The Bug's school had an assembly last week. Many parents stuck around for the early-morning ceremony (outdoors). Beginning with the highest grades, one student from each class was called up by the principal -- in front of the whole school -- and given an award .. for demonstrating some virtuous characteristic the school espouses.
When the principal got down to the kindergarten classes, she called the Bug's name.
He went up there and chose a gift from a variety of prizes set out on a table. I couldn't help but feel proud.
In 6 weeks, the Bug will be six years.
Rad regulars may recall the Kids' First co-parenting classes I attended (court-ordered) .. where this instructor with a PhD in Child Development told me (when I asked) that the first *6* years are the most crucial, developmentally. After that » "Ya still gotta do maintenance," he said, "but the bread is done baking."
Knew then & there I had to focus .. to do a good job, nurturing him, 'til at least his 6th birthday. Made it a priority. So I've been eye'ing this date (6 weeks away) for some years now .. 5.11 » 5.12 » 6.0.
[ Great classes, btw. 8 weeks of Saturday mornings at Chapman. May be the best $300 I ever spent. At least the first tme. ]
And don't think I haven't taken some serious shots along the way. Tho it's funny .. cuz these challenges are what forced me to steel my determination. (I'm sure they were intended to have the opposite effect.)
Hate to admit it, but I don't think I woulda been as good a dad without this nuclear adversity. I mean, as attentive. As interested. As dedicated.
I didn't take a single week for granted. No, sir. Cuz I was always having to fight .. to stay in his life. And I could no longer afford a lawyer after the first year or two (.. uh, cuz they are very expen$ive & I spend a lot of time in court.) All of which is stressful.
Plus, the courts use TIME-WITH-DAD as one of their main critera for determining cases where the mom petitions to move-away. So maximizing our time together took on a whole new meaning (legal). I score BIG numbers in crucial 'time-with-dad' category.
The move-away becomes increasingly traumatizing as they grow. So it's like playing beat-the-clock.