I took a little break and went on vacation. First, we drove to Wilmington, Delaware, to visit the wife’s college roommate and her family. We had a wonderful time – Our boys played capture the flag and other games until bed time. The daughter and her friend did teenage girl stuff. We ate and drank wine. All was well in our little world.
The next day, we went to Ocean City, Maryland, where we stayed on the first floor of the Hilton, which was on the beach, and had easy access to the adult and kids pools. Like freshmen, we learned a few things:
1. Three younger brothers are a lot less annoying to a teenage daughter when she has a friend on vacation!
2. Our boys really prefer pools over beaches.
3. Our children are more mature and responsible than we gave them credit. They always went in pairs to the pool (even thought we were very close by.)
After a few days of swimming and walking the boardwalk, we travelled back to our friends in Delaware to spend a night. We rose early in the morning to drive to Hershey Park, Pa. Again, we learned how independent and caring our children were. Armed with cell phones and instructions to check in every hour, they went off to ride the roller coasters with a buddy: the two girls, two daring boys, and two cautious boys. The seven-year-old got to explore with three parents since one of our friends had to work. Eventually, my wife and her friend found a quiet bench, sat down, and talked. The youngest and I went on rides. He picked the big pirate ship and I picked the train. He humored me and condescendingly said, “Ok, dad.”
During the pirate ship ride, he got so scared that he was trembling and crying because of the height of the ride. When I told him I was scared too and reiterated my question if we could go on the train ride next, his response was a happy, “OK!” It is always a good thing to know your audience when speaking or writing! It turns out that we learned our youngest does not like rides that go high or spin in circles, which leaves the monorail and a few other kiddie rides. After the older boys rode the thrill rides, they went on the kiddie rides with their little brother. They did not chastise him for being afraid; instead, they rode the rides he wanted to. They said the mini-roller coaster scared them too, then the all went on it again. Somewhere, somehow, my boys had listened to my wife and I and were compassionate to their little brother.
We are like freshman… new things are fun. What is old to you may be new to me. Being a freshman is gaining independence. Our kids began to explore their world: hotel pools and Hershey Park. They checked in with us and never lost a sibling or friend. (I did lose my wife for a little while, but I found her in a store, of course.)
Any new lessons this summer from your freshman experience?