It used to be that when my wife went to a teachers conference in the summer months, usually somewhere hours and hours away, I’d take a week of vacation and have our three daughters all to myself. When they were just little kids it was my plan to “run them hard all day” then let them fall asleep early in the evening. It worked like a charm. After breakfast I’d let them watch a little TV or play in their rooms, then a picnic at the park followed up with a couplea hours at the pool. Return home, have them play outside, feed them supper, give them baths then they’d watch a little TV, read then be in bed no later then 8. Easy. As. Pie.
As they grew up and more independent they didn’t need constant “Dad Sponsored Entertainment”. They got themselves out of bed. They read their own books. They fed themselves. They kept themselves entertained and they sure didn’t require “Dad” to be anywhere near the bathroom when they were in it. Truth be told…I kind of miss the old days. They relied on me. Its easy to be a hero when Dairy Queen’s your Plan B. I taught them how to ride their bikes without training-wheels (a steep grassy hill with a long flat area at its base to either crash or pedal around on). I took them fishing. I made a meatloaf in the shape of a cat and made its eyes, nose and whiskers out of ketchup…they loved it. I might have called it “cat-loaf”. Its easy to raise girls when you teach them how to “rassle” on the living room floor. Blowing bubbles and sidewalk chalk on a sunny afternoon. Fireflies to catch and anthills to pick apart. Its easy to be a hero when all you have to do is pack a cooler with ice and Kool-Aid, go to the park and give “under-dunks” so that they feel like they’re flying. Its easy to patch up a scraped-up knee with a Band-Aid when someone’s having too much fun and crashes to the ground…trembling bottom lip and tears give way to a limp that disappears within minutes when the “fun” starts to happen again. Sparklers, Morning Glories and snakes…all good nighttime fun in the backyard or driveway. Bedtime stories told from their favorite books over and over and over again…so much in fact that I started to change the stories and make them better. They liked that. The Adventures of Phyllis and Francine….two little girls who looked a lot like you…but liked to get into trouble.
Presently we just had our middle daughter return from a four month stay in Japan, where she studied….Japanese. Recently we had our oldest daughter move back home with us until she flies out Sunday morning for a two month training period to be a flight attendant with an international company. And not to be out done…our baby of the family will be a freshman at the University of Iowa this fall. Her and the middle daughter will move out in a couple of weeks to start their Senior and Freshman years, respectively, at Iowa. This leaves me feeling a bit melancholy for me…excited for them. I remember when I moved off the farm back in August of ’84. Dad and Mom moved me to my apartment, took me out to lunch then left quickly. I thought that they might stick around awhile longer, but no…they left me to unpack by myself…which was AWESOME!!! I WAS ON MY OWN (on their money mind you). I asked Mom about that moment years and years later…why they didn’t stick around longer that day that I moved out. Her reply was this “When Dan moved out it was hard since he was our first, though we still had two boys left on the farm. When Brian moved out, well we still had you left on the farm. When you moved out…we didn’t have anyone to go home to…it was kind of hard, especially on your Dad.” I get it…now.
I’m excited and happy for them. Good Lord only knows when we’ll all be together again, what with Jordan supposedly flying all over the place and the younger two doing their own thing (it took five days to just get them into the same room for a photo even though they were under the same roof). I have faith that they’ll be okay…I ain’t so sure about their Dad…he may just have to leave that “last move” more quickly than the previous two,
Until next time…God bless and peace.