Let it Go Daddio!
As a dad, it can be difficult to let go and trust that our children are in good hands when we’re not around. But sometimes, we have to take a step back and let them take the steering wheel a little bit. And that’s exactly what happened when my 6-year-old son had his first sleepover with his taekwondo dojo here in Korea tonight.
I was so nervous. What the hell! Get a grip man! Hey listen, my son and I have a crazy-strong bond and we are inseparable. As cheesy as it might sound, we are incredibly close. So, tonight was hard on me, and I’m not ashamed of it. It showed me what a father’s love is.
Emotions Are Good!
I have to admit, I was more than a little nervous about the whole thing. We both co-slept in the same bed until he was 5 or so. On top of that, my son and I have been inseparable since the day he was born, and the thought of spending a night away from him was anxiety-inducing. I shit you not! But it was also a well-deserved break for my wife and I.
It was also an opportunity for my lil’ man to have fun, make new friends, and learn how to be without Dad and Mom. So I took a deep breath, hugged him tight, and watched him head off to the dojo with a sense of excitement and childlike glee. And that was all good to me.
When I arrived at the dojo to drop him off, I could see that the staff had gone all out to create a fun and exciting atmosphere for the sleepover. There were tents set up inside the dojo, complete with sleeping bags and pillows.
The pizza party would be nearly underway, with kids chowing down on slices topped with sweet potatoes and corn. -Don’t get me started on the pizza toppings here– And there were all sorts of sleepover activities planned for the evening, from a movie to games and Korean cartoons.
I should have felt happy for him…I mean Pizza! Indoor tents plus some games and a cartoons! Come on! That is awesome, right? But I felt a void. *Lump in the throat moment.*
My son was thrilled to be there, bouncing from friend to friend with a huge smile on his face. He quickly made himself comfy with some of the other kids from the dojo, bonding over their shared love of martial arts and all things sleepover-related.
As for me, it was both heartwarming and bittersweet to watch him so happy and engaged with his little ninja buddies. On the one hand, I was proud of him for being so outgoing and confident. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel a little pang of jealousy that he was having so much fun without me.
**Yes, I said ‘jealousy.’ What happened to me?!!!! Fatherhood…that’s what.**
***”Oh please!! Stop it! I can taste the vomit in my mouth,” you say. Well, this is my blog and I’m speaking from the heart.***
Chill Out! He’s Two Blocks Away!
But I knew that this was an important step for both of us. For him, it was a chance to assert his independence and explore something new to him. And for me, it was an opportunity to trust in his resilience and maturity and to learn to let go a little bit. Tougher than I expected…
So off I go! I’ll go get a little beer or two with my wife and enjoy some much-needed time just us two. Finally! But as the night grew so did my worries. Of course, nothing will happen. He’s safe with adults and 30-plus kids. Calm your arse down…and enjoy that cold beer “Mr.Daddy Simply.”
Throughout the evening, the owner of the dojo and his wife did an amazing job of keeping the kids entertained and engaged. They had a wide variety of sleepover activities planned, from games and crafts to dances and more and even a late-night snack.
Sleepless In Seoul
When it was time for bed, I have to admit that I was a little nervous. I’d never been away from my son for a night before, and the thought of him sleeping in a strange place without me there to comfort him was unsettling. But the staff at the dojo assured me that they would be keeping a close eye on the kids throughout the night and that they had plenty of experience with sleepovers.
As I walked home with my wife, I found myself thinking about my son and wondering how he was doing. I missed him terribly, but I also knew that he was in good hands and that this was a valuable experience for him.
The next morning, I arrived at the dojo to pick him up. As soon as I walked in, he came running over to me with a huge grin on his face. “Dad! I had so much fun last night! Can we do it again soon?” my little man said.
My heart swelled with pride and happiness. Watching him grow and develop into his own person was both exhilarating and terrifying. But at that moment, I knew that he was going to be just fine.
So what happened?
I couldn’t be more proud of my son and his first sleepover. It was a challenging and emotional experience mainly for me, but in the end, it was a valuable opportunity for him to learn about being away from home, make new friends, and show that he’s not a baby anymore.
And for me, it was a chance to trust in his resilience and maturity and to learn to let go a little bit. I know that there will be many more sleepovers and milestones in his life, and I look forward to watching him grow and thrive with each new adventure. But this one I had to write about…
Enjoy every moment! They are only young once!
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