Ground Control to Major William


“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

It seems to me that most of the Looney Toons I watched in my youth ended with that line, when antagonists like Elmer Fudd and Sylvester the Cat finally gave up on their fruitless plans to terrorize the heroes.

Little boys are rambunctious. I should know — I am a recovering little boy myself. However wild I may have been when I was small, my little boy William has set new world records in general rambunction. It manifests most often when my wife is making phone calls, when I’m in the middle of a video conference from the home office, or when my daughter is concentrating hard on a jigsaw puzzle. You can see some sort of volcano gradually building pressure just by looking at his face. And then it happens; he erupts into action!

Drawing on every surface that shouldn’t be marked. Stabbing Hunter the Dog with his sword. Pulling out tufts of his sister’s hair. He will get your attention, oh yes.

On this particular day, I finally wised up to the fact that multiple, lengthy time outs in the shadow of our fridge weren’t calming him down. Since I couldn’t beat him, I joined him. Instead of disciplining him, I took him to the park.

Arden Park is one of those glorious city parks that has not one, but two playgrounds. With slides of all sizes and ladders of many lengths he darted from one playground to the next. His mischievous grin melted into a smile of innocent joy, and I remembered that little guys like William are made for times like these.

I had brought my camera along for the fun and captured a variety of joyful moments on see-saws and swings. The best photograph is the one above, with the intrepid astronaut William lodged inside a playground space capsule. He gave me the countdown from 10 (missing a few numbers in the process) and I shook that capsule with all my might…until he escaped Earth’s atmosphere. And he was floating in a most peculiar way. The expression you see here is when Liam told me that he could see THE MOON! through his capsule’s view port. It was quite a few minutes before ground control had to guide him back to earth.

A day that tried my patience thawed into a day that reminded me why I love being a dad.

Hang this photo on your wall

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Where did you do your deep space exploration when you were a kid? Tell us all below!