Spending My Saturday with the Kids

By packaging up some orders late Friday night, I cleared Saturday morning so that my kids and I could go to the water park. Conversations with Link, Patch, and Gleek made clear that going was one of the defining parts of summer and they would all be sad if it did not happen before school started. So we went. Kiki stayed home because she doesn’t much like water parks. At this point the four of us have some established patterns we follow at the park. Slides first before the lines get long. Then the wave pool. After that Link goes solo for more sliding while Gleek, Patch, and I bounce between various pools and the lazy river. We pack out by noon before the sun gets vicious and the crowds get thick. Three hours is plenty. We still came home looking sunned, but not badly burned.

I don’t take my phone inside the water park. The primary reason for this is because I try not to bring in anything that I’ll cry over if it gets lost, broken, or stolen. None of these things has happened to us, but since our belongings end up piled unguarded for much of the day, the policy is a good one. An important side benefit of the lack of phone is that I’m not tempted to split my attention from parenting. It is nice to have a clearly defined space where I’m not supposed to be working. Work and family get so mixed up together during the summer months. I struggle to create defined spaces and times, but I fail at that lots. One unexpected aid this summer was when I switched to my new phone. It allowed me to finally download a task management program. That program encouraged me to create separate lists for different kinds of tasks rather than trying to keep everything on the same list. It has been a boon, because with a flick of my finger I can look at only shipping tasks or only parenting tasks or only tasks that I have to complete today. I can focus my attention instead of trying to track everything at once. of course I’m now far more dependent on my phone than I was before, hence leaving it in the car while we went to the park.

The afternoon and evening of a water park day are always quiet and sometimes contain napping. Ours was made more interesting by a rumbling thunderstorm that blew through with wind and rain. By the time it was done we had plant debris pretty much everywhere in our yard, but no significant damage. I’ve heard reports of trees and fences knocked down. While the storm blew outside my window, Patch and I curled up to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 4. He hadn’t seen all those movies and liked the idea of curling up with me to watch, so we’ve been making our way through. As I watched I thought about character consistency and why Jack Sparrow was a delightful side character but is less effective as a protagonist. I also thought that the actors must have gotten really tired of being wet. Patch watched adventure and excitement. Perhaps we’ll tackle the Lord of the Rings movies next, because snuggly movie time is nice.

I thought about Howard at GenCon while I was having my day at home with the kids. I’m a bit sad not to be there. Howard tells me stories on the phone and I wish I could be part of them or have my own stories to tell. Yet I’m really glad I did not miss out on today. It was a good day.