The VIEW from here

Solo parenting is hard

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

(Editor’s note: This article is a reprint from 2010.)

I was on vacation last week and I got to spend several days with my kids. This was a real treat because for the two years I’ve been with the paper I haven’t been able to take any significant time off.

Last summer I was working during my summer vacation with the kids. But this year I had them all to myself — and I really got to appreciate what it’s like to be a full-time dad again.

The best part of the time with the kids was getting to know them again. Seeing them every other weekend and once during the week for three hours gives me time to spend with them, but it only brushes the surface of being a parent.

One of the biggest things that’s changed in the lives of my kids is they are busy.

My son’s activities have died down for summer, but my daughter was still playing ball and taking part in other activities during our week together. Shuttled her back and forth to practices and games, learning firsthand what millions of soccer moms (in this case softball) go through every day.

She came armed with a schedule that covered a piece of paper. I took her to all her activities, which was a treat, but it was time consuming and a major gas expense. Still, being able to be a part of her activities was worth the time and cost.

For my son we were able to spend some good, quality father and son time together. Nearly every day we swam in the pool, played catch and went head-to-head in video games.

I also got to enjoy his 7-year old outlook on life. Every day he said something that left me laughing. Among his most memorable during the week was one morning we were heading out to clean the pool before a swim. On the way out the door he looked at me and said,” Are you wearing a shirt?”

“No,” I told him. “It’s hot out.”

Looking at his own shirtless body he grinned — three teeth in front missing — and said proudly: “Ahhhh, two shirtless mans!” I guess it’s a guy-thing and it made him happy. So happy I didn’t bother correcting his English.

I also confirmed my kid’s share my sense of humor. One afternoon driving through a neighborhood in Flint, we came upon a young man walking down the sidewalk, his pants sagging all the way to his knees.

As we came upon the teenager, I looked at the kids and saw they were both looking at the spectacle on the sidewalk (the boy was covered, he wore a long shirt) and at first no one said anything. Then we collectively burst into a fit of laughter.

“And that, children, is why you shouldn’t wear saggy pants,” I announced.

Overall, it was a good vacation.

Now that they’re back home, I will admit I miss them a lot. It was a fun break for me and hopefully for them.

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