To some parents, it might have seemed to be a “throw away” comment. It could have been something that made them smile, maybe something they even shrugged off and took for granted.
I, for one, do whatever I can to NOT take things for granted.
I took Ankle Biter to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. It was taking place at a local game store, where they have a room set-up to play classic Nintendo video games like Super Mario Bros, Yoshi, and Kirby. The birthday boy’s parents said that he was in good hands and suggested I return in a couple of hours, once pizza and Pepsi and video games had all been served to the kids.
I left, knowing that my son would only drink water (he won’t drink soda) and would probably get bored at the non-Halo related gaming systems set-up throughout the room. When I returned, I would not only be pleasantly surprised, but I’d be told something that totally made my weekend.
I saw that my son was playing Kirby, and had been happily playing these “old-school” games for the past two hours. He, as expected, decided to drink water and not the soda. He ate pepperoni pizza even though he usually only eats pizza with ground beef on it. He wasn’t bouncing off of the walls like some of the other kids in attendance.
A mom then came over to me and asked me if the child in front of me was mine. I smiled and said, “yes”. She then proceeded to gush. Not just gush, but REALLY gush about how awesome this child was. He was the most polite out of the bunch, he was the friendliest out of the bunch, and he was simply the “cutest” out of the bunch. At one point during pizza, when all of the children were at their most hyper, my son actually RAISED HIS HAND to ask a parent a question. Because of all of this, the mom in question told me that she really wanted to take him home with her; that’s just how awesome she thought he was.
I was, as you would expect, beaming. I mean, I’ve heard that before from people and I’ve just sat there smiling. But there was just something about this particular time that made me really think about how I’ve done as a parent, how his mother has done, and how his babysitter has done over the course of his six years.
We’ve all done something right in raising our kid. Yes, I consider the three of us as the primary influencers…not just one or even two of us.
Me, of course, as the father who constantly wants to make-up for previous mistakes with his now-teenaged daughter. I do whatever I can to make sure my son knows how much I love him and how proud I am of him…things I never got from my own dad growing up. I always do my best to provide him with positive reinforcement and I parent him the best way that I can…trying to help shape him into becoming a great man.
My ex has been the unbelievable mother that I knew she’d be. Do I agree with all of her parental choices? No, but she’s obviously doing something right…so you will never hear me say a bad word about her or her ability to parent our son.
The babysitter has looked after Ankle Biter for five years now, and a lot of his growth and development can be attributed to her. And really, her influence on him really shouldn’t be forgotten or discounted…she as done a fantastic job and has ended up being a third parent to him.
All in all, we’re doing something right. And I couldn’t be more proud.