For those who read my blog on a regular basis, you might tend to think that all of life is challenging and fraught with emotional peril. There are certainly those moments, and much of what I thought being a father would be like has been challenged in the past few years, but it's not always bad.
This morning I had such a delightful experience with our third grade son, Wilson. It is the last week of school before summer break, so school schedules are more fluid, kids are experiencing the joy of anticipated freedom and teachers have that look of relief in their eyes. In Wilson's classroom this morning it was Donuts with Dad. Later this week it's Muffins with Mom. Weeks ago Wilson made sure to invite me. It was apparent (pun intended) that he really wanted me to be there.
So, as planned, I waited at the school office until the right time, when Wilson was to meet me. A few minutes after my arrival Wilson and his friend Tim (who has been at our home before) greeted me. Wilson and Tim are an interesting contrast in personalities. Wilson is quiet and reflective, and often I have to strain to hear his words. Tim is outgoing and gregarious, and no one has to listen intently to hear what he has to say. Walking toward me Wilson smiled as Tim boomed out, "Hey, dad!"
I exchanged greetings with them, told them I was excited to be going to Donuts with Dad, and then heard Tim say, "Hey, dad. It's OK if I call you that, isn't it? I'll just tell people I'm adopted by you." We had discussed this before when Tim had stayed the night with Wilson several weeks ago, and I have no problem with kids calling me "Dad" (whether they "belong" to me legally or not). I said, "Sure. Let's go to your classroom."
The third grade classroom was bustling with activity as I found an adult-size chair and sat next to Wilson's desk. Wilson trotted off to select a donut for the two of us, and in the meantime I noticed Tim bobbing in and among others. For whatever reason Tim was without a parent this morning, so I waved him over to Wilson's desk and said, "Join us." He smiled and brought his chair and his written work over.
The three of us had a great time, all thirty minutes of it. WIlson read to me from some of his prepared work, and then Tim read a story as well. We ate donuts together, I asked the questions that all parents of third-graders need to ask, and then it was time to leave.
What a great way to begin my day. With my son Wilson snuggled next to me, occasionally patting my hand, enjoying the opportunity to share these minutes with his dad. And with my other "son" Tim as he told me about his written story and pointed to items he had crafted during the school year. One rather large white male father-type, one rather small Asian child-type and one larger African-American child type. None of us resembling one another physically, but bound together by the need for this forty-five-year-old to be a father and these two ten-year-olds to have one.