Child’s Play

DSC_0042My body hurts from too many years of manual labor.  Hauling lumber and drywall has taken its toll.  These last two sentences were for a character I was writing about in a short story, but realized they also are an example of how I feel when getting on the floor to play with my son.

Just this evening my wife looked at me as I laid on my back in my son’s room playing with him and asked if I was going to be able to get up.  And honestly I wasn’t sure.  It takes more and more work for me to get my legs and arms to pick me up off the floor.  It’s not like I don’t exercise and try to stay in shape, it’s just the fact that all the manual labor I did in my younger years is finally catching up to me.

This was the one thing I was always worried about when it came to us waiting to have kids later in life.  I feared I wouldn’t be able to play and chase my child around the yard because I’d be too sore or weak to do so.  And now that fear is becoming a reality.  It’s frustrating when he’s down on the floor crawling around and all I want to do is get down there with him, but once I’m down there I’m stuck and have a hard time keeping up with him.

photoI know it shouldn’t matter as long as I’m making an effort, but I don’t want to be the dad who can’t keep up with his five year old when he wants to play catch.  I don’t want to have to rely on my wife to be the one who is able to get on the floor and play.

I have memories of my dad playing in the backyard with me, my brother and many of the neighborhood kids.  We’d be playing football and he’d be right there running around and throwing the ball.  I grew up watching my dad play softball and always wanted to be that kind of dad, but I don’t play softball anymore and I don’t see myself doing so anytime soon.

This wasn’t supposed to be a whoa is me post, but it seems to have turned out that way.  I mostly was going to try and write how I’ve been using my interactions with my son, along with the thoughts that run through my head while playing with him, in my fiction pieces. How becoming a parent has influenced my writing in a positive way when it comes to working on a piece I’ve been working on about a relationship between a boy and his father who left him when he was 10.  But instead I decided to write how miserable it is to have worked jobs that take a toll on your body.  Well one thing I’m going to take from this is working on making sure my son doesn’t follow in my footsteps when it comes to finding jobs.

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About jharbottle7

I'm a husband, a father, want-to-be writer, struggling blogger and cyclist. Starting a family has changed my life and made me want to become a better person.
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2 Responses to Child’s Play

  1. I only spent 5 years as a news photographer, lugging around a camera, tripod, and bag of equipment everywhere, but I will tell you the same thing you said, it has taken it’s toll. I do what I can to stay in shape but I can’t count the times that I feel like I may not be able to get off the floor from playing with my son.

    What I don’t want to let happen is no longer playing with him due to the pain. That’s something that I won’t let happen, I’ll fight through it because I know both my son AND myself will be better off if I do.

    • jharbottle7 says:

      Thanks for the comment. I appreciate the feedback.

      I fight every day to make sure I get down on the floor to spend time with him. I know it’s valuable time and I don’t want it to slip away.
      The toughest part for me is my wife giving me jabs for struggling to get up off the floor. I know it’s in fun and I’m okay with the ribbing, it just makes me realize I’m not getting any younger and playing with my son is never going to get easier.

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