So by now, most of us are probably bored out of our minds being stuck at home. While I still have to go in to work (being mission-essential and all), the girls are definitely getting tired of being cooped up in the house most of the weekend. But, pandemic or not, good parenting never stops and we are still driving on with our routine (albeit a safer one).
About two weeks before COVID-19 changed everything, we were busy preparing Elaina for her talent show at the Seifert School Age Center (SAC). She was planning to sing “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II with some of her friends, so we brought out the karaoke machine that she got for Christmas and started practicing. Yep, it is another post about taking time away from your busy day at work to support your child and their activity.
During this time of uncertainty, sometimes it is really tough to think positive. But we must carry on and try to find the silver lining in all this. In the Army, we call this “Hunting the Good Stuff.” In essence, you may be in a bad situation, but try your best to look on the bright side. And we do, because that is how the Calkins Family does it.
In the wake of the girls’ mother leaving, the last thing I wanted to have was a birthday party with friends. It just ended up being the girls and I. We picked out a cake together, I bought them presents, and we just spent the evening together. Two years later, my birthday routine has become something of a tradition, one born out of a sadder time in our lives, but one that means a lot to all three of us.
Prior to the winter break, Elaina’s class had a “gingerbread” house decorating activity, of which parents were invited. While Elaina begged me to go, it was all in vain; as I have stated before, I would not have missed it for the world.
Note: If you have not noticed, I am playing a little bit of catch-up on my writing. The girls are visiting their mother and great-grandmother over the holiday weekend, so it might finally give me a chance to get to some of the bigger events, such as their soccer season, Christmas, New Year’s.
As any parent will know, your children are always watching you and picking up things from your behavior (for better or for worse). Because of this, you always need to be on your toes to ensure that your children are picking up the right values. Sometimes you get lucky though and can show these values through your normal actions. This happened a few weeks ago when we attended back-to-back fundraisers, with my daughters learning the values of helping support others.
So the big day finally arrived to pick up our kittens from the Pima Animal Care Center. Yes, you heard that right: plural. We ended up adopting two of them, both roommates at the center (in fact, the girls had me already calling the center before I completed my previous post). In my opinion, it could not have gone any better. Here are the first 24 hours with the newest members of our family, Merlissa, a six-month old female Tortie (Tortoiseshell)/Brown Tabby, and Aurora, a six-month old female Orange Tabby.
One year ago, I started this blog for the following reasons:
“The first is to be a productive outlet for my family and myself by highlighting how much fun you can have when you put family first, regardless of your family structure. The second is to inspire and give hope to other single fathers out there, especially those that are the primary custodians of their children.”
While only other single fathers (or even single mothers, for that matter) can answer if I met my second goal, I can with absolute certainty say that this first goal was a success and it exceeded my expectations. From our amazing trip to Walt Disney World to our weekly adventures in the greater Sierra Vista metroplex to our lazy days around the house, we are showing day after day what a loving, caring, and fun family looks like. And if this was not enough, Elaina got recognized at school this week.
I put in a lot of hours at work. I am pretty good at time management (and work through lunch on most days), so I still get off by 5:15pm every day, but the time spent at the office definitely adds up. While anyone can tell you that breaks need to be taken, it is important to ensure that those breaks are effective, meaning that they replenish you and allow you to refocus once you return to work. I do not take as many breaks as I should, but they are almost always effective. The best break? Going to one of my daughters’ schools and surprising them for lunch.
Daddy Daughter Days do not happen as often as they did before, but on the rare occasion that I have a babysitter or family in town, I try to spend some quality one-on-one time with both Elaina and Gabriella. It is a excellent opportunity to bond with your child without sister interference, as they both tend to get frustrated when the other turns Dad’s attention away from them. Elaina is currently enrolled in ballet at her Child Development Center and she mentioned to me a few weeks ago that she really wanted to see the Nutcracker Ballet. Not really sure how she got this idea, but I aim to please. And it seemed like a good activity for a Daddy Daughter Day, which we have not had in a while. I got tickets for The Nutcracker, presented by Ballet Tucson, and Elaina was just ecstatic. She gets to wear a pretty dress and watch real ballerinas in action. I get to spend some quality time with my oldest daughter and broaden my horizons. Talk about a win-win scenario.