I was looking through my pictures and I really liked this one of newmom and our little stormtrooper. This was taken right after we saw Solo, a star wars story.
They really do go hand in hand.
Why am I writing about roller coasters on a blog about being a dad? Because there is a direct link to roller coasters and my own father, and because our little guy rode two roller coasters last week with us.
First, how overjoyed I was to ride with our little man his first real full-sized roller coaster. We have annual passes to an amusement park here in Southern California called Knotts Berry Farm. It is a great park and a much more affordable option than the big “D” down the road in Anaheim. He *JUST* made the 48 inch requirement to ride (they measured him for the 2nd coaster) so we know anything with 48 or under is good to go. The wait was long for Ghost Rider but he was a total champ and waited it out. When we got closer, I think there were a couple of moments where he got a little nervous, but he really wanted to ride it, partially to show his older cousin he was not afraid (there is a history with this ride, where a couple of years ago the same cousin decided it was a little too intense (!!*as we were getting into the car*!!)). Ghost Rider is a classic, wooden rollercoaster that is REALLY fast and has some very intense drops (lets just say it was pretty intense for newdad as well!).
He was a ROCK STAR!! Afterwards he said he liked it but didn’t want to do it again. But the story is he did it! It was a good time for the entire family and in the end worth the wait. I was so proud of him for doing it. We then went to another area of the park and rode another coaster with a shorter line, that was much less intense and he liked that one quite a bit better.
Now how does a wooden roller coaster in Southern California make me think of my dad? If we go back in time, I used to be scared to death of roller coasters. I honestly don’t know why but I did not want to ride them at all. Now I would eventually get over my fear of coasters and ride a number of them throughout the years, but going back to my childhood in Ohio, lets say I was very apprehensive.
Now Ohio is lucky enough to not have just one, but TWO great amusement parks in the state. We would go to the one in Cincinnati, Kings Island. For many years, it was the home of the biggest wooden coaster in the United States (maybe even the world), The Beast!
We took family trips to the park and all I wanted to do was play in the arcade. I know now that my dad was pretty disappointed in that and really wanted a son that was fearless and would ride ANYTHING with him. I remember one trip, I was trying to hit him up for more money to go back to the arcade and he offered me $50.00 if I would ride The Beast with him ONE TIME. I politely declined (I think there might have been some crying involved(on my part)). They say hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20, but looking back, I now would have done anything to have changed that young boys’ mind and had him share that experience with his dad, who only wanted his oldest to ride a roller coaster with him.
A few years pass, and I am now enjoying the heck out of every coaster in the park. We even had annual passes a couple of years and would drive down at minimum of once a week every week we could. And we would ride from the moment we got there to the moment we left. But when I think back on it, I honestly can’t remember ever riding The Beast with my dad. If I did, I just don’t remember it, funny, I remember NOT riding it, but can’t remember if we ever got that opportunity.
I will not miss that opportunity with my son. No matter how intimidating the ride may look, if he wants to go, I will be game as long as I am able.
Do you have a childhood (or adulthood) memory of overcoming a fear like roller coasters? Riding a bike? Driving Fast? Skateboarding? Love to hear about it, comment below.
One of the main focus of this blog is where I discuss various aspects of fatherhood and being a Dad. Of all the labels I have attached to me, Father is one of the most important (along with Christian and Husband). So you can imagine that father’s day means quite a bit to me.
Another reason it is so important is I reflect on my own father, and at times, his father as well. My dad has been gone now for 5 Father’s day and even though I think about him almost every day, fathers day is never the easiest of days.
So this year I got to sleep in and watch Germany v Mexico in the world cup. It was a heck of a game and unlike many, I LOVE the world cup, and soccer(football) as a whole. So it was quite a treat. The little guy was pretty excited to give me a gift that he had made, a book about his dad. It was quite the treat, and one of those keepsakes that I will keep for years to come.
After that it was off to Church. Because we went to a later service that usual, the little guy was with us instead of at Sunday school class. He was super well behaved, we are very fortunate that he really is such a great little guy. After church we were off to a late breakfast, possibly even ‘brunch’. After that we came home and I opened a couple of gifts (much needed clothes!) and packed up stuff for the pool. Unfortunately it was a pretty cool day, not pool weather. So we headed off to the in laws and I hung with the dads (my father in law and brother in laws).
To quote Ice Cube ‘it was a good day’
I would like to talk about reflections now.
As I said before, I reflect on my dad, my grandpa, the fathers before me. I reflect on my own previous Fathers days (this was my 7th, and I reflect on all the amazing accomplishments my son has completed (walking, riding a bike, hitting a baseball, learning, reading, the list goes on and will continue to expand)) as a dad and what they have meant to me. Each year is a completely different experience, as he grows and develops, it is like a different boy every year.
Onto my dad. I think of the lessons I have taken away from him on fatherhood, husbandry, as an employee, as a friend. I think of the sayings we heard growing up (if you had done it right the first time…), the lessons we learned, some positive, some negative.
There is one experience with my Father that involved his father that I will never forget (or hope to never forget). In 2005 I was working for an insurance company and it was an excessively rough hurricane season. As a result, I was sent to Florida for 3 months to work with one of our Managing General Agencies in Tampa. The good news about this is I got to stay with my Mom and Dad. During this time, my Grandfather (his dad) was going through a rough patch health wise and would eventually pass on. During the time of his decline, my father and I made the drive south to see him in the hospital. My dad cared for him in a way I had never seen a man care for his father. He made sure he ate his meal, asked loads of questions to make sure he was comfortable, doted over him (doted is probably not the right word, but the one that immediately came to mind, so we’ll go with it). It was very touching. Not long after that visit, my grandfathers health continued to deteriorate and he passed away.
I wish I could say as my dads health was declining I was able to care for him the same way, but I can’t. But what I saw from him that afternoon still moves me today. As I reflect on these memories, I am once again reminded of the bond of a father and his son.
There are other memories and reflections I have of my dad, not all of them positive, but now, five Father’s day past, I still remember that October afternoon in a southern Florida hospital with what would eventually be three generations of Dads.
I would love to hear about your favorite reflection of your own Father, any traditions or special moments you would care to share, please feel free to share them in the comments.