A Father's Perspective: Memories of minor boo boos fade; memories of fun with dad do not
It was on a recent Sunday afternoon, after a significant amount of snow had fallen, that my kids were hounding me to go outside.
"Come on, Dad," could be heard echoing throughout the house. Let's go play!"
For every reason I could come up with as to why I wanted to reserve myself to the sanctity of the couch on this lazy weekend, they had two more as to why I should go outside. Actually, I knew from the get-go I would be going out, I just figured I would string them along to see how much they really wanted to be outside.
Fully dressed, we ventured out to be immediately greeted by a heap of white powder. The children's excited squeals could be heard a mile away. We played, rolled in the snow and tried our hand at sledding. We hilariously tried to sled on loose powder that was unforgiving to the bottom of a plastic sled.
Every time my daughter tried to push me on that ill-proportioned, child-sized sled, I would just tip over. The kids howled with laughter followed by more urging: "Do it again, Dad! Do it again!"
We exhausted all of the activities we could, when suddenly my son decides to throw a snowball at me - or I should say, snow chunk. It was much bigger than your average snowball and actually hurt. Thus began a snowball fight - a fun one with my two kids.
We had a blast dodging and tossing snowballs. As eventually happens with snowball fights, my son hit me in the head which earned him the lecture of Snowball Fights Rule No. 1: No snowballs to the face.
The snowball fun resumed.
As fate would have it, not more than two minutes later, he went to run from me. Right as I pulled back and tossed a snowball, I knew I was in trouble. To make matters worse, he stopped and turned to look in my direction.
I don't think I need to elaborate on what happened, but I will say he let out a holler that I am sure made the neighbors think he was being tortured. Any attempt at damage control was futile. He ran in the house to tell Mom which I half-expected to happen. I knew I was in for a scolding, one that was fully expected.
As I was feeling bad that my son was crying, I couldn't help but think back to the snowball fights I used to get into as a kid.
It's funny... snowball fights always start out fun and end with someone getting hurt. It never fails, yet we still engage in the activity.
I know there is something to learn from Sunday's activity in the snow. As a father I do know one thing: snowballs will fly, and the time I can engage in these fun times with my kids gets smaller as they get older.
I would rather do the damage control and have my wife chew me out than not throw the snowball in the first place. My kids are more likely to remember the fun snowball fights they had plus the steaming hot chocolate and conversation as a family afterwards. The occasional snowball injury will fade away in distant memory.
Editor's note: Joe Johnson and his wife Amanda have two children. He is a licensed master trainer/consultant for St. Joseph's Area Health Services Community Health Nurturing Fathers Program and is a case manager for the FATHER Project, a program funded by Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota. To learn more about participating in Fathering Skills classes, call him at 255-2063 or e-mail josephjohnson@catholic health.net.