Beth, Basil and baby Beckett (fresh in from South Carolina) and a very pregnant Lisa. We met up at Big City Diner in Kaimuki, and chatted endlessly and shamelessly about all things baby.
Man, did we talk.
Honestly, it wasn't so long ago that such an obsessive focus on children annoyed the hell out of me. So it's still a little weird when I step back and realize that I'm sitting at that table in a restaurant you know, the one with all the poop talk and the Cheerios all over the floor and the kids and babies squealing and knocking things over. Now that I'm on the other side of that glare, all I can say is, don't worry... we often think we're insane, too.
There are worse things to obsess about than your offspring, I guess. And really, after filtering your conversations for your single friends and coworkers, day in and day out, sometimes it just feels so damn good to finally be around people who know exactly what you're talking about.
Or, in Lisa's case, will know. And sooner than we thought.
Not 48 hours after we dined with her (and drove her home to Kaneohe, terrorizing her cats during a brief visit), Lisa was admitted to the hospital with pre-term labor. And fewer than 48 hours after that, at 10:35 p.m. on Wednesday, she gave birth! Tyler arrived a month early, but still clocked in at a health 5 lbs., 6 oz. Jen and I are thrilled for Lisa and Vince... and we hope Tyler can go home soon.
Katie and her soccer team, the Flaming Tigers, had their first game on Saturday. It was held at "16 Acres Park" (a.k.a. Makaunulau Community Park) in Mililani, which I didn't know until that morning was located three blocks from where we live. The wet, grassy field was covered with kids dressed in over a dozen different colors, and like that bee girl in the Blind Melon video, Katie had to wander around for a while before finding the rest of her blue-shirted kind at the very back of the park.
As promised, it was a "game" only insofar as there was a ball and two goals and referees with whistles. No one was officially keeping score, although of course some of the kids were counting anyway. It was a pretty big soccer field for such little players... I got tired just watching them play.
I was quite glad to find most of the other parents appropriately supportive and low-key, and to see the organizers doing what they could to even things out when the extra big and extra tall kids inevitably started dominating the game. Only one dad seemed a little too excited given the level of play, but as he apparently also just got back home the day before after a long tour in Iraq, I figure he was entitled.
Katie had fun, and that was what mattered most. She played goalie in one quarter (though she didn't have to block a single kick), sat out another, and chased the ball along with the herd for the other two. I think she made contact with the ball a couple of times, which was enough of a thrill. With both Jen and I having been decidedly non-athletic as kids, it's impossible to not feel a little vicarious rush while watching her play her little heart out.
And last night, I had a quintessential Lifetime Television Movie Moment™, when I was pulling Katie's soccer jersey out of the washing machine. I could still clearly remember what it felt like to sort out her newborn diaper shirts flimsy white cotton things no bigger than my palm. "How did I get here?" I shook my head.
Some days, truly, seem to drag on forever. The daily domestic routine could probably drive a sane man mad. But when moments like that flash past, I'm suddenly terrified I'm missing way too much.
I can't wait for my reunion with my bunch of MTG friends from High School, & my 30th Class Reunion too. Having children and watching them grow is awesome, having grandchildren is priceless. The key is to have LOVE and instilling what you believe in. Eh, I think you went to UH the same time as my neice, Nani Flores the basketball player. By the way, excellent and clear pictures. I especially like the one of Katie looking up to th camera!
Lynn (January 29, 2005 10:30 AM)
I had one of those where did the time go? moments last year when my 12-year-old son bought new shoes... and they were in my size. Boy, did I feel old.
Eric (February 2, 2005 4:14 PM)
On my way to meet with a colleague today, I grabbed for some pictures of our daughter Noelani for a bit of parental showing-off and discovered that the only printed picture handy was a recent one from around the new years holiday. I was shocked to see how much she's changed in just a month and a half. Suddenly I'm not so eager for travel, even short business trips...too afraid I'll miss something important.
Bruce (February 21, 2005 10:54 PM)
E kala mai! Comments have been disabled due to overwhelming abuse by spammers. Please click through to any of the video hosting services linked above to leave a public response, or feel free to send an e-mail. Mahalo!
© 1997-2008 Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org · Created: 13 November 1997 · Last Modified: 14 January 2008