A long time ago (1996 – 2000) I lived in Minneapolis for a four-year period. I found it a very nice city with very nice people and still have four good friends from my time there.
Over Father’s Day Weekend Sydney and I flew to Minneapolis to visit my friends Chad and Parissa Davidson and their kids Lila (7) and Liam (5), spending three nights at their house.
Sydney had met Lila and Liam at least once, on a trip the Davidsons took to Colorado last year, but I was still a little worried Sydney might not bond with the kids given the age difference. I need not have worried.
Sydney was enamored with Lila from the first moment and the feeling was mutual. The two girls dressed in the same outfits, made bead necklaces, read books, and played dolls together. Liam had to work his way in but he is not shy and was able to do so; when Liam and Sydney were alone, they got along great too. And the three of them, despite some sibling rivalry and some kid moments of drama, seemed to love spending time with each other.
And as a large combined “family”, everyone had a wonderful weekend. We went to a kids festival, bicycled to three different parks, played board games, sang songs and danced, had a dinner party with the neighbors, and much more. Chad and I even got away for two hours to play soccer on Father’s Day itself.
For me personally, it was a real pleasure to spend time with all four of the Davidsons. As much as I would have liked to have brought Sydney to Seattle to be with my dad on Father’s Day, I think almost any father would agree the best Father’s Day ever is one in which he gets to watch his child have fun. It was pure joy to see Sydney immediately integrate into Lila and Liam’s life and have such a wonderful time.
Water and beaches are not really Colorado’s strong point. But they exist and are important!
Sydney’s grandparents on Allan’s side live on a lake and Sydney’s grandparents on Devon’s side have a pool. So for safety purposes, Devon and I are very keen to make sure Sydney learns to swim. And more than that, I want to make sure she is comfortable in and loves the water.
Sydney certainly has loved the water since she was little but we have not been successful teaching her to swim. She had “dad and me” lessons early on that clearly showed Sydney’s love for the water but concern about getting her face wet. We then tried group lessons earlier this year but Sydney did not like the instructor, who was admittedly a bit severe, and dropped out.
I decided to pay for private instruction and booked six 30-minute lessons at the local rec center with a very nice, patient college girl. Sydney did well at the beginning but hit a bit of a wall in terms of putting her face in the water … until yesterday. Yesterday the instructor sort of launched Sydney back to the pool stairs and Sydney went under water, holding her breath. That gave her the realization she could do it and after the lesson I showed Sydney that I could go underwater for six seconds. Sydney then did the same! It was a major breakthrough for a kid who didn’t like to get her face wet.
We’ll continue after a break for travels with another six lessons.
There are lake beaches in Colorado but equally fun are river beaches. This past week Sydney and I had two great river beach experiences.
First we met Sydney’s good friend Evie and her parents on the banks of Clear Creek in Golden, Colorado. The river was cold and running fast but the beach was excellent for digging, building castles, and burying Evie’s dad Michael in the sand.
After that we went to our local Four Mile Creek, which is only a couple blocks from my house. This is a seasonal creek, the water was much warmer, and there was no danger so Sydney and I were able to wade, build castles, divert the stream, and generally have a great time.