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Yesterday - A Moment in the Life of an Unschooling Dad

By Wayne Swanson

When the timer switched off, the light went out on the overhead garage door. The late afternoon sun was well hidden by the shifting clouds of the impending storm. It didn’t exactly plunge us into darkness but nevertheless Dean let out a slight gasp. Sitting on a short stool just inside the open door, I was watching my son watch the sky. He leaned back against me putting his head next to mine and whispered, “I love you Dad.”

“I love you too,” I said as I put my left hand on his shoulder and gave him a little squeeze.

“Can I run out again?”

“Go ahead. See if you can make it to the Jeep this time.”

He ran. Squealing with delight like only a four-year-old can, he dodged the light drops, zigzagging his way to the side of the Jeep all of ten feet away. Reaching out he tagged the rear fender flare and jumped back as if he expected the Jeep to tag him back. He crossed the threshold into the garage and into my waiting arms with an insane smile and just a little more damp than when he left.

Phoebe had come out with us too, but she headed back in to watch TV after showing us how fast she could make it to the tree in the middle of the yard. Fast she was; she probably covered six times the distance without getting wet at all. But today the magic of angry clouds couldn’t compete with that of Harry Potter, which left us alone in the garage. And today, that was just fine with us.

He sat down on my knee and we witnessed the wind assault the remaining leaves on the trees across the street. Thunder sounded off in the distance and again Dean huffed. “In my California there was thunder but no rain,” he told me matter-of-factly.

“Buddy, there is only one California,” I said, “about three thousand miles that way,” pointing past the almost bare trees.

“No Dad, there is my California and yours. Remember, you went on the motorcycle with your friends? Then there is another one and one, two, three, four, five, six Californias.”

“Yeah you’re right Buddy, we all have our own Californias,” I said, realizing it was true.

Then the skies opened up as sheets of water danced across the driveway, some making it past the open door. Without notice, he jumped off my knee and spun around, giving me an unyielding hug. I stood up with him still clinging to my neck and gave him my own hug. After a moment, I put him down and we headed into the house, into California.

Wayne Swanson is originally from New York, but found the love of his life and made a home with his family in Northern Maryland. Besides being a husband and father, he is an avid motorsports enthusiast and participant. When he’s not trying to teach his kids the three R’s (Responsibility, Respect and Racing), he spends his time learning from them about life.

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