A Daddy-Daughter SaturdayOct 12, 2022 08:43AM ● By Matthew Jones
I’m a big fan of having two kids. They get to grow up together and they can play with each other. Empathy and compassion need to be learned, and having another kid around all the time gives them lots of chances to practice. I get a little thrill when my daughter picks out a snack and insists on getting one for her brother. Also, they have to figure out how to share and get along with each other. That is hard for them to learn and can be a pain when they’re fighting, but they’re vital skills to acquire. One downside of having multiple kids (among many other headaches) is that it’s hard to get one-on-one time with them. They’re always BOTH there, which can make it tough to really get some quality time with one or the other. Most of the time you’re dragging them from activity to activity, spending all your energy on getting them both dressed and in shoes, with little left over to get down on their level and have some fun.
That’s why this last Saturday, while not what we had planned, was a nice change of pace. We originally had planned on going as a family to the Maryland Renaissance Festival up near Annapolis. We go most years. But unfortunately, we discovered too late that all the tickets were sold out. Our family friend Valerie was planning on going with us and had already bought tickets and had an extra. Long story short, my wife wound up taking our 5-year-old son Benny to join Val at the fair, and I stayed home with our 2-year-old daughter Lily. I was a little bummed, but not too sad—I was happy that Benny was getting some extended one-on-one time with his mom. Even more exciting was that I got to get a whole day of Lily And Daddy Time without anywhere we had to rush to.
Out and about
We started off with a quick walk with the dog. (Lily insisted on walking the dog herself part of the way.) When we got back from that, Lily pointed to my bike and said she wanted a bike ride. Usually I’d have to drag her away because we have somewhere to be. But this time, why not? We had nowhere to be! I hadn’t been on a bike ride in a while, and I don’t think ever with just Lily. We’re lucky enough to live just a block away from the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail. That’s the mile-and-a-half stretch of paved path that goes along the river and past Old Mill Park and connects the two ends of the canal path. It’s got a ton of beautiful scenery, and it’s my go-to for dog-walking or bike rides. We rode together for a mile or so, stopping to take in the view of the Rappahannock River along the way, then headed back.
To market, to market
I wanted to go to the farmers market in Hurkamp Park next. Lily suggested riding the bike all the way there. I’ve done it before, but a bike isn’t great for hauling back bags of produce, so I opted to drive. Lily eventually agreed. Once at the market, I grabbed some produce for the week. I talked Lily down from a massive pumpkin to a cute little baseball-sized one, since we were going pumpkin-picking the next day. I bought her some lemonade from the fresh lemonade stand, and grabbed a loaf of cheddar garlic bread from the Great Harvest stand (perfect for making grilled cheese sandwiches!)
We walked the three blocks to Caroline street to check out what was happening downtown. I was excited to check out Art Attack, which was happening that day. All throughout downtown, artists had set up easels and canvas on the sidewalks to work on their projects. There were artists maybe every 20 feet. It was really cool! We got to check out a few artists’ work and see them painting. Art Attack has been happening since 2012 but this is the first time I’ve gone, and I’m glad I went! Lily didn’t seem to care too much about the art, though, so after looking at a few we went to get some lunch.
We stopped by Maggie’s for me to get a sandwich. I had actually run into a friend a few minutes before and really liked the looks of his sandwich so he pointed me to Maggie’s. I get what he got- The Hayscale, their version of a Reuben. It was good! They had lots of other sandwiches and soups available too. They had a ham and cheese sandwich option for kids, but Lily flatly turned it down. She wanted a quesadilla, and no amount of suggesting got her interested in anything Maggie’s had. Luckily, Juan More Taco was just a few doors down. I got their kids’ quesadilla (with beans and rice) for Lily, and she happily picked at it. It was a little pricey at $8 for just those things, but it was good quality and lasted her for three meals so I’m not complaining.
A fun end to a fun day
The rest of the day was uneventful. Lily had her nap, I did some dishes and laundry, and we went to the grocery store. Dinner was leftovers. Before bed, Lily and I played together on the swings in the backyard. Usually it’s with both kids, so it was a nice change to get to just play with Lily. And I got a couple unsolicited “I love you daddy”s which just really made my day. All in all, it was a really great day. I hope that next time our plans have to change drastically, it ends as well as it did this time.