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It occurred to me that I don't really spend that much time doing things with the kids. When I am not flying I spend most of the time at home trying to get the kids to leave me alone and stop whining long enough for me to get some dishes washed or food prepared or a wall painted. I was starting to feel a little guilty that I had not spend any "quality" time with them. And so today I took Reagan from school straight to Dairy Queen. That was nice. I picked up Rylee early from her after school program. That was nice too. Then I thought it would be fun if I got the big green ball from upstairs and we all kicked it around together in the back yard.

I had images in my head of my daughters frolicking through the back yard with huge grins on their faces, their hair shimmering like gold in the late afternoon sun. I pictured them being overwhelmingly happy that Dad had taken some time and devoted it strictly to playing with them.

It took about ten minutes to find the ball and convince Jordan to put on some pants. I finally got Jordan and Rylee out the door and told them what I had in mind. For emphasis I gave the ball a good kick. It soared into the air, bounced off the tree and went into the pool. So I had to take down the pool fence to get it while Rylee lectured me on the risks of getting her feet wet and dirty by playing with the ball now that it had been in the pool and advising me to dry it off before we continued. "It'll be fine. It will be dry in no time. Don't worry about it. Come on." I said.

I proceeded to kick the ball down the hill and out into the open grass. Jordan followed me down and Rylee stopped at the top of the hill. "I don't have shoes on, Dad." She said.
"That is okay." I said and kicked off my flip flops.
"But I want shoes..."
"You don't need shoes."
"I'll be right back." She said and disappeared inside.

I called to Reagan and Madison, who were playing on the side of the house. "Reagan...Reagan...Madison...REAGAN..." They must be deaf.
I walked back up the hill. "Madi and Reagan, come here. Lets play ball." Madison came trotting over with a smile. Reagan, who had just seen the neighbors sprinklers come on disappeared without a word to retrieve her bathing suit.

So for a few minutes Jordan, Madi, and I kicked the ball around and were having a pretty good time. Then Rylee came out, stood at the top of the hill, lifted up her left foot to show me the flip flops that she had donned. "Okay, you have your shoes. Come on." I said. She trotted down the hill. "Alright, Rylee, I will kick the ball to you and you kick it to Jordan and Jordan will kick it to Madi." I said
"No, no, no, Dad, I wan't to play basketball." She ran over to the fence and started to explain the rules of her version of basketball. She was describing the placement of the imaginary hoops when Reagan reemerged from the house in her swimsuit, trotted down the hill, kicked the ball and began dribbling it down the yard like Pele. "NOOOOO! Dad! She is cheating! REAGAN!!!" Rylee shrieked.
"Rylee, come on, lets just kick the ball." I said and ran after Reagan. Rylee scowled, marched up the hill did an abrupt about face and with arms straight down at her sides, fist bunched into tight fists, yelled "I'm not playing! This isn't what I want to do!"
"Rylee..." I said with what must have been an exasperated tone. But she turned on her heel and marched into the house and slammed the door. She did come back out to shout at us a few minutes later, but it was unintelligible.

So Jordan and I chased Reagan for a few minutes. It took Jordan about two minutes to realize that she wasn't having fun and collapse on the ground in tears. Madison reappeared. She had slipped away to put on her swimsuit as well. For a moment I thought about the fact that they had just added to the amount of laundry that need to be done, but banished that to the back of my mind. I tried to organize them into a rough circle so that we could kick the ball back and forth. That didn't really work... I have a new found respect for kindergarten P.E. teachers. Every time the ball was kicked to anyone but Jordan she would collapse to the ground and begin to sob again. "Jo, come on, we have to share. Madi, kick the ball to Jo." I said. Madison instead threw herself on top of the ball. Reagan, who was surely only trying to help (uh huh) tried to kick the ball and instead connected with Madison's arm. "Oops. Saweeee." she said, not looking very concerned, as Madison joined her sister in wailing at the top of her lungs.

It pretty much went down hill from there. I did get a few more giggles by picking them up under the arms and twirling in a circle, but every time I put a kid down she would start to cry again.

So my attempt at family time ended up with four dirty kids, two of whom where crying inconsolably, one who was having a temper tantrum, and me feeling dizzy and somewhat nauseous.

And then I stepped in some dog poop.



  1. Priscilla - Wheelchair Mommy said...
    I'm sorry that turned so badly. I know when you really want something it always flops. ALWAYS. I hope you can find a way to feel you spent time with them you can all enjoy.
    candice said...
    I want to say it will get easier as they grow older but I'm not so sure. Feel proud that you tried your best and you did produce giggles. With Evan turning 10 this weekend, it does seem to be getting easier but now I am losing him to "boy stuff". I was banned from an all boys paintball game. I was initially angry and upset but decided to take a deep breath and go shopping. I had 2 new outfits by the days end, Eric had 15 paintball welts all over his body, and Evan had 2. It was a successful Saturday. Maybe I should have gone to Dairy Queen as well:)

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