It's Monday morning and for me, as has been the case for more than five years, the dreaded day of the week for most is the one the signals the end of my work week. I enjoy my job for many reasons so I don't usually celebrate the end of the work week like some people do. It means I transition to my other job, caring for my kids. Now, I do some of that "work" on the weekends too, but Friday through Sunday, Sheila most certainly takes the lead in that regard. It's a rewarding task, and on most days, not one that I find the least bit arduous. Monday through Thursday I get to spend lots of quality "men's time" as Asher so eloquently puts it. When Jasmine arrives home from school, and most certainly when Sheila arrives home from work, the time turns into more traditional "family time".
Last week was busier then normal for our family as we jumped head first into the soccer season. We also reached a pretty significant family milestone as our little girl was getting her braces installed at the orthodontist. All in all, I made 3 trips to the soccer field, 2 trips to the orthodontist, 2 trips to the swimming pool, 1 trip to the library, 1 trip to the city park downtown, 1 trip to Masich Place Stadium, 1 trip to the grocery store and a couple of trips over to the school. Rewarding is the word I suppose. This week should be a little less hectic, but soccer is rolling on, and the orthodontist will need to do some repairs on a loose bracket. When life is busy it can be easy to just participate and not allow for the events that are happening to be fully appreciated. Allow me to take a moment and truly appreciate.
Until this past weekend I had not experienced the event that is the "Relay for Life". For those like me who are in the dark about this wonderful event, it is put on in hundreds of cities and towns across Canada and is a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. It takes place on different weekends in different cities, but the goal is the same. Raise money, raise hope, inspire, participate. Prince George does it up real big. Of the 487 Relay events that took place in 2013, only 1 raised more money than Prince George's event. As far as I know, our fair city hosts the only 24 hour event in the country. I was most certainly inspired by my time at the event, a mere 2 hours on Saturday morning. The whole spectacle was a sight to see. Most of the big companies in town were involved. Starbucks and Van Houtte were selling coffees, Save On Foods were giving out fruit to the participants, Prince George Taxi employees were serving samosas, numerous teams were having bake sales, selling trinkets, all in the name of Cancer research. Did you want to enjoy a massage? Pay by donation. Did you want a temporary tattoo? Pay by donation.
Sheila, Jasmine, and Asher were much more dedicated than I. Sheila and the kids were at the event from 9 am Saturday morning until 1230 am Sunday morning. They came home for a quick nap and were back at it by 730 am to finish off the event. At some point during this past year Sheila decided that Bandstra Transportation, her employer, she get involved with the Relay for Life. Sheila, like myself, had not attended any of the previous events, but she wanted to get involved on behalf of many of her family members who have battled Cancer. Some won, some lost, but Sheila wanted to honour all of them. Sheila approached management at Bandstra and got the go ahead. She recruited team members, she organized a bake sale and then later a hot dog lunch, with all proceeds going to the Relay team. Bandstra also made a very generous donation to the team as well. Sheila spent time signing everyone up, collecting funds, organizing the time slots and much more. I was inspired because she was so dedicated to the task. Sheila spent the afternoon yesterday napping, relaxing and getting a Mother's day massage from her daughter, all with a noticeable glow about her. She is already looking forward to next year. I'm proud.
As I mentioned, Jasmine has been proudly sporting braces since Thursday afternoon. I was pretty taken aback by how excited Jasmine has been about the whole process. It is hard for me to fathom that my barely 11 year old daughter was getting braces, and it was even more difficult for me to understand the excitement surrounding the event. Jasmine's teeth are to put it bluntly, whacked. It seems that every tooth she has decided to head off in a direction other than the one it was supposed to go in. The braces have a difficult task at hand. They were bothering her teeth quite a bit the first day, but she didn't whine and complain, she took a few pain pills and was fine. To be honest, Jasmine does very little whining, partly because Sheila and I have established that it just won't work with us. We will be back this week to get them fixed up, and Jasmine was worried that I would would be mad about the bracket that came loose. I reassured her that these things happen to people who get braces, and it was no big deal to go and get it fixed. She has been sporting her blue and green and aqua and purple braces for 4 days with about 800 more to go. Jasmine has handled the whole situation with maturity that I wasn't quite ready for. I'm proud.
I have come to realize something in the past few weeks as far as raising children goes. Have gaps people. Embrace them. The gap in age between Jasmine and Asher is nearly 8 years, and it really is a great thing for so many reasons. I can appreciate all of the little things that Asher does as if I have never experienced them before. I know part of this is that I am older and more mature, and in my youth I was too stupid to realize all of the cool things that little kids are capable of. Jasmine was and is a very well mannered and fun child who I am lucky to spend time with every single day. Asher doesn't need to do much to entertain me, or remind me how lucky I am. Sheila got a great video of Asher dancing at the relay, he was giving her bright and early yesterday morning without a care in the world. He strolled into the backyard yesterday to find me laying on the trampoline surfing the web. "Dad!! What you doin' there? Laptop not supposed to go on tha trampoween!! Thas funny!!" So very observant he is. I had no chair. For dinner we splurged and got take out from our favorite Prince George restaurant, Dana Mandhi. Sheila loves it, Jasmine loves it, I love it. Asher eats every kind of food we have ever offered him, but yesterday's order was "medium spice" and his only hang up is when something is "too picy". No sweat, he went ahead and ate his dinner, even stopping to ask what the name of each thing was, then giggling at Dad's poor pronunciation attempts. We ordered a dish called malai kofta that we hadn't tried before and the "delicious face" he made was priceless. After eating our tasty dinner we all laid down in bed to watch "Good Burger" together. Asher enjoyed it, but Jasmine was really into it. It was a really fun family movie, and a great way to finish off Mother's Day even though I couldn't keep my eyes open for the climax. Hey, it was nearly 9! I am looking forward to another fun week of soccer, Strong Start, swimming, and general farting around with my kids. I'm sure Asher will say and do many more things that will have me shaking my head in amazement. What can I say? I am proud.