Springer

This has nothing to do with Jerry Springer or his adorable show.

I titled this “Springer” because this weekend reminded me of one day in the spring and one day in the summer, or two days that felt like spring and summer simultaneously. Tough to choose; both had elements of months warmer than January.

This weekend came in with a laundry list typical of this time of year: ride bikes, eat out, plant flowers, hang up bird feeders, change oil, wash the cars, shoot the gun, ride some more bikes, have a dinner at home that spent all of Sunday simmering in the crock pot. Sprinkled in between were smaller, unplanned tasks such as runs to the store, laundry, bathing the children (including one at 3 a.m. after a bout with something that didn’t agree with his stomach), more laundry. Our family didn’t get it all done, but we hit the important stuff.

And I am exhausted.

We went to Greenville Saturday morning, where I learned my lady’s new Jeep has a lot of cargo room, but not enough to carry two bikes and a trailer without disassembling and reassembling the contraptions several times. Regardless, Kalista was finally able to blow the dust off of her bike and Jakob was introduced to the bicycle trailer – which is a limo compared to what I got when I was his age. We rode about 10 miles on the paved trail that went through the city, along the river and to the outskirts of town. It took several hours.

Afterward, we reunited with The One I Love, who’d spent most of the afternoon while we were on bikes looking for Walmart. She failed, but didn’t seem too bothered after she heard the kids talk about the fun they had. Then we loaded back up, found a place to park downtown, ate overpriced ribs and chicken and hit the streets to buy stuff we didn’t need from a shop we don’t have where we live. Luckily, the children seemed so tired from the day that we couldn’t spend much time doing this.

Sunday morning brought more ambition. It was a day of work disguised as fun. The One I Love had been waiting to put up two bird feeders I recently got her but needed a shepherd’s hook on which to hang them in the yard and I’d been talking all week about planting some flowers in the concrete boxes on the front porch. A post-breakfast trip to Lowe’s took care of it all. One hour later, the four of us were filling feeders and shoveling a soil-manure mix into the boxes, which finally housed a sampling of the limited variety of flowers available at the hardware superstore this time of year.

We never did get to shooting the .22 with the kids.

We didn’t come all that close to washing the cars.

Perhaps if it hadn’t taken so long to do the other stuff, those could’ve been marked off Friday’s list.

THIS IS THE FIRST March I’ve spent with a wife and two children. One year ago, it was only Kalista and me. Eight years ago, it was just me. I used to think it was tough to accomplish what I set out to complete over the weekend when I had just one or zero children; now it’s next to impossible.

But this is so much better.

For if I hadn’t had to remount Kalista’s bicycle chain several times, wait for her to walk her bike up the steep parts of the trail or stop so Jakob could pee, it wouldn’t have taken all afternoon to ride 10 miles. If I hadn’t had to keep stopping what I was doing to get out from under the car to find my children who’d abruptly gone silent, it wouldn’t have taken 45 minutes to change 4.3 quarts of oil and a filter. And if I hadn’t noticed what a good time the kids and The One I Love had planting flowers and hanging bird feeders, I wouldn’t have had to clean up the mess from making humming bird food in the kitchen so they had more feeders to hang.

I could go on. It is amazing how much more time it takes to get things done when there’s three in your group plus you.

However, you feel like you’ve accomplished so much more when you have a family with whom to share the love. Because you have done more than when you’re the only person in your party.

You have loved more – and that’s worth all of the time in the world.

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