Rack up another great weekend

Leaving the family reunion yesterday was a bit of a let down. After hours of conversation and fellowship, I was a little sad as we made the 90 minute trek home. I thought about the family and wondered when the next time we might all be together. I even considered returning this morning for breakfast and church in the living room, which is a staple of any family function we have. Instead, though, Tiffany and I decided to try to make it a great day for the boys. And I think we pulled it off just by doing something we would have done whether they were with us or not.

The older two boys brought home grade cards that showed marked improvements in several classes. Having promised them cash rewards for raising the grades, we gave them their money and asked what they wanted to do today. There was no thought to going to the mall. Toys R Us was never discussed either. Neither was COSI, The Zoo, or a hundred other fun places we could have gone and let them get those burning bills out of their pockets. Instead, out of any place in Columbus they could go, and anything they wanted to do, my guys unanimously chose going to the thrift stores as their reward. You cannot imagine what a happy and proud Dad I was in that moment as I realized they were just like me - cheapskates.

We left early and hit several of these secondhand shops all over Columbus. Tanner bought a toy and board game, Ben found a rare back pack with his favorite Japanese anime show on it and a board game of his own, and John-Michael mulled over a Beanie Wells jersey that was just his size and a foosball table. He instead decided to save his money for a trip to his favorite comic book store later in the week. All the while, Tiffany and I found our normal haul of treasures that we placed in the house when we got home. A metal flour sign, a hippie van coin bank, and a wooden and worn trash can holder are the latest editions to the eclectic design of our home. We all had a blast on our latest scavenger hunt. Mix in a trip to McDonald's, and we dropped 3 very happy boys off to their mother at 5 pm. It was a great day and the perfect end to a weekend to remember.

Given that I had an awesome Mom and Dad who sacrificed tons for us,  it is difficult for me to imagine giving my boys more than what my siblings and I had, at least after 1986. But since the divorce I have always wanted them to see my house as their safe haven, the place they could go to have a voice and be the center of the universe, just as my parents did for us. When I had my house, it was a little easier with the trampoline and fire pit and game room. Now, in the condo, we have had to come up with different methods to show them that this house can be their home too.  The Wii, XBOX, and other gaming systems are great, but they aren't really what we are aiming for when we try to make the time with us memorable. Instead, board game tournaments, playing 20 questions before bed, and our little thrifting adventures have really made an impression on them. And it's weekends like this, when we really feel like we have hit a home run, that I hope they remember when they are telling stories at the family reunion 20 years from now.

Great weekends with the guys are becoming a habit around here. They will be here again next week, so I am looking forward to racking up another one.

Good Night All........................

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