Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | March 7, 2010

Fathers’ Day in March

My oldest son, I have noted in an earlier post, no longer says, “I love you, too” when I put him to bed at night. And this has bothered me. And, as he is now the sage old man at the age of seven and a half years old, I suppose it stands to reason that he’s no longer inclined to show affection the way he once was.

But he melted my heart this weekend.

We, the entire family — to wit, my soon-to-be-ex-wife and I and our three boys — bundled up into my fine road-tripping automobile (yes, it’s a mini-van, and I like my mini-van, no matter how uncool it is) and drove down to Portland on Thursday night so that we could be there for our oldest son’s gymnastics meet on Friday morning.

He did great. He hit a personal best for his “all-around” score (that’s where you total up the score for all six events), but more importantly, you could see his improvement on the floor. He just plain did better than we’ve seen him do all year. While some of his teammates were having their weakest tournament of the year, our little guy was taking his performance to a completely new level.

Our son is not only the youngest guy on his team, it turns out he was one of only two seven year olds competing in Level 5 at this tournament. Everyone else was older.

And yet, he did well enough to be the second highest scorer on one event in particular, which meant he was counted in the team’s score for that event. There are nine boys on his team at this level… a level where strength is everything, and age matters a great deal in terms of ability to develop that strength in the first place.

Okay, here’s the heart-melting part of the story:

Competitors at this particular meet are given a coupon to get a “free” shirt for the tournament, or a discount toward a customized tournament shirt. Just like last year, our oldest decided to get a customized shirt. What happens is, you get to choose from a wide variety of different kinds of decals to have ironed onto your shirt (they have a great big heat press to accomplish the ironing on), and you get to pick where the decals are placed on the shirt. Each additional decal adds a set amount to the cost of the shirt.

Our guy, both last year and this year, chose images that represented his favorite events, plus an image that represents this tournament itself. All well and good.

But this year, he did something that I never would have expected. He did something that blew me away.

He had the shirt made after the tournament, getting it with his mother  (and child #3 in tow) while I looked after child #2. Then, he surprised me with it when we went with the team to a late lunch / early dinner after the meet.

His shirt reads, in big, gold letters across the front:

“Thanks Dad!”

Oh. My. God.

I did not see that coming.

That’s my boy. And this weekend… I’m feeling the love.

(At least, from him.)




  1. Wow. That’s wonderful.

  2. Aw, Rain, what a sweet little man you have! This made me smile.

  3. That story melted my heart, too. So sweet.

  4. aww!! that is a heart-melting story…awesome! And so glad to hear how well he did!!

  5. Inris, that is so touching.

  6. You’ve got a good kid there, INRIS. I hope the divorce doesn’t ruin him.

  7. That is so sweet. What a great thing for him to do! See, you are raising him right.

  8. Cute! A shot straight to the heart of a great father. Your kids will do fine with you around.

    Not too long ago, after my son’s bath, I was rubbing cream on his skin. He casually yet directly opened up the subject of why his mom and I divorced. I explained and as always asked him: Do you understand? Yes daddy.

    He had the last say: “I think it would have been better if you had come with us”. I understand, I said.

  9. I totally just got tears in my eyes. That is precious. and ouch to ToppHogg’s comment. Your children will not be ruined.

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