Apr 21, 2023
This week I'm on the heels of a spring break trip with my youngest children - my twins.
I’ve wondered how often my teenaged children brush their teeth. After spending a week in a hotel room with two of them I learned that it is much less frequently than I had thought. Spring break was last week. It’s already been quite a year in the Marston household. With a daughter off at college and my wife and son away on a trip with his classmates, the twins and I flew to an all-inclusive resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Unlimited smoothies and milkshakes for them. Long days of compare and contrast light versus dark Central American rums for my mojitos for me.
To my surprise and delight, somewhere in the past nearly sixteen years, my twins have become interesting. I’ve always loved them but there were times I didn’t particularly like them. I was, admittedly, very lacking in fathering skills or interests when my children were babies. I did what I had to, did what I should do, but I have a deep aversion to needy things or people. I plant things around the house that can survive neglect. Buying a car, my primary motivator is how much upkeep is required. My spouse is fiercely independent and self-sufficient. A baby, however, is the very essence of a needy thing. And for the twins, my wife and I were given a two for one deal we hadn’t expected.
It was in Mexico a week ago that I realized the joy of finding my children interesting. Asking questions because I’m curious about their thoughts and their opinions. Their voluntary observations of their surroundings were insightful. They thought about other people who they felt would appreciate the trip. And while they stared into their phones a lot – truthfully, so did I – they took time to observe, to notice, to wonder, and, from time to time, to empathize with strangers.
I enjoyed listening and watching as they worked to bring their high school Spanish classes into play asking questions and ordering food. They wondered what was on the other side of the ocean. They were curious, polite, and considerate of others. I was proud. And even with some very odd questions – the one that stands out is “Do you think my earlobes are disproportionate to my face” to which I had to reply “Of course they are. Amazing you’re just now noticing. We’ve struggled to not say anything. But they’re nothing compared to your big toes.” – I thoroughly enjoyed their company and was proud to tell my wife when we returned that I never grew tired of them.
Bonnie Raitt is right – Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste. And my time with them was precious.
Their sixteenth birthday is coming up in about a month. They look nothing like their baby pictures any more, but that’s who I still see.
I won’t be giving them toothbrushes as birthday gifts, by the way. They’d go unused.
I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.