Declan's first Valentine's Day party was of course a big success. Afterwards he excitedly flashed one card after another to me, surprisingly knowing exactly who each one came from. "This one is from Tasha, it's Justin Beaver!" he said, gushing with the thrill of the moment.
Pretending to be the macho father, as I do on occasion, that one concerned me a little bit. Although mispronouncing the teen idol's last name did add a splash of humor.
"Justin Beaver huh," I replied as I looked at the Justin Bieber card pondering what my response would be if my son asked to add a Bieber poster to the collage in his bedroom.
Just then Declan's volume jumped several decibels, "But this one is from Daniel. It's Captain America!" he hollered and shook with excitement as he held it for me to see.
I think the exact words that I thought to myself then were, "That's what I'm talking about." Declan's excitement for the comic book hero washed away any concerns I might of had of him not being his father's son.
In Kindergarten fashion, the very next card was from one of Declan's classmates that had recently had an "owie" that he informed me required stitches. His demeanor instantly changed from excitement to sadness as he told me how bad he felt for her. After expressing to me how he wished he could do something for her I suggested he use the Valentines Day shopping card he received from Grandma, to buy her a gift that would cheer her up.
Later that evening Declan and I were shopping and he actually remembered the conversation we had earlier in the day. He made his first priority finding a sticker book that his classmate would like, before finding himself a toy that would fit into his remaining gift card budget. This was the first time anything has ever been more important to him than acquiring another toy, I was impressed to say the least.
It was a nice reminder to me that sometimes this parenting gig doesn't require a lot of micro-managing, on some occasions, you just need to get out of the way and let them be the amazing little people that they are.