A Year In Mill Valley

Dad, I Really Like My Life

I went to bed at 9:30 last night — it was a big day at work, and I could barely keep my eyes awake after reading to Nathaniel (we’re on book eight, “These Happy Golden Years”, of the Little House on the Prairie series). Rachel and I were going to watch a video which I’d picked up on the way home, but it was all I could do to keep my eyes open long enough to brush my teeth and fall into bed.

The boys woke us early this morning, excited about Nathaniel’s first soccer game later this afternoon. They wanted to go to Toast (in Mill Valley) for breakfast, so the boys and I headed to breakfast while Rachel headed to the gym.

We got there early enough that we had a table in the front next to the windows (definitely the nicest place to sit). We all had our usuals…Mickey Mouse pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon for the boys, scrambled eggs, fruit and bacon for me.

While we were waiting, Nathaniel drew one of his little cartoon characters. It’s a pretty cute little guy, and I asked whether he could draw a comic strip around him. We talked about what kinds of things make up a comic strip, things like funny or goofy characters, unexpected situations, silly endings. After a little bit he added a surfboard and some waves. We tried to come up with a name, Stermon was the best we could do (the syllables of Monster reversed), and then I asked him what was happening. “Well, he just got thrown off a ship and landed safely on a surfboard.” “What would make it funny?” I asked. “What if there was a shark in the water in front of him, while he was looking back at the ship?”, said Nathaniel. And there you have it, the very first Stermon cartoon strip.

After breakfast we wandered down to the Depot to see if there was anyone we knew. The fog was in, and it was cold, so we didn’t stay long. On the walk back up the hill Nathaniel said to me “Dad, I really like my life!”. I was going to ask him why, but watching Sebastian skip up the hill ahead of us, looking at Nathaniel on his heelies next to me, passing a giant redwood tree, and breathing the early morning air in Mill Valley, I knew exactly what he meant.

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