We spent the weekend with our three very young grandsons. Their Mom and Dad are no longer together and there is not a lot of positive Male Influence in their lives. Our son, their uncle, joined us on a weekend getaway. We loaded all six of us up in the truck and off we went.
I had my oldest (9) grandson wedged in between my son and me in the front seat. We were just talking guy stuff. Things from video games to movies to embarrassing moments and such. We calculated how long it would take to reach our destination at the speed of light. (Guessing maybe 20% of the U.S. population could even make that calculation but I digress, which I’m prone to do)
While the little ones and grandmother Curvey were in the backseat talking the random things a 6 year old mutters, I glanced down at the eldest. He was simply beaming. Pride? Perhaps being able to finally sit in the front seat? Surrounded by his Uncle and his Papa. I’m not sure exactly what I was seeing. Perhaps just the feeling of solid, broad & dependable shoulders on either side of him instilled something. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but the feeling was there.
And of course, three generations of my family in the same front seat puts a lot of good vibes in me too!
So we did all sorts of things from boogie boarding to swimming to a high speed boat ride. Mostly the 9 and 6 year olds, their Uncle and me. The four of us. Battling waves that knocked the kids over. Holding onto the boat rail while we buzzed pelicans sitting atop channel markers. Floating the lazy river. Watching Lego Batman. (Hilarious… “Batman never skips leg day”) It was 48 hours of non-stop bonding.
Sadly we don’t get too many of these weekends for a myriad of reasons. They are important nonetheless. Memories of good times can go a long way until the next adventure.
Perhaps the biggest influence we both had on our two younger companions was to show you can have fun and not be cursing out of control or drinking in excess (with the roller coaster of emotional outbursts they’ve witnessed too many times). That being calm and steady, engaging and available, can be a lot of fun for all. Perhaps just being there to listen to the questions and provide thoughtful answers; letting them know they are important.