Happy to be a dad
It's the end of a busy and unusual Father's Day, in the midst of a busy summer.
The eight-year-old has had two weeks of camp away from home, back-to-back -- not only camp, but time with the extended family. The first week was in Oklahoma City with my sister and his cousins -- boys just a bit older than he is. My sister teaches art at an elementary school and does an annual "art camp" -- a week of half-days working on some unusual and creative projects. Early in the week he made a papier mache light saber, but at the end of the week he found that tulle wrapped around wooden dowels created a more realistic effect. This is the second year she's invited him down to participate, and he's really enjoyed it, but he also enjoyed late nights playing Game Cube with the cousins.
This last week was spent with the grandparents in Arkansas and going to a day camp at Bella Vista. He said it wasn't as fun this year. Last year on the nature hike they climbed up behind and over a waterfall and caught crawdads in a creek. I guess a parent complained, or maybe the insurance company threw a fit -- too dangerous to do it again this year. He still had a good time. Grandmother remarked that he'd matured a lot in a year's time -- much quicker to comply and not so much fussing when things don't go his way. Last year she was alarmed that he was self-centered and demanding in the way that seven-year-old boys are and seemed certain that it was because we were too strict or too lenient.
The house was quieter without the two kids pestering and teasing each other. The four-year-old has enjoyed the exclusive attention. She had eight swim lessons over the two weeks and really enjoyed them. She's now confident enough to be in the water without five different flotation devices strapped to her. She's especially proud that she can now touch the bottom of the neighborhood pool -- if she's on the very edge of the shallow end and on her tiptoes.
At home, she has been spending a lot of time playing with the keyboard, picking out tunes of her own invention. She always seems to be working on a plan. When preschool was in session, she had a plan to get the boys to stop picking on the girls. More recently, she had a plan to make a delicious dessert with whipped cream and strawberries.
I'm very blessed to have two beautiful, loving, smart, funny, and affectionate children. I'm proud to be their dad, and I'm very thankful for their mom -- my wife -- the lovely woman who brought them into this world and devotes her life to caring for them.
I should add that the longer I'm in this dad business the better I understand the joys and frustrations (especially the latter) that my dad experienced. Thanks, Dad.