I entered the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. I had to write a story, 1000 words or less, that was in the Romance genre, took place (mostly) on a tennis court, and a neck brace had to appear. This is my submission for round 1.A-Tennis-Courtship
This has been an amazing 10 years. It was exactly 10 years ago to the minute since our wedding took place. I hope over the last month that people who have been reading these get a sense of how much I love Cassie and my kids. They mean everything to me. They are my world. I often joke around on July 7th and say that today is the anniversary that Cassie made the biggest mistake in her life. In truth, I do not know what I did to deserve such a wonderful, caring, and passionate woman. I could write for months or years and not quite capture my feelings for her perfectly. But 10 years go is the anniversary of when we officially said to the world that we love each other and will do so… forever. This is one of my favorite pictures from that night. I don’t know what I am saying but it looks like I am being my normal goofy self and Cassie just looks so beautiful smiling at me.
We had our wedding outside at the Elms Mansion in July. So we made sure that the services were short. As Cassie walked down the isle, my Dad and Uncle played Longer Than by Dan Fogelberg. It was a song that I loved as a child because I always thought it sounded pretty. I couldn’t think of a more perfect song for her to walk down the aisle to.
And then the ceremony began. It is mostly a blur because it went so fast and I was so happy.
We joked that our first dance was going to be Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf. We almost did it, because that is just our sense of humor. However, we decided that this song was better.
After a decade of marriage, all I can hope for is decades more in the future. I want to grow old with her and enjoy everything there is to enjoy in life with her.
I have written about how Thomas loves Thomas and Friends. One year they had a “Day Out With Thomas” event over in Alabama. The sheer amount of happiness in his face and voice always brightens my day. For a while I had thought I lost the video because it was on a computer that had crashed. Well, one day while going through all my automatically saved pictures and videos on Google I saw the thumbnail for this, hit play, and cried because I was so happy that I had not lost this video.
One of the videos that I love with Henry needs a second in order to show him properly. Our kids were different with character fears. Thomas would always go near the big headed characters but would never want to go near a princess. Henry, on the other hand, loved the princesses and would always go flirt. He hated the large headed characters. This is how he acted when he had the chance to see Mickey Mouse.
Well, he hated most of the larger head characters. There was one he loved and couldn’t wait to see. And that is Minnie, or as he said “mimmie”.
Both of these videos warm my heart every time I see them. While nothing beats that Cassie and I got to be there in person for these events, I am happy that we are able to save these moments so that we can always have a smile brought to our faces. I am so glad that Cassie and I have been able to share all these great moments together with our boys.
Henry loves to try and scare me. In fact he just tried now. I typically do not scare easily. He is a ninja. He sneaks up very quietly. Some nights he gets all the way up to my ear and I will hear a heavier breathing in my ear. But he hasn’t scared me yet. Each time he fails he says “dawnit”. But he keeps trying. That he doesn’t give up just shows part of his character.
He has such a cute personality it is very hard to put into words. He is very inquisitive and outgoing. He is a little prankster as well. He plays jokes. He blames his gas on others. He puts together little plays with the Disney Infinity characters.
But most importantly he has a very caring heart. He doesn’t let me leave in the morning without giving me a kiss and a hug. When I was unemployed I had a few times where I broke down and cried. A couple times was very hard. I left the room very upset. Henry, no more than two, followed me and just gave me a big hug to make me feel better. That sort of caring spirit makes us proud parents. And I could have never done it without Cassie.
We could tell Henry was going to be a much different child simply from how he acted in the womb. While Thomas was chill and relaxed, Henry wanted out and made sure that everyone knew. When it came time to go in for Cassie’s C-Section, even though it was a week early, she was already having contractions. He wanted out.
While Thomas would stay snug as a bug in a swaddle, Henry would kick and kick until he would bust out of it. It didn’t matter how well practiced I was with swaddling or how tight of a swaddle I put on him. He always found a way out. He wanted nothing to do with it.
Henry also had acid reflux really bad as a child. We had to get him a special inclined crib so that he would be able to sleep at an angle.
From early on Henry knew how to give the “evil eye”. He would just look at people, especially strangers, and just give them a stare down. He wasn’t going to be taking any crap from anybody.
While Thomas didn’t want anything in his mouth except for his pacifier, Henry was the exact opposite. He had no desire to be pacified. However, everything else would go in his mouth if we didn’t keep an eye on him. One day I saw him picking up a penny and he just about got it in his mouth. I got it out of his hand. All of a sudden, his other hand rose up, grasping another penny that he was determined to eat.
But all of this just added to the character that Henry was and is. And we were grateful to have him. The folks over at Ocshner’s OBGYN and their ineptitude caused difficulties in having a second child. But once we moved out of their care and to someone more capable, Henry was conceived.
In fact, I can even show you a picture of the day that he was conceived.
We were at Star Wars weekends and it was the day we met Ray Park, the actor who played Darth Maul. We often joked that Darth Maul was Henry’s father because all of the women in the audience during one of his presentations were all swooning over the fact that he is both good looking, funny, and great with kids. In fact, we have joked so much about it that Henry will tell you that even though I am “dayee” (daddy) that Darth Maul is his father. Last time we were at Disney World we walked passed a video game and Darth Maul was in it. Henry exclaimed to me “LOOK DADDY, IT’S MY FATHER!” I laughed.
Cassie and I parent as a team. We don’t always agree on everything. However, we pick our battles and ultimately are raising boys who will grow up to be good men. And we have seen definite proof that what we are doing works.
Thomas loves his toys, especially his trains. But when a toy drive was being done at school, he wanted to bring in one of his own trains to give to someone in need.
One day his school had a bake sale. One of his friends didn’t have any money to buy anything. So without hesitation Thomas offered him a couple dollars so he could bring home a baked good.
When Thomas plays baseball he is always cheering on his team. It doesn’t matter if they do well or make a mistake. I see him being good to all the kids on his team.
He also will speak up for himself. You can tell he loves all his grandparents. One time in Baltimore he, without any encouragement from us, asked them to come visit him. He got his wish. And it was so sweet how he asked.
He is such a good boy. I could go on and on about how sweet and nice of a boy he is. But at the end of the day I know I couldn’t have done it without Cassie at my side.
(by the way, this was the costume that made the women’s uteruses hurt that I brought up in the other post)
Thomas had delayed speech. By the age of two he had not said a word. We read to him. He would laugh and make sounds. However, no words would come out. We enrolled him in speech therapy.
Hallie was his first speech therapist. She worked one on one with him in many ways, including teaching him some sign language so he could communicate in other ways. One of my earliest proud moments of Thomas was when he came up to me and signed “more food please”. I almost cried.
As Thomas gained the ability to vocally communicate he picked up some very cute sayings. “Thank you” and “no thank you” became “Q” and “no Q”.
Thomas moved on to Mrs. Kennedy. She held her sessions at O Perry Walker high school. His GG (grandmother) would bring him. He felt like the big man on campus. All the students would give him high fives and he felt like the big boy. He improved even more and as he went to Pre K 4 he was not only speaking well but was reading at a first grade level.
He continued his speech therapy up until this year when he proved he no longer needed it. I am so very thankful for all the people who helped him learn how to be a great little communicator.
One thing that worried me when we moved him to a Spanish Immersion school in Kindergarten was would his delayed speech be an issue. I didn’t want him regressing. The opinion of several said that it should not be an issue. As we found out, it wasn’t. And now he can speak in two languages because of it. Had you told me in 2010 that Thomas would be bilingual I wouldn’t have believed you. That he’s come so far makes us both very proud parents. And it’s one of many things that played a big part of the 10 years of Cassie and I being married.
Thomas was born on December 15, 2008. We joked when he was born that he was our little tax break because he would only get to be outside the womb 16 days of the year but we got full tax benefits.
We discussed what we would name him. I suggested Thomas Andrew Zimmerman since Cassie’s father’s name was Andrew Thomas. She wasn’t sure but I believe several other people convinced her that it was a good idea. It would also be cute because his initials would be TAZ. We joked that if we had a daughter that we would name her Penelope Elise Zimmerman. That would make Cassie a PEZ dispenser.
Thomas was always a very chill baby. In the womb he never really kicked. It was a slow pushing if anything. And when it came time for Cassie to have her C Section he was just floating in there.
When he was born, Thomas was never the type to put random things in his mouth. I don’t know if he just knew or if he just wasn’t inquisitive in that way.
Thomas showed his brains early. We didn’t name him for Thomas the Tank Engine but he took to liking it quickly. One day one of the engines fell into the bookcase. Thomas couldn’t reach it with his hands. So he stuck an engine down there and used the magnet at the end to lift the other by its magnet. I wish I had that on video.
One thing that we used to have is season tickets to the New Orleans Hornets as a baby we dressed him up as a bee. He would make women’s ovaries ache. One time two women approached and asked me where his mother was. She was sitting right next to me.
One day I took Thomas to a game myself. This is a picture from that game.
Thomas has given us many years of joy and will have several posts.
I plan a couple of posts for each of our children individually because one just isn’t enough for both of them. But before I talk about them individually I have to talk about them together.
Thomas was well prepared for his little brother to come. We would have him kiss Cassie’s stomach goodnight many nights to kiss Henry goodnight. We allowed Thomas to name Henry as well. At first it was going to be Percy (after the number 6 engine on Thomas and Friends) but he changed his mind to Henry (the number 3 engine). Henry was a cranky engine and that kind of fit.
Thomas was so happy to get a little brother. Any time I ask if that was my baby Henry Thomas would respond “No that’s MY baby Henry.”
They may argue sometimes but you can tell they love each other.
This one shows how much they looked alike as kids even though Henry looks like me and Thomas looks like Cassie.
They wore the same outfit on the same day years apart. We found out about it via Facebook memories.
Thomas loves trains more but Henry also enjoys them.
I’ve always been a gamer. I played the basic board games as a young child. I moved up to Axis and Allies in Boy Scouts. In high school I tried some miniatures games and Star Fleet Battles. In college I even tried Magic the Gathering for a while.
Previous relationships that I had with people would be embarrassed at the idea of dating a “gamer” and/or wouldn’t try some of the games with me.
Cassie, on the other hand, is someone who has no problems with me going to play games with my friends. But what’s even better is that she will give most of the games that I introduce to her a chance. I am pretty good at guessing what games she might like or might not like.
While I don’t believe that couples need to have 100% shared interests, it is great to be with someone who won’t discourage your interests and who will also take part in them. I am thankful that I found someone to share those interests with.