“How come every time Dad gets bored, we end up on the news?”
As crazy as this sounds, I was struck by the truth in these words. My husband has more energy than any one person should have. Combine that with an active mind that veers down paths not registering on anyone else’s internal GPS systems, and you’ve got a Dad like no other.
I knew when we met that my husband wasn’t like anyone else. The life of the party, he didn’t care what anyone thought and was true to himself in ways well beyond his 17 years. Never afraid to throw himself into anything, he’s the kind of guy who sets goals, and then sets half a dozen more (because, why not?) and chases them all without losing a step. I hold tight to my dreams, often hesitant to breathe too much life into them because I live quietly in my head, comforted by what may someday be. My husband lives out loud, setting fire to his dreams as soon as he conceives them to blaze a trail for the ones that will follow.
A Pandemic Among Us
Spending so much time together these past few months has highlighted the many differences between us. My husband, for example, spent the first week of quarantine noticing how many, many times the hour hand spun around the clock while our teens stayed in bed. By week two, a plan met with a schedule that involved alarm clocks and workout routines to jump-start each day.
Me? I flashed back to all of those years of white noise and blackout curtains, taking advantage of a late start school schedule to ensure that all four of my kids knew how to sleep past 7:30. We unknowingly trained for this. If a global pandemic requiring us all to hunker down at home wasn’t the pinnacle we had been dozing towards all of those years, what was?!?
Down with Boredom
But getting four kids to wake up well before noon wasn’t the only plan up my husband’s sleeve. He and my 7-year-old googled plans for playsets online until they found the perfect one: a multi-tiered pirate ship. The goal? To teach the kids how to take a massive pile of lumber and a 127-page printout, and learn to measure, cut angles, and drill. And, as with every project we undertake as a family, learn some new combinations of swear words when things don’t measure up quite right. I was pretty sure my kids had heard them all, but my youngest picked up a few new ones. I’m hoping that a low-key pandemic summer will isolate him just enough to forget his new vocabulary before he has a chance to share it with others.
I expected the project to stretch on into summer, but SuperDad managed to work full time, field conference calls, and build at a mad pace. This ship was completed in just over three weeks. Remember when I said that my husband has a different view of life than most? By day, he is a tech sales guy knee-deep in cybersecurity, but during any moment of downtime and on evenings and weekends, he is a horse guy, running a stable (that he conceived of about 15 years ago when he was, I guess, bored…). Juggling two full-time endeavors isn’t enough, so he throws in coaching on the side whenever he can fit it in. And apparently, now, he can add shipbuilder to his never-ending resume, making him truly, a dad like no other.
A Dad Like No Other
And when he finds himself with free time? He does things. Things like taking three weeks off of work to spend in Minnesota at a horse training camp with our Clydesdale and coming home with a big horse that can sit like a dog on a stack of mattresses. Of course, this naturally turns into putting a tree skirt on the horse every December, crafting a candy cane bench, and hosting Santa Horse at the barn so all of the kids in the area can get their picture taken with Santa’s strangest helper.
Things like breezing through the kitchen to let me know he is hooking up the horse trailer and driving to Wisconsin because there’s a zebra available on Craigslist. Then, deciding to train that zebra to be ridden. Of course, the zebra is too small for anyone but our toddler to sit on so, on another pass through the house, he mentions putting our then 2-year-old on the zebra to see how it goes. Turns out, being good with horses translates to zebras, and my toddler became the first zebra trainer in the family thanks to his Dad’s vision.
So when my husband gets bored, he does things that sometimes end up as segments on the news. My childhood could not have been further from what my kids are experiencing, and I’m often two steps behind, watching in awe as our lives unfold around us. My kids may not appreciate getting up early, packing their days, and the constant reminders to be their best and forget the rest. But I guarantee when they’re off forging their own paths and raising their families, they will understand why their Dad put so much heart and energy into every single moment. They will appreciate how much they shaped their Dad into the man that he is, because everything that he does, he does for them.