Fatherhood sometimes feels like a three-ring circus. My son, Jude, 4, loves to politely yell, “HI!” or “HOW ARE YOU?” at random strangers from our yard or at the grocery store. If they don’t respond or ignore him, he will continue yelling at them until they respond. When he is ignored, he will ask me why they aren’t responding. I tell him that they don’t want to talk right now. They might be focused on something else. However, I am reminded of Jim Rohn, author and motivational speaker, telling a story that his mentor told him:
“You know, Mr. Rohn, there are only nine or ten real nasty, miserable people in the whole world. Now, you know they move around a lot, and you’re liable to bump into one once in awhile, but when you bump into one you say, ‘There’s only 9 more like you. I can handle that.’”
However, sometimes Jude’s curiosity will embarrass Anna and me to tears. This past summer, we were visiting Anna’s college friends in Minnesota. As we were leaving a friend’s house that night, Jude asked Anna’s friend, “Why does your grandpa live with you?” Anna and I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Anna’s friend’s husband is younger than both of us and has salt and pepper hair.
Every circus needs a tent
I came across a sign recently that read, “Our family is just one tent away from a full-blown circus”. This made me laugh because we had just set up a circus tent for the kids to play in.
A few years ago, my in-laws purchased an indoor kids tent from IKEA for Jude who was 1 year old at the time, and Anna put the tent in the basement. Three years and one child later, Anna got the tent out of storage.
What she didn’t expect was that our son and daughter would enjoy playing together in the tent. Both kids will laugh, giggle, flop around, and perform in the tent until one of us grabs them from the tent. Jude will fill the tent with his books and sit in it and “read” to his sister, and she will actually sit there and listen to him talk for at least a little bit.
One of the things that we like about the circus tent is that it is really easy to put together and also easy to take apart. It also folds up into a less than 2-foot circle which makes storing it a breeze.
A circus wouldn’t be complete without a ringmaster
Every circus needs a ringmaster, and Anna plays that role in our family. She guides the kids through different experiences and directs their attention when needed. Sometimes she is part of their act by crawling in the tent while other times she sits back and enjoys the show.
One of the things I joked about as a kid was that I was going to run away and join the circus. But, when I got married and had kids, the circus came to me. The showtimes are sporadic and the show changes from day-to-day, but I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Is your life like a circus? Leave a story in the comments below.