A DAD’S BLOG
Today my middle son turns nine. Yesterday he and I ran a 5K together. I’m not sure if his sticking with me stride for stride had more to do with his prowess or my decline, but either way I was proud of him (that was the second time he’s done that!). He is surely the most determined person in our family, with the possible exception of our dog Charlie when he doesn’t want to be brought inside the house and someone pulls into the driveway and he makes me chase him for 10 minutes around the yard like a fool in front of the visitor. In the race, my son told me that he set goals and he met them all – running the entire time and beating me. In a different setting I call that his stubbornness and it can just about send me over the edge, but perhaps out in the real world it’s not such a bad thing. I’m not sure where he gets it from, but I don’t think it’s me.
Last night my wife and I watched a romantic comedy she picked up at Redbox called About Time. I wasn’t sure what to expect other than it had something to do with time travel and it had Rachel McAdams in it. I kept confusing it with The Time Travelers Wife, but apparently that is another one. This ended up being a bit like a movie I really like, Notting Hill (same director), but with the slight twist of time travel to mix it up a bit. It was a cute movie but what I took away from it was the idea that at the end of the day, when your years are mostly behind you, perhaps the time that one might want to travel back to the most is when your kids are young and still want to walk with you along the beach, still hold your hand when you cross the street, and tuck them into bed with a hug and a kiss. What hit me as the movie closed, was that time is now.
It’s a lot easier to get caught up in the madness, which at first glance seems to be constant. The yelling, the three conversations at once, the constant complaining and arguing. The resisting, the pushing, the defying the boundaries. That tends to wear us down and dull our senses to the sparkle of it all.
If you had the chance to soak in every day, to, in the form of the movie, go back again and do each day over again so that you weren’t overwhelmed and caught off guard by every little moment, but rather know what was coming and recognize the magic in each occurrence and savor it – wouldn’t that be an amazing thing. I’d sign up for that in a second, rather than just letting so much pass us by, too caught up in the bustle to breathe it all in.
Obviously, the movie is just fiction and in the real world we must take things as they come, but I wonder if it might just work to try to take a step back, get a little distance from the mayhem, and just open wide our eyes a bit more and soak things in before they all are past us in a moment.
As I played outside with my son and a few of his friends this afternoon in a beautiful 65 degree March Virginia day, I tried to do that. When he woke up this morning, I talked to him in his bed. He told me he dreamed that the whole day went by and no one remembered his birthday. I told him that wasn’t true and it was just a dream. He looked up at me and gave me a big hug. “I know, Dad, it’s already different.” I think this could be one of those time travel days that I’d come back to again and again.
I trudged slowly through the snow, along the trail that leads from my yard to the creek through the woods. The ground sparkled white as the sinking sun reflected off the ice crystals. I followed the tracks to the water’s edge and stared into the smooth brown rocks that wallpapered the creek bed. A dash of reddish tan darted past a tree at the edge of my vision, turning my head just enough to see Charlie, my golden retriever, silently sprinting full tilt after a group of 8 or 9 white-tailed deer. I watched to see how far he’d go, free from the constraints of his electric fence collar that rested in my pocket. He pushed the herd into a neighbor’s yard on the far side of the woods and danced back and forth excitedly. I whistled and he turned around, bounding through the trees back to my side. I knelt down and brushed off the patches of snow that had stuck to his nose, and he nuzzled in to lick my neck, proud of himself and his escapade with the deer. I stood and breathed in the sub-zero air. Gradually I exhaled. We turned and walked together back toward the house.
I’d been stuck in my office since eight that morning. Since my office is in a finished room in my attic, I have a very short commute. About 35 steps from my coffee cup in the kitchen, to be exact. I counted. I’m grateful that I often get to work from home, but have found that I have to get outside at the end of the day to decompress, even if only for a few minutes. I think I’m missing that buffer period that most commuters have during the time when they leave the office to when they arrive back home. Whether short or long, it’s still nice to have that transition period to get your mind off of work and prepare for the loving but often manic reality that is home. Sometimes I wander downstairs in a daze, overly affected by one to many conference calls and sales spreadsheets and unprepared for the sudden barrage of demands from a younger set of clients.
Tonight after dinner, in honor of yet another snow day home from school, (that’s 10 this year if you’re counting) I watched the second half of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with the boys. The older two have seen it a couple of times, but it was a first for my nearly 5-year-old. He knows most of the story lines and character names from books, video games, and Legos, but it’s still fun to see his face as he watches the adventure unfold. I went through the tough decision again of whether to start him on the “new” Episode I or to start at original Episode IV movies first like I saw them as a kid. I couldn’t bring myself to break habit and showed the original ones first like I had to the older boys. Interestingly, he doesn’t get scared at all like the other two did. I’m not sure if he’s just brave or if having two older brothers has permanently scarred him. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched it and I was reminded what a great movie Empire is. Of course they asked if they can start watching Return of the Jedi tomorrow, but I think we’ll take a little break. That’s the one with Princess Lea in a zucchini, they reminded me, laughing. Yes, I remember.
Children’s Mystery & Adventure Books
for ages 7-12
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- My 15 Minutes
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- Help! Two Inches of Snow!
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- Mystery on Church Hill – Now Available!
- The Thank You Part
- Join the Mystery on December 8th!
- Read to Me
- Mystery on Church Hill Preview
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