Start Where You Are, Use What You Have: Involving Dads in their Kids’ Lives

This is week 2 of my little campaign to figure out ways to make my son have fun with his daughter.  Last week it was sledding.  Today, skating.

Don’t bother me with “you shouldn’t have to do that.”  I shouldn’t.  But I do.  And I am.  So lay off.

For the uninitiated, his daughter, our granddaughter, spends most weekends with us (her grandparents) – hence, inviting him to go skating with us at Red Arrow.  It’s complicated.

I texted him.  We’re skating at Red Arrow Park. Meet us there at 2.   Then I sat back and waited for excuses.

I have no idea where that is, he texted back.  After I sent instructions, he texted I’ll try.

“You used to do stuff like that with me,” my husband said. “Didn’t you?”  “Try to figure out how to make me do things with the kids.”

I admit nothing.

So about a half mile from Red Arrow Park, I got a text.  I’m here.

And he was.  Sitting in the corner of Starbucks.  Texting.

Wearing the same white warm-up pants with the blue stripe that he wore his entire senior year in high school (he’s now 27) and his favorite Klondike traveler hat. 

Ten years ago, heck, five years ago, or maybe last week, this outfit would have driven me nuts.  That’s before I had the deep realization that a) no one would ever imagine we’re related and b) he might be just as annoyed at how thrift store dorky I look.  We both still really like it – in a weird kind of way – when we act like mother and son and catch funny sidewise glances from other people.  We would have been a big hit on What’s My Line?

Walking out to the ice rink in our skates, I told him, “Hey, you know, I have this theory.”

“Yeah.  What?”

“Dads make kids braver.”

He’s oblivious.  As he is to much of what I say, said.  Ever.

But I’m right.  In ten minutes, he’s holding his little girl’s hands, skating behind her and they are going fast enough that her hair is flying out behind her.

She’s grinning.  Really grinning.

Last time, she was smiling while she held her grandparents’ hands and inched, inched around the rink.

This time she’s flying.  And she’s grinning.

I am so satisfied with myself. La maestra.


I can’t make life perfect.  But I can make sure this little kid can ice skate and I can make her dad teach her.

So that ain’t bad.  As my husband would say, “That’s not nothin’.”

2 Comments on “Start Where You Are, Use What You Have: Involving Dads in their Kids’ Lives

  1. I love this…all the parts of it…the if it’s to be, it’s up to me attitude, the deep love and affection for everyone involved and the insight to make it all happen! Keep going!


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