After about 25 minutes of running around the station's small lawn with his brother, Nels came and stood by me, staring wistfully down the tracks.
"I keep hoping that that old man with the soft voice and the soft hands will POP out of there any minute," he said.
The old man with the soft voice and the soft hands. So lyric, that description. And so loving, to notice the small, real details.
Dad never arrives empty-handed. He brought a jar of Juli cookies (thank you, Juli!), a huge stack of old Hardy Boys and other assorted books, all sorts of Ski to Sea material, which he's been designing for the past five months, and the be-all and end-all of Boy Gifts, a book on knot-tying and two lengths of rope.
(A note on the Hardy Boys: we started with volume 32 or so, written in the 1950's. I thought that was dated. Then we tried one written in 1931. Holy smokes. The times, they have a-changed.)
All too soon, dad was on his way. But the book on knots became a prized household possession. By the time Father's Day rolled around, Shaun was happily and expertly working his way through some of the more impressive knots, and Nels was discovering the thrill of following the diagrams and making a knot all on his own. Willem, feeling left out, periodically pronounced, "Yeah, knots are BORing."
That's pretty much all we did on Father's Day. We went to church, tried a new burger place (Five Guys, and they really need to SALT their patties!) and spent a quiet afternoon at home. I wanted to cook something spicy for Shaun for dinner; he likes spicy food, but I never fix it (on purpose, anyway) on account of the kids. I made this recipe for Beef Short Ribs in Chipotle and Green Chili Sauce (substituting boneless pork country ribs for the beef) and it actually wasn't very spicy. But it was delicious.
Shaun tied knots with Nels and played stuffed animals with Willem.
We're all really, really glad that he's their dad.