I’ve mostly given up on the news. I’ll watch the local broadcast for the weather and the 1-800 Kars for Kids song and then give myself 30 seconds to glance the headlines to make sure the world isn’t ending (degrees of relativity with that one) and that’s it. Anything else and I start to spiral into a foul mood.
But it has raised an interesting question as a Dad: How much should we shelter our kids from the scariness of the world? How much should we protect them from knowing about the day-to-day events of the world that they can’t do anything about? Is it selfish and self-centered to let them be kids just a little longer?
Isn’t that part of the job description as parents? To shoulder the stress they have no business dealing with at this age.
Certainly they know the big picture. They know why we are wearing masks and staying home. We’ve talked about some of the social issues. They aren’t in a complete bubble and I think they know how fortunate and lucky they are.
But they are still kids. They shouldn’t have to carry this equally. That’s on us.
See what happens when you watch too much news….
After eleven Father’s Days, my one piece of advice to my fellow Dads is to embrace and accept that you are not in control anymore. It’s not that the kids have all the control, it’s more the fact that you now have other lives to care for beyond your own.
It’s both freeing and humbling. You no longer have to decide the priority of things. It’s not a choice. You ARE driving to dance practice. You ARE making the lunches. You ARE watching another episode of Full House (cut. it. out.)
Embrace it and enjoy it. It’s not changing anytime soon. Or ever. I imagine even after they graduate or move out. You are still on call.
As we prepare to make the transition this week from school to summer, we started talking about a specific superpower. There’s definitely been an uptick in sister-on-sister violence in the last few weeks. I think they are feeling the strain of all the togetherness, but unfortunately we still have a long camp-less summer to go. Everyone is spending unprecedented amounts of time with people whom we may love but still have the ability to make us upset.
But wait? Can they actually make us upset? What if we all had a superpower to stop it?
They can try. They can provoke you, intended or not. But whatever the other person did is on them. Whatever your reaction is, that’s on you. No one can make you angry, only you have that power. Someone can certainly say something offensive or stupid or mean, but no one can make you upset. That’s your choice.
For a more peaceful summer, don’t give away your power over yourself. You can’t blame your sister if that happens.
The girls started back to school this week and I’m feeling…stressed and anxious? Probably not completely uncommon but I realized after a little tiff with Cecilia over homework on Day 2 that I really prefer Summer/Camp Dad to School Year Dad.
Not that Summer Dad never gets upset he just seems to listen a little more and snap a little less. I don’t want the one time I’m really present and focused on my kids for the next six months to be only about homework. I might learn a lot about base-10 number systems but maybe not so much about my child.
So, as we talked about the new school year, expectations and goals over dinner this week, I set one of my own: to let go of some of that anxiety and frustration and try to be more like Summer Dad all year long.
Just without all the sunscreen each morning. I won’t miss the sunscreen.
If you are going to visit Prince Edward Island, you really should take some time to see the island by water. The views of the red cliffs, bays, inlets and green fields spinning out toward the horizon is a view not to be missed.
Last year, we went for a morning boat tour that included fishing and clamming. This year we went a little more low key and a lot more musical. We booked a ‘jigs and reels’ sunset tour with the Fiddling Fisherman out of Souris.
We had vacations at the beginning and the end of summer but that middle part yawned hot and humid with little for the kids to look forward to other than going to the pool or not doing more math homework. Last week we decided on a midsummer surprise trip and headed up to New Hampshire and check out Canobie Lake Park, a regional amusement and water park about an hour north of Boston.
Despite being very sunny and very hot, the whole family had a great time. The park was small enough to be easily covered in a day. It was also clean, very family friendly, and the staff were polite and accommodating. This is a great choice for a family that doesn’t want the expense and big thrill rides of someplace like Six Flags but might have outgrown toddler-centric places like Storyland or Edaville.
In Massachusetts, on summer weekends, you are one of two people. You flee south to the Cape and islands or you head north to the lakes and mountains. In the past, we have always been southern people but on this particular Saturday day we threw caution to the wind, cast off traditions, and headed toward the border determined to live free or die.
Or, at the very least, survive a day at Canobie Lake Park.