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And The Crowd Holds Its Breath

by Richard

There are a few things that make every parent’s heart skip more than a few beats. Waving goodbye as your little dude drives off on his own for the first time. Or really, almost any time until they’re at least 45. (I should know on that one because my mom still tells me to wear my seatbelt and drive carefully when I pull away and I’m 44.) Having a little dude go into the hospital. Or, and this is the big one for us this week, watching as your not-so-little dude boards a flight to Houston and, from there, for a week of service in Costa Rica.

Yes, it’s Sarcasmo’s turn to go off for camp. This time, Sarcasmo is going to be going a bit farther afield than did his brothers. Thanks to an amazing organization called Rustic Pathways, Sarcasmo will be flying to San Jose, Costa Rico, and then traveling from there to the Arenal area of the country. While there, he will help rehab endangered animal habitats and perform other service obligations. Plus, he’ll have lots of fun on the beaches and in the jungles of that country.

The only problem I have is that I won’t be there to, if not supervise, then at least make sure he gets on all his planes all right, doesn’t forget his passport, that sort of thing. I know I’ve been accused of micromanaging Sarcasmo’s life at times, but I think I have legitimate cause for at least a little concern, what with him having to fly on his own to another airport, then catch a connecting flight with the others on his trip. Then he has to do the same thing, but in reverse, when he comes home.

And this from a little dude who has been known to forget his lunch, his homework and even his cell phone. All on the same day. That day being the day after the night before, during which he wandered off in a mall, completely losing his parents, because he was too busy reading while he was walking to keep an eye on where he was supposed to be going.

So, yeah, I believe I have legitimate reason for concern.

But I also think there’s good reason for hope. Maybe this is the trip on which he’ll step up and start taking responsibility for himself and for his actions. Maybe this is the trip where the maturity bug will finally bite him. Maybe this is the week, that longed-for week, when he will decide there’s more to life than just playing games and reading. Who knows, really?

With those two options, I choose to come down on the side of optimism. I’ve exorcised my attitude of the negative feelings with this post and I’m ready to hear all about the good stuff that happened when he got back.

Just don’t ask me to leave the airport before his plane actually takes off.

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How Can An 11 Year Old Be Smarter Than Me?

by Barry

How can an 11 year old be smarter than me? No smart remarks from the peanut gallery, please. The answer’s easy; he’s my kid. However, just because he’s smarter than me (and he is), that doesn’t mean my many more years of experience haven’t taught me a few things that he’s still missing out on. (Please don’t disabuse me of this notion in the comments. I’m clinging desperately to it as the only thing holding up my rapidly deflating ego.)

Here are a few tings that my 11 year old does that proves to me that he a thinkin’ he be smarter than I is (or me are. . . WHATEVER). But I wins thatten cauze I knows he’s youngerer than me…

He got a new bike and refused to let me raise the seat for two days until the insides of his knees were rubbed bloody and bruised because they kept hitting the bike frame.

He refused to stop chewing his CamelBak valve (which is this cool thing he wears on his back, fills with water and has a tube that runs over his shoulder to his mouth. With it, he can take a drink without stopping. Because we all know how important it is for 11-year-olds to never stop.), now it leaks all over the place.

He thinks that if he keeps getting his sneakers wet and continues to wear them to camp without letting me put them in the washing machine, they will stop stinking.

He thinks I don’t notice that he sneaks bubble gum from my secret stash.

I was once told that smarts are a function of genetics, not environment and learning capacity. So, now that I think about it, he probably is smarter than me. But, I have a few extra years…. and pounds. All of which means that, even when he’s right and my years and years and years of experience have let me down, I still outweigh him by enough to make me be right. What’s that old saying? Weight makes right?

Yeah, that works. Right, dude?
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Happy Birthday, Again

When you’ve got three little dudes, sometimes it seems as if all the birthdays run together in one long blur. It makes one wonder why they ever found their spouse attractive during the winter months when conception occured so very often. We’ve got birthdays in April, June and July. It seems like we just get one done and then we’ve got to get ready for another.

Well, today is the day that we celebrate the 10th birthday of our youngest dude, Speed Racer, so called becauase he rarely, if ever, slows down. He not only doesn’t smell the roses, it’s quite likely he doesn’t even notice them growing by the side of the road as he roars past going full out, heck bent for leather.

Speed really grew into his name. He’s trying to grow up faster to catch up with his older brothers. He has to eat fast to make sure he can get it down before the other brothers decide they’d like a little extra. Either that or — before dinner — get the really sharp fork and stand guard with one hand and eat with the other.

He’s really the reason I’m a full-time stay-at-home dad. The other two were five and four when he was born. We felt it was best to have a full-time parent at home so I got volunordered. I’ve been with the little dude since he was small enough to be held in one hand. And I did.

Speed’s a great kid and one of the best reasons for getting up in the morning that I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to go shoot him with lasers later this afternoon at his party.

— Richard

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