So I have spent the last few years doing nothing more than chasing the dollar bill. Instead of spending time with my family and guiding them through life, I have left the family activities mostly to my wife.
This year, I have actively taken extra time off to do things with and for my family. My wife, Dani, and I spent time alone Saturday night, walking around downtown int he evening before attending an event at the Civic Center with Bill Cosby. It was a great time to get out, just the two of us and no kids! We NEVER get that!!
Then yesterday, I took the whole family out for ice cream, and then down to a park that sits alongside a local walk/bike trail. We spent a little time walking down the trail until we hit an offshoot that leads to a completely different neighborhood in town. It bridges out over Walnut Creek, which cuts right through the middle of our little suburb. On the opposite side of the bridge, which is directly over some artificially made rapids (concrete chunks spread across the creek), there is a sandy side of the creek's bank. You could sit here in relative peace, save the occasional biker/jogger/walker on the trail across the expansive creek. My wife had a little time to sit there and refresh her mind, while I took my two boys down to the sandbar on the bend to be near the water.
Flashback almost 20 years. (cue the Wayne's World freaky music) In Sac City, the Ahrens Street bridge crosses over the Raccoon River on the southside of town. Under this bridge is a shallow pass of water before reaching an island of good size to play on the river. My friend Jay, his younger brother, my sister and I, would toy around on the island for awhile before deciding we had to explore the river. Soon we would find ourselves a quarter to half-mile downriver, having waded every inch of it.
Back to the present, the boys and I decided to lose the shoes and socks, and step into the creek. Wide, but shallow, it was easy to manage for me as well as the two boys, Corwyn (age 4) and Josh (age 9). In fact the water was clear enough that you could see to the bottom. Well, until you disturbed the silt laying on top the sandy bottom anyways. There were some sections where the current moved much faster through channeled areas. Josh pretty much followed my words to the "T", while Corwyn, the ever adventurous one, was determined to get caught up in the current, and slip into the drop offs. Josh and I, both managed to keep our clothes relatively dry, with just the bottom of our rolled up pants getting splashed. Corwyn on the other hand, managed to completely soak his shorts and undies. Not that he cared, once he saw that I wasn't bothered by him getting his clothes wet. We spent about 15 or 20 minutes moving downstream, and we were rewarded with the sight of a Mallard Duck couple. The boys really thought that was great, and enjoyed their time wading through the creek with me, that they didn't even object when I told them it was time to turn around (something very rare to happen if they are at the park!).
I felt in my natural element while wading through the cold water of Walnut Creek, despite my loud opinion against submersing myself in cold water, or swimming. I think God opened up first my heart, to show me that I needed to spend more time with my family. Then yesterday, He opened up my eyes to show me how much the boys relish this rare time with Dad, just being boys, and exploring nature, just as I did as a young boy. I plan on, and look forward to spending more time with the boys doing the "manly" boy activities. Partly because it is just plain fun, and partly because I think I need the time with my boys just as much as they need the time with me, instead of seeing me on occasional outside the house. I am so very grateful that God moved me to go to the trail instead of home after our ice cream outing. He truly knows me and what's good for me much more so than I.