No matter how strong, graceful, and acrobatic you are, it is impossible to untangle yourself from the leash of a very hyper cocker spaniel until she's ready for you to be untangled.
Sportacus Ten knew this well, and yet he still continued to fight nature and keep Cleopatra, the family pooch, from sending him flying rear over tea kettle. Finally, he simply jumped up and out of the tangled mess. Thankfully his foot hadn't gotten caught in it, or the other parents would have had something to laugh at.
He had never pictured himself as a parent, standing by that red brick wall, nervously waiting for his child to emerge and tell him all about their first day of school, either through smiles or through tears.
Sportacus has changed out of his hero outfit before coming, he had stopped wearing it twenty-four seven when he started going for the more mature look. Instead of his trademark blue-with-a-stripe outfit, it was navy blue pants with a white button-up short sleeve shirt. Even the hat was at home, his black hair combed neatly. His crystal was in his pocket. Well, half of it, anyway.
Five years ago, he had split it in half and given it to the person he loved the most and wanted to spend the rest of his life with. A hero's crystal was his heart, and he gave a piece of his heart to the person no one would have suspected three years before.
It seemed like yesterday, but thinking about the years gone past only made Sportacus feel old. It had been ten years since he had come to LazyTown and had begun his feud with Robbie. At the end of that year, Robbie had fallen into the frozen fountain and been knocked out, and Sportacus had heard him mutter his name as he slept. Three years after that, the symbolic crystal half had been given to him, and a year after that, they had adopted Allison.
The only thing Robbie held against the crystal, as it didn't beep when someone was in trouble, was that it gave him the same weakness to sugar as Sportacus. He had learned that the hard way. But, to the hero's eternal surprise, he had given up sugar and kept the crystal. Anything was possible!
The bell rang, and the sea of children came swarming out. The younger ones jumped into the arms of their mothers and fathers, some grinning from ear to ear and chattering rapidly, others crying and hiccupping so much it was hard to tell what they were saying.
When the little blonde girl flung herself into his arms, he was thankful she was one of the happy ones.
"How was your day, Allie?"
"Papa! School was so much fun! The teacher's name is Miss Dixon, and she had us draw a picture of our family! Mine was really good! But the teacher put them all on the wall, so you'll have to wait until I bring it home to show you, okay?"
Sportacus kissed her on the cheek before setting her on the ground and taking her hand, after she had kissed Cleopatra on top of the head, of course. "I'm glad you enjoyed school so much! Tell me all about it on the way home, alright? I've got to make dinner tonight."
She gave him a sceptical look. "You're making dinner?"
Despite being above the average hero, his two weak spots were sugar and cooking. And did they hit hard. The last time he had tried to heat up a frozen pizza, he had nearly burnt the house down. He was now officially banned from the stove, except in extreme emergencies.
"I'll just make spaghetti, okay? It's one of the things I can cook without calling either the Chinese restaurant or the fire department."
This seemed to brighten her up. "Okay! Oh, I drew some other pictures, too! I'll show you them when we get home, they're in my backpack. There's one of your airship, and one of Daddy walking Cleo, and one of Aunt Stephanie!"
"I'm sure they're beautiful, Allie."
The walk didn't take long, even with the feisty cocker spaniel often stopping short to sniff something or other; they lived fairly close to the school. Before long, the water was boiling on the stove, at the temperature and time Robbie had written on a sticky note left on the box of spaghetti, Cleo was tethered outside and was barking at squirrels, and Allison was happily colouring at the table. Her latest drawing covered the fridge, and they were pinned on with enough magnets to throw the Earth's rotation out of whack.
Sportacus had to admit, even though he had never pictured this life, he wouldn't give it up for anything. He had a beautiful daughter, a loveable family pet (the dog, not Robbie), and a husband that loved him and their child. And tolerated the dog.
Robbie was staying late at work, he had some final touches to put on an invention before it was sent out. He had began patenting and selling his inventions, sometimes to the government but mostly to airlines and other private buyers. Within six months, uncountable stores had bought his costume machine, and it had since made changing rooms obsolete.
He worked from his underground lair, as Sportacus did want his tools left where Allison could get into them. The list of things that weren't allowed within ten feet of the child was at least fifteen pages long, and included scalpels, jig saws, blow torches, and anything a fuse was attached to. Radioactive items took an entire page and a half.
"So, Allie-gator," the hero said, adding the dry spaghetti before turning around. It would take at least ten minutes before it was in danger of boiling over. "What did you learn in school today?"
Without looking up from her paper, she replied "I learned our family's really different."
Sportacus' heart dropped. No matter how much they had stressed that there are many unique types of families and no one is better than the other, the fact remained that LazyTown was a small town, and a non-traditional family wasn't very common.
He took a seat across from his daughter. "Allison, can we talk for a minute?"
"Sure, Papa." She pushed her crayons and paper away. "About what?"
"You know that every family's the same, right? No matter if there's a mom and a dad or two dads, both parents love their child very much."
"I know that, Papa."
"And you know that your Daddy and me love you very much, right?"
"So I want you to remember, some people might not think having two daddies is alright, but you know we love you no matter what, and we're a family. It doesn't matter what people say to you, because we're a family, and a family is the strongest thing there is. Okay?"
"Okay," she nodded, returning to her colouring as her father returned to his cooking.
After several minutes, however, she said "But our family's still really different from any other family in LazyTown."
Sportacus sighed. "And why is our family different?"
Her reply came with all the innocence and simplicity that a five-year-old should have. "'Cause not one other family has an airship anchored in their back yard!"