Okay, my Warders and Guests. Here's an opportunity for reflection, confession, and direction.
Describe a day in your life that you'd like to re-live, knowing what you do now.
When my son was about eight years old, he had been pestering me to take him to Chuck-E-Cheese. For those who don't know, Chuck-E-Cheese is an establishment created by arcade game designers who figured out they can make more money getting people to feed quarters to their games rather than sell them. So they invented an entertainment complex filled with arcade games, cranes, ball pits, animatronic mice singing show tunes--all things to make eight-year-old kids deliriously giddy.
I personally don't care for the place--it's expensive, serves mediocre pizza, is noisy--but I'm not an eight-year-old kid, am I. So I relented and took my son. I forced him to eat a half a piece of pizza, then shoved some game tokens in his hand and told him to go away. Meanwhile, I parked myself in a corner booth and buried my nose in a book--a WoT novel, if memory serves.
I kept one eye on my son, and he didn't seem to be having the fun fun FUN that he thought he would have. He'd been to Chuck-E-Cheese before with friends his age, at a birthday party, say, and during those times he ran around with a permanent grin. But this time, with only himself for company, he seemed low-key. He was reluctant to plunk down his finite supply of tokens on games he didn't know, and of course 'competitive' games like air hockey and skeeball are no fun played alone. So he wandered around from one area to another, watching other kids shriek and shout, but he was merely an observer. Meanwhile, his old man is planted in a booth, tight-lipped with frustration and wishing he was anywhere else. After about an hour, he finally worked through his allotted tokens, and we went home.
Absolutely shameful, no?
So that's a day that I would relive, and I would leave the damn book at home. I would divvy up the tokens between the two of us, and I would play with my son the way a father is supposed to. If he was undecided how to spend his tokens, I would give subtle pushes of direction--"Let's try this one! How about giving that one a go?"
Years later I apologized to my son for neglecting my parental duties like that, and he said he didn't remember that day at all. So I suppose I should be grateful for that. But I missed the chance to form a father-son bond with him that he should remember.