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Archive for March 23rd, 2012

Unabashed Fun

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thanks Griff, Kya & Suzi for making today pure fun
                    — macheide facebook status update

Yes, fun.

No, I’m not slacking off on my vocab repertoire. I know which word I chose, and I meant it, and I don’t apologize for saying so out loud. Fun. I had a fun day.

Yeah, I know, chalk it up to the amusements of Kemah Boardwalk, right? Like, how many fathers are willing to be there for the poopy diapers? How many happy to get up at 3am in the morning of a workday to calm a wee one scared of monsters under the bed? How many ready to give up the time to do the children’s laundry so the mom can have some playtime with their children? How many there through every dark hour all the way until they’re on their own and even beyond? And how many of those actually want it all, and would use the word “fun” to describe even the worst of it all?

Hey, I’ll never enter any contests for Dad of the Year, and I wouldn’t come anywhere close to even getting honorable mention if someone were to enter me as a write-in candidate. But I do know what the secret ingredient is for it to be fun.


Doing it together.

So yes, I’ve smiled when cleaning up poop smeared all over the bathroom by a baby amused by her own artistic talents. And yes, I’ve had to fret when a child ran away from home. And I’ve driven all night after a hard day of work and been right back to work the next day on no sleep to help a child through a long-distance move. And I’ve been there for the heartaches and the hard work and the wild tantrums and the bitter misunderstandings.

Besides, even days at the amusement park with children are not without their heavy responsibilities. Children can get so easily distracted and wander off to get lost in a crowd in an instant. And strangers with smiles for the wee ones aren’t always ones you’d ever want to have your child “friend,” Facebook or anywhere else. And there are always the moments when a slip and fall bring tears, or a child can’t have all the rides all at once, or you’re reminded of all the other chores and work (and oh, don’t forget the dog needs to be picked up) and those tax forms to be done in less than a month … and so many other really fun stuff like reading poetry and surfing the internet and swimming in a pool already warm enough and endlessly on and on and on, right?

No, very wrong. All the responsibilities of keeping the children safe and happy and fed and cared for were not something that had to be put up with as a duty balancing out the fun of the smiles and laughter and amusements and all. No, it was all part of the fun. All of it. Because it was all shared, together.

I have been honored and blessed and privileged to have had the fun of participating in the lives of six children through two different families, and I’m currently having the fun of helping out as much as I possibly can in babysitting two others. I would have been overjoyed beyond all words to have had the opportunity to have had the same fun — yes, fun! full responsibilities and all — with one of my own. But I have loved every single one of these eight children just as much as I would my own, and every single moment of life I’ve had with them — up or down, good or bad, easy or hard, laughing or crying — has all been completely fun.

Unabashed, I am in saying so. My dictionary tells me that the word “abashed” comes to us from the Old French abaissier, meaning “to put down,” along the same lines that give us words like abase. Where did we ever make so wrong a turn that a “real man” has to feel put down for thinking — no, for knowing — that parenting can be pure fun.

Pure. Fun.

bumper sticker [] - adrien

Written by macheide

23 March 2012 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Adrien

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