All you gotta do is ask pal!

Frequent visitors to this blog (and thanks for doing so by the way!) know we have 2 kids.  The Math Major is 20, a Jr at Western WA University, and pretty damn self-sufficient.  I just let him know to shout if he needs something, and occasionally we’ll go up to take him to dinner, but otherwise, I want him to enjoy college like I did!  (Well maybe not EXACTLY like I did!)

image The Manchild, is the younger of the 2, 15 and a sophomore in high school.  He lives with his mom about 30 miles away.  On normal weeks, I go down every Tuesday to have dinner with him (tonight its with Grandma!) and then he is with us every other weekend.  I pick him up after work on Friday, and take him south after dinner Sunday.

This weekend was a little different.

First off, I should explain my thoughts on kid visitation.  I have heard many a story from friends and co-workers about how kid visits work.  There is a set pick up time, a set drop off time, neither person will budge without a fight.  “Dammit I get the kid till 5 PM, NO I will not bring him home early to see the visiting Great Aunt Gertrude!”  I just sit there and shake my head.

I’ve also met many people who HATED visiting one parent or another.  Shoot, even I wasn’t all that partial to it.  I had my room and my stuff and I liked it there.  Loved my dad and got along great, just wasn’t big on the visits.  Other people I know flat fought tooth and nail not to have to go!  Not a good thing.  It can lead to bitter feelings long into adulthood.

I have a different rule.  The kid has to WANT to be here.  Now with Manchild there is no question,  He and I get along great, and even when I have to chew his ass (and I do it well) we get over it quickly.  More importantly, he truly loves and adores Michelle (Maybe even more than he does me 🙂  )  The kid likes it up here.

When he shows, up, he sets up a mini-mancave in the dining room.  It’s around the corner from the little sitting nook Michelle and I spent most of our time in at home.  He’s close enough to hear us and talk ti us, but also has privacy and his own space.  Works out well!

Well here is where this weekend was a bit different.  Remember the weather last week?

image

Well this weekend was the complete opposite!  It was 70 and sunny!  On Sunday afternoon, Manchild was HELLAgrouchy!  He is not like me, cold and callous and able to hide stuff like that.  When he is mad, or unhappy, its easy to see.

Long and short, Sunday could very well have been the last good longboarding (skateboard) day of the year.  And he hadn’t brought it north since we were expecting weather more like the picture above than what we got.  He also suffers from serious guilt! (no idea where that came from, we aren’t catholic, and I never have that problem.)  He didn’t want to ask to go home early, as he didn’t ant us to think he didn’t want to be there.  But if we went home after dinner, it would get dark to soon to skate.  So he decided to stew and be grouchy.

As soon as we figured it out, I told him “Saddle up” time to head home.  And this demonstrates how I think this should work.  It’s not that he didn’t want to be here, he just truly wanted to be out on the board, with fresh air, and enjoying the last nice day!

image

 

We were on the road and I had him home before 3 and I am sure he was on the board at 3:05.  I texted him today to see how skateboarding was yesterday, and the response? “Freaking Amazing!”

So yep, if I was one of those that thought “I have a drop off time and no way no how will I be there early.”  I coulda spent an afternoon with one sad kid.

Instead, I saw the kid wanted to get outside, be in the sun, feel the wind in his face, and enjoy life!  No true cyclist or decent dad could or should deny a kid that!  He had a great day and a half with us, and ended it on sunny Sunday in October bombing down the hills of Federal Way.  Something he will remember for quite a while.

Like I told him, there are many times my schedule means I have to switch weekends, and he has to work around me, why can’t I work around him?  All you gotta do is ask pal!

 

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4 Responses to All you gotta do is ask pal!

  1. Awesome post, that’s why you’re a great Dad.

  2. It’s good to teach kids how to articulate what they are feeling; how else are they supposed to learn to communicate? Kudos to you for your supportive instruction to your son.

    • Thank you very much! One thing I’ve always tried is to talk to them instead of down to them even as little ones. The mathmajor was holding conversations with adults very early on. Manchild is coming into his own now, and has matured a lot in the last year. It would just be nice if there were an instruction manual…..

      • You are doing fine, you don’t need an instruction manual. We must teach kids the words they need, can’t expect them to know unless we help. Simply give a child words to identify and define what they are feeling, then encourage them to say it in a straightforward manner, no drama. You modelled emotional understanding AND emotional maturity for your son, which was well-done.

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