Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Dart to the Heart

One of the things I do with my boys is going on bike rides with them on the weekends. A bit more specifically, I pedal, they ride.

It started with my oldest when he was 14 months old. We got a bike seat and put him on it, and off Daddy and son went. Usually, he fell asleep within a short while, but eventually, he grew up enough to stay awake for a longer ride. This eventually morphed into weekend rides to a local restaurant for breakfast. It has been a great and precious time with each of my boys as we ride, eat, and ride back home again.

With four kiddos, they each now get a ride every other weekend (I ride Saturday and Sunday mornings - we go to church Saturday night). The older two now go on a "half-bike" that attaches to the back of mine, so they help with the pedaling. The younger two are still in the original seat behind me.

They each have certain places they want to go for breakfast, so I get a somewhat varied menu over the course of the weekend.

Son #2 and I go to a bagel shop not too far away. Cinnamon-Raisin bagels toasted, with peanut butter. Yum!

Last Friday night, I mentioned to #2 that it was his turn for a ride tomorrow. He was not enthusiastic, and asked if I would just go and bring him back a bagel. This kind of misses the whole point of the ride, so I questioned him about it. They all have always loved going on the rides.

What came to light stabbed me in the heart like only "rotten father guilt" can do.

Here's the deal: Over the course of the past few months, as we sit down to eat our bagels, I have been looking at the newspapers the bagel place sets out for customers. At first, it was just a glance, but gradually slid into full-on reading the sports and opinion pages while my son sat there eating. He no longer had Dad across the table, just the back of the paper.

What a jerk I can be.

He never said anything to me about it, but it gradually stole the fun out of the rides with Dad.

I cannot believe I did this! When you step back and look at something like this, the wrongness of it it is so obvious! But in the midst of the slow slide, it never seems that bad. I was a boiling frog at my son's expense.

Right then and there, as I heard his words, I took his hands, looked in his eyes, and promised him I would never do that again. I apologized profusely, and promised him again that I would never do that.

Being the better man than me, he forgave me immediately.

The next day, we went to the bagel store, got the bagels, but this time we were armed with paper and pens to play tick-tac-toe, and the "make boxes from a grid of dots" game (anybody know if this game has a name?).

It was great.

I hope and pray that I will never slide into something like that again.



I have these four incredible gifts, and I choose to see if the Dodgers won intead of talking to my kid across the table?

Oh please...


Digital Scott's illustrationblog 5:13 PM, September 09, 2006  

I found your blog 'cause you like Fernando Ortega, who is really great. I'll have to come back and read more. I like what you've written. I have an illustration blog where I post weekly illustrations...

God bless.

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