Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Painting Pumpkins After Dark

I didn't want to do it.

We had had a fairly busy Saturday, and I had just plopped myself down on the couch. I would have been fully content to stay there on the couch for the rest of the night. I had the remotes. I had my phone to stare at. I was on the couch and I didn't need (or want) to go anywhere else.

But, my wife had told the kids they could paint their pumpkins, and that's the kind of thing the kids don't forget.

So, there I was, as content on the couch as is possible for a potato, when the kids came to me and said, "Dad, Mom says we have to wash our pumpkins before we can paint them." They didn't directly ask me to do anything. They didn't directly tell me to do anything. And yet, I knew I needed to unpark myself off of the couch and go join the rest of the family in this activity, regardless of my current level of comfort and/or total lack of interest in the project.

It had been a long day, and it was already dark outside, so I turned on the porch light, grabbed some washcloths, and put some water in the mop bucket. I figured the two older kids could wash their own pumpkins, but the two little ones would need me to do it for them, so that's what we did.

It was time to get out the paints, and my wife wisely moved us from the porch to the sidewalk by the driveway, where future rains would make cleaning paint off the cement a bit easier.

And then, the painting began. Much like the cleaning, the two oldest pretty much painted their pumpkins on their own, while the two littles needed help. I didn't help them, my wife did. Instead, I sat there and took pictures. I listened to the giggles and watched the smiles. I sat and enjoyed the time together as a family.

Painting pumpkins after dark!

Our three year-old's favorite artist is Jackson Pollock.
Momma may have helped our youngest a little bit.

When we finished and went inside, I posted some of the pictures on Facebook. Lots of people looked at the pictures and hit the "Like" button or even the "Love" button. And that's when I realized what a doofus I was.

I would have been more than content to have spent the entire evening sitting on the couch, staring at my phone. Instead, I spent time with my family. I had fun with them. We created some memories. Some day my kids might look at those pictures fondly and say, "I remember doing that. That was a fun night!" My kids will never look back fondly and say, "I remember that one night Dad ignored us and stared at his phone."

Of course, none of it would have happened without my wife. She's the one who made sure we got pumpkins for the kids. She's the one who thought painting those pumpkins would be something the kids might enjoy. There wouldn't have been a fun evening of painting pumpkins after dark without her. She's a great mother, and I'm a better father because of her.

Spending time together as a family is a good thing. I'll have to remember that the next time I park myself on the couch.