It’s just not cool to hang out with mom and dad anymore at our house.
Two of our daughters have hit the tween years, when literally anyone else in the world would be a better companion than the two doofuses God gave them.
So when your girls want you to go down a water slide with them, you figure out how to go down a water slide with them.
We spent part of their Thanksgiving break at a water park. My children have always enjoyed playing in the water. It’s frankly not a bad place to use a few days of vacation, between the warm air inside when it’s cold outside and the availability of hot tubs to ease your aching muscles.
We were all looking forward to it. It gave us a chance to get away together as a family before the craziness of the holidays hit.
Then a wave of sickness started going through our house. It finally hit me, sending me to the doctor with an ear and sinus infection a few days before we left.
If you’ve never had an ear infection, consider yourself lucky. They’re painful. They’re also amazing at messing with your balance. The accompanying sinus stuff also left me winded easily.
In other words, it was perfect for a trip to a water park! I warned the girls before we left that their dad might have to sit out some of the fun.
But here’s the thing: When we got there, and my usually dismissive children wanted to do things with me, nothing was going to stop me.
I’ve seen it already with their 18-year-old sister. She still loves her mother and me, I know, but she’s become her own person. She doesn’t need us for her entertainment or day-to-day sustenance.
As soon as we got there and started sizing up the different water slides, I wouldn’t let my pride or my equilibrium stop me. Walking the flights of steps up to different slides was exhausting and occasionally dizzying (literally), but I wasn’t going to let them down. If they wanted their dad to go on rides with them or race with them, I wasn’t going to say no.
I could tell their mother was having just as much fun in her role. The girls don’t think of her as a thrill-seeker, so instead they played strange games in the wave pool. If they ever create a three-person swim-dancing competition in the Olympics, they may be ready for gold.
These days of fun are numbered. We won’t want them to look back at these days and think their parents weren’t ready to play at a moment’s notice. We want to be there for them now, so they know we’ll still be there for them in the future, on those rare occasions they might acknowledge they need us.