|Yep; fun times...|
Being a father of three kids himself, he meant it both as a joke and a warning.
I would soon find out firsthand what he meant, especially in more recent years, where we (mostly my wife on weekdays) have to juggle a hectic schedule of soccer practices, games, ballet rehearsals, recitals, kid parties, and, now, not-so-kid parties for our soon-to-be twelve-year-old, school, work and parish activities.
Yet, despite our whirlwind and non-stop itineraries, the comments rang deafeningly loud this past weekend during the much anticipated (for our kids) and dreaded (for us) annual school and parish fair, which is an exhaustive weekend of rides, games, food, friends and endless hours of standing and walking (a gazillion times) around the school's field and playground, as we chase our little ones around and around, while they go on the same rides, fun house and giant slide over and over again (on the last day, my eight-year-old and her friends rode the same ride, "The Alibaba," at least ten times in a row before the attendant said they were closing!).
And, let's be honest, at my age (48), my body is not cut out to be walking or standing for so many hours; five to six a night, except Saturday, where we cut it to about three and a half, since some of our younger daughter's soccer parents had a post-Vigil Mass "happy hour" before venturing into the monotony of never ending fun. Yippee! (It actually made the fair quite bearable!)
My run before Friday's first night of amusement was not well advised. About two hours after getting there, my lower back was aching terribly, like an old man after mowing the lawn, my thighs were burning and my feet were sore and sensitive (250 lbs on the hard pavement takes a lot out of you!). I had to keep shifting my weight from side to side to try to ease the discomfort. And, neither was our Sunday morning boot camp; as some of you may know, my wife and I are training for a Super Spartan Race early next year (although, you might say she's training just a wee bit harder than me but who's counting).
To make matters worst this year, unlike previously, our five-year-old kindergartner now has his own group of buddies that he wanted to hang out with, as does our second grader (her soccer teammates and classmates), which left my wife and me stretched a little thin when it came to our older daughter, who is now hanging out with a group of girls and boys; Yikes!
Therefore, we had to play the zone defense my wife's cousin's husband talked about and chase our little ones, leaving the One Direction-loving/boy-talking/suddenly lipstick-wearing (her lips were chapped) sixth grader unguarded; unless you count the hundreds of parental units, who keep close watch on all the kids, as we walk around, as well as a male cousin, who is her age, and I pulled aside, and in a serious and stern tone, said to him, "Keep an eye on your cousin!" At which, while shaking my hand, like Barack Obama on the campaign trail, he answered, "I will, sir!" (Nothing like putting a little fear and responsibility on a boy's back, I say!).
Yet, I remember when I was in sixth grade, for the entire year, I had a huge crush on the prettiest girl in my class, who by the way, looked great in gabardine pants. But, I was always too shy and insecure to approach her beyond trivial talk. I can still remember her name; Martha (I won't write her last name so it doesn't come back to haunt me). As fate would have it, I never saw her after that year, as we headed off to different junior high schools (remember them?). I can only hope sixth graders today are as shy and self-conscience as I was.
Anyway, to get back to the fair, as Pat Riley, or any great defensive coach, would argue, you can't let possibly the best scorer on the opposing team beat you (And, I mean "scorer" in the analogical sense of the word!). So, I had to trust her cousin and count on other parents to help us out, which they did.
Still, after all is said and done, despite my apparent objections and complaints, the yearly event is always a lot of fun. I get to spend time with my family, many of our closest friends, enjoy good food (despite the popular churrasco steak with congri and sweet plantains, I opted for a pan con bistec two of the nights and a cheeseburger on Sunday) and helped raise some money for the school and parish in the process (meaning lower tuition!).
I even got to ride "The Drop," which is a circle of seats facing outward around a long post that goes about 50 feet in the air and then drops you, with my five-year-old son, who after doing it twice with his friends the night before, despite many older kids being afraid of it, wanted to ride it with me on Sunday.
Therefore, since I have eight years of fair to go before my son graduates, as an alcoholic in a Mormon business convention might say, I better make the best of it. Although, considering that seventh grade is where things started getting a little more intense in the love department among some kids, when I was a kid (although, I was a much later bloomer), and my about-to-turn tween-aged daughter is prettier than the girl in gabardine pants in my sixth grade class, I may need to hire a couple of ringers to help my wife and I play tighter defense next year!...