The other day I asked Addie to go look at the calendar and see if we had anything going on this Sunday.
“It just says, ‘Father’s Day.'”
“Oh reallllllly?” I said in my way-over-the-top voice. “Well isn’t that exciting? Aren’t you excited???”
She just rolled her eyes at me and walked away.
This week my sister and her family are in town so we’re spending a lot of potential blogging time with them. And on Sunday I leave for my short World Series of Poker trip to Las Vegas. But since it’s Father’s Day week I thought I’d provide a little glimpse of where I’m at with all four of my ornery kiddos.
Father’s Day always comes with a tinge of unworthiness for me. The kids always make cool cards and posters for me and I just keep thinking about my shortcomings as a parent. I try my best but often wish I had more grace and patience with them. Part of that unworthiness comes from trying to measure up to my own dad, whose grace and patience far exceeded my own.
Going into everything my dad meant to me and all the ways he shaped who I am today would be a significantly longer blog. At this very moment the two things that stand out were his optimism and his presence.
He was always looking for the best in people and spinning every situation into its most positive potential outcome. And he was always present in my life, even if he wasn’t the most vocal father. He loved to play card games or golf with me, and those things really made me feel loved. Sometimes those two positive traits would come together in an annoying way when we would be playing golf and I would hit a terrible shot (not an infrequent occurrence.) He would always yell at the ball to hit a tree and bounce back into the fairway, or skip over the water. I would be irritated with myself for hitting a bad shot and didn’t want everyone on the course to look over because he’s yelling at a golf ball that has no chance to end up anywhere besides the creek or the woods. And of course the one time in 100 when the ball actually would bounce miraculously back into the fairway, he was hooting and hollering like I’d made a hole in one. I look back on those things fondly now but that wasn’t quite how I saw it back then.
I also want to acknowledge my father-in-law Richard Hockett. For one thing, he was never anything but completely accepting of me when I began dating Missy. There was no intimidation thing going on. But the main thing I learned from him was service. I’ll never forget the first Thanksgiving dinner I went to with Missy’s family. We were at her grandpa’s house and there were probably about 15 people eating there. Richard stayed on top of the dishes the entire weekend without ever having to be asked to do so or chiding anyone else for not helping. I’ve tried to emulate that in my house on a daily basis and especially during the holidays when there is extra cleaning to be done.
As for my kids, they’re all still young enough to like me most of the time. Our favorite special routine is the head rides I give them to their beds at night. They sit on my shoulders and get a circuitous route to the beds, with occasional earthquakes or spins involved. Sadly they’re starting to get too big, but so far I haven’t had to quit on them yet, even Addie. And thankfully Hawk is old enough not to drool most of the time now. The top of my head used to be sopping wet every time I gave him a head ride.
With Addie right now, I really appreciate how helpful she is with the other kids most of the time. There are exceptions but she is generally very loving and inclusive with them, which means a lot to me. She is learning a lot right now, so my favorite conversations with her involve her telling me whatever factoid she has just discovered and asking follow-up questions on that subject. I love the enthusiasm she has for learning, and she’s told me several things recently that I didn’t know or had forgotten so I’m learning from her too.
Myra is my cuddle bear, I love getting hugs from her every day. She’s starting to say some funny things too. Today she said, “You know, when I see a yellow car it makes me want to eat some mustard.” Like Addie, Myra is great about playing well with the boys, and they really look up to her. She knows a lot of sight words and has memorized some books, so my favorite thing is when the boys gather around her and she reads books to them.
Maddux has been into playing catch with the football with me, and he’s gotten to where he can sling it pretty good. We’re still working on catching it without closing his eyes or hands, but he’s getting better at that too. My favorite thing to do with Maddux, though, has always been reading books. He’s always just been completely mesmerized by books and I love seeing his eyes wide open with amazement and full attention while we read books. You can’t ever read too many books for his taste.
Hawk has been really into competition lately. The only way to get him to help clean up is to give him a five second countdown to put up a toy. But if you do that he’ll go as fast as he can to get the job done. Tonight he wanted to race Maddux to see who could put on pajamas faster, and you would have thought it was the seventh game of the World Series. I find it interesting that while Maddux has always been overly sensitive about losing and goes into a huge fit any time he loses anything, Hawk is the opposite. Even though he loves to race and play games, he doesn’t get bothered if he doesn’t win. He’ll just say, “Maddux won that one,” or “I couldn’t be the fastest this time.” And then he goes on about his business.
So anyway, that’s a little snapshot of my favorite things about my kiddos in the summer of 2019. I know I’ll get some cool drawings and something with Reese’s peanut butter in it, but they can’t give me anything better than just being themselves every day and letting me be a part of their lives.