This past week I have spent more time with Justin then any previous period during my — so far — brief marital separation. He’s such a wonderful boy and I love to spend time watching him interact with the world. I took him to soccer practice yesterday morning. I wouldn’t so much call it practice as much guided disorder. Actually, all of the children did surprisingly well, considering that they are all in the 25 to 35 month range. It’s fun to stand among the parents, watching our progeny frolic about on a bright Saturday morning in May.
After soccer practice he immediately started to suggest that we got to Jalisco’s Mexican restaurant for lunch. I tried to inform him that it was only 10:30 in the morning and that they were not open yet. He replied, “I think they are open…I think so.” We made a slight detour to Ravenna Third Place until Justin convinced me that he still had too much energy to be in a enclosed public setting such as a bookstore. Then we aimed the car for Jalisco’s. Justin received a nifty black Cinco de Mayo t-shirt upon arrival, and paused to pose for a picture before lining his corn chips up in a neat little row and then smashing. He dives into his rice and beans with only a minimal sprinkling of rice onto the seat and floor. I think that dining in a restaurant and having a child in tow prompts most parents to leave a larger tip than usual.I should mention that we were not actually there on Cinco de Mayo, but Justin is a very popular customer. He gets regular hugs, tours of the kitchen and gifts.
After lunch we stopped at the playground on Roosevelt, which is conveniently located on our way home. Justin is a daredevil these days. He was always quite cautious until just a few weeks back. Now he will go down any slide in site, and usually has to climb back up the slide itself instead of cycling around to the ladder (naturally!) On one particular yellow plastic slide he has gotten into the habit of giving me a fist bump when he reaches the bottom. When we touch fists a substantial static shock passes between us. Justin seems to enjoy this small electric shock, but I wonder if that’s a good thing. He usually persuades me to go down the slides a few times, and I can tell you from experience: Most parents stand on the sidelines with their Starbucks coffee and their cell phone. I’m always happy to see another parent like myself risk personal injury and public embarrassment just to entertain our children on the playground. I rode the merry-go-round for a bit with Justin today. We watched our shadows spin in and out of our view, as the world whizzed by. I could see the pure enjoyment of experiencing these moments for the first time. I was filled with joy reliving these childhood moments with my son.