Friday, May 28, 2010

Fatherhood Friday: A big kid at heart, but a senior citizen in body

We run into one of my former students and her two children at a local park on a fairly regular basis. Her boy is 3 and is very verbal compared to our Eli who is still in the grunt and point stage. One afternoon Eli, Anna and myself were climbing all over one of the play structures and Gabriel, the son of my student, walked by, waved, and said, “Hi little girl! Hi little kid! Hi big kid!” to Anna, Eli and myself as he passed each of us on his way down.

It cracked me up that this boy would consider me a kid and not a parent since I was up playing with my kids and not sitting on the bench passively watching and checking messages on my phone. I shared this with the class the next day and told my student that her 4.0 was in the bag. Yes, I am a big kid. I admit it. I love cartoons, I love to go and explore and play, and up until a wedding a few years back, I didn’t own a suit until I was over 40.

My ultimate play area is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It is truly an amazing place with something for everyone. A lot of amusement parks are for the coaster/thrill junkies and leave the kids and wusses out in the cold, but not CP. It rocks, and my inner kid comes out every time I catch a glimpse of the coasters on the horizon as we head over the causeway into the park. A group of us tagged along with a school field trip to the park yesterday and had a blast. There’s nothing like riding in a comfy air-conditioned coach there and back, it’s heaven. I remember bleary-eyed, caffeine fueled drives there and back in my car when I lived in Toledo when I was much younger, and it’s nice to NOT have to do that.

So we packed up Anna and some of her peeps and had a blast. Anna is a few inches short of being tall enough for the big rides, but there is plenty to keep a junior coaster/thrill junkie happy. Taking a Grandparent along is a GREAT idea, as two of us who were big enough to ride the big ones ditched the kids with the grandparent and made tracks for the coasters. The Camp Snoopy area is wonderfully themed and if the kid is big enough, they can run from ride to ride and not have to have a parent with them. Since there are rides like the Tilt-a-Whirl and other twirl and puke rides, the kids can scramble their brains and I don’t have to risk public humiliation by tossing my lunch after the 5th ride.

So yes, I am a big kid, but as I type this, the reality of yesterday is squaring up with my 45 year old body. I am doing my best to remain awake and get into work later to catch up, but the coffee isn’t doing it. Getting home at 11:30 pm after a day at the park has taken its toll. I picked up my inhaler this morning as I was getting ready and sprayed it in my underarms thinking it was deodorant. I am just glad it wasn’t the other way around. I will do my best to retain this Peter Pan mentality as my kids grow, as I truly believe it’s what will keep me young, but right now, Peter Pan is glad that Tinkerbell is at daycare, ‘cause Peter needs a nap.


  1. On the plus side, amusement parks wear out the little ones equally well. Stay true to your childish self, friend. Cheers!

  2. Anna fought the good fight to stay awake last night on the bus ride home. It didn't last.

  3. This is great. One of my favorite parts of having kids is that I have an excuse to act like a lunatic in public whenever I want. It's a privilege I heartily abuse.

  4. @ Homemaker Man, they are the ultimate E ticket, Gold ticket, whatever. I can run around and let my inner child flag fly.
    I love it.

  5. The kids in my dad's neighborhood come and knock on his door, asking my mom if "Gil can come out to play."

    I am the jungle gym for my nephews and neices... chances I will be the adult playing, too.