Friday, January 30, 2009

Things My Kids Teach Me and Little Moments

Yesterday was one heck of a busy day. Besides our usual great playdate (UGP), I had to shovel ten metric tons of snow, not to mention fill the wood box, rake the roof, and make our vegan dinner, which BTW is a new family favorite - African Ground Nut Stew. A great way to eat cabbage, which always seems to get rejected in our house. I figured we needed a good vegan stretch to compensate for all that kielbasa we at yesterday.

Anyway, in typical dad fashion, by the time dinner rolled around, I was stressed out and being a little curt with the kids, something I regret to no end but in the heat of the moment can't seem to suppress. At some point as I was getting dinner together and cleaning up the kitchen so my wife wouldn't tear me a new one, A came to the door and asked me to help them outside. They had been working tirelessly to dig caves in the snowbanks, which for the record are massive, and had hit ice and needed some help.

My response? "No, I'm busy." Just for the record, my snow clothes were soaking wet from our earlier UGP. End of discussion. She was disappointed and went back to their hard work, and as I chopped veggies and cooked the rice, I felt incredibly guilty for not only being so short with her, but for passing up a moment to help them out in what was a noble endeavor-building something with their hands. And the truth of the matter was, they were working very hard and their request was legit.

Now I know I've been spouting off on how it's good for kids to work on their own and feel the grandeur of achievement, but at some point, a parent has gotta lighten up and lend a helping hand. There are no universal truths, you really have to evaluate each situation as it comes up, and whenever possible, spend some true quality time with your kids.

SO, I cranked through the meal prep (the beauty of this dish is that it can be served in one bowl, thus making cleanup that much easier), got it simmering on low, put all my wet and cold snow clothes back on, and rushed out there. I felt a rush of relief when I saw they were still working on their cave, and I broke out my shovel and helped them out.

And you know what? It was a lot of fun. Sometimes my kids really teach me that things (most things) are not such a big deal, at least not big enough to stress out over and make everyone else miserable, and it's always a good time to spend quality time working hard on something. Even if dinner was late, which it wasn't, big deal. But more importantly is to lighten up and celebrate each moment with your family, because these are the memories that you'll share with them forever.

Just wanted to mention that they did a great job on their tunnels and worked so hard shoveling all that snow. Sure, I was exhausted, but we had fun, and when that's going on, somehow the fatigue is never that bad.

Had a little moment the other night as well. My wife was reading stories to N and her foot was hanging over the bed. I whispered to A to tickle them and she did and got a great response. She was so giddy, she couldn't stop giggling, and she gave me a high-five as we shared in a moment. It's the little things in life. If you can appreciate them, then you're doing okay.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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