TimmyDaddy: Growing Up Fast

Bill, Marty and Emmet at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to cheer on Atlanta United.

It’s often said of raising kids that “it goes by so fast” and if Elliott’s gargantuan shoe size weren’t enough notice, I can turn to my nieces and nephews who are now in college. I started writing this column years ago because a timeout each month to note a few things seemed a worthwhile exercise. I’ll continue jotting these things down until my kids revolt, and that may be imminent since I am about to document their rap music phase.

I am genuinely impressed though. The lyrical team of Lil Saltine (Margo) and Lil Tortilla (Elliott) deserve their due. Lil Tortilla (tore-till-uhh) is the producer. He selects beats he finds on the internet, films and edits the videos. Lil Saltine is the performer and choreographer. She has already achieved a moderate level of fame among Elliott’s 6th grade cohorts with lyrics like: “Little Saltine, not even a teen, top on this track! Yes, I can rap! Get off my street, you don’t want this heat. I can do any flow, you already know!”

Margo has previously explored other music genres. When she was three years-old she wrote what I would term a Country Grunge tune called “Cowgirl, Get Up.”  It was an ode to strong women everywhere: “Cowgirl, get up, in the morning, ride your pony, you’re the best cowgirl in the wor-or-or-or-orld.” Now that Elliott is a skilled producer, a dance remix may be in order.

My own rap phase was safely confined within the cinderblock walls of my freshman dorm room. And no one had recording devices in those days, so there it remained, mercifully. I was just singing along anyway. It never occurred to me to write and perform my own “flow.” However, if the business is as lucrative as the videos make it seem, I may want the manager job. The kids must be hiding the piles of cash somewhere around here.

Their spirited collaboration was a bright spot as we marched through March. A sunny day here and there beckoned us outside until we got sniffly and lightheaded from the tree pollens. We retreated and watched a dizzying amount of college basketball instead. Since we’ve had kids, the springing forward of daylight savings time is like being catapulted into a faceplant. Bedtimes creep later and morning alarms feel like forever o’clock fire drills. So, when my nephew texted that he would be spending a weekend with us on his way to Florida for Spring Break, that was a welcome diversion as well.

Emmet is a junior at the University of Virginia and his visit was enough to wrangle his father, my brother Marty, to join us from New York. The highlight of the weekend was a trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to see Atlanta United play. Safe to say we have two more converts to the cult of the Five Stripes. But before that we dragged them around from softball field to soccer field to see our kids play. For Marty it must have felt like he time-hopped a decade backwards. It seemed a welcome break from the 6 a.m. commuter train into Manhattan and the mailing of tuition checks at least.

Our friend Jenny asked, “When did Emmet get so grown up…and handsome!” It’s hard to say—it “all went by so fast.” He’s so mature, it’s almost jarring. This little smush of a curly haired toddler has sprung into a 6’4” Psychology Major who plans to pursue a Ph.D. I can only imagine how fast it all has gone by for Marty. Not that he longs to turn back the clock. Life is good, his kids are excelling in school. The fiscally responsible part of him probably wishes they opted for the music business like my kids have, but academia is fine, too. There’s a path for everyone I suppose. I just hope these paths meander slowly enough that we can take it all in.

Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at tim@sullivanfinerugs.com.

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