Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

PUNCHBUGGY!!!

There was a custom in the mid to late 1980’s, usually while driving, when spotting a Volkswagon Beetle (for those that need the image… recall “Herbie The Love Bug”), if you had a passenger in your car with you, and either of you spotted one of these “bugs”, it would become a race who could curl up a fist and either punch the other person in the leg or arm. And it was usually a good wallop too since participants were usually well into their teen years.

As time went on, the Volkswagon Beetle (bug) disappeared. And so did the frequency of “bug” sightings and assaults. This aggressive car game had gone the way of the Beetle.

For me personally, I did not pay attention to the return of the Beetle, which resembles its earlier design and never seems to change in appearance from year to year. But somehow, along with its return, came the return of the warcry “PUNCHBUGGY!!” and the painful reminder.

My memory had been refreshed during my daughters’ visit with me this Summer. Within the first day of their visitation, I was surprised to see, hear, and feel, they had learned a game that I thought had been long gone. And there it was…”PUNCHBUGGY!!!” followed by one punch and then completely off-guard another “PUNCHBUGGY!!!” came from the other side of me, along with another hit.

Who taught my daughters this game? Bad enough to get one, but to get it from two at the same time? They worked well as a team too. One daughter would hear the other, and then load up her fist and follow up. I did not stand a chance.

My daughters enjoyed playing “PUNCHBUGGY!!” with me. And I think I got hit with it every day that they were here. And as much as the cry of “PUNCHBUGGY!!!” came out, even though it was from my daughters, I did grow weary of it, not to mention, quite sore.

My daughters returned home to their mother last week. Funny but I do not recall paying attention to Volkswagon Beetles before their visit as I do today. But as I waited for my car to be unloaded from the Autotrain, I counted fifteen Beetles being unloaded from the train. On one hand, grateful that my arms would not be completely limp and in pain, while at the same time, yes, wishing I would hear “PUNCHBUGGY!!!” again.

Such as life. This is one of the lighter stories of divorce. This is about a game, and how much it causes my heart to miss my daughters. Every day now, I see at least one “bug”, and in my heart and in my head, I yell, “PUNCHBUGGY!!!” to myself, and instead of a punch, I get a smile.

I cannot wait until our next visit.

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