I had a very active weekend with my kids, though I must say, we didn't get out a lot. I did get in some quality time with the children and that's not always an easy thing to do with them because their interests are different, their interest levels are different and then there are responsibilities I have around the house that also dictate that I can't just sit there with them the entire weekend.
But I did learn some great things about my kids this weekend and here are a few things I'm ready to share:
For one thing, my 13-yo-daughter, Chandler, has a budding interest in science–particularly physics and astronomy. This probably made me the happiest all weekend because I have a natural curiosity that's been mentioned on these posts during the past year. Thursday night we were talking about the size of the known universe–about 75 million light years across. I got out my National Geographic map of the universe that shows how really, really, tiny, tiny, tiny we are in comparison to all the rest of what surrounds us.
We tried to watch The Right Stuff on DVD this weekend, but alas, it's missing. But then yesterday we found our From the Earth to the Moon series and spent a good couple of hours watching the first two episodes. Chandler is hooked and I must say, my interest in such is rekindled.
Perhaps we should all buy a copy and send them to the White House for the president to watch. He might get his interests rekindled as well and stop the nonsensical discussion about how we don't need to go back to the moon before we go on to Mars.
I found out all four of my daughters have an interest in playing the piano, and they were getting riff lessons from their second oldest brother. Of course I got to hear the same piece over and over and over again–and that is the best way to learn–but.
Last night during the Super Bowl, when none of my three sons wanted to watch, much to my dismay, I learned that my five-year-old daughter, Ashleigh, really is becoming a Tom Boy. She watched the first three quarters with me. She knows Peyton Manning is number 18. She knows what a Windmill is when listening to rock music. She knows which blocks on the screen to look at to see who is winning. That's a daddy's dream–you know, to have your daughters knowing a lot about football.
My 10-year-old daughter Haley thought it was over-the-top when CBS's Sunday Morning did a segment on the Lingerie Bowl. I did, too. Talk about the sexploitation of women.
And I learned this weekend that the cooking lessons of my Grandma Claxton, who grew up in Norther Alabama on the farm, are securely being passed on to all four of my daughters. When we made our family Super Bowl Team Breakfast yesterday, eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and homemade gravy, and grits, each of the four had an item that they wanted to cook. I'm getting more and more to the point where I just have to keep an eye on what's happening as opposed to having to do each step myself.
Saturday night, my girls all continued to develop their interests in going to the bookstore and even though we didn't leave with a book, they all received further reinforcement that going and looking through magazines, books and other sources of information is something one can do and not have to spend money to receive a rich reward.
That's not to say all was peace and harmony. Sisters are sisters and brothers are brothers and there are times when they can all get tired of being such with each other. And there were times, too, when I simply wanted to find a quite space in the house and not feel like it was my job to be the chairman of the individual entertainment committees for each of the seven kids.
The challenge with seven kids is being able to find the right balance between nurturing, spending time with them, and letting them find ways to do the same for themselves in order to properly take care of being myself. And then there also is the challenge of knowing there is a finite amount of time they're going to be with us here in the house. With each new day each of our children grow a step closer to opening the front door and making their own way into this world where they will have to work, find a home for themselves, get a good higher education and find a way to make themselves successful on their own.
With each passing day, I learn how much more of a daunting thing that really is. When I was graduating from high school at age 18, I remember thinking to myself that I felt too young to be getting out of school and heading into the great unknown that was adulthood. How much I have learned and forgotten since that point. It's frightening at times.
But I know from the past three days, as challenging as it was, it also was rewarding. And as I told Ashleigh good night last night, I thanked her for watching the Super Bowl with me. And from the quiet of the darkness of her room, came this wee little voice that said, "And thanks, Daddy, for watching The Who with me, too! I liked those Windmills." My friend and almost seeming older brother, Terry Abbott, would have been proud to have been standing next to me; And so would have Pete Townshend.