I know Fred is like 'the best father ever' since he actually still likes his kids after having ten of them. making him the rare guy in a crowd these days. And I have often praised him for his many wonderful, good, husbandly qualities ( is husbandly a word?). But man, oh man, is he surprisingly bad at watching over the kids in dangerous situations.
Last week we were at the ocean for our anniversary. We took the whole family. I know its a little crazy, but we ( sort of) like it, and have fun together. I know how much Fred likes swimming in the ocean and fishing. It means a whole lot to him. He can spend a whole lot of time in the water just jumping waves. Fishing is a religious experience for him.
I on the other hand view the ocean with the necessary awe a mother feels knowing a swell of water could sweep in and drown unsuspecting children at any moment. Which is essentially how I feel around the water all the time. For me visiting the ocean is akin to going on vacation to an active volcano, where you may indeed enjoy the sheer power and majesty of it, but you'd be a fool to ever get comfortable enough to stop worrying that she might blow at any time.
So on our last night of vacation Fred told me to "go relax" he would take the kids to the ocean for a short walk along the shore. Naive trusting fool that I am, I agreed. I did ask him "you're just letting them walk and collect seashells right?" cause obviously my spidey senses were already tingling, he said yes- of course- no worries!
My younger five kids, all dressed in real clothes, headed down to the seashore.
A few minutes later I asked Pete to open the door so I could listen to the waves. He did and within seconds i heard shrieking laughter. I knew it was my kids. What on earth could be going on, I wondered. Slipping onto the balcony I saw Fred standing at the shore line fishing, while the children were all fully clothed and swimming entirely unsupervised.
It took me one and a half decades of the rosary to reach them, and I assure you I prayed out of necessity on the way down. I actually kept my composure as I approached them on the shore. Fred, smiled, trying to pretend he hadn't been utterly consumed by the fishing line and hadn't lost track of the children. "Go upstairs, they're all fine!" he said. "Nah. I think I'll wait it out here for a few minutes and then take them back with me." He tried to persuade me and I finally had to just say it to him plainly "Sweetie, you cant help yourself, and I get that. Really I do. But I'm gonna take the kids back now, cause I really like you. And if I don't, and something happened to one of the kids, I'd either divorce or kill you. and after 21 years of marriage, that seems like a shame.And also costly and messy come to think of it. So lets just cut to the chase and I'll change the kids into pj's and we'll stay married a while longer.
He thought my logic was pretty good.