Boys and their Toys

F-22 Raptor
Showcasing some of the new, we had the F-22 Raptor on display.

It was always my dream to be able to take my kids out to the things that excited me as a child. Camping, hiking, fishing, theme parks, sports … but nothing quite touches the male soul like jet fuel, just ask Tim “the tool man” Taylor. So today we headed up to the airshow to soak in some of that raw, thunderous power.

The boys wanted to visit every aircraft they could get inside of … and who was I to argue? They played the side gunners on helicopters, studied the inside of the bomb holds, and walked the inside of a C-5. Now, if you haven’t seen a C-5 Super Galaxy, you need to. The thing is huge, not sure how it gets off the ground fully-loaded.

We sat and watched planes tumble and fall from the sky, only to be “saved” by the skilled pilot [side note: acrobatic flight defies the laws of physics]. We watched fighter planes of all ages show us what they were made of as they showed us their controlled maneuvers and coordinated formation flying. And, of course, we were buzzed by jet fighters to the thrill the crowd which included a Mig-17F doing a pass at 93% the speed of sound. The day was capped off with the Thunderbirds who demonstrated some precision flying along with some heart pounding moments as several times the “solo” plane would sneak up on us, the unsuspecting crowd.

Crew for a day
Stormtroopers are here!

This is the fun part about being Dad. The chance to be a kid again through them and with them. Life is not all unicorns and rainbows, but as dad I live for these moments. I watched them move from exhibit to exhibit fascinated with … well, everything.

Days like today are always what I worried about losing as the family changed. I fret that experiences, especially new and engaging experiences, will be shared with a new male figure in the house. That slowly my role in the boys lives will fade and be replaced with that “family unit” that I had never wanted to destroy. What I was always told is that the boys will continue to desire my inclusion, and I do sense that is how they feel. Yet, it is hard for me to see things from their vantage point … so there my insecurities breed.

After adventures like today, or moments like losing a tooth, or the excitement of watching a new movie the kids always request to share those moments (pictures, videos, or just to talk) with their mom. Which is something I always share, and sometimes even suggest. Now I am not trying to toot my horn, I just believe this is how things should be handled. It is not a competition. I don’t go out of my way to push things in her face, but if the moment calls for it I select a few photos centered around the kids and pass them to her along with comments from the children themselves. Judgement is pulled from my internal desires to have these same moments shared with me. Helps keep things focused on the kids and not on the emotional battles still being waged between us.

Yet, is it being reciprocated? I don’t get calls from the kids when they are with her, at least not often. I don’t get emails or text messages either. Is this how she feels as well? Guess I just hate knowing, or thinking, that I am missing out on adventures that they are having. Absence leads to wondering, wondering leads to worry, worry leads to mistrust … maybe, just maybe … I am just being selfish? Possibly pulling from a desire to never have gone down this path? Well, that is something I have to deal with as no one can fix me better than me.

Today was about a father and his sons sharing in adventures and exploring the toys of our imaginations. We took a lot of pictures and stored away a lot of memories. On the drive home both kids requested that we watch “that fighter jet movie” … yes, that one! We weren’t done with our day yet, some quality cuddle time was still to come.


Special thanks to the MacDill A.F.B. for hosting the event.

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