This weekend was a “girls weekend” for my wife, which meant I got to play single daddy to my two girls.
It started out Friday evening with being late to my kid’s dance class, followed by a tantrum due to my choice in dinner. The next morning, I was late to my cyclocross race where I, yet again, had a mechanical issue with my handlebars. We then headed to the mountains to go camping only to find out all the places we were going to go were full. When heading out to some dispersed camping, I ripped off the running board on my truck and put a couple dents in my, then without dents or major scratches, truck. Once we finally found a campsite and started to setup, I discovered all of the cooking gear was destroyed by some sort of caustic reaction and my kids were cold because they left their jackets at home. In the morning, my truck wouldn’t start even though I had gotten up every three hours to warm it up during the night, and I spent too many hours trying to get it to work, ended up having to call for a rescue and then missed my soccer game.
And it was one of the best weekends I’ve had yet!
I got to spend all of Friday night through Sunday afternoon with my kids.
On Friday, while my oldest was in dance class, I read to my youngest and then we both got to watch the older one dance. The mini tantrum on the way to dinner was a minor bump in the road due to a 5yr old that was hungry and tired; pretty predictable actually. At dinner we talked about both of their schools and I got to see in their faces and eyes, how much they really enjoy school and learning.
Saturday morning, I got bombarded in bed and we spent quite a while snuggling and wrestling, putting us way behind schedule. I’ll have races as long as I want them, but I won’t have little kids to snuggle and wrestle with for long, so I’ll gladly be late to enjoy it now. While at my cyclocross race, I saw and heard my kids cheering like crazy every time I went by and got to hear how great my kids were by everyone that was helping watch them while I raced. The cycling club I joined once again showed me why I did so – I had several people offer to watch my girls for me so I could race, everyone was helping each other out where they could without needing to be asked, and I even got a water hand up during the race that was much appreciated! After my race, my kids rode their bikes all over the race venue for a bit more than an hour with huge grins on their faces before we packed up to head home.
Once we got home, both kids went right to work packed their own bags for camping while signing songs and generally being giddy the entire time as we haven’t been camping for what seems like three years. We had been planning on going “camping” at an improved camping/rv park, but due to the upcoming hunting season, everything was full. I remembered several dispersed camping areas that were nearby from my “pre-kid” days and decided to go explore. In doing so, I damaged the truck a bit, but hey, its just a truck and nothing functional was hurt, just a little paint and sheet metal – took over 10years to actually use it as a 4x! While we were carefully going down the trail, both kids were cheering and whoopin’ it up as they enjoyed the 4x trip they were getting. (Later, my eldest would expressed her amazement in my ability to get the truck through the places I did). Along the trail, both kids were in awe of how beautiful the fall colors were and then struck silent as we kept seeing wild life less than 6 feet from the windows. In the end, we found a beautiful camping spot that was all to ourselves in a valley that was full of fall colors.
The night was great, and I got to see two very wide eyed kids enjoy some s’mores made over a camp fire. The cooking gear issue was a bummer, but I had brought along a spare set, just in case, and it turned out great. Same thing for the missing kids clothes; I always grab some extras myself, just in case, and this time we needed them. I even grabbed the bag my wife sometimes uses as a purse when hauling the kids around and that came in handy for the extra underwear in it. I knew that the truck might have an issue with starting after a cold night, each time I got up, the night sky was mesmerizing and I got to see a great meteor shower along with a fantastic view of the Milky Way.
In the morning we had breakfast in the sun and then had a great hike along a stream; all the while my kids were telling me how great a daddy I am and how much fun they were having.
After the hike, when I was trying to get the truck started again, I met two guys that were camping up the trail and came by to offer a hand. When we just couldn’t get it running, those same people took time out of their only day off and gave me and my kids a ride to town so I could call for help – all done so by their offer and without any complaining; just helping a fellow person out. I then called my wife and she and one of our best friends came to rescue us with the tools we needed to get the truck started. In doing so, I got to show them the great camping area that I’d found and even ran in to some more nice people while getting the truck going. In the end, I found an exhaust leak that was preventing the truck from starting, so no matter how many times I had tried to keep it warm, it was going to end up not starting sooner or later.
It’s pretty hard to call it a bad weekend when you get to spend it with your kids and you get to see the sheer enjoyment in their faces, get to enjoy the outdoors while having fun and hearing the fun your kids are having as well, being awestruck for the infinite time by mother nature, meeting great people that show how great humanity can be, and then get to share the fun with your friends who have no issue dropping what they were doing to help a friend in need.