Taking a break from Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend has offered a respite from work for the professional caste of America since it was arguably established by McGuire in 1882. Sometimes, though, I feel like a need a vacation from the vacation. Car trips were created to break the wills of the weak-spirited or at least, parents. On our journey down the road, after 3.4 miles, my son actually asked, “Are we there, yet?” several miles later, however, we had to make our first pit stop when he threw up all over himself and the car seat. I wonder, now, why I didn’t turn the car around. Instead, I drove on.
Later that evening, at a rest stop, he did it again, forcing us to change his clothes again. To cap it off, on a dark patch of US-64 where little or no cell service existed and fewer cars passed than post-apocalyptic America, he did it one last time, forcing us off the road and scrambling to get another set of clothes for him from the trunk. At least my daughter helped by not complaining and even chipping in to grab a wipe or two.
The weekend flew by as we spent an enjoyable time with friends, almost more like family, until we woke up Monday, went outside to our car and noticed it had been hit during the night. Great, I thought, just great. Since I am home all summer to be home with the kids while the wife shuffles to work each day, I value the time I get to travel.
My best friend taught me something this weekend that I felt the need to share. Be there for the children, but don’t let the children run amok. His kids are Tweens rapidly headed toward adulthood and I have rarely met someone who appreciates his family as much as he does. Now, if you ask his wife, I am sure she’ll point out his flaws with a loving attitude; but I know that if I could be someone else, he’d be on a very short list.
Many parents today fail to give their children limits, and choose unwisely to attempt a friendship with the kids. Be their best friend and you will quickly lose sight how important it is to be the boss in the household. Kids need to make mistakes and learn about life for themselves. Too many parents fight their children’s battles. I am guilty of wanting to step in and take over, but I know if I do, there will be a steep learning curve when the adult world descends upon my kids.
On Saturday, I am helping to run a carwash fundraiser for my daughter’s dance team. While the children will want to help out, adults will probably do the actual washing since not many of the under-ten set can reach the roof of an suv. I hope the kids have fun, but respect the idea that each patent is sacrificing their time in order to benefit the kids. They will play, I am sure. They better watch out, though, I have the hose.

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