My wife and I have the usual amount of marital disagreements when it comes to raising the kids. I have learned, finally, the best way to settle those discussions quickly is to realize that I am never going to have the last word. The kids realize this. If there is a dispute to be settled or a question to be answered they know to bypass me completely and ask mom…
She is omnipotent.
Me, I am sort of like an old Commodore 64: There may be knowledge in there, but it’s probably corrupted and nobody has a clue how to get to it.
One thing we do agree on is that kids these days have too much stuff. Wiis, DVD players, iPods…the list seems endless, and every time they change the color or add a new widget to one of these things the child MUST have the latest version or hey will seem as hopelessly dinosaurish as the aforementioned Commodore 64 and will suffer group ridicule and public humiliation.
We decided…OK, she decided and I said “yes”…that we are going to get off the electronics merry-go-round and start giving the kids “adventures and experiences” rather than things for birthdays.
This seemed like an excellent idea until I realized that I was expected to take part in these adventures. Suddenly an XBox seems like a great birthday gift.
The latest Weaver family birthday excursion involved the entire brood taking surfing lessons for my son Justin’s birthday.
We all love the ocean, and, to be honest, I have often thought of taking surfing lessons over the years, but I handled it the way I often deal with such urges … I took a nap on the beach until it passed.
This time, though, there I was in all my 50ish glory, on the beach at Ocean City at some ridiculous hour of the morning — Thrasher’s wasn’t even open — with my very athletic wife, my son and my graceful 12 year-old daughter. My oldest daughter wisely decided to watch this episode from the relatively safe distance of Nashville, Tennessee.
The way-too-handsome and ridiculously young surfing instructors couldn’t have been nicer. They coached my family through the basics of standing up on the surfboard and pushed us into the waves so each of us had a shot at getting one good ride during the one hour lesson. My son caught on quickly and actually stood up on his second or third try. My wife rode a wave all the way into the beach and the 12 year old was skittering on top of the waves like a water bug in no time.
To say that it didn’t go as well for me brings a whole new meaning to the concept of “understatement.”
No “Flinstones” episode of Fred attempting to surf was ever as funny as this.
Never have one man’s family and two surfing instructors labored so hard not to laugh.
Every time I finished a “ride” I noticed that the instructors all of a sudden needed to dive under water to, Oh, I don’t know, fix their hair or search for hermit crabs. I guess they forgot that the sound of howling laughter carries under water. My wife did her best to salvage my dwindling dignity, but every “nice try, honey” or “almost” was filtered through a face that we all recognize.
Remember the classic episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” when Chuckles the Clown died and every one at the funeral was trying not to laugh?
A little song, a little dance, a ton of beach sand down my pants.
I actually did stand up once for the briefest of nanoseconds. OK, truth be told, I was falling forward and the momentum actually carried my body into an upright position; I really had nothing to do with it.
I did learn an important lesson, though. The higher your head goes above the surfboard, the greater the distance it will have to go to make contact with the sand when you fall.
Truth be told, we all had a ball.
I think my son will remember it as one of the best birthdays ever, and he fell in love with the sport.
This of course means that he wants me to buy him a surfboard.
Oh well, at least it won’t have to be plugged in, recharged or rebooted…