Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ah, Ain't Summer Grand?

I’ve been a lousy blogger this summer, but I’ve been a terrific dad!

This has been one of the nicest summers I can remember. I’ve reveled in watching Connor go from timorous land lubber to prune fingered Aquaman wanna-be in a matter of days. We’ve had barbecues with dear friends, reunions with distant family and I’ve made my annual pilgrimage to the MLB All Star game where I have the joy/privilege/dumb luck to interview some of my childhood idols from the world of baseball.

Since becoming a dad, this has been a bitter-sweet event as it means I am away from my family for eight days. This year, however, my wife and two boys came along. It gave me untold pleasure to watch Connor sprint so determinedly around the bases at the All Star Fan Fest—even though he failed to touch any of them. I saw little of my family as I was pulling 12 hour days, but it meant the world to me to come back to the hotel, take a dip with my 4 year old, and then tuck him into bed. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I like the concept of “time away”, I miss my family dearly when we’re apart. This isn’t to say I need them 24/7—it just means that my day seems a little less fulfilling without good night kisses, the sound of my 4 year old making my 8 month old laugh hysterically, and sliding into the same bed as my wife. A king size bed can be a lonely place when you are on the road.

That said I had a great time with three of my buddies on our 21st annual golf trip. Every summer, we take off for some region of the Northwest for four days of golf, beer drinking and general sophomoric behavior. I wouldn’t miss this trip for the world.

The morning I left, my family was still asleep in bed.

“Bye bye my precious boy,” I said to Connor as I kissed him goodbye.

“Bye bye my breakfast dad,” he groggily replied before crashing back to sleep.

Before I left, I hid three little “treasures” for Connor. Each night I was away, I would call him in the evening and give him a clue as to where I had left it. He went on a little hunt and turned up a sugary treat from his dad. On the third night, my cell phone rang just after dinner.

“Hello?” I said.

“Dad, where is the treat?”

Perhaps I shouldn’t have resorted to high fructose corn syrup to win his love, but I liked the idea of him knowing that I took the time to do that for him. As he gets older, I can make more complex clues that will take him all over the house before he finds, oh, I don’t know, a box of shredded wheat (unfrosted).

When I think back to my childhood, or even my present, I feel most loved and secure when I know that someone is thinking about me and letting me know I am important to them. That’s what I wanted to do with my son.

Then I just had to be sure to come home with a nice present for my wife, who had to tend to a sugar fueled four year-old all by herself.

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