I want to talk about bonds. No not James, not Barry and not savings. I’m talking about the bond I have with my two boys.
It’s a crazy cliche but it’s so insanely true. Time flies when you’re having fun. And while there’ve been plenty of ups, downs and scares, having kids is easily the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.
I’ll admit that I couldn’t have done this without my beautiful wife Allison. Well yes, it would’ve been physically impossible to do without her, but I mean raising these little guys. She’s done (and still does) an insanely amazing job bringing these boys up. And that goes much deeper than simply chauffeuring them all over the county for school, playdates, doctor visits, etc.
Somehow I blinked and Jason’s now a teenager, with Ryan not too far behind. We just had a high school orientation for Jason and it’s starting to sink in. Our “babies” aren’t even close to babies anymore. Looking at them as adolescents, I can honestly say I’m beaming with pride. The two of them are so similar in many ways, yet different in so many others. Both, however, are really smart kids with truly gigantic hearts. I couldn’t be prouder.
So while Allie’s been doing a stellar job of teaching these guys about all the good, big-picture, life things (you know, how to take care of yourself and how to be a good person), I’ll admit I have the easier job. I get to teach them about things like The Force, first downs, and Contra Codes (that’s Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start in case you’re interested). Yes, I also talk about real-world parenting-type stuff. But the real bonding comes from so many of the shared interests I have with my boys.
The Bond: Comic Books
Now, while Jason and Ryan aren’t avid collectors like I was, they do love their superheroes. We’ll watch all the Marvel movies and plenty of superhero TV shows together as a family. (Yes, Allie even bonds with us on that one. Heck, her love of cartoons is one of the main reasons I married her. Shhh, don’t tell her, though.)
Ryan recently started collecting Simpsons comics and MAD Magazines. Jason will basically devour any comic or trade paperback I get for him. He’s really into the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and loves trying to unravel the bigger picture story arcs that are going on. The fact that we bond over comic book stories is just, well… super.
The Bond: Video Games
My other childhood obsession was video games. Back in my day (cue old man voice) we didn’t have all these newfangled, crazy hi-res interactive games. We had the ultimate system: the Atari 2600! The graphics were made up of large squares. Only two players could play at once. The gamepads were called joysticks. Oh, and they only had one button.
Granted, I ended up buying just about every other gaming system that came out since. The NES. Sega Genesis. Nintendo 64. PlayStation 2. Wii. Xbox 360. You get the picture. Like most kids today, my boys are heavy into video games. Minecraft rules the roost for sure (on either the Xbox or their PCs), but they love running to the basement to play any sort of multi-player type game.
And I’m right there with them. Whether it’s Mario Sluggers on the Wii or LEGO Avengers on the Xbox One, I’m building some fantastic memories (hopefully not just for me) of playing video games with my kids.
I still remember my mom playing Freeway (think Frogger but with chickens) on the Atari 2600 when I was a kid. And the time my Uncle Barry came to visit and he stayed up late playing the awful Parker Bros. Spider-Man game with me on the Atari. I can only hope that Jason and Ryan grow up remembering all the video game fun we’ve had together.
The Bond: Sports
My boys aren’t big sports kids but we do bond nicely over the Yankees! We’ve been to plenty of games together as a family (both the old stadium and the new one) in the Bronx. Granted they both probably loved the cotton candy and giant pretzels more than the actual game, but it’s the overall experience that really makes it special.
I still have fond memories of attending Yankees games with my dad when I was little. (Those ice cream sundaes in the mini baseball helmets were sooo good!)
We’ll also watch the Yankees on TV occasionally and I just love talking strategy and rules with the kids. They both love the All-Star game, though, especially the Home Run Derby the night before.
Jason may not care much for football, but this year, Ryan has really gotten into it. I have no idea why, but he’s become a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. It “might” have something to do with the fact that I’m a Steelers fan myself I suppose.
It’s been great explaining the rules to him, talking about different team names, logos, players, etc. We’ll even toss a football around these days if it’s not snowing outside.
Nothing like a good father son bond over sports, is there?
The Bond: Cereal
The other childhood memory that probably sticks out most in my mind would be something I bonded with my sister on. I’m sure many of my readers will have similar memories too. Yep, I’m talking about Saturday morning cartoons and cereal!
We used to grab a big bowl of cereal and sit on the family room floor every single Saturday morning while we watched the greatest cartoons of all time. The Super-Friends. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The Smurfs. Gummy Bears. The Herculoids. All so good!
Cartoons have changed big time since I was a kid, though. Now you can watch them any day of the week at all hours. There’s even an entire channel dedicated to them.
Even so, there’s still nothing like grabbing a bowl of cereal and plopping down in front of the couch with my boys as we watch SpongeBob SquarePants or The Simpsons together. It’s the breakfast ties that bond!
When it comes to cereal, though, I’m a fan of loads of flavors. I’ll cut up a banana or add some blueberries or strawberries. It just makes for a more fun and tasty experience.
Recently, I learned that Cheerios has come out with a Very Berry Cheerios flavor. No longer do I need to curse the Cereal Gods when we’re out of bananas or the fridge is empty of any type of berry. Now all that berry flavor is just waiting in every spoonful!
I’ve tried Very Berry Cheerios and have to admit they are bursting with berry flavor. So now I won’t be wasting time washing or cutting up fruit for my cereal, nor do I have to worry about those tart blueberries that always sneak their way into my morning breakfast.
As a bonus, Cheerios is helping reduce the amount of crazy messy berry faces on kids everywhere. They’ve even started a #berrieseverywhere social campaign, asking Cheerios fans to share photos of their kids with super messy berry faces. So if your little ones tend to put more berries on their face than in their mouth, snap a pic and share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #berrieseverywhere.
In the meantime, grab a box of Very Berry Cheerios and add them to your ever-growing list of bonding with your kids. Trust me, you’ll be berry glad you did. Just take a look at a few other dads bonding with their kids over Very Berry Cheerios.
How do you bond with your kids?
I have partnered with Life of Dad and Cheerios for this campaign, but my opinions are my own.