A big part of my childhood involved going out and doing things with my father. Whether this meant running errands with him, doing activities outdoors or learning about computers, whenever I wasn’t at school or in karate, I was with my father. It made for an exciting and valued childhood. I’ve always said that when I had children, I would emulate this behaviour and do the same for my kids. I’m only now learning how difficult and “easier said than done” that this is to accomplish.
My hat’s off to my dad for making so much time and being there for as much as he was. As a kid, I couldn’t clearly grasp how my dad must have been fighting through fatigue from shift work to bring me swimming or how he likely preferred to sit on the couch relaxing on his day off, rather than spend the day peddling on a bike in the hot sun. But he did it all. It definitely makes me appreciate the effort he put in and makes me realize I could often put in more of an effort myself.
I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful day with my 7-year old son, Nathan. Our day involved a quiet morning for gaming and watching videos. Once we had lunch, we jumped into the car and headed to a movie theatre to watch Minions: The Rise of Gru. Nathan had recently mentioned liking minions and he’s watched some of the other Despicable Me movies, so I looked up the new one and found a 1:30 showing. We decided to head to the theatre early and partake of some of the games located in the lobby.
We played for almost 40 minutes, enjoying air hockey, shooting hoops and various first-person shooter games before grabbing typical movie snacks, which included popcorn, gummies and raspberry Coke Zero of all things, and finding our assigned seats in the theatre. The theatre was pretty quiet, with only one small group of four or five kids on the other side of the seating area. So we basically had the place to ourselves.
Although the movie had its funny moments, the combination of arcade games and sugar made it difficult for Nathan to sit still for the hour and a half that it took for the movie to reach its conclusion. This is problematic, as Nathan becomes quite the handful. in this instances, he was climbing on the seats in front of him, shifting around and asking when it would be done. Even though we were enjoying the film, I could tell the wick on the stick of dynamite was slowly burning down and he would only stay in his seat for so long.
Once the movie was done, we took the opportunity to burn through our remaining game tokens and played some more games. Nathan was hellbent on burning through every token and appeared to enjoy THAT more than the movie itself. He particularly enjoyed the Jurassic Park shooter and spent most of his tokens there. It was fun, watching the joy in his eyes as he played and enjoyed himself in the arcade.
Admittedly, we were both hot and sweaty when we finally walked back out to the car. There was very little A/C in the gaming area and it was made all the worse by the fact that all the gaming machines were giving off their own respective heat. Although it was nearly 30 degrees outside, it felt cooler than it did inside. As you can see from the photos, Nathan and I were both wearing hooded sweatshirts but were quit to shed them once we left the building.
We travelled across the city and purchased a used life jacket for Nathan’s use while at a swimming pool. This immediately prompted Nathan to request a trip to the pool, which resulted in an argument over why we couldn’t go right away. We discussed potentially going swimming or hit the splash pad over the weekend, but he was insistent of a pool, which told me he only wanted to go because he just got a new life vest. But I digress.
Once we got home and as we had previously agreed, Nathan got to work on some homework-style exercises that my wife has obtained for him in order to keep what’s he’s learned through the school year as fresh as possible. While he was doing his homework, I ordered pizza and wings for the whole family online. We received our food right around when he finished his exercises and everyone enjoyed a nice, take-out supper. Nathan and his brother particularly enjoyed the bread sticks.
It was a fantastic day and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself. Life gets pretty busy and hectic and making time to do these kind of things can be difficult. But twenty years from now, Nathan will have the benefit of looking back and recognizing that we had this time together, much in the same way I have fond memories of the things I’ve done with my father. These are the important moments that make life matter. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rat race that we forget to take time to stop and smell the flowers. Food for thought… ☯️