Quality Time with a Son

bekah Parenting Leave a Comment

For his 5th birthday, we gifted Tanner a day to Legoland.

Because the kid practically sleeps with his Legos.

And dreams, eats, thinks, plays {you get the idea} Star Wars.

And Legoland happens to have a life-size Star Wars X Wing on display until the end of the year! And a Star Wars Mini Land!

<< Side note to my mama friends of girls only:  This Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker world is new to me and while I’m much more comfortable entertaining childhood memories of My Little Ponies, Little House on the Prairie, and Punky Brewster, I’m learning as I go, and attempting to embrace it! Hang with me, please! >>

Legoland! he shrieked. We’re going to Legoland?

We pretty much could’ve cashed in our parenting chips that day and won because every day since July 11th, we’ve heard, When is it Legoland day? Is it almost here? Is it October yet?

You made your kid wait three months to use his birthday present? Yes, we did! ‘Cuz we get cranky at theme park crowds, especially during summer! October means kids are back in school, the weather is cooler, the park is less crowded… winner, winner, chicken dinner!

What was really special was getting our oldest all to ourselves. Quality time is this little man’s love language and for the majority of the day, we met his pace, rode the rides he chose, listened to his questions, and savored every moment watching this land of Legos through Tanner’s eyes. As if our hearts weren’t full enough, he requested that his little brother join us in the afternoon after Ty’s time with Aunt Rondi. Melt!

First item on the agenda~ get the map. He literally carried this thing in his back pocket all day. And I mean all day!

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We rode us some boats.

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And tried to tip Daddy’s boat over… sneaky guy made his way around us and won!

Guess who will not be teaching our boys to drive?

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It’s amazing the contrast in spending time with only one child. We were aware of how  s  l  o  w  Tanner walked, ate, talked, considered rides. Every decision calculated, room for silence, then energetic bursts of let’s go!

And it was perfect because we had nowhere to be than exactly where we were- with him!

The moment that most cements in my heart was when we passed a game booth, the ones you pay oodles of money to hit a figure over with a baseball, kind of like this one below, but it was skeletons instead of clowns and the prize was an Angry Bird Star Wars Stuffed Animal {what every parent prays for}.

He saw the booth. He paused. He stopped. He watched.

I want to play this.

Okay bud, well it’s $3 for 2 balls and to win the prize you have to hit down a skeleton both times.

And then it happened. Our sincere boy looked my husband right in the eye. I can do it, dad. I can hit it twice. It was stoic and confident and if he would’ve told us he was going to scale Mount Everest with such passion, we would’ve nodded our heads in belief.

We explained that it was just a game. That it looks easier than it is. That to win an Angry Bird prize you get two balls to hit two skeletons down. Two for two.  No extra chances. And it’s fine if you can’t we assured him.

No. I can do it! I know I can do it!

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As he waited in line, Tanner watched boys and girls play, their dads joining in only to come up empty. I quickly realized how parents drop $50 bucks to win a lame fair toy- it’s not about the prize, it’s about their pride!

And then, it was his turn. How ’bout 4 balls for $5, the employee asked?

4 balls placed in front of T.

First one… miss.

Second one… thwomp! Skeleton down! His eyes shone with confidence.

Third ball… miss.

Fourth ball… miss.

We saw his eyes dart toward the ground and his shoulders instantaneously sag. He hadn’t taken three steps away from the booth before he burst into tears. And not the I’m-mad-I-didn’t-win-the-prize-tears. No, these were the I-knew-I-could-do-it-and-I-didn’t tears. They socked us in the gut!

So there in the middle of Legoland, crouching on a theme park bench, we had a talk with our oldest about how proud we were that he’d given it his all. We loved his confidence even if he hadn’t knocked down the skeletons and won a prize.

What a swallow of reality- that just because we go for something doesn’t mean we’ll succeed. We can whine and beg and pay more money and try harder, but as we all know, sometimes we just can’t knock the skeletons down. And that’s okay!

Holding his frame we shared a sweet moment reminding him that his identity is not based on performance. Whether he wins at everything he tries, or doesn’t win one prize ever, it’s the fact that he tried. And that he was brave in trying. I’m not sure if that moment will flood back when he’s older, but for us, it was a parenting truth that we can’t go back and sweet talk someone to give our son a prize that he doesn’t deserve, we can’t continue shelling out money until he wins.

What we can do is encourage him and support him and be there for him after he gives it his best-regardless of how it plays out.

Wiping his tears, we adventured on, taking in treetop views of giant Lego figures from the Sky Cruiser ride.

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And then the heavens opened and Tanner’s steps slowed… Star Wars Mini Land!

{picture taken when Ty joined us in the afternoon}

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This is my hero, the guy I talk about non-stop. I’m dressing like him for Halloween, and if I can be him when I get older, well, I may consider that too!  I’m sure Tanner thought this when laying eyes on the epic Star Wars Lego figure.

His actual words? Cool… Luke Skywalker!

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Our pass included a hopper portion to Sea Life, so we took a tour before meeting Aunt Rondi and having Ty join.

Under the sea…

A mom next to me didn’t see that you could go around the fish display and poke your head in the plastic dome under the water and just about had a heart attack when she saw these faces. I’m still laughing 🙂

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Okay after we took this picture, they fed the crabs. I’m still scarred.

Let’s just say it’s like watching Nemo being slowly devoured by a ginormous spider. Egh!

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Bry pondering deep thoughts with the mysterious jellyfish.

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With brothers united, we were a complete family!

Tanner loved showing Ty around the park, now that he knew it like the back of his hand.

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If you think Tanner is a bad driver, I’ll warn all of you in 13 years before this cutie on the right hits the road. Be afraid!

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Such a special day celebrating one son, then both, celebrating family, celebrating trying, celebrating life.

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I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.Little Engine That Could

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