You teach your children some fashion sense
And they fashion some of their own
- Gordon Downie

Monday, April 30, 2012

Being There

As a school administrator, I have many things to be thankful for. I love my job. Each day brings a new highlight, insight or challenge. I get to help people teach and learn. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be paid for the work I do.

This post, however, is about the time I spend away from school. At times, work does pull me away from home and my family. Overall, working in a school has allowed me the luxury of "being there." I get to be there to coach my children. I get to drive them to whatever activities they are involved in. Best of all, when my boys are not in school, I get to be there with them.

Our holidays are truly special times for our family. In the past year, we spent nearly 30 nights in our trailer. We went to the World Junior Hockey Championships. Most recently, we spent our spring break in Maui. The memories our family has created in the last year are incredible. I honestly cannot pin down a single defining moment because there have been too many highlights.

More than anything, traveling together has allowed our family the opportunity to spend quality time with one another. Camping, hiking, cycling, swimming, geocaching, beach walking, skiing, making fires, riding roller coasters, visiting huge cities, attending world class sporting events, boogie boarding, ziplining, snorkeling. Even though we have participated in so many unique activities, the things we have done are like individual frames that make up a powerful film.

The most incredible part of the time we have spent together is the chance to watch my boys change and grow up. When we traveled to Olympic National Park last summer, my older son was extremely tentative when it came to the ocean. He is cerebral and literal, so his impression of rip tides made him overly cautious on the beach. Even his first forays into Napili Bay and Big Beach met with mixed success. He got hammered by waves and developed a sand rash from playing in the water. By the end of our Hawaii trip, it was impossible to get him out of the water. Watching Connor don a snorkel and plunge into the ocean to swim with turtles made me proud in a way that is difficult to put into words.

Travelling with my younger son confirms exactly who he is - a gregarious risk taker, full of joy and adventure. From firing rocks into every body of water possible to diving headfirst into huge waves to picking up banana slugs on Whidbey Island to having supper with Dad at Hooter's, my boy is not afraid to try anything. Jeff is the type of person who loves to be around people as much as they love to be around them. He is so different from his brother, and so special in just as many ways.

It is not possible or realistic for us to spend all of our holidays away from home, and home time is equally important. We get the chance to read, to talk, to play games. Even doing things around the house and in the yard allows me to spend quality time with my family. When I think about my favorite childhood memories, I am drawn to a lake, a canoe and a fishing rod. More importanly, I think about camping with my mom, dad and sister. I think about our family's trips to Quebec City and Disneyland.

I am lucky to have a job that provides me with the financial means and the time to make so many memories. I can only hope that they resonate for my sons the way my childhood memories have remained with me.