Rookie of the Year

The ‘Oh!’ Sound That Means Yes

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #96. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath, who adds any typos or factual errors that might appear within.

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It’s early. You’re not going to the office today. It hurts too much. You’ll work from home.

A noise comes from the small bedroom. You open the door with a creak.

You whisper:

Good morning

A big hello hug, the lights go on, the diaper is changed. He rubs his still-sleepy eyes.

Want to come lie down in Daddy’s room?

The “Oh!” sound that means yes

He slumps over your shoulder as you lift him up and carry him down the hall, half of him resting, half of him holding.

The blackout curtain is open and light pours into the bedroom. It’s still early, though, and it still hurts, and you’re still working from home today.

Want to listen to music?

The “Oh!” sound that means yes

You pull out your phone and find the song. It starts to play. It’s the song you sang last night, when you all spontaneously held hands around the dinner table.

It’s his first time hearing it, not just the snippets you remembered last night, the ones you belted out that made him laugh, the ones that drew an impromptu call and response:

Hands across the water …

… wahdr!

Heads across the sky …

Sky! Sky! Skyskysky!

As you watch his face light up in recognition, you remember how many parts the song has and are delighted with each bit that makes a new impression. Words like “sorry” and “pie.” The exaggerated British accent. There’s even a chance to blow raspberries in the air.

They each become their own tiny moment.

And of course:

Hands across the water …

… wahdr!

Heads across the sky …

Sky! Sky! Skyskysky!

And when it ends, you’re smiling at each other and laughing and also it hurts and you’re going to work from home today.

More please!

You play it again and you’re right back there, singing along together and laughing and finishing each other’s lyrics and the light is pouring through the open bedroom window.

More please!

You’re alive in the moment but you also know this is probably the last time. So you pull him close to your chest and hold the camera up for a selfie. He loves selfies and you’re making all kinds of funny faces — scary faces, super happy faces, silly faces and you’re laughing and pressing the shutter button and you’re going to work from home today after you drop him off at school.

He rolls over to his side. As the song continues he makes more faces just for you and you snap a few more photos to remember it forever. All the emotions are there that you need.

And then the song ends again and it’s time to dress him in his brand new Paw Patrol shirt, feed him his cereal, put his shoes on and grab his backpack and lunch and head through the front door and outside onto the porch and down the block and around the corner until you get to the school.

He runs to his teacher for a big hug and, just like that, looks back at you and says:

Bye!

You wave goodbye and it’s early and it hurts and you’re working from home today.

And then, before you turn to leave him, you blow each other a kiss.

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Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at ESPN.com. He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.

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