Sometimes my son acts goofy. Okay, so my 2 year old acts goofy all of the time. What 2 year old doesn’t? But sometimes when he’s getting goofy he’ll snicker a certain way, or make a noise, or wring his hands in a way that reminds us of my grandpa. My wife has said, “That is so something grandpa Kenny would do” when he grins with his shoulders up next to his ears and bouncing with every giggle. I can see it too and it makes me miss him.
Unfortunately William never met his great-grandpa. He passed away a few years too early. Leaving us with only the memories of what a great person he was. I know if William had met him he would have thought he was a silly, loving man like the rest of us did and I know my grandpa would have tickled him while making his goofy noises just to get him to laugh like he did with all of us even when we were in our mid-30’s.
Even though it’s sad to think about my grandpa being gone, having my son remind me of him with the little things he does when he’s trying to act goofy is something I can cherish.
I will start this post with a disclaimer. What we are calling camping many others would not. We stayed in my parents fifth wheel trailer which had all the amenities of a very small apartment including air conditioning. I am not trying to say we roughed it in any way other than we cooked multiple meals over a fire and had to use the camp showers. This being said, I will go on to share our experiences camping with our son.
Camping was something I did growing up. We’d head up to northern Michigan for a week of traveling and camping or just head out to the small campground in southern Michigan where my family went this past weekend. Camping was something I enjoyed doing and had always hoped to share that joy with my son. My wife on the other hand isn’t one who loves to get up close with the great outdoors when it comes to vacations. She would rather enjoy the comforts of a hotel while exploring what this great nation has to offer instead of fighting the elements and bugs.
I was a little worried heading into our trip about how my son was going to do sleeping in a camper and spending a majority of our time outside in the elements. I was worried he’d struggle to sleep and get bored sitting around the campfire and campsite. My worries were of naught because the kid took to camping like a firefly to dusk.
He loved the idea of always being outside playing and was intrigued by the fire, so much so we had to continuously remind him to stay back. He loved the idea of being able to go for long walks through the open field in front of my parent’s camper and wandering around the campground with his cousins. They came out to visit for a night and he played so hard we all got a great nights sleep.
If I didn’t know better I’d think he was a seasoned camper. He thought it was great cooking hot dogs over the fire and roasting marshmallows for s’mores. He loved swimming in the small lake and taking the paddle boat out around the lake and he didn’t bat an eye when we’d set up the dishes around the picnic table for dinner. He was at home in the campground and I loved how much he took to camping.
I think the success of the camping trip was also due to the close proximity to my family. He was able to spend time with his cousins, playing for almost 5 hours with them as the sun set. They ran chasing balls and each other, dragged one of us adults along for long walks exploring the campground, and ate as many marshmallows they could. It was fun watching him enjoy something I once did as a kid the same way I did, with family.
All in all, my experience camping with a toddler was nothing short of a great time. I loved the experience as much as he did and I’m hoping this is only the first of many camping trips our family will be taking over the years to come. I’ll still take my wife on the trips she enjoys, but I will always look forward to taking my son on camping trips to enjoy the great outdoors.
A couple weeks ago I celebrated turning 40 by buying a child bike seat. This gift was both for me and my son. My wife, I think, appreciates it as well seeing how she gets both of us out of the house for at least an hour every time we go for a ride so she can relax and do her girly things.
The reason I bring this up is because today as we rode the streets of Chicago I was taken back to when I was young and riding through the small town I grew up in. Not that Spring Arbor, MI is anything like Chicago because it definitely isn’t. The town I grew up in wasn’t big enough to be a town or even have a traffic light.
What made me think about riding my bike as a youth was the freedom I was feeling as I pushed the pedals and weaved back and forth across the road. The wind rushing through my helmet (although spending most of my youth in the 80’s meant I didn’t wear a helmet back then) and the sounds of the tires pounding over the cracks took me back to the sidewalks I raced around with my brother and friends. We’d race from one side of town to the other looking for anything leading to adventures.
Not often enough do I allow myself to completely enjoy my rides like I did today. Too many times I’m dreading the work day ahead as I commute or am too concerned with riding faster than I did the previous ride. Today I let myself enjoy the sun beating down on us and the heat making me sweat just a little bit more. I had fun pointing out the ducks along the trail, the big trucks and excavators sitting idle on this lazy Sunday afternoon to William. I enjoyed the little spurts of excitement William would have when he saw the train or a dog or just waving and saying goodbye to perfect strangers. Today I enjoyed the ride more than the destination because for me the destination was the ride.
First things first. We had planned on successfully potty training our son over the holiday weekend. He had been showing a growing interest in using the potty and seeing how we had no plans for the weekend we figured why not give it a shot. Let’s just say I will never eat off our kitchen floor no matter what and I’ll have to get another box of diapers this week.
That being said, we still had a successful and fun weekend. Once the potty training hassle was put behind us and everybody was in a better mood, we headed out to our backyard to enjoy the beautiful weather. The kid had been holed up in the house for two days straight without any sunshine and we figured it was the least we could do to let him run free in the yard for trying to use the potty.
Bubbles were blown and toys scattered among the yard. He was in his full glory running around the green grass with his diaper securely wrapped around his little behind. It was actually nice for all of us, seeing how most of the prior two days had been spent cleaning up after the missed attempts by the boy.
Another fun part of the weekend was me receiving my birthday gift a few days early. We took a walk this morning down to my favorite bike shop here in the city and purchased a child seat for my bike. I had been wanting one for some time so I could share the joy of cycling with my son and finally I am able to. We took it for a short ride once we had gotten home and I was able to finally affix it to my bike, but we’ll be spending so many more rides together over the summer now that I have it. I’m also sure you’ll see more posts about our excursions together through the city and elsewhere once we have more time to ride.
We also made sure the boy’s bike was fitted to his needs this weekend because once we were back from our ride together he wanted to do nothing but ride his bike around our apartment. We’ll soon be taking him out for rides on his bike as well once he has a better sense of balance.
I didn’t write a post about Father’s Day because I didn’t know what to write. I had no thoughts on what to bring to the page and figured anything I shared would sound like a thousand other dad bloggers out there trying to share how great their day of recognition was. I had nothing new to share and believed any idea I came up with was pure crap. So I stayed away from my blog. I didn’t look at it all week. Didn’t figure I needed to seeing how I had nothing to write. Instead I spent those hours I would have been planted in front of my keyboard typing inspiring and beautiful words with my family, a good book, and my journal.
Did I get anything out of the absence from my blog? Kind of. I didn’t feel the pressure of coming up with a post I felt many could read and get something out of. I didn’t feel obligated in any way to those who do regularly read my blog. I had a small sense of relief from not spending the time staring at my monitor trying to figure out what to write and how to make sure it was riveting. I felt so good about the break I thought about slowly fading into the oblivion of blogs forgotten.
But, after some long nights thinking about how else I could spend my time before bed, I decided to keep soldering on one bad sentence after another. I figured there’s no harm with sharing my struggles of being a father. There will always be something I screwed up that I can write about so others can laugh at my miscues and when I actually do something right I want to make sure I can put it out there for all to read about.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here with this post is you haven’t gotten rid of me yet. More than likely it will be a long time before I realize I should stop pecking away at this keyboard with the nonsense in my head and let the blogging world leave me behind.
This past weekend my wife and I finally were able to celebrate our anniversary. Our actual date is June 3rd, but seeing how the boy was born on June 2nd our celebration is often pushed back in order to celebrate the kid.
What can I say other than I am amazed my wife has been able to put up with me and my antics for so many years. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not the greatest husband and too often act more like a child than an adult (I’m quite sure this is why it took us so long to decide to have a child. She was already trying to raise one).
I honestly can’t imagine being happier than when I’m with my wife. She’s been the best thing to happen to me and if she dies first I’m screwed because she takes care of me and the boy so well I don’t know half the things I should know in order to keep the house afloat.
I have a feeling the best years of our marriage are ahead of us and am glad she’s stuck it out so we can enjoy those years together.