Michael usually sits with his two daughters at one of the picnic tables at the tennis and swim club to which his family and I belong. His wife Alexis is one of the tennis pro’s at the club. Michael is a an ex track and field super star from the University of Florida.
Michael and Alexis are both marvels of human form and physical development. She is as sleek as a Florida panther and just as fast. He can jump over the tennis net from a standing still position. I stand here as witness to such feat.
When he sits at a picnic table, like every disciplined serious minded athlete that understands the formula for being a winner, he utilizes his time wisely. While one of his daughters is working on her tennis skills either with other children or his wife, he homeschools the other. Once the Florida heat begins to wear down the daughter that is playing, he swaps. He brings the overheated one under the shade provided by the large oak trees and Florida pines that cover the complex and sends the other one to hone her forehand on the courts.
Homeschooling books, writing pads, pens, and colored pencils are a sure sign that Michael and the kids are around.
Occasionally he takes his girls into the pool area and allows them to cool down and blow some steam as they jump in and out of the water. The books and assorted school supplies are ubiquitous. The girls understand the two to one rule. A half hour of splashing around and an hour of working on their math, grammar or history. Again he often accomplishes this by the swapping technique he uses when the girls are playing tennis. Other times he brings the girls under the umbrella tables around the swimming pool and teaches them together.
It is obvious that the oldest one is well on her way to being a top ranked tennis player. My prognostication for the little one is that one day she will create and run a very large upmarket disruptive company probably in Artificial Intelligence or some sort of futuristic technology that services clients all over the world. I know this because she sold me a bunch of rubber bands that were tied together that she claimed would make a beautiful wristband all for the amazingly low price of one dollar. A handful of penny rubber bands for one dollar is not a bad profit margin!
I admire Michael and Alexis and wish I could have done something similar to what they are doing. Like so many others living in this country I put in those infamous 60-hour work weeks and often times did the two-week international trips that forced me to miss a few too many 4th of July’s and a few too many Labor Days. Now that I am retired and all of my three daughters live far away, and all I have left are memories of those years when any of them would sit on my lap in order to listen to me read a children’s book, I wish I had more, much more of those types of memories to look back upon. Memories like the ones I know Michael is going to have .
TO ALL THE FATHERS THAT I KNOW AND AND ALL THE FATHERS I DON’T KNOW AND PERHAPS WILL HAVE THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING ONE DAY….I HOPE YOU HAD A MOST WONDERFUL FATHER’S DAY.
AND TO MICHAEL AND ALEXIS, BUT ESPECIALLY TO MICHAEL ON THIS FATHER’S DAY, I CAN ONLY SAY ONE THING…KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!!