They run and play not a care in the world. Yelling, whooping and hollering. Minds racing, arms flailing, lips flapping, they can’t help themselves, as exuberance and joy streams from every pore in their bodies! A skateboard, a bike, a scooter or two, helmets and kneepads, gloves and the look of fear as they round a corner way to fast! I give them a warning, gentle at first. The noise grows louder, the speed increases and I just know an injury is imminent. A second warning is given; it really is time to slow down; I am shrugged off like a snow flake on a cold winters day. Lap number four the youngest is leading, he looks for approval as he passes by at mach 3. I smile, give him a thumbs up asking one last time for the speed to decrease. It must have been my eyes for like a yellow caution flag at Daytona International speedway, they come to snails pace crawl. Still happy, still squealing, still giggling and arguing over who was the very fastest.
Its times like these I feel so very blessed for my family. I watch them both with amusement and jealously. Their honesty in play brings a heavy sigh and a large smile all at the same time. I am jealous that as an adult I no longer have a sense of innocence that leads to such care free play. Dont get me wrong I am a huge child for my age when it comes to play time. But I feel as though I can never obtain the no worries, cut loose freedom that a child has when its time to go hog-wild.
Why? I see other dads do it, or so it seems. Why cant I be as care free as my kids are sometimes? Is it the stresses of life? I reflect upon the times some adult in my life reminded me to “enjoy things now while you’re still young”. I use to wonder what that meant. Is it so awful being an adult that other adults are commissioned to warn all prospective youth to stay young forever? That adulthood is really hell and we have no choice in the matter. What is it that makes being carefree so difficult?
Maybe its the knowledge of all the children I have seen over the years neglected and mentally abused. Parents who have brought their own adult pain down hard upon the innocence of the very children they are supposed to love and cherish. Some of them I believe still do love their kids but the demons that control them are far stronger than the willpower they have left to do battle. Is it the damage done to my psyche by the countless souls I have witnessed who passed on, still there floating in my brain. They leave behind every little moment of what brought their demise. Leaving me with the need to be the safety police in my household. Feeling like Dr. Killjoy if you will. The dad of dud..
Or have all those things combined molded me into the dad I have become? One with a higher understanding of the world and how it works. A father with a heightened sense of emotional balance. That all life should be cherished for every moment that we are given on this earth. Maybe I wasnt supposed to be “that dad”, the care free dad with no worries? The dad that looks as though he is making up for lost time. Seriously though, for all intensive purposes I really like who I have become as a father. My kids love me, they think I am funny, they respect me, and show me respect in return when things are not singing along like a Disney movie. My children truly miss me when I am gone and herald the moment I walk back through the door. I love them all, I really, really love them all.
I wonder about all the dads that never get to spend quality time with their children because of work. That never see the funniest of moments (and believe me if you have kids you know the funny moments never seem to end) because they are never home. The only quality time spent with their kids is sitting on the sidelines of a (insert sport of choice here) game and still some are on the phone doing business or playing games and e-mailing. Doing everything but paying attention to what matters most. What will these dads have to look back upon when their kids are grown and gone from the house?
Yeah, I am proud of the father I have become. I don’t need to be the carefree, lunatic with no worries what so ever. I can sit by proudly as the safety police when my kids are going way to fast. I will cut loose to the highest of my abilities, all while doing my best to amuse my children. I will constantly strive to make them laugh, comfort them when they cry and make sure I am there for every possible moment. Fore the day will come soon enough that I am left with an empty house. No more giggling, no more screaming, no more high fives, wedgie’s and belching. No more kid fun. It’s then and only then, I will be able to look back with a smile and say I was there, I may not have been the best or the funniest but I was there when they needed me, I was there to show them love, I was there.
My heart will be full!