The Best Days

I watched Beavis and Butthead with my sons.

I know, my kids are too young to be watching Beavis and Butthead, but I couldn’t resist watching the episode where the boys try to get a bag of sour cream and salsa pork rinds from the vending machine, but the bag gets stuck and Butthead calls Beavis a “fart-knocker” and it goes downhill from there. It’s up there with the one where Beavis photocopies his butt as my favorite episode.

It’s not like I made them listen to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” CD on the way to school, although I’ve done that as well. I listened to “Shook Me All Night Long” as a kid and I turned out just fine. Mostly.

Now that I work from home, I’m more likely to take part in their everyday activities instead of turn into Wonder Dad on Saturdays to make up for lost time. Not that those times weren’t fun, but I wasn’t around much to see them doing the mundane like…being kids.

On my son’s birthday two days ago, I spent the morning playing Skylanders with him while his three older siblings were at school. He turned 6 years old, and he’s full of opinions about the world. I sat on the couch while he stood next to me jumping up and down because his body couldn’t fully contain the excitement of the game.

That same afternoon my oldest son asked me to help him with math homework. He’s finally getting used to seeing me around the house before 7 pm. These and a number of similar experiences have convinced me that these are the moments I’ll look back on one day and proclaim they were the best years of my life.

I’m sure it’s wonderful to have grown children to be proud of as they head off to college, return from a mission, and eventually start a life with the person they love.  I look forward to those days, and there’s no shortage of parents with kids heading into adulthood who witness a worn-out father lugging a boisterous 1-year old son around the grocery store who say, “Just wait, the best years are ahead of you!”

I know they mean well, but they are wrong.

The best days of my life are happening right now on three interrupted hours of sleep. They are happening in the van on the way to school only to realize one child forgot her lunch and another his homework packet. They happen raking leaves together only to watch as many abandon the branches above as we fill the last bag. They happen while watching Cake Boss with the kids and not understanding even one of their inside jokes.

There’s plenty of time for them to grow into adults. I have no doubt those years will bring much joy as well.

But when my son crawls up on my lap, steals my hat and crawls away giggling with the hat pulled over his eyes— you can’t tell me life gets better than that.