As promised, back in Our Eagle Bluff Adventure - I wanted to note a couple of observations I made over the weekend.
#2 of 5 and #3 of 5 are older now. While they still "curl up" with dear ol' dad on family movie nights and the like, they are more "peer oriented" than their younger siblings. If given the option of hanging out with me, or going to play with their friends, they are now at the point that they choose the latter.
(Well, #3 of 5 is still "teetering" on the edge... He has days where he would rather just hang with me... But I fear these days are numbered)
I did not chaperone the Eagle Bluff Trip thinking my boys were going to "hang out" with me. Instead, I attended for the opportunity to "observe" my boys in their own natural setting (with their friends). To that end, I was not disappointed. Both my boys have a "core" group of friends, but then other miscellaneous associated friends that I hear about often, but never spend much time with. This trip allowed me to spend time getting to know all the kids my boys hang with, and to get to know the ones that they do not hang with (and sometimes why).
For those fathers (or anyone reading this) out there with only "young" children - this may sound depressing, or maybe even neglectful on my part. It can be (depressing that is) at times, but only if you look at it from a selfish point of view. You see, while they are spending less time with me, they are spreading their wings, and beginning to experience bits of life of their own. They are experiencing the rewards of making good decisions, and learning lessons from their "less than good" decisions.
While it can be depressing, it is also both encouraging and exciting to see the early traces of successful independence bubbling up from inside them. That is (after all) what raising our children is all about isn't it? Raising them into becoming successful and responsible members of society.
Don't get me wrong. I am still there for them as their father. I will catch them when they fall, and help point out the things that they don't pick up on their own. There is just some satisfaction, and a sense of pride that I feel (as a father) when I see my boys "doin' their own thing", and doing it well!