A blog post from my better half in honor of Father's Day!
My kids are great sleepers. We don’t have to deal with the fear of smothering one of them in our bed because they just don’t attempt to climb in with us. If there is a bad dream they’ll just sleep on the couch upstairs. Sometimes we won’t even know they’re on the couch until we stumble out of bed to make coffee in the morning. There is a balance to everything and in this case, good sleepers turn into early risers!
We’ve tried to keep the kids in their beds until seven. That used to be the rule but as they have grown older we started to realize our sleep-math was a little outdated. Seven to seven is twelve hours of sleep; roughly equivalent to what I have slept after working 30+ hours straight. The amount of time we expected our children to sleep started to resemble new age torture techniques, not healthy rest. So we stopped demanding so much and we’re still not sure if that was the right move.
I’ve woke up to the sound of breaking dishes, screams of joy and pain, the scary sound of water splashing and the slam of the front door (where could the kids have to go at 6 a.m. on a Saturday). The way we wake up to the kids is always the same but a little bit different (figure that one out!) every morning. It’s like the surprise I feel when I pick up the mail; maybe some cool stuff but always nullified by the bills. Needless to say, waking up at the Wilt home is never dull.
On Saturday I woke up to a familiar sound coming from the pantry. Usually I come out to find Matthew elbows deep in a box of cereal with a considerable amount of it on the floor. This time I was relieved to find my oldest opening a can of pineapple for the rest of the brood. What a proud dad I was; my oldest stepping up to take care of her siblings so mom and dad could sleep in! I gave her a thumbs-up and stumbled back to bed.
Something went terribly wrong as I slept for the next fifteen minutes. When I came out of the room I saw the kitchen and could feel my blood pumping hot up my neck. How could anyone do what these kids did in fifteen minutes time? I didn’t know we had so many dishes until the children removed nearly all of them from the cabinets. I could imagine each kid putting their breakfast on a plate only to decide that the plate they chose was unacceptable. The only remedy is to try a new clean one! The same story with the cups they use for drinking. If the cup didn’t hold the right amount or have the correct artwork on the side, just grab another one!
Like a pot coming to a boil, I slowly began to flip out. I was raising my voice and slamming the plastic cups in the sink. Toys were flying into bins with the force of a trash compactor. A part of me was a little impressed that the kids could accomplish so much in a short time but they were moving in the wrong direction. Then I saw the margarita glass.
We keep a few margarita glasses in the top of our dish cabinets. We put them at the top for a reason. There are actually four little reasons with climbing curiosities. We put the glasses so high that Linsey can’t even reach them. So you can imagine my concern when I saw one of these on our counter. I knew the culprit immediately. I could see the fear in Abigail’s eyes when I glared at her. She was loudly ordered to her room to await further punishment. Out of compassion for the little ones my wife comes out of our room and tries to calm me down. As the cloud of anger dissipates I look closer at the margarita glass.
It turns out that the creative bug bit Abby that morning. There was some minced pineapple in the bottom of the glass looking a little like some of that lint you find in the bottom corner of your jeans. The glass was filled with tap water and you could tell it had been sitting out for a while by the little air bubbles on the inner surface of the glass (maybe I slept more than fifteen minutes). On the rim of the glass was a sliced, canned peach pressed gently to add that appeal every cocktail needs. To top it all off, she added a new twist to a cocktail I had never thought of, a leaf of cilantro atop the peach. Fantastico! I was contemplating Abby’s future as a bartender/drink inventor when I saw the note.
The drink was a special treat for her sleepy parents to enjoy along with their coffee. What a gesture! As I called her up to explain she showed me the can with the picture of what she was trying to create. She got as close as any seven-year-old could get with the ingredients on hand. I couldn’t believe the heart of this little kid! This drink was better than any aftershave an offspring could wrap up for Father’s Day. She did admit it had a horrible smell but I still loved everything about it. I have no shame admitting that I didn’t take one sip of the concoction (it could’ve made me sick!) but this event will be close to my heart forever.
That is what it means to be a father sometimes. You have to be the enforcer and give the kids a healthy example of authority so when they’re in the real world they’ll understand how it all works. But there is also the side of compassion and love that every kid needs to see in Dad. I was fortunate to have both in my dad and I just hope my kids can say the same.
I know every dad has stories like this and we should take time on Father’s Day to remember them. Cheers, to a happy Father’s Day! Remember, you don’t have to drink it!