A Family Day in the Park

When this is posted I’ll be standing in a bus terminal helping to organize about a hundred campers head out for a fun filled five days. Which is why the night before I wrote this about what I leave behind to do these camps.

Sunday afternoon I took Leo in his sling (I don’t know what this is called in English actually. In Japanese it is a dako himo. I could look it up, but nah) and we headed up to catch a table at a little cafe that my wife really likes. Okay, I like it too, but the portions are a little small. Although it is one of the few places I’ve found where I can get a large salad. For those coming to Japan, just remember that veggies are not as readily available as you might think.

After a nice meal the three of us head over to a little park that we’ve been meaning to take Leo to. The sun is shining and it is warm without being oppressively hot. The main draw of this little park is that it was a little ankle high pool set up for kids to play in. Leo has splashed around in a tub of course and his daycare does some kind of water activity but this is our time just splashing in water together.

I love the water. I feel like I practically grew up in pools and the ocean. Water is something that I want Leo to be comfortable with. I want him to love splashing and playing. To know that if it is a summer day and the water is cold than if he moves around he’ll warm up and feel great. But that is for later. This experience was just to enjoy setting in the water next to my little boy as he gets used to splashing and pushing the water around. Mission accomplished.

Later on Mama joins us and the three of us go from playing in the water to walking around the park. Since Leo isn’t at the walking alone stage it means that his mother and I each take a hand as we journey all around. We go up and down slides and step on grass and every now and then Leo wants to stop because he sees a leaf that catches his eye.

All in all we are in the park for about three hours. We’ve skipped over nap time and Leo is fading fast. We try and keep him awake on the walk back. It is just outside the normal time he might fall asleep and we are worried that if he sleeps now he’ll walk up either later tonight or early this morning. We are about five minutes away from our apartment when Leo completely zonks out. Nothing to do but take him upstairs and brush his teeth. This, of course, wakes hime up and the tears come. We are trying to figure out how to get him used to teeth brushing but right not it is a battle.

It is also a bit of a blessing in disguise because it gives me a chance to hold and rock him until the tears stop. Then sleep comes. Rika offers to take him to bed but I just want to hold him for ten more minutes. I won’t get this chance again for several days. As much as kids complicate things they do have those moments where they offer unique joys. Cradling my little guy as he drifts to sleep is one of them.

We are a pretty busy little family but we try and make time to spend as a family. During this season where I’m gone five out of eight days and the Mrs. is busy with her own works, being able to spend a sunny day together at a park feels like a special event. It’s just one of those things that reminds me I’m a lucky man.

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