So being a dad can be easy or hard. You can easily just show up and help out, but it is hard to be a rock for your kids. My dad wasn’t a rock. He taught me stuff and is a good man, but a rock he isn’t. He didn’t teach me to be a man. I had to learn that myself.
So I do what I can to teach my son to be a man. He’s nearly six. For two years now, and hopefully for many in the future, we have gone to do a “guy’s weekend”. This means getting away from moms and sisters and being with the male gender only. The boys are good buddies, and we call them “Dumb and Dumber” because of how without-thought they are at that age and plus they look like young Lloyd and Harry. Below: every. day. of. my. life! (both the “annoying sound” plus the singing!)
Anyways, we HAVE TO GET AWAY FROM THE WOMEN! The constant planning. The constant talking. The constant girlness. It drains us as men without even realizing it. My friend and I both love our wives, but the underlying current of day to day living is maintenance of the family. Take the estrogen out of the mix for a weekend and the underlying current is much more chill. Likewise, if you take the husband out of the equation, the women relax some too. So by default, by requiring a “guy’s weekend” means the women and girls get away too, but that’s on them on what they do, we don’t really care. It’s not a Girls Night Out type environment with two seven year olds. Doing this weekend gives all parties a chance to recharge our batteries in the relationship, miss each other a little and bond with our kids as individuals and not as a parental unit.
Last year we went to a state campground about an hour away, and that worked out well as D&Der had fun trying to set themselves on fire and swimming and shit. This year, we didn’t get our act together in time and had to settle for camping in my backyard, which may have worked out better anyway due to weather conditions that included a lot of intermittent thunderstorms.
Friday: set up shop for outdoor camping after work, including my new “Death Star” Fire Pit which the kids and I put together on Monday. Included tent, sleeping bag, flashlights and fishing poles. Wife and daughter were gone by the time we set up and we simply started the fire, let the boys be boys, and cooked hot dogs (with buns, yech! 🙂 ) chips and s’mores while we sat by the fire. We played a game LoudBoy made up called “zombie tag” where the dads were zombies who tried to get the boys and if they shined a flashlight on you, you had to freeze. Totally awesome time. Two neighboring dads who I’m friends with stopped by and had a beer or three, and it was cool to just decompress in front of the campfire. Talking with other men in this environment allows us to get deeper into subjects we don’t normally talk about either, and provides us with a male bonding experience that we need as well.
On Saturday, weather was sketchy. We had planned for a sand watering hole and rodeo, but settled on the indoor amusement park. Were able to spend a good chunk of the day there for only $30. Included go-carts, video games, rope course, bumper boats, mini golf and skee ball. We made it home to maw on some pizza and wings and Star Wars. The boys had a blast and we had to finally settle them down at 12:30 in the morning as they were stalking the house with flashlights still creating a ruckus. Sunday was pretty relaxed as we simply had a light breakfast, packed up the tents and headed to the pool for a bit where we played Jedi lightsabers with the foam water blasters.
The boys need uninterrupted guy time, and this is the one weekend a year we get it. Neither of my friend or I hunt, but may eventually take it up to achieve said time. We’ve talked about upcoming years, and they include baseball weekend, Canton (Football) Hall of Fame road trip and more camping. We teach them masculinity in our own way…slowly, as they’re only 4 and 5 (soon to be 5 and 6). They need they’re fathers and even if it’s only 2% of the year, being with just men is an important part of figuring that shit out… especially if the men you’re emulating have redeeming masculine qualities (which of course we do…we can fart and burp with the best of them….though we have other kick ass qualities too).
I think this type of weekend should be a matter of practice for any man raising a son. It adds in to the other day-to-day things you should be doing and is something we all look forward to.