I love my kids always, and I’m proud of them most of the time. Yesterday was a particularly rewarding day for me as a father, for two small but meaningful reasons I want to document.
After a long week, it was clear that the kids needed to get out of the house and Kira could use some much-deserved quiet time. The problem was that I had several errands to run that included a lot of driving and very little fun. I enticed the kids to come along with promises of cheeseburgers and the possibility of a park visit. They cheerfully came along and waited out the 30-minute drive to the first stop.
When it came time for cheeseburgers, there was a tiny dilemma for me. Neither child usually has the stomach to finish a whole burger alone, so sometimes we buy one meal and split the burger. But another problem is that the meal comes with only one chocolate milk. I sometimes buy a second so that each may have one, but because we had to eat while in the car I couldn’t see how Carver could drink without getting it all over himself. I thought I could sneak the chocolate milk past him to Avey, but as soon as the drive-through worker handed me the beverage, Carver asked if he could have one too. I hesitantly explained how I bought just one this time. Carver had not even voiced a complaint yet when Avey spoke up from the back seat and said sincerely, “It’s okay, Dad. He can have it. I get them all the time.”
I was surprised by the gesture as that is usually around the time when the gloves come off. Carver thanked his sister, and then I carefully explained to him how to avoid spilling. He came away with a happy tummy and not a drop on him.
Not to be outdone in impressing his old man, Carver stepped up to the plate a little later. We finally arrived at a small park after another stop, and got out to explore and play for about half an hour. Carver ran, swung, and slid like nobody’s business, and then it was time to leave. Without complaint, Carver followed behind as we headed back to the van. I looked back to keep an eye on him and saw him walk past some litter in the grass. He paused to inspect the juice pack for a moment, then picked it up and tossed it in the nearby garbage before running to catch up with Avey and me.
It’s the little moments like these that make this whole parenting thing worth it. They help me to realize that, even though there are tough times, my kids are going to be just fine.