Sunday, June 16, 2013

How to be the BEST Parent EVER...

I'm not an expert at being a parent, not by a long shot.  But something my 3 year old said on Friday got me thinking.

We had an awesome weekend planned.  In my efforts to fill the Summer time up with wholesome recreational family activities, we have literally been ON THE RUN.  We've also been fortunate enough to have some free passes to places we wouldn't have otherwise been going and so we've been trying to use those passes on the dates they were allowed before they expire.  Our weekend plans started Thursday night:  Paintballing, Man of Steel Premiere, Funeral for my cousin's husband who battled the effects of Leukemia for 7 years--who passed away this week & is survived by his wife & 5 kids, Mini-Amusement Park, Father's Day Shopping, Sea Life Arizona, a Surprise Party...and of course FATHER'S DAY.  Honestly, everything was going as planned, and we even had a sitter for the funeral who is AMAZING (she took the kids to the Summer Movie for me while I was gone).  I was totally looking forward to the Enchanted Island Amusement Park for a fun family activity because I heard they had a little roller coaster for the kids, and BAM!  It happened.  Something major that was NOT planned: 

My husband who was working late had an EMERGENCY at a job site.  Let's just say, we are completely and entirely blessed that this emergency didn't catch an entire house on fire, because it almost did.  Just be glad, right? Well, that's hard to remember on a FRIDAY night when you're in the middle of driving 100 miles round trip with 3 kids (one of them screaming) to help with the emergency, and the weekend plans are getting pushed off the calendar.  What's awesome in all of this, however, is that the kids didn't care about the amusement park.  They just wanted to spend time with their dad (isn't that the reason we had booked the calendar anyway?  FAMILY time).  Upon arrival, Tyson found the shovel from the back of the van & was dragging it over to help shovel dirt with Mitch.  Emmett grabbed a rake & jumped in.  And Miles played with a hammer.  And for my kids, life was beautiful.  Emmett was asking for pictures, which is rare for him.  The boys were doing what they always DREAM of doing:  Going to work with their DAD!  It wasn't until Emmett hugged me and said, "You're the BEST MOM, EVER!" that I realized the secret to parenting that's so easy to forget.  Sometimes, actually MOST times, you don't have to have the biggest, or the best, or the most exciting events planned to qualify you as a great parent who loves your kids.  All you have to have is love, time to listen, time to feed them dinner, time to break up fights, and time to teach life lessons (even if it means service on the other side of town instead of roller coasters and carousel rides).  It's just the little things that matter, and when your kids have the LITTLE things they need, it's those little things that are actually the BIG things.  That's the secret.  Now we just have to remember it.

I could feel this beautiful epiphany sort of moment working its magic, effectively changing my heart and attitude for the evening as I realized that writing "Help Dad Put Out a Fire" was more worthy of my calendar than anything else.

And then I stepped on a nail.
(It's okay to laugh at me; even I think it's funny now.)

To all those Dad's who worked day in an day out trying to put food on the table (and I especially send these words to my husband, my father, & my father-in-law)--please know that all those little things you provided for your kids were really the BIG things that their little hearts and souls needed the most.  You did a great job.  You still do a great job.  Because your kid knows you love them, YOU are the BEST DAD EVER!  Happy Father's Day!



Just a note: To Our Best Dad's EVER (Dale Borden & Joe Tenney): 
We love you!