Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Got By With a Little Help From a Friend...

Now that the summer is finally upon us here in the North East my wife and I made the decision to buy a pool. We have a small yard and a small child so we decided to go with one of those blue "Easy Set" pools. It is only 3 ft high and 10 ft around but that is perfect for what we need.

Our yard slants down and to the left so the word Easy in the pool description is slightly misleading. There was a hole to be dug and leveling to be done, and my 4-year-old Evan was stoked to help. My initial thought was that this would be a pain in the a$$. The thought of digging and leveling a 10 ft round circle, in 90+ degrees with a 4 year old running around chased me to the fridge for a beer.

When the time finally came to get this project going I had an instantaneous change of heart and mind. While standing over the future spot of our pool I took a look over at Evan and noticed something amazing. He was looking at me and adjusting his stance to match mine. I would put my hand on my chin and he followed suit. Hands on hips, check. Hands in the air, check. Balancing on one foot to see if this was really happening, check.

I realized that he honestly just wanted to help his Dad, to be involved in something with me, just to be around me and there was no way I was going to turn that down! I grabbed an extra tape measure, piece of wood, and shovel and let him go to town. As I measured he measured. When I took a drink, of water not beer, so did he. If I wiped sweat from my brow so did he.

When the ground was finally ready and the pool was filling I could see a sense of pride in his eyes. He set the pool up. In reality he measured an unused piece of wood and barely put a hole in the ground; but in his eyes without his hard work that pool would not have water in it. And in this Dad's eyes, it never would have happened without my construction buddy

It made me sad as I began wondering how many times I had impatiently swatted he or his siblings away in a similar situation. How often do we as parents look at these moments for what they truly are, bonding time? Too often we are so on the go that all we are concerned with is the finish line and not the journey to get there. 

Sure this extra set of hands may have added thirty minutes to the total time to get the pool ready but in the end, who cares? What else was I going to do with that thirty minutes? Sit on the couch and watch a TV show? I am sure nothing as productive as creating a life long memory for two people.

Since the advent of VPN's and smart phones we are not only slaves to work, but now status updates, check-ins, and photo sharing as well. What will these people who we barely know anymore post about their day? What are they doing with their kids? 

The real question that should be asked is what am I doing with my kids? What have I missed that has been going on just over the top of my cell phone?

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