Monday, March 02, 2009

Numbers


Very occasionally, only rarely in fact, do I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. That happened once or twice when I was laid out on the floor of the nursery with toddler Superpounce bounding around or giggling or crawling on top of me. That happened once when infant Superpounce fell asleep right on my chest, and I drifted off to sleep feeling her heart beat against mine. This weekend, it happened again.

Weekends. Nine hundred thirty-six. That's an important number. If you figure you've got 18 years before your children go to college and move out of your house, and if you figure 52 weeks in a year, there are nine hundred and thirty-six weekends you have with them. That's well shy of a thousand--not that big of a number at all.

And it has to be far less than that. After the age of 14 there are probably a goodly number of weekends you don't have with them, even if (or especially if) you're doing your parenting right. If you're a good parent, they're more independent, they need you less, they have activities, and sometimes they can't stand the sight of you, because you're doing what a parent is supposed to do, like saying no and providing boundaries.

And in my case the number is still smaller because Superpounce is 11.5 years old--most of our pre-18 weekends are already in the past. If you figure we've got 6.5 years left of Superpounce at home, that's 338 more weekends. If I even optimistically get half of those weekends as she grows up, that's only 169 more weekends. It ain't at all funny how time slips away.

But this weekend, Superpounce and I spent both Saturday and Sunday at the neighborhood basketball court. On Sunday, we even took the dogs with us. The air was clean and cold as peppermint, the skies of cobalt blue, the wind bent the grass down low, and nothing stood between we little ants and heaven itself. And I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.

She told me how she had passed her try-out and made it into the athletics class. She dreamed out loud about the sports she might try. And I tried not to chuckle on the outside as I smiled on the inside as this short, skinny girl dreamed of being a basketball player and sprinter. Having my genetics as she does, she is much more suited to soccer and distance.

But that is not a lesson for Dad to teach, especially on a day that is perfect where I find myself in that rarest of spots--the center of exactly where I am supposed to be. That is a lesson best learned on one's own. And she will.

7 comments:

Bob Nelson said...

Greyhound,

I've read your blog for a while. I subscribe to it via Google Reader, but I don't think I have ever made a comment. To borrow a radio phrase, "long-time listener, first-time caller."

I wanted to thank you for the perspective you bring to this last post. I have 3 kids under the age of 6 and your post has been a huge encouragement to me to take advantage of the opportunities I am given to be a father, mentor, friend.

Good luck to you and I look forward to reading your further exploits, adventures and encounters with Officer Egg McMuffin (any updates?).

Liam O'Connell said...

god, i want to cry.

Kim said...

aw grey - you and superpounce have such fantastic times together. she seems like an amazing daughter, and of course, you're an amazing dad. great post.

Supalinds said...

"It ain't at all funny how time slips away."

So true, fantastic post. As usual, you put things into perspective for me!

Jenna said...

Awesome post!!

Brooke said...

As a girl with a fantastic relationship with her father, please know that Superpounce may not realize it now, but one day these are the weekends she will long for again! My favorite memories are of me and my dad at the softball field with me pitching softballs to him for hours on end. Thanks for being one of those dads!

TriSaraTops said...

LOVED this.

Beautiful.