Happy Fourth of July!
Written by “One of the Guys”
Summer holds a sacred place in the hearts of men. The warmth changes our perception. We feel empowered to turn possibility into reality. We play as if life weren’t as complicated as it is. We act like children, exploring the endless adventure that summer is. Beaches. Mountains. Bike Trails. Ball games. Amusement Parks. Bars. Barbecues.
As we prepare for our adventures, we lather on sunscreen, trying to prevent the streams of wear and tear on our faces from turning into rivers. We don a hat and the coolest pair of sunglasses we can afford, throw every possible accessory we might need into the trunk of our car, and head out to discover what we can discover. Or more aptly put, be open for what might discover us.
Summer is the season for improv. It’s the time we let life lead us instead of forcing the issue. And that alone makes it special.
But not me. No, my summer looks quite different from that. I’ll be doing Daddy Day Camp.
When I realized that I would be home with my kids all day, I went into a panic. Yes, I love my kids unconditionally. I spend my days and nights trying to figure out ways to enrich their lives. But spending twelve hours a day, five days a week with three active kids was not something I was ready for.
I knew I would need some structure, so I formulated a plan in the form of Daddy Day Camp. If you’re not familiar with this term, it’s really quite simple. When dealing with three kids who specialize in being hungry all the time, forgetting to use the bathroom when it’s available, fighting over anything and everything, and throwing their stuff all over the house, you need something to stop this endless cycle.
My wife said, “Just get one of those big blow up pools. You know, the kind big enough to actually swim in. They can play in that all summer.”
I said, “But that would mean I have to supervise the whole time. That kind of defeats the purpose really. I need stuff for them to do so I can get some of my own work done. I need more balance.”
She said, “Good luck with that.”
So I instituted Daddy Day Camp.
The first day the kids and I had a meeting, where I handed out the daily agenda.
My middle guy said, “Dad this is summer. You’re not the boss of us. We get to do what we want!”
I said, “Where did you hear that nonsense? I’m the boss until you turn eighteen, or until you’re big enough to ignore me and then back it up. For now let’s go over the agenda.”
Number 1. Wake up. Eat a healthy breakfast without complaining.
Number 2. Practice piano, karate and anything else dad says to do.
(Kids are already rolling their eyes.)
Number 3. Tennis lessons with me. (They have that “OH NO” look.)
Number 4. Read. Draw. Or do something quiet so dad can work.
Number 5. Lunch.
(By now their eyes are coming out of their heads.)
Number 6. Quiet time in your rooms so dad can work. (They’re glancing at each other, so I have to throw them a bone.)
Number 7. Wii time. (Only if you’ve been quiet with no fighting.) (Yeah, right!)
Number 8. Play a sport or go on a field trip.
Number 9. Free time. Hang out time. Relax time.
Number 10. Early dinner.
Kids: Dad, this is going to be the worst summer ever!!
Me: Why, what’s wrong with the plan? It sounds fun to me.
Kids: It’s terrible.
Me: What’s wrong with it? You get to do a lot of cool stuff. We’ll check out some museums. We’ll go to the arboretum. We’ll play sports. I don’t see the problem.
Kids: The problem is, this is not what summer is about!!
Me: No? Well please enlighten me.
Kids: Summer is about fun. It’s about doing nothing. It’s about sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. It’s about shooting baskets without being instructed on the proper way to shoot a jump shot. It’s about us, not you.
Me: Hmm…..You make some good points there. But I’m going to have to veto all of them.
Kids: What? We don’t even know what that means.
Me: It means let’s get started. Number 1. Start eating!
So I hope all of you readers have a great summer. And please do me a favor. Think of me while you sip a cold drink of water, viewing a beautiful sunset, sitting on a vast mountaintop. I’ll be home, unshowered, dealing with the endless cycle of kids.
How do you achieve balance in the summer?
Any ideas? Thoughts? Help??