Some Family Time

After a labor intensive day this past Sunday, Denise and I took our girls for some fun time. We set out down College Road heading for the Trolly Stop. What use to be a simple, good ole fashion hot dog joint, has evolved into something a little more complex, in that they now sell, in addition to hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, french fries, grilled cheese, etc, etc. When it comes to the hot dogs alone, you now have to select from beef dogs, fat-free dogs, chicken dogs, turkey dogs, smoked sausage dogs, beef & pork dogs… it’s confusing. Ok, not really… I just wanted a good ole fashion hot dog from the days when I didn’t really know what I was eating. And, I got it.

Much more important to the food I consumed, was the time we were sharing withour kids. Denise and I have bothbeen so consumed by the time we spend at our business, that we have to be extremely careful not to get so caught up in the business we miss our kids growing up. For the most part, I believe we have managed this well. However, it’s simply been on my mind a lot lately to make even more time for them. It’s hard enough already realizing that our first born, Makayla, has recently turned 13, entering the 8th grade this coming school year. Jackie, our 2nd born, is 9, soon to be 10 in October. Yet, it feels just like yesterday each of them was coming home from the hospital as infants. But i digress.

At the Trolly Stop, we chose a comfortable spot on the patio to eat. Just the four of us, a family, sitting and listening to each other. I elected to mostly listen, something Iam working on doing more… listening. Makayla has the gift of making people laugh. She is bright, energetic and has a great sense of humor. Jackie has the gift of observation and common sense. She say’s things frequently that make me think to myself, “that is so logical; 9 years old don’t think like that”. Denise, my beautiful bride of almost 22 years, is rock steady; consistent always in her demeanor.

As I observe all of the above, I think to myself, “what a lucky and blessed person I truly am, to have all of this”. I am determined to make the absolute most out of all that God has blessed and gifted me with.

As we depart the trolly stop, we head for the river; the Cape Fear river, for a casual stroll down Market Street, along the river on Water Street and eventually back up Market Street where we will stop along the way for a scoop (or two) of ice cream in a freshly made waffle cone.

Again, while the ice cream was very good and everything I don’t need, I was there to observe my family. to watch, listen and learn. It was all good. I confess, towards the end of our time, I got mad at something I know was really silly, a miscommunication between Denise and I. Even when I found myself angry and upset, I kept thinking to myself, “Jim, this is stupid; don’t ruin this time together”. I didn’t. I apologized for my stupidity as we drove home. Afterwards, we all continued to laugh and say silly things.

I am committed to more of these times. Times where we do nothing more than spend time together. It doesn’t need to cost a cent. Our girls are still content to go to the park; to walk, to play and just have fun. I am learning to grab my camera and go and simply take it all in and enjoy each and every precious second.