A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Good Weekend

Not because it was longer than usual, but because it reminded me of how fun being a parent can be. Last weekend my wife and I were kidless, thanks to my folks, and it was a lot of fun to do what we wanted to do and not have to respond to "Dad, can I..." or "Mom, Jacob is..." at ALL. The back-to-reality of the constant work of being a parent-- trying to be consistent, explaining why some things are right and some wrong, the resolution of sibling disputes, the efforts to keep other societal influences from contaminating my children too strongly, etc., etc.-- wore on me after that.

Until Friday. Friday was my daughter's first grade musical, which is a big thing in Racine. 100+ six and seven-year olds singing and dancing for almost two hours. Wow. Seriously, wow. And they were GOOD. Certainly good for 1st graders, but I'd compare them to middle-school performances I've seen. As much as I rip on my school district, and deservedly so, this was the opposite end of the spectrum-- a fabulous thing, done by a good school, almost entirely without administrative interference, and successful precisely because it is an act of love by dedicated teachers and enthusiastic children. I haven't smiled that much, for that long, in quite a while.

It was also fun to be a parent that night. To ooh, and ahh, and laugh and clap along with a couple hundred other parents and grandparents. They do grow up fast, our kids, and things like Friday night help you appreciate the best things about being a parent-- the fun, the laughter, the pride you feel as you child belts out his or her one line of dialogue at the top of their lungs. It was a blast. Truly a blast. I'll try to post some pictures later tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday was a kick about the house day, and I got most of the garden area prepared before practicing some baseball with the kids. Nicole can actually hit this year-- it's amazing with kids, it's like something just clicks at some point in their development and all of a sudden what used to be a difficult process that required substantial thought becomes "natural" and nearly effortless. Fun, great fun, to see that process work its way through. Hopefully she can take that progression to her softball games this Wednesday and Friday.

Sunday was a neighborhood get together which featured enough beer to be happy without feeling it the next day, children playing contentedly on their own while the big people talked and played Catch Phrase, brats, decent weather, and a bonfire to wrap the evening up. Excellent.

Yesterday was lazy. Gorgeous weather which my family shared with my sister. We saw her new house, ate still more brats, drank a bit more beer, and then commenced to try and teach Jacob and Nicole how to fish. Me too, for that matter, as fishing was never something I did as a kid. It was great fun, and when the kids got a bit bored with sticking worms on hooks and not catching any fish, there were geese and playground toys (not necessarily together) to keep their interest.

In short, I think the weekend was an excellent testimony to all of the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of this country. They did not shy away from putting their lives on the line so that folks like me could enjoy the comforts and joys of a family in a free and prosperous country.

Thanks.

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