Through a potent combination of good intentions and poor earning power, our son Owen has never been enrolled in any sort of formal daycare or afterschool program. Not that I wouldn’t want to be the primary caregiver anyway, but the fact that I earn less than daycare costs certainly makes the case more compelling financially speaking.
As summer arrives, my schedule becomes Owen’s schedule and I spend less time at the coffee shop and more time with the little man. After 7 years of practice, I come armed with a full arsenal of parenting strategies designed to keep us both from crossing the edge into the dreaded summertime blues. While the Pool, ZOO and COSI are the bedrock of any time killing strategy here in Cbus, may I humbly submit riding the escalators/moving sidewalks at the Columbus Airport? That’s some air conditioned, mind-blowing Sci-FI shit to a 3- 5 year old, guaranteed for a fun 2 hours. (Ride 30 minutes each way-playing KISS) You can even stand on the roof of the garage and watch planes take off for a bit too if you please.
Anyhoo, last summer (2010) at the public pool, Owen passed into that magical stage where I didn’t have spend every second worrying about him drowning or playing with him to keep him happy. He could now swim and goof off with boys his own age. Sure, I might keep my eye on the pack of malicious Red bull chugging teenagers roaming the waters, but by and large, I was free to finally relax and read a book.
It was a Golden age. After millions of hours following his every move from 0 until now, it felt like cheating, but here is the crazy thing, it wasn’t… it was all legit. In fact, I was kind of a hero. “That is sooo great that you spend time with your son”, the old lady at the snack stand would exclaim while the Moms in line behind me would openly gag knowing they would receive no such accolades for the same work I was doing.
Women get paid less at work AND at home. Go figure. Not fair. Why do you think Dad’s choose to work at the office? Anyone who has ever spent a day in the field in their life would know the answer….. “Work” is a cake walk compared to parenting.
So school is out for summer, if not forever, and the pool season starts June 13th. As luck would have it, one of my favorite American authors, Will Allison, has a new novel out and I have been saving it for that first trip through the turnstiles to that sweet, smell of chlorine and fountain drinks. It’s called “Long Drive Home” and it has been getting rave reviews from NY Times, People and every noteworthy publication on Earth.
His last effort, “What You Have Left”, was my favorite read of 2007 and I have been eagerly awaiting the follow up ever since. It has come at the perfect time. There is no better feeling than folding open a beach chair, losing yourself in a remarkable new book, parenting, and knowing there is an excellent chance that your son will not drown today. Now go find one of Will’s novels. www.willallison.com