This weekend has been about ideas for the future and steps towards them. Some are realistic, some maybe not so much. We had spontaneous steps and some well thought out ones.
The first surprise came on Friday after work. C grabbed his long ignored baseball glove and asked to go and play catch. Immediately, dreams of baseball glory crossed my mind. But then he proceeded to put the glove on the wrong hand and I quickly tempered myself. We did, however, go outside and played some catch. Trying ever so hard to keep my father-entusiasm in check, I’d say he’s not bad. We’re good at pop-ups mainly, but we’re learning timing and position. He needs to learn to catch with the glove and control with the bare hand, not vice-versa. Our throwing has power, but no control. Hitting is still our thing, though. We won’t be calling the Red Sox any time soon, but baseball may be on our roster for next spring.
Next up, riding a bike. M’s fascination with his bike has dwindled down to its pre-birthday levels since his bike attacked him (i.e. he jumped off while riding and was upset the the bike continued moving). He’ll show you the bruise on his back if you suggest giving the bike a second chance. But, C is still on his bike every chance he gets. Now approaching 7, we are still using our training wheels, though. A few weeks ago he announced (maybe with a little of his mother’s encouragement) that he was ready to take the training wheels off. So, the wheels came off, the helmet was on and… we have an uncontrollable lean to the right. Can’t figure it out, but as soon as we let go of him, he immediately tumbles to the right. This weekend we did a bit better, but he still has a little right lean that makes him panic. He’ll be going along fine, but then comes the lean and we lose focus and balance. I am not much help, myself. I learned to ride when I was 9 and only then by mistake (I was sitting on my bike at the top of our driveway and lifted my feet off the ground and rode down the driveway and have never looked back). Your instinct is to tell them what they’re doing wrong and how to correct it, but that just leads to a verbal assault on their every move. Instead, I just ran along beside him trying to correct the lean and telling him how great he was doing. Not the best solution, he isn’t learning balance and I’m exhausting myself running back and forth. More planning in needed.
Today was the day of the plan. Mom was going out dress shopping with her sister and the boys were buying groceries. We cashed in our spare change, got a movie from RedBox (raining, so no bike or baseball), grabbed some donuts that were promised (by mom) earlier than morning, did the grocery shopping and started the laundry. Not too shabby.
On our way home we started talking about what we’re going to be when we grow up (this, I think, was a desperate diversion to get dad to stop talking about what fractions and percentages are…). I was able to dodge the fact that I still don’t know my answer to this question and focus on the boys’. C has, for quite some time, wanted to be a police officer. This was initially fueled by my telling him that his great-grandfather was a Boston cop (one of the first Irish-Americans allowed on the force) and has continued uninterrupted. One of his prized possessions is a Boston Police patch that an officer gave him a few years ago. So, I was surprised when he announced today that he wanted be a Marine like his uncle. And a scientist. And work at Shaw’s, and Dunkin Donuts and teach at M’s dojo. But, I was in planning mode! Okay, C, here’s the plan: you’re going to go to college and study forensics, join the Marine Corps and become an MP and criminologist. One night a week, or on the weekends, you’ll work at the Commissary and another night you’ll teach martial arts on base. Perfect plan that accomplishes all our goals! C was… unimpressed. M likes all of C’s goals, but wants to be a doctor also. Not sure how to work that in to the plan.
It’s vaguely horrifying to think about all that comes between now and their goals. Having to teach them that they can’t just walk out and do something, that they may not have the skill for something they’d love to do or that the Red Sox might just pass them over in the draft despite all our work in the yard. A parent’s job is to fuel dreams, but you have to remind yourself that we also have the unenviable task of keeping them grounded. This is my wife’s job with me too. M wanted to help her plant flowers and lay mulch yesterday, and K was quick to stomp out my vision of turning over all the yard work to the boys now instead of in a few years. These are the tricky parts, keeping them encouraged and interested in playing catch, riding a bike or even being a Marine MP criminologist black-belt grocery clerk (I still can’t work doctor into the mix).
But, for right now, we’re going to go play Angry Birds on their iPad and worry about what we’re packing for lunch tomorrow for school.