It's the little stuff that keeps you coming back for more, isn't it? It's the out-of-nowhere moments - Oprah would likely say "Ah-ha moments!" and then randomly hand out car keys when they happen - that makes parenting worth it.
I've been in bed sick with the flu the past 36 hours. Last night, the boys went to their LEGO table and made me some medicine. This morning, my youngest had a PD day, and while my wife was off to work early for a breakfast meeting, he looked at me and said "Daddy, we need to have a breakfast meeting too!" So after everyone was else was out to school and work, we sat down at the kitchen table and had a breakfast meeting. Just the two of us.
It's the little things that make your heart smile and sigh that make parenting worth it. It's watching your son catch a puck at a hockey game, it's that "I just won the lottery smile" when they lose their first tooth, it's flying a kite.
I call it the "best day ever" and, really, every single day as a parent is the best day ever. As I lay in bed this morning, I'm sharing these stories as a little chicken soup for the soul to make this flu go away.
Cloudy with a Chance of M&M's
Oren Miller is A Blogger And A Father. On a trip to visit his wife in Seattle, he took his kids on a tour of all the great places. They visited playgrounds, and beaches, and the iconic Space Needle. If you've been to the Pacific Northwest, you know it's a rainforest. It's cloudy, grey, and rains a lot. On this day, the top of the needle was shrouded in cloud. You could go to the top, but you wouldn't see much. Oren went anyway.
"I had two options: I could tell the kids that we were unlucky, and that next time we were going to be in Seattle, we were going to go up later in the day, when the clouds disappear and we could actually see something." he wrote. "Instead, I bought a bag of M&Ms in the cafe, got us all a table, and said, "Isn't this great? When we go back to Baltimore, we'll be able to tell everyone we ate M&Ms INSIDE A CLOUD!"
And now, whenever anyone asks them how their trip to Seattle was, the first thing they say is, "We ate M&Ms in a cloud!"
And We Danced
Mike Reynolds of Puzzling Posts thinks back to a time this August when he was playing Christmas music during dinner and found himself sweeping his daughter's tacos after she had thrown her cheese and tortilla all over the floor. Buble, Mariah, and even the Muppets all belted out snowy songs on that summer day.
"We ended on The Pogues' Fairytale of New York, and it was what happened when we got there that I really remember," Mike writes. "I remember because within seconds of the song's arrival on my iPhone, we were all up from the table and all dancing in our own unique fashions. I bobbed without much rhythm, Andrea danced far better than I, and the girls, as usual, made no sense at all with their moves. Leah stood on her head and Charlie spun on the spot with her arms swinging wildly.
It was, captured in a moment, the definition of our family.The things that stick with us are the spontaneous moments that pop up every day. I may not remember that we danced after eating tacos and I may not remember that we were dancing to The Pogues, but I'm certain I'll remember that we danced."
They Grow Up So Fast
Sometimes it's just watching your kid suddenly be grown up that has you take a step back and go ... woah. For Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids, that moment happened when he watched his 9-year-old daughter head out on a stand-up paddle board.
"Their hair grows longer. Their voice changes. Their attitude, um, sometimes needs tweaking. And one by one, they overcome their fears," he wrote.
The Bear paddleboarding solo on Lake Champlain is a sight I simply couldn't have seen last year at this time. But there she was: braver, bolder, and more willing to paddle herself out into uncharted waters. Literally.
My girl is growing up and I've got the photographic evidence to prove it.
Polite Ninjas Always Win
Darrell Milton is Modern Father Online. One night he found himself playing with Ninjago LEGOs on the floor before his 4-year-old's bedtime. Dads are always the bad guys, kids the superheroes in these role playing adventures, and after successfully pillaging the good guys, dad found himself face to face with a ninja warrior. "He thought for a second, moved closer with his little ninjas towards my secret lair. And then holding up Green Ninja ZX he spoke…
"Excuse me bad guys. You took my friend's things without asking. You need to come and ask and say please before you take their stuff." Hmmmmmmm … I did not see that coming.
I made my bad guys have some funny dialogue about not giving the items back and I turned to him and in a bad guy voice said something like "and what are you going to do about that?"
"I will ask you nicely. Please can we have our things back?"
With nice manners like that, the heart of my bad guys had melted, and so had mine.
Camping Fail = Father/Son Win
Don Jackson, aka Daddy Newbie, took his son camping this summer. With all the hopes and dreams of his childhood memories packed in the back along with the tent and supplies, Don was remembering campfires and staring up at the stars and was thrilled to experience it with his son.
Then it rained. And rained. And rained. And all the things Don had planned didn't happen.
"Instead, we had goldfish crackers in the back of our Jeep and fogged up the windows, which became the canvas for lots of toddler scrawls," he writes. "We had epic tickle fights. And, we were able to watch the same 2 episodes of Dino Dan (more times than I'd like to think of)."
"Come to think of it, maybe - despite all the things that went wrong - he actually had fun. Maybe there is still hope for this clueless-in-camping dad."
Jonathan Criswell writes at Let's Play Three. This summer he took his kids to a Wilmington Blue Rocks game. Ahh, a day at the ballpark. I could stop right there, and you'd understand why it's the best day ever.
"My son found his baseball glove (he actually calls it a mitt for some reason) and then found one for his sister because "we're going to catch something today. Either a ball or a hot dog," he wrote. "Love the enthusiasm, but alas, the Blue Rocks don't shoot processed meat out of an air gun into the upper deck, or any deck, you have to go to the big leagues for that. They did shoot three lousy t-shirts and missed us by a mile every time.
After going the entire game without a ball or a hot dog or a t-shirt, the kids got to run the bases after the game. The girl, free-spirited, like at recess. The boy, determined, like the seventh game of the World Series. 'I was the fastest runner out there ... did I make smoke [dust] when I ran?'"
The First Rule of Baby Club
Jonathan Ervine writes at Dad's The Way I Like It. He works at a university and while many of his colleagues walked a picket line on strike, he took the "free time" to be with his wife and son. For the first time, Jonathan would get to attend Baby Club, and when he walked into the room he had that experience many SAHD have - he was the only dad in a room of moms.
-By Buzz Bishop