While getting ready for the Capitals game today a thought came to me.
I think every parent has a "thing" that they do with their kids. It doesn't necessarily define that specific child-parent relationship, but it's definitely something that becomes more than just something to do, it becomes a foundation for so much more. My sister Carolyn and my Brother-in-law Jeff look forward to movie night with Emily every Friday night. My sister Chris and my Brother-in-law Scott look forward to beach trips with their three girls. These activities seem like normal things, but I'd be willing to bet that both parents and children will learn a lot about life through these special interactions.
My "thing" with my Dad was watching the Washington Capitals play hockey. Growing up about an hour away from where the Caps play allowed us to go to two or three games every year which was great, but I remember the games we watched at home in our family room even more than going to the games. I remember those nights because I looked forward to them every week. I loved the Friday night games because I was allowed to stay up to watch the whole game (rather than sneak a radio into my bedroom to listen to the end of the game like I had to do on weeknights)! It was during those games that my Dad and I really bonded. I learned a lot about hockey from him during those Friday nights, but I also learned a lot about the Father-Son relationship. I learned that showing a genuine interest in your child and your child's interests is something that the child will carry with them throughout their life. (note, Mom wasn't too interested in hockey, and I suspect she thought we were barbarians for watching it, but she recognized how important our hockey nights were so she only quietly despised hockey!)
As Michelle and I work towards our adoption, it's these types of things that keep us going. We can't wait to have our own "things" with our child/children. We have no idea what our thing will be with our kids, it could be fishing, sports, going to museums, volunteering, etc. Whatever we find as our "thing" is something that our family will cherish forever.
By the way, Dad, Michelle and I just watched our local hockey team win their second straight championship. He even let me stay up late for the games that weren't on Fridays! Our "thing" continues to show just how important those hockey games we were watching together over 20 years ago really were.