What is going on guys? I am attempting to enjoy a time away from everything with the family this week. We are on Anna Maria Island in Florida for a vacation! After an eight hour drive from my busy part of the world, we arrived with a tired driver and three well rested kids and passenger. We arrived to our rental house only to find that we could not get in just yet. The home rental company had not sent over their inspection team to verify that the last tenant had left the premises in good condition. We would be allowed in around 4:00 which was another five hours away! This leaves us with a few options to consider before we have to take the inevitable trip to the beach. I have been driving since 3:00 am, that puts me getting up at 2:15 am and the current time was 11:00. Breakfast consisted of a muffin that my dear wife made the night before so that she and I were able to stay on our Trim Healthy Mama plan. The muffin was good, however was way past keeping me full. So the good ol’ standby for anytime eating was close and available Subway!
After a nice lunch, we made our way to the beach for a quick change and then a dip into the ocean. After changing into my new orange swimsuit and getting the kids all rounded up, I shouldered the “necessary” beach items and we all made our way to the beach. After applying a more than generous amount of sunscreen to the kids, we raced to the knee-high waves that were ebbing and flowing along the beautiful sunny coast. Once entering and letting the waves envelope that breath catching region that somewhat affects guys, the water was wonderful. There was very little seaweed floating about and the water was somewhat clear. Most of all the kids were having a blast! They were jumping into and trying to ride the waves and at times trying to catch dad in the water and tackle him. This dad is a bit to quick and attentive for my amphibious team to take me down in the ocean. Luckily we soon got a phone call that the house had been inspected and that we were allowed to enter when we wanted. After a quick trip to the house and a nice relaxing shower and meal, I was off to a dreamland that I did not want to wake up to in the morning.
Sunday was slow and easy with a late breakfast and a trip to the Red Barn Market for some fruit and veggies. Then back to the beach for a little play time. The waves were picking up a bit due to the closing of Tropical Storm Karen just to the north of us. So again we body surfed, floated and went shell hunting. I found my first sand dollar ever while strolling through the surf and was able to check that off of my list of things that I want to do in life. Just when I though that everything was going so great and that nothing could be better, it happened. I looked up on the shore and saw my two boys playing in the sand. I made my way to their place of digging and stacking and asked them what they were doing. “Making sand castles and digging to find crabs! Want to join us?” How could I or any other dad in his right mind ever come close to passing this opportunity up? I sat down and for the next hour and half I played with my kids in the sand. Tunnels, castles, castle walls, moats, digging up crabs and muscles, burying feet and laughing with my kids. We played and I played like I was a kid again with them. I held some sand in my hands and watched it run through like it was going through an hourglass showing me the sands of time slowly disappearing. Soon we were packing up and coming back to the house to get cleaned up and eat dinner. My oldest son came up to me tonight and gave me a big hug and looked up at me in my eyes and said “Thank you daddy for playing in the sand with us today.” As I returned the hug and told him goodnight, tears were welling up in my eyes.
Dads out there, pay attention! Times like I had today are not going to be around for long and I best see them when it is happening and join them. Many times we will tell our kids to keep going and we will join them shortly. Or maybe we will tell them a great excuse and try to capture the moment with a photo. Photos are great, but it will bring back a memory of the kid sitting there wishing that his/her daddy was with them. Get in there dad! Play with your kids when they call you. Give them the time that they crave to have with you, because there will come a day that you crave time with your kids and they will have some great excuse for you. My kids are important to me now and then, so I am working on the relationships with them now so there will be rewards later. Stop and look at your life dads, are the sands of time flowing past you or are you playing in them with your kids?