I am at JFK Airport on my way back to San Francisco after an amazing nine days in at Hunter Mountain with Ben and Sam. Despite zero natural snow on the Northeast, we got in an awesome week of skiing/snow boarding. I love my life in San Francisco but being with the boys makes me happier and more fulfilled than anything else in the world, and dampens my return home. Fortunately, my campaign to convince Jessie to move to California is picking up steam; it is definitely the goal I will nail in 2007.
As a father of a 12 and 10 year old boys, I struggle with the role I should play (role model, disciplinarian, entertainer, etc.) Obviously it is not an either/or situation; parenting requires several approaches. However, since I am not with them every day (at least for now), the traditional parental role is not one I can easily adopt. If I am back East for only two days, does it make sense to punish them for the weekend if they misbehave? How can I build a meaningful relationship if I am viewed as the visiting professor of punishment? Two questions I ask myself in judging my parental decisions are: 1) Would I be happy to have me as a father and; 2) Can Ben and Sam understand the reasoning behind my decisions and will it help them in the short and long term? I can’t say the answers to these questions are always yes but I am way above the Mendoza Line.
There were some great moments this weekend. Every night when I went to sleep two hours before they did, both Ben and Sam repeatedly said “Night dad, I love you.” Huge. Best five words in the world. They also both started doing pushups and situps each night, a sign that my fitness lifestyle is rubbing off on them. And neither of them asked to have a friend sleep over, which I take as a sign that they wanted to spend quality time with me. Ben did ask if Charlie, a 14-year old New Jersey snowboarder who I hate, could sleep over, but luckily Ben realized before asking that he hates him too.
Now that is bonding.