Sons and Fathers

I don’t write a ton about my husband, Adam. There are many reasons for this: he says fewer cute things than my kids, he rarely brings home cool artwork from work, etc. But the primary reasons I rarely write about him is because he is fully capable of writing about himself, and rarely chooses to do so. But I’ll break my self-imposed embargo today to talk about him, because it’s Father’s Day, and it’s a time where we sit down to say the things we think so often and say so rarely.

Four generations of Flynn men: three fathers and one baby

My husband has had some great fathering role models. His father was also a good father. He talks to me often about the walks they took on warm Saudi nights with his dad and his dog – talking about everything and nothing. I miss Mike a lot – today especially. He was always convinced that we were the most amazing, the best. I often think of how proud of me Mike would be, which says a lot about how supportive he was of me while he was here. Mike died four years ago, but he remains with us in memory and thought.

My dad

I’m fortunate that my Dad is still around and doing cool stuff. I talked to him this morning, and his newest book is doing well. He did a book signing this weekend! But my Dad was always there – at every sporting event, schlepping me from location to location, teaching me how to drive or reminiscing about the layout of the streets in Seattle in 1969. He reaches out every time there’s wild weather in my area to make sure I know. He usually knows my forecast better than I do!

All this is to say, there are a lot of great dads in our lives. But the one I see the most of, whose work I can most appreciate, is my husband.

The day my husband became a father

Adam is a great father to our two sons – whose very looks are stamped unmistakably on his boys. There are so many things they do together: he’s their teacher in aikido, their “tickle and snuggle time” favorite, their morning-breakfast-short-cook, and their gamemaster. He is with them every day, and in every way, in sickness and in health. I love watching him wrestle with the boys. (80% of my family pictures involve the three of them locked in some manner of combat).

A hike on another day. I didn’t bring the camera yesterday.

Yesterday we went for a lovely family hike in the Breakheart Reservation, where Adam and the boys talked about snakes, beetles, optimum swinging mechanics and other related phenomenon. Today, we decided to spend Father’s Day being a family by going to the Museum of Fine Arts to check out the Samurai exhibit. (And the mummies. Because Dude! Mummies!) Once again, I got to watch my husband with my sons – explaining canopic jars, pointing out historical references, sharing the enthusiasm of the kids. It was – it always is – a pleasure and a joy.

Thank you, Adam, for the joyful and loving time you spend with our sons every day. I can only hope that they grow into men and kind, as loving, and as fun as you.

Explaining Roman coins

Pictures of today’s journey to the past can be found here! We had a great time at the MFA!

Great Thanksgiving Road Trip

I am a holiday traditionalist, I admit. My Christmas preparations involve a living tree, a medley of meaningful ornaments gathered over several decades and four straight weeks of non-strop Christmas music. I still think of myself as the kind of person who does Thanksgiving with the family and the pies and the sitting around telling stories about how Seattle used to be. There’s only one problem with this bit of identity… yeah. I have done that exactly once in the last, oh, sixteen years? (The year Grey was born I went home for Thanksgiving.)

You see, it’s like this. I don’t have any family in the area, nor does my husband. I don’t really want to travel on Thanksgiving. And I host 30+ people for Thanksgiving dinner a scant 10 days before Turkey Day itself, so I don’t want to make the meal and find people to come eat it because, well, I already did. The other day someone asked my son what we were doing for Thanksgiving and Grey responded, “We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” Gah! We do! We just do so in a weird way! Now often I have gotten very gracious and lovely invitations to friends’ houses to celebrate. Heck, two years in a row I cadged invitations to one of my college friends’ parents’ houses. So we have suffered no lack of welcome or turkey. But the obligation of Thanksgiving, the feeling that there is a particular thing we have to do, that is entirely lacking.

And if you think about it for a moment, that is tremendously freeing. I have a four day period where there is no where we have be and nothing we have to do. Liberty!

A few weeks ago, one of my Scooby-addled children informed me that he wanted to see “a real live mummy”. This seemed like a reasonable request. At first I considered which museums in Boston might contain said Egyptian relic. Then I thought that the really good mummies were in New York. Except I hate New York. Then I thought that the really great museums are in Washington DC. And you know, I’ve been meaning to go to Washington DC for like five years now.

Then it dawned on me that I have four uncommitted days.


Sixty degrees on the Mall!
Sixty degrees on the Mall!

We left at about 11 am on Thanksgiving morning. I remember in college, when I had no where to go on Thanksgiving and all the placed to eat on campus were closed, I felt very very sorry for myself on Thanksgiving. However, I felt not a lick of remorse as we dined at McDonalds for lunch, or Denny’s for dinner. (What? I’m traveling with 3 and 6 year old boys on Thanksgiving. You think I’m going to stop anyplace that has cloth tablecloths?!?!) There was some nasty and tiring traffic on the Mass Pike, but after that we zooooomed! This was our first extended road trip – our previous adventures having topped out at two or three hours. The boys were complete troopers, and honestly did better than I expected. We came in late, lost and tired to DC at 10 pm that night.

Yesterday was a sublime day, weather wise, here in the District of Columbia. Although my intention had been to hie immediately to the Museum of Natural History (hellooo Mummies and Dinosaurs!) the lure of the Washington Monument was too strong and instead we hied ourselves the length of the Mall, explaining the various wars, conflicts and heroes in mostly age-appropriate ways as we wandered. Then we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where Thane bounced like a pinball between mummy exhibits. By midafternoon, someone was in desperate need of a nap, and the kids seemed tired too, so we came back and had an all family snooze. Indeed, as I write I am surrounded on all sides by sleeping menfolk. We spent the evening dining with some friends in the area, our kids playing with theirs.

Today the morning was the Museum of Air and Space. It was pretty fun, but Thane is woefully underslept and it is starting to show. Also, he has no respect for barriers/fences/ribbons. Also, he plops down on the ground all the time and declares, “I’m not going to _____”. My cajoling muscles are weary beyond belief. But he was fascinated by the astronauts and costumes, and demanded that he be permitted to wear the moon gear. We all thoroughly enjoyed the planetarium before making good our escape.

Thane and the Astronaut Suit of Great Interest
Thane and the Astronaut Suit of Great Interest

By the way, since all of you are far more worldly and experienced than I am, you already know this. But were you aware that admission to all Smithsonian Museums is totally free? My Bostonian expectations included $20/head/museum. But with free… well heck. You can go in for 30 minutes and it’s awesome and you can leave and not worry about how much it cost! Parking, on the other hand, is $40 a day….

In half an hour I’ll wake everyone up, and we’ll go to the American Indian Museum. Thane is trying to figure out what his next obsession is. Mummies, astronauts and Native Americans are all strong candidates. Tonight, I think we’ll take the boys to see the Muppet Movie. Tomorrow, we do the 11 hour trip in reverse.

In my worse moments, I wonder what the heck I’m thinking and why didn’t I just stay at home and have the kids watch tv all weekend like a sane parent. But most of the time, I watch the wide-eyed wonder, insightful questions and bouncy kids and think that this was a fantastic idea.

Boys on pillars
Boys on pillars