Valentine’s Day, Blueberries, and Parent Memories

Photo Credit to cottonbro on Pexels

I hadn’t planned on writing a blog post today. Many people who advise about these things maintain that we should develop a blogging routine to grow our audience. While that makes sense, I’m in that beautiful spot in life where I can do things on my terms. Perhaps the best thing about retirement is to have the time to pursue our interests and do what we feel like without the pressures of always keeping a schedule and meeting work deadlines. The path that works best for me is to write when I feel like it. Blogging for me is a hobby; I don’t want it to become my job.

This morning I was reading a post by a blogger I recently discovered (LaShelle) at Everpine Forest and Farm https://everpineforestandfarm.com/. She was writing about her son and his love of blueberries. She shared a comical tale about how her young boy had once raided the refrigerator and overindulged on blueberries. What followed was the humorous image of him waking his mom up while he stood there covered in blueberry stains. You can read about that here: https://everpineforestandfarm.com/2022/02/14/miracles-and-blueberries/

I’m also a parent. I connected with LaShelle’s post because it reminded me of unpredictable and funny experiences I’ve been through. Parenting is full of these moments of joy and challenges. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s what we sign up for when we become parents.

While reading LaShelle’s tale, I immediately thought of our son’s fixation with heavy equipment when he was a little guy. The neighbor who lived below us was a dirt contractor, and he had the coolest arsenal of heavy construction equipment that he utilized in his business. He always seemed to bring home an excavator, loader, backhoe, bulldozer, etc.

Photo Credit to Anamul Rezwan on Pexels

Being the product of two educators, our son didn’t stand a chance. We read to him all the time when he was an infant. I credit this early introduction to books as one of the reasons why he loves to read today. When your child shows an interest in anything, you run with it. When I first introduced him to the library, I knew that each visit would include bringing home books filled with pictures of heavy machinery. He became interested in other things over time, but construction vehicles were always at the top of the list when he was three or four years old.

Ryan had the happiest childhood. Imagine going out of your backdoor to play on heavy equipment with a couple of buddies. Not with toys, but the real deal. There was no real danger because they couldn’t drive any of it without keys. What they could do was let their imaginations run wild, and they were forever doing that.

As others can relate to, taking trips with a preschool-aged youngster can be quite the challenge. We employed various tricks to help pass the time on these 4–5-hour excursions. My wife, Debbie, was a preschool teacher and later a director of the same school, so she frequently called on all her resources to prevent him from getting cranky and restless.

She employed the technique of surprise rather skillfully as one means of keeping him engaged. Unbeknownst to him, she would always pack some toys to bring, which she kept in the front seat out of sight. Periodically, she would pass a paper bag back to him in the backseat with something inside. Sometimes she’d put in one of his favorite toys, old ones that he hadn’t played with for months, and 1-2 times per trip, she’d slip in something new. I’m convinced that part of the excitement for him was simply the joy of discovery.

Photo Credit to Angela Roma on Pexels

Capitalizing on his interest in heavy equipment, we used to count construction vehicles that we’d see on the trip. He was a clever little bugger and counting well by then. He’d usually tire at some point and need a nap. Before he’d drop off to sleep, he’d ask us to maintain the construction vehicle count while he slept. Both of us said we would, fully knowing that would never happen. (Yes, we knowingly lied to him; we were parents trying to survive. Ha-ha.) One might assume because he was only four years old, he might have forgotten all about it.

Upon waking, the conversation would go something like this: “How many construction vehicles have you seen?”

My wife or I would answer with some random number. “Um, I think we’re up to 34 now.”

“But we had 42 before I went to sleep.” Ha-ha! Busted again!

I like the timing of remembering these stories on Valentine’s Day because I am such a lucky man to have a loving wife and amazing son. He got engaged less than three months ago, and he and his fiancée will be traveling from Montana to Missouri tomorrow as they contemplate whether to take a new college football coaching job. I’ve 100% faith that they will make the right decision for them. He may no longer be counting construction vehicles, but I’ll bet he’s counting his blessings on Valentine’s Day. I know I am.

109 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day, Blueberries, and Parent Memories

  1. Parenting is definitely blueberries, tractors, and counting your blessings as you hang on for dear life during this crazy ride. I’m sure that whatever choice your son makes, he will be rewarded with new experiences and new memories. Maybe 30 years from now he will be sharing them (along with anecdotes about his dad) with his readers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 4:21 pm

      My wife and I like to discuss that possibility. Ryan used to get such a laugh when he’d hear his Nonie talking on the phone to someone, and she’d say, “Yes, well ‘the kids’ just arrived here today.” She was referencing Debbie and me, and he found it hilarious that his parents were referred to as “kids.”

      I’ve enjoyed that ride so much and look forward to making new memories. I only hope I live long enough to see his kids making fun of him. 😊

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  2. I absolutely loved your story Pete, I’ve been trying to hold onto these little moments while my son is still small because it goes by so quickly. There really is such beauty behind the struggles of parenting. I can only imagine the pride you feel as you watch your son find his own path towards happiness and joy. Congratulations on his new endeavors. You and Debbie have raised a good one I’m sure of it!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 4:24 pm

      Thanks for the inspiration today. I got a laugh imagining the look on your face as your boy was standing there covered with berry stains.

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      1. The doctors bill what’s what killed me but it’s great that it’s long past that we can laugh about it now 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 4:30 pm

        I’m sure it wasn’t that funny at the time, but it’s good that you can laugh about it now. I’ve owned dogs my entire life, and every time we have to take one of our dogs to the vet, we never get out of there cheap. As a farm girl, I’m sure you can relate.

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      3. Oh yes 😬 I spent over ten grand on my favorite horse once upon a time. Not my finest hour.

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  3. What a great story, Pete. This brought a feel-good smile. Those are wonderful memories and a wonderful share!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 4:27 pm

      This parenting business never quite ends, though he seldom asks for advice anymore. His track record and decision-making skills have always been on point. Every time he switches schools, I can’t help but think of all of the additional clothing we’ll purchase. 😂

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  4. While our children are grown, with mine being married with children and yours being engaged, we do love our memories of them as little kids. I now have the privilege to watch my grandkids eating the raspberries while picking them in the backyard. The lost count of them and my older grandkid got a stomach ache, haha! My daughter just told me she’ll start taking Autumn to shop for her clothes because she didn’t like some that my daughter picked for her. I said, “but, she’s only four!” That’s the problem of taking them to make decisions. 🙂

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 6:13 pm

      It must be fun to watch your daughter as a parent. Empowering a four-year-old with some decisions is good, but I’m not sure they’re ready to make many decisions at that age. As kids demonstrate their decision-making maturity, we begin to entrust them with more. I think probably every kid has overeaten at some point to the point of making themselves sick. We all have to learn these lessons.

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      1. I think the new generation of parents are less authoritative. My daughter and son-in-law take time to explain to Autumn instead of just a flat “no.” Dinner of their friends are more permissive, not trying to disagree with the kids too much. 😌

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  5. Lovely post, Pete. I have always been amazed at how kids can become focused on things that interest them. Great story.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 6:18 pm

      I also became an expert in identifying my heavy machinery. We tracked license plates to see how many states we could find when traveling when I was a kid. That’s fun for a time until you get the more common geographic ones.

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  6. Such a heart-warming story. I had a kindergarten student who loved ‘vehicles’ (yes, that’s what he called them). Being the tech teacher, I enjoyed this brilliant boy from K-8 and he never lost his love of vehicles. You brought back those memories.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 6:21 pm

      I taught one of those types too. He drives a forklift now. I think it would be interesting to see what percentage of kids became what they always dreamed about.

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      1. That is so cool, Pete–drives a forklift. I love that.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. what lovely and joyful memories! so funny how we always have to try to outthink them to keep everything flowing smoothly and it doesn’t always work. best of luck to them on their decision, i’m sure they’ll make the right choice, too. p.s. i agree, post when the mood strikes you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 6:24 pm

      I’ve gotten more serious about writing something every day toward my story writing—a completely different skill set than blogging. I’ve developed a whole new level of respect for writers, but I love the feeling of creating something from scratch.

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  8. I greatly enjoyed your Valentine’s Day memories of Ryan’s growing up years. I got a big kick out of the construction vehicle counting game. Tut, tut, Mom and Dad.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 7:27 pm

      I know. We failed big-time. Good thing he turned out so good to cover for us. 😊

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  9. What wonderful memories. We are so lucky to have such memories crop up from time to time. If not tractors at four, it was dinosaurs. That’s what your blog reminds me of. My son was about 4 when we were trying to find a campsite one rainy Friday night. It was absolutely pouring and all the campgrounds were full. It would have taken a couple of hours to return home and we were all tired so I made my husband stop at this very expensive resort for the night. It was the only place around. It was quite the place and we sat on the floor by the fireplace enjoying it. Suddenly my son piped said hey mom there is a stegosaurus over there and, sure enough, there was. Under the chair across the room was a small plastic stegosaurus left by some other Dino-loving kid. That little plastic guy is still around here in a container along all the other little plastic dinosaurs he played with back then. Thanks for the memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 7:50 pm

      One of the best things about blogging for me is I’ll read someone’s blog, often about something totally unrelated, and suddenly a memory I haven’t thought of in some time will come to the surface. The brain is the most interesting body part of how tiny bits of pieces can be stored for so long while other more recent memories evaporate.

      Every object has an interesting story to tell—even a plastic stegosaurus. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Hi Pete, this is a fun post, I love that you are so happy with your family. Sometimes I feel like I could kill one or other, or both, of my kids and also my husband [haha – that is why I write horror, to release those feelings]. Greg was also interested in construction vehicles and we also used to count them when we drove. He also liked power tools and had his own play set which he used when my dad did handyman stuff around the house. Michael loved animals and we had the biggest collection of stuffed and plastic animals in the world.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 9:26 pm

      Haha! For the inspiration to write horror stories. I suppose you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t lose your patience with them. Happens to the best of us. One of the more interesting kids I taught was a girl who always liked to build things with the boys. Now she is a general contractor. I used to use her as an example that girls and boys can do whatever they want

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      1. That is a great story, Pete. My best friend at school became a chemical engineer. That was quite a feat at a time when women in engineering was very unusual and the men weren’t welcoming either.

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  11. Awww, this is such a cute post. Especially the bit where you admit about lying about keeping count of the vehicles while your son slept. I love when my parents make these admissions to me now about things they lied to us about (I mean suh silly things only) when we were kids!
    My mum is a teacher too, she started me off on reading at a young age too. Thanks to her I used to read 50+ books a year during my school years.
    Congratulations to your son and his fiancee, wishing them both a lifetime of love. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 14, 2022 — 10:08 pm

      Parents make the best decisions for their kids, but there are going to be days and nights when we cut corners because we’re in survival mode. I should have included the story of our first trip to my mother-in-law’s place (over four hours away). It was Friday and I was functioning on my usual 2-3 hours of sleep after working all week. Ryan’s nickname at that point was Cryin’ Ryan because he was a very colicky baby. He literally screamed and cried for the first two hours of the trip. We pulled over at a rest area to get some fresh air and regain our sanity. It was stormy and the power was out at the rest area. I opened the car door to get some air and the rain was coming down sideways with something like 50 mph winds. I just started laughing aloud because it had reached hysterical proportions of how bad it could be. Thankfully, he fell asleep, and then we spent the next two hours worrying about him because he was so quiet.

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  12. You are indeed a lucky man. That kind of luck sounds like it’s contagious in your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:20 am

      While I believe in making your own breaks, there is an awful lot of randomness and luck in our lives out of our control.

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  13. Wonderful story telling, Pete! I really enjoyed this!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:22 am

      Thanks, Brad. Some memories are enjoyable to write about. This was one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lovely memories, Pete, and it’s good that you can count these blessings. Our older one had a talent for spotting the words we used that could be said to embarrass us in polite company. I like to think that both of our girls had a happy childhood, and the grandkids seem to be following suit. The importance of family cannot be over-emphasised.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:28 am

      You’ve written about your girls before, and I’ve enjoyed learning about them. It must be gratifying to see them raise happy kids to carry the legacy forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It definitely is, and I hope you’ll soon be in the same situation. They bring joy to your life.

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  15. Lovely post, Pete. It’s always fun sharing parenting stories. I’m looking forward to your grandparenting stories (at some time in the future) too.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:34 am

      Parenting stories are one of those things we can all relate to. It’s good to be able to look back and laugh at yourself. I remember as a beginning dad struggling with changing diapers, thinking, “It’s a good thing he’ll never remember any of this.” 😊 Yes, I’m looking forward to telling grandparent stories.

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      1. Having diapers changed (we call them nappies) is something none of us want to think about having happened to us! 😅

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  16. Very nice post Pete. Brings back memories of my brother playing in the dirt with his metal trucks . He was always making buzzing sounds lime the truck engines were running. It would anoy my older sister very much. Great memories.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:37 am

      Haha! Boys and their sounds. When our son used to take a bath, he’d bring all of these little matchbox cars with him into the tub. I loved the sound of his running commentary as he made up all kinds of stories pushing them around.

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  17. I think we have all embellished the truth at times, Pete…But that is part of parenting…The biggest joy for me is seeing what great parents my children have become…A lovely post and post when you feel it Pete before the joy goes out of it 🙂 x

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:41 am

      I’ve always tried to emphasize that same point with Ryan. I am proud of his accomplishments, but I take the most pride in knowing that he is a kind and decent person. I sure enjoy the photos you share here and on Facebook of you with one of your children or grandchildren. I’ll bet your grandchildren think they’ve got the best grandma.

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      1. Ahhhh thank you, Pete x I think most grandchildren think that… as much as we love our own kids the feeling for grandchildren is a different special.. You will find that out one day.. x

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:43 am

      Thank you, Dorothy. Writing these thoughts down helps me to remember these stories.

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  18. Your ‘blog post timing’ hit the spot! What a gift to have big machines at the ready and in real-time view…really cool.
    I know your son and DIL will make the best decision…with consideration of all counted blessings, I’m sure!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:46 am

      He would come home covered in mud. He was all boy when it came to playing in the dirt. I’d love him to write down some of his happy memories from his childhood.

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  19. Lovely post, Pete. Spending time with my two-year-old grandson has brought so many memories of my son growing up. He also liked heavy machinery so he had every possible metal toy imaginable. Unfortunately, as he left them behind, they sat in the garage, so we donated them before they could rust away! Did you ever read your kids Blueberries for Sal?

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:50 am

      Yes, I remember that story well. I should pass on that recommendation to LaShelle. My wife and I were grateful that our son grew up around his grandparents. They were so supportive, always coming to all of his games. Mom used to pick him up once a week from daycare, and they’d go off and do something together. She liked to tell the story of him happily hopping in the car, eyes ablaze, asking, “Where are we going today, Grandma?”

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  20. There’s something about small boys and diggers, tractors, and other heavy machinery. My two sons were the same, and now I have 3 grandsons obsessed with cars, lol.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 9:52 am

      I’ve often wondered how much of that is part of biology or how much they pick that up from others.

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      1. I think boys are naturally drawn to heavy machinery because the majority of them like to know how they work. Girls just accept that they work and do the job they do, but boys need to know the inner workings.

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  21. I enjoyed going down Memory Lane with you, Pete. Your account of your son’s infatuation with heavy equipment reminded me of my son’s infatuation with trees when he was five. I learned along with him!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 5:35 am

      We get interested in the things our kids are drawn to or vice versa. I loved almost all sports long before I met my wife, but she only liked figure skating and gymnastics. When our son got interested in Nascar, suddenly, my wife took an interest (something I don’t pay much attention to). She learned all of the cars and drivers.

      He started playing football when he was in junior high. Debbie couldn’t have told you what a first down was before that. Suddenly, she got invested in his games and wanted to know the rules. Now, she is a big fan. I find it quite humorous when I come home from running errands and find her watching some random football game in front of the television. I want to say, “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?” 😂

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      1. What a blessing it is to have an open mind, a willingness to change, and a thirst for knowledge like your wife! It all comes down to a desire to really know this amazing person we love.

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  22. Boys & trucks, trucks & boys. Aren’t they synonymous? Your story reminded me so much of us and our son. And, yes, I write when I get motivated but not as a regular habit. Anyway, I think I’m running out of ‘woids’…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:04 pm

      Haha—that, I doubt. I haven’t heard any crossing guard stories lately. Has that chapter of your life ended? California just lifted the mask mandate today, although I don’t think that applies to schools. I just got back from the gym. It was pretty divided today between those wearing a mask or not.

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      1. Yes, it has ended, as if the last school year. My wife wanted me home more (don’t know why…) and kids &Covid had me a bit nervous. I have a compromised immune system and am just being extra cautious. Miss it a lot. Need to get back to the gym, myself. Oh, I’m working on a story from my teaching days. Ready soon. Take care.

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      2. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:24 pm

        I’ll look forward to that, Steve. One of the people in my writing group was one of my former principals (she just left the group to concentrate on other matters), and she frequently wrote the most entertaining school stories.

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  23. I love this, Pete. What a blessed man you are and how wonderful for your son to be raised by two such loving and devoted parents. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:08 pm

      We’ve been through our share of challenges, just like any other family, but I do consider myself lucky. While I hope Ryan is successful in his career, the most important thing to me (which he has to hear me talk about ad nauseam) is that he is a good human being.

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  24. This is the perfect Valentine story, Pete. Your love for your wife and son shines through ❤

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:12 pm

      My wife doesn’t like being photographed or the subject of my blog posts, so I usually spare her.😎I’ve started to print off all my blog posts to pass on to my son. I figure it will be something he can someday share with his kids if I’m not around.

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      1. Wonderful idea- A memoir of precious family memories.
        My grandmother created a beautiful cookbook, done all in her handwriting, for my wedding day. In it she included stories of life in the forties when my mom was born. There are a few black and white photos, ribbons, and most of all, love on those pages. I treasure that book.

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  25. What a great post! I´m with you, now that I´m retired I no longer want schedules. I blog when I feel like it. I love that your son was fixated on heavy construction vehicles. My son operates them for a living! The first time I saw him driving one of the huge monsters, I thought, “How can my little boy be driving that machine?” My little girl on the other hand loved trucks of any sort. Keeping kids occupied on road trips is never easy. We played many games along the way. Good memories.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:16 pm

      I’m still figuring this out, but I’ve become more dedicated to story writing (mostly because I’m enjoying it and still have a ton to learn), but I only blog when I feel like I’ve got something worth sharing. I enjoyed reading one of your recent interviews and learned about your writing process. I find those kinds of things so interesting because everyone has to find what works best for them.

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      1. I agree. I think if you had a schedule for blogging, you would sometimes just post something for the sake of posting. Everyone does have to find what works for them though. And what works now may not work later. As writers, we need to be flexible. Keep writing!

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  26. Great story, Pete! Thanks for sharing your travel memories… We had lots of travel games we played when our two daughters were young. Counting vehicles by color, state/country licence plates among them. One of their favorites was finding all A-B-Cs in order on road signs. First roadtrip with grandson Ryan when he was four was unforgettable. We were searching for word/letter sounds and interpretting traffic signs. Oh, what fun! Thanks for bringing back some of our sweeet memories. ❤ xo

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 1:21 pm

      Our Ryan grew up around his grandparents, which we were always thankful for. Sometimes my parents took him for a weekend getaway in their motor home. The ABCs on road signs—I hadn’t heard about that one. I think I might have to try that someday. I suppose one could do the same with license plates. I imagine one could wait quite a while, searching for some of the letters on road signs.

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  27. wonderful set of stories, Pete. And best of luck to your son with the coaching opportunity!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 4:13 pm

      I’m glad that his fiancee went with him. All career decisions include her now, too. It’s been fun watching him follow his dream. We’ll find out tomorrow if we’re adding another set of clothing to the already packed closet from previous schools.

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      1. that seems to be the way to move ahead in college coaching; I wish him the best!

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  28. Awwww, this was such a sweet post!!! I’ve been a reader of your blog for a little over a year now and I’ve always seen you talk about how proud you are of your son but this post allowed me to envision you as a young father and your son as a young toddler (pretty much me now, with Charlotte). I can’t foresee ever not feeling like she is still my baby and reading this I wonder if you both grow out of that naturally or if you still see Ryan as your young energetic little guy… loved this post so much! 💕

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    1. petespringerauthor February 15, 2022 — 10:23 pm

      I’ve enjoyed the whole journey of being a parent. He was a challenging baby, but for the most part, it’s been a reasonably smooth ride since then, with a few speed bumps along the way. There are memorable parts of this all along the way that I can’t wait for him to experience. One of our routines was I read to or with him pretty much every evening through 6th grade. I also told him bedtime stories (when he was younger), either made up or real. His memory was so good, he’d correct me if I started to tell the story a different way. Pretty funny! I really admire how hard he worked to get in better shape in high school. He used to go in early and lift weights before school. He started running, watching his diet better, reaching his goals because he wasn’t this naturally gifted athlete. It was a product of hard work, and I’m sure he’s used his story to motivate others in coaching. I know I’m biased as his father, but the best part of this whole process is looking at the man he has become. I remember all of it, but the way I picture him most is who he is today.

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  29. I just love your posts, Pete. This wonderful story is certainly one I can resonate with, in two ways. Our son was the same way with construction vehicles when he was four. Also, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know it remains the same way today, that preschool boys are obsessed with trucks and vehicles. It seems to be universal and timeless. I didn’t have your dream situation of a neighbor’s construction equipment- that is as cool as it gets.

    I smiled reading about your trips to the library, the reading at bedtime, and how that contributed to Ryan being so bright. When you can outwit your parents on counting, that is a big deal! Sooo, you were saving the best for last? Ryan might move and consider a new college football coaching job?? I look forward to hearing more! Best to you, and best to Ryan.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 7:34 pm

      One of my favorite parts of watching boys or girls play with trucks is listening to the sounds they make. I was commenting to someone else on here that one of my all-time favorite sounds, when Ryan was little, was listening to him playing with his little racecars in the tub. He was so expressive and talkative, creating various scenarios from his imagination. I thought about taping him, but I never did. He would be self-conscious if I poked my head in the bathroom, so at times I’d park myself in the hallway for five minutes and listen to his running commentary.

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      1. That’s just wonderful! Brings back memories for me, too.

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  30. My grandson was enamored with trucks and his first full phrase around us was “big truck.” He was very excited and would yell out when I was driving, startling me. Then he became fascinated with race cars. He really yelled when he saw a rare fancy one on the freeway. How he spotted and identified them is a mystery to me.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 6:57 am

      Great stories, Elizabeth! Our son loved Nascar. He memorized all the drivers and their cars when he was like 4 or 5. He used to bring his tubful of racecars into the bathtub and line them up on the edge of the tub. His imagination would go to town, and he started a running commentary of an imaginary race. It was such a joyful sound of happiness. Sometimes I’d sit out in the hallway for a couple of minutes just listening to him.

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  31. I have days where the last thing I want to do is write a blog post, but I also want to be traditionally published someday, and I understand the social media platform is an important piece. This was a fun post. I could see ideas for a couple picture books in here. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 4:10 pm

      I had one idea for a picture book, but my interest seems to be primarily with middle grades—the age I worked with most. By the way, Better with Butter came in the mail yesterday. Thanks so much for that, Rosie. I’ve read about half of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and am loving it. I am a huge fan of stories about underdogs. As if life wasn’t hard enough for someone without arms, Tourette’s, or overweight, there is the added burden of tolerating all the noise from insensitive peers. Have you read Jack Gantos? (Joey Pigza Loses Control.) If not, I highly recommend it.

      The trend seems to be moving to Indie, but I’ve decided that I will invest at least a year to get traditionally published. I’m a realist and know the odds are enormous without any track record, but I’ve got the time and energy (at least now). Glad to hear I’m not the only one going for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a Joey Pigza book in my staggering TBR pile. I will move it up. I’m glad you received Better with Butter. It’s a sweet book. Insignificant Events is terrific. Glad you are enjoying it.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. What a cute story, Pete. It’s so obvious that you love your family and loved/love parenting. I hope you write down a lot of these memories for the future. 🙂 They’re to be cherished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 3:43 pm

      I haven’t written them down, but I’ve started to make copies of my blog posts to pass on to my son as I share so many of those types of memories there. Thank goodness there’s some proof, although the scary part is I sometimes look back at an old photograph and have no memory of having been there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! It is scary. My parents are in their late 80s and early 90s and its so sad how much they’ve forgotten. Capturing those memories in words and pictures is important.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor February 16, 2022 — 4:16 pm

        I look at aging as part of the natural order of things, but one of the hardest things for me in watching Mom’s battle with dementia was that she started to mix me up with my dad. They had the best marriage of anyone I knew, and it was heartbreaking to me that she couldn’t remember the man she loved. I wish you well with your parents. I wondered if they were still living or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Still hanging in there, but the decline is noticeable. That’s so sad about your mom. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Great points about counting one’s blessings! Perfect post for Valentine’s Day. Love the confidence that you have in your son to make a good decision. Knowing that your parent believes in you is so important to a child no matter their age.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 17, 2022 — 7:58 am

      He’s an adult capable of making good decisions. It’s just that his choices are now not only his own. I love that he has a lot of self-confidence in himself without being cocky.

      Like

  34. Like a curve ball, you always post the unique. Who doesn’t like the unexpected.
    With two educator parents, our son too learned to read early, just as you describe. He would have loved, loved, loved, “playing” with mechanical equipment. He is definitely the “fixer” in our family. Very intuitive that way.

    I look forward to the lead-up to your son’s wedding. What a fortunate family and you to record it all here, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 17, 2022 — 8:03 am

      Yes, I’m sure that I will write some about that. They’ve got a bit of a grace period as it’s not happening until June of 2023.

      One of the most exciting happenings that I’m targeting in May is a trip back to visit each of my brothers. I’m sure that will give me plenty to write about. I know I always enjoy your family posts, Marian (both past and present.)

      Liked by 1 person

  35. A wonderful story. I will admit that I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that you and your wife didn’t keep track of the construction vehicle count while your son slept. It’s like you didn’t really care about it! Yet the poor kid seems to have survived and is doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 17, 2022 — 1:04 pm

      We failed as humans! Another hilarious one I like to tell about him was he’s always had an excellent sense of direction. Sometimes when my wife and I were running errands and talking while I was driving, I’d space out and forget to make a turn. From the back seat, our little four-year-old would call out, “Why are we going this way?”

      Debbie and I would look at each other and burst out laughing. He was our navigational system before GPS was in vogue. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  36. This is such a sweet post and apropos for Valentine’s Day. We love our families and are lucky in so many ways. Your story triggered a memory where we had a 12-18 month road project practically outside our house. Watching them work and leave their vehicles had my four or five year old son transfixed day after day. He never got to climb onto one though! This led to buying Richard Scarry’s Cars & Trucks & Things That Go book which we read EVERY night. 🙂 A parent never knows what may enter a child’s life and trigger that imagination – it’s wonderful to watch. And now, it’s wonderful to remember. Thanks Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 18, 2022 — 8:17 am

      There are books that I read so many times with Ryan that I feel like I could still rattle off the words. I remember Richard Scarry’s book. What a great memory!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. What a lovely article, Pete – so great to read about someone of your family adventures. It reminded me of happy days with my own kids. You’ve been such wonderful parents. Toni

    Like

    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 8:18 am

      So many memories from days gone by. I enjoyed writing about these times. Traveling with a young child is always an adventure.

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Oh, the memories of when our kids were …. kids. We love those memories, sometimes our kids not so much. I like your ‘construction toys’ story, Pete, and was waiting for you to tell us that your son became a construction engineer! 🙂 Well, perhaps a football coach is not far off. We have many tales to tell of our son, and many are actually “off color” as the saying goes. But one that comes to mind was when he was 14 and met two new neighborhood kids – twins with an 18-year-old brother. They all went hiking by our home (we had lots of hills nearby) and he came home a half hour late. My guy and I were sitting in the living room reading and as he came in, we called out “HI! Come on over,” and he shouted, “Be there in a minute.” Then we heard him brush his teeth. WHAT? Without being asked/reminded/cajoled? My guy and I looked at each other and guessed “the older brother gave the young teens beer.” Good guess, and someone got grounded with a lesson about underage drinking. He now has three young boys. As you and I have said before …. can’t wait to see him deal with that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 23, 2022 — 7:38 pm

      Love your story, Pam. Don’t all teens brush their teeth when they get home? 🤣🤣🤣 I remind myself that my track record wasn’t perfect either. The main thing is that, like any intelligent person, we learn from our mistakes. I’ll bet your son is a great father to his boys, plus he’ll be on to their tricks when they try to pull something.😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, Pete. Son Sean is an amazing dad.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. Ha! Does Ryan remember his fascination at all? I wish I’d had a neighbor like that.

    … we did have a neighborhood garbage man who was very friendly. My second son loved big trucks and LOVED that the garbage truck driver would wave and smile at him. Then, the guy started bringing candy or toys. He retired a year or so after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 8, 2022 — 9:58 pm

      He is one of those people that remembers everything, especially if it involves the faux pas of his parents. He takes particular delight in reminding us about those. He is a terrific young man, but as I always say, “Please let me live long enough to watch his kids make fun of him.”

      We love our delivery drivers. Our two yellow labs used to climb inside the UPS truck when he’d show up with a package. One has since passed, but he leaves a dog biscuit on top of the delivery when we’re not home. Is that sweet or what?

      Liked by 1 person

  40. “When your child shows an interest in anything, you run with it.” I totally get that. Whenever my children find an interest in something, I’m totally there with them. It gives me a chance to do something with them. Plus, I’m hoping it’s something that will spark their creativity and develop into a long-term interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 4, 2022 — 10:05 pm

      Good job, Dad! Our son is now 29, and I’m totally proud of the man he has become. He’s newly engaged, so I’m hoping to watch him go through these same steps as a dad. We’re in California, and he’s in Montana, so we don’t get to see him that often, though we’re heading there next week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you enjoy your trip. Not seeing him as much must mean more to catch up on during visits.

        Liked by 1 person

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