Thursday, August 6, 2015

Being the Fun Parent

Your life is now. ~John Mellancamp

My sweet American friend sent me this photo of my boys and Mac when we lived in Nevada. Aidan was maybe 6 and Easton 3 in this pic. Somehow this is seems like yesterday and years ago at the same time. 

The past few weeks, with some transitions in life and new opportunities presenting themselves, Jason and I have had a lot of discussions revolving around how little time we really have left as a family of four living under one roof. We're not wishing it away by any means, we're wanting to make the most of it. We're hearing our friends in their mixed emotions of sadness and pride as one by one, their children graduate and go to college or travel or work...and we see that that is the next milestone in our life as parents. I'm not sure everyone enjoys teenagers but I have to say, they are so fun! I mean, yes, they are messy and roughhouse and smell frightfully bad at times....but they are so clever while being so dumb! It's such a beautiful paradox! We learn as much from them as they teach us and it's never really dull. They bring packs of boys through the house and now, there seem to be a few girls turning up on the doorstep, shyly ringing the doorbell to pick one of the boys up for some group outing. Thankfully, our boys have some amazing friends who really are good kids, so we know that that makes our lives much easier too!

Yesterday, I had two friends come along who both have two little boys of their own. Jayme came by with Justin and Brayden just quickly but it was so good to have little guys in the house. Just their questions and their inquisitive nature reminded me of how far we've come. Too, watching Jayme wrangle them out to the care in her patient manner, and how long it takes to get two boys into car seats and settled, reminded me that there are some things that I don't really miss, even if it does make me nostalgic.  Then, last night, Steven and Melissa came by with their two boys, Kesler and Benji. These two boys crack me up all the time. They are so much like our kids in so many ways. Kesler has that same sports minded intensity that Aidan had at his age and he is smart like Aidan was - amazing vocabulary and so great at articulating his thoughts, which is always entertaining. Benji is two and while I laughed a lot last night at his little naughty side...I fully remember the daily, hourly, moment by moment tug of war of wills that it was to get Easton through those days. Melissa is patient and calm and it is fun watching her just take it in stride, even when it's the tenth-fifteenth-fiftieth time she's had to look Benji in the eye and say, "No". 

So, it brings me to today, and the leap I'm taking which I have been sort of somewhat sheepish about. I'm not sure why...well, yeah, I am but I'll get to that. Before Jason and Aidan left for Cambodia, where they're teaching English at Place of Rescue, Jason convinced me to bite the bullet, seize the day, live in the moment, and book a surprise for Easton. So, I have surprised Easton with a trip to Universal in Florida for 5 days. We've watched all the Harry Potter movies since he found out a week ago and he is so excited. He's mapped out our days and figured out our schedule. He's been dreaming about this for years and as Jason said, he starts high school and soon won't want go at all, never mind with his mama. I've never really played the role of "fun parent" in our this is new. They often refer to me as "Brita" -an homage to the character on Community that is the poo-poo'er of all things fun and irrational. I admit, that is generally my role. No one likes "down to earth" thinkers when you're shooting for the stars, though...and I often find my ill timed remarks leading to groans and being called "Brita".  And as if you need another sitcom philosophy, we often quote Modern Family in our household saying, "You can't have two fun parents. You know that kid wearing pyjamas to school and paying for his lunch with hundred dollar bills? --  Two fun parents." 
Let me let you in on a little secret Luke. When I met your dad I was fun too, but I had to give all that up because you can't have two fun parents. It's a carnival. ~ Claire Dunphy, Modern Family

 So, I'm taking on the role of fun parent this week. It's expensive. It's frivolous. It's frightening. It doesn't come easy. I'm better at being the sensible parent, the rational one, the buzz kill but time is fleeting and I'm going to make the most of it. And Easton is going to call me Brita at least 10 times on the flight there and probably 12 times a day after that, but there's going to be a moment, somewhere between Hogsmeade and Diaigon Alley that he's going to think I'm pretty fun. And that's worth every penny.

The boys

Easton...growing up before our eyes. Grade 8 grade. 

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