A Quick Note:
Every turn on the information superhighway is another mommy blogger. If you haven’t read some of them, you don’t know what you are missing. No one does it better than our moms (when was the last time someone looked into a camera and didn’t say “hi mom”?). But while the matriarchs of families are well represented, the patriarchs are a bit scarce.
So for a little while now, I have been tweeting my ‘Dad Definitions’. Observational nuggets derived from simply being a dad. Definitions not meant to be the end all say all to parenthood just what I have learned being a father is about and how my two girls define me as their father. I will continue to write about these ‘Dad Definitions’, and as I do, maybe you’ll nod and smile because you know exactly what I am talking about, maybe you’ll contemplate calling child services on me, but hopefully (and before you call), you’ll enjoy them.
Engineer of Quilt and Sofa Forts.
Anyone with kids knows that it isn’t always easy keeping the little people who keep calling you mom and dad busy. I’ve said before, as parents, we need to use our imaginations. Growing up, the most technological thing we had was a VCR so it was up to our own minds to stay busy.
Enter the quilt and sofa fort.
Constructed from any quilt or blanket we could get our hands on and TV trays with steel legs, faux wood tops, and plastic hooks to connect to the legs that always broke, we fashioned our crude domiciles around the living room sofas. We turned our parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents living rooms into knitted Shanty towns. My cousins and I spent hours not only figuring out how to keep tension on the quilted roofs and the best way to use those preciously few TV trays, then lived in our forts, sometimes for weekend sleepovers at a time.
Fast forward to today and I am wrapping the knitted quilt from the sofa around the door handles to my wife’s curio to set up the roof to my kids’ fort. As their father, I have been tasked, at their request, to engineer their fleece and knitted housing.
Surely it was my previous experience which defined me as a suitable person for the job. It could also be because I showed them how far a quilt will span across the sofas before a television tray is needed?
Regardless of the level of my expertise, my kids asked their Daddy and he was more than happy to oblige.
We have built forts around the pool table in the basement, made hallways between the sofa and coffee table in the living room, and used their mother’s scented candles and picture frames to pin their knitted ceilings into the creases of the sofa.
Every time we build a new fort, we laugh. We get excited finding a new way to keep up the roof without wasting one of our trays. We also get warnings from their mom about what exactly can be used for our “lag bolts” (I don’t know what the big deal is about using the dining room table center piece?).
And as we sit, huddled in our fort constructed of the living room sofa and 4 quilts from around the house (and with my knees up to my chin), I am infected with the sounds of their laughter. I am surrounded by baby dolls, stuffed animals, a tea set, and smiles from my two girls. In that moment, I am reminded how my kids can define me as a father on a daily basis.
Their connotation of me is not just to tell them the stove is hot, or to explain why electrical sockets are not for licking, or to be nice to one another, or to tie their shoelaces. This day, while we have taken residence in our homemade fort, the definition of their dad is to be the engineer for their quilt and sofa fort.