27 May 2010
I am officially running for Father of the Week.
I realize it is a long shot, and I know the week is not over, but I feel like I’ve done my part to at least be under consideration for the award.
Of course, I have my good friend unemployment to thank for giving me this great opportunity and a boat load of free time.
The week began on Monday with Field Day.
Field Day is the official name for “kids get a day out of the classroom to play a bunch of games in a local park.”
It always comes at the end of the year and ours included a BBQ, jumpy castle, pickup soccer games, softball, lacrosse and a whole lot of quality gossip time.
My daughter and her friends seemed to enjoy the last part more than anything.
She took full advantage of the break to hang out with her buddies, but we did sneak in a four-on-four flag football game before lunch.
There were probably more than 200 students there, representing sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
The sixth graders occupied most of the field, playing every game possible.
The seventh graders huddled in groups, talking about... ...whatever seventh graders talk about.
And the eighth graders were counting the minutes to the end of their middle school career.
Even though I was not invited into the gossip groups, I think I earned major points for just being there.
Tuesday was a day for daughter #2, child #3.
And it was a big day too. It was her Kindergarten graduation.
Tuesday is also the day that my 80-year old mother and I get together each week for a little nosh.
But instead of a meal, this time I picked her up at the assisted living facility and brought her to school for the ceremony.
I wouldn’t say I am Captain Sentimental, but I certainly enjoyed the concept of giving my mom the opportunity to be there.
If you’ve ever been to one of these events, it’s 90% who cares and 190% the greatest show on earth.
(The 190 part is anything involving your child.)
I don’t know how they did it, but this Kindergarten sendoff somehow turned into a one-hour production -- full of songs, stories and a nicely edited music video to pictures of the kids.
At the end, my daughter came over to give everyone a hug, including my mom, which forced me to use the final kleenex in the box.
My mom has been through hell and back in her life, so to see her enjoying herself, even for an hour, is a great occasion.
Article #3 in my bid for Father of the Week came on Wednesday with another field trip.
This time, my son’s fifth grade class took a trip to a Tattoo and Piercing Convention....
...better known as a local amusement park.
I’m not one to judge pure beauty, but I’m guessing a LARGE percentage of the people drawing on and cutting into their skin will regret it at some point in their life.
Heart tattoo on the arm with your kid’s name. Cool.
Nose piercing. Hip.
Gallons of permanent ink covering your face and/or neck. Disgusting.
I realize I sound 196 years old, but I’m just sayin.
Nevertheless, we spent five hours going on rides that took us upside down and inside out. There were more twists and turns than the Lost finale.
We got there early enough to avoid any lines and by the time it got busy we were back on the school bus headed home.
It was a great day.
I really thought I had clinched the award.
Or so I thought.
As hard as it was, I refused to give in to each of my son’s requests to spend money at the park.
And there were many of them.
Dippin Dots. Cotton Candy. Funnel Cake. Stuffed Animal.
No, no, no and no.
The last thing he needed was ANY of that, especially at those prices, but I must say seeing your child with puppy dog eyes usually works -- even at age 11.
It definitely worked for the new favorite for Father of the Week.
One of the dads on the trip was determined to win his daughter a GIANT stuffed animal in one of the carnival games.
And the game looked pretty easy.
You have five metal disks -- each the size of a DVD. All you have to do is drop the five disks, one by one, onto a wooden board and cover a red circle that is about six inches wide.
Cover the circle, you win.
Leave any part of the red showing and you lose.
Each game costs $3 or you can play twice for $5.
You only need to win once to take home a bear three times the size of your child.
That should’ve been his first clue.
Or his 17th clue. Or 33rd.
When all was said and done, he had donated $110 to the arcade and had exactly zero wins.
I can only imagine what a trip to Las Vegas costs him.
The high schooler working at the park must’ve felt really bad for him, so he gave the determined dad a much smaller stuffed animal as a parting gift.
I saw the little girl smiling from ear to ear as she boarded the bus with her new friend.
Playing countless carnival games to win your daughter a new stuffed animal. $110.
Spending the week with your kids. Priceless.
Maybe I am still in the running to win the award after all.