I got to play floor hockey with Desmond yesterday.
We spent nearly an hour smacking the ball across the concrete floor. Just the two of us.
It sounds simple enough, a milk toast type of playtime with a child except it's the type of thing that rarely happens in large families. Oh, I guess there are uber-families who schedule one-on-one adventures with Mom or Dad, and my hat's off to them, but we're not part of their club. Never will be.
Kent and I can barely keep pace with the family dynamic as it is. We tread water day to day and trade high-fives when the children go to bed with clean bottoms and teeth.
We barely make dates for each other, let alone the children.
We could carve out time on the weekends, I suppose. But that's also the only time we get to see each other as a full family.
A few weeks ago, Kent did the unthinkable and took Esme to a football game. When Josephine and Desmond realized they weren't going along, they let loose with such terrible wails and sobs you'd think their lovies had been pried from their hands and tossed in a bonfire.
I'm fairly certain the last time I took Desmond out - not counting the odd walk for a cookie or custard cone - was on a shopping trip two years ago at Topsail Island. He sat in the cart and gabbed about everything he saw. I remember being amazed by the transformation of his personality away from the pack.
The same was true yesterday. Desmond can be the most, shall we say, "challenging" of the four. He's quick to pester, whine and throw punches when he doesn't get the attention he demands (and, of course, deserves). But on his own, he lets go of the intensity. He relaxes. He smiles more. He laughs.
Maybe, I do all of those things more too.
And so, when Kent took Tobias to the cabin for a shower, and Josephine and Esme went off with big kids on a scavenger hunt, Desmond asked to play floor hockey. He never played before but he picked it up quickly and pretty soon we were running around and laughing, shooting the ball into the bathroom and past the older boys.
I've waterskied this week, went swimming by myself and flipped off the lake diving board but I have to say, my favorite time at family camp so far has been that single hour alone with my boy.