My Laser Skating Tubing Weekend

When I first became a full time youth pastor way back in the Fall of '97, I had a guy that volunteered for me at the time named Charles who always brought his then 8 year old son along on just about every youth outing we went on. I never really cared because a) Charles was such an amazing youth volunteer and b) Ryan was never any trouble. I always figured Charles brought Ryan along because he couldn't find a baby sitter. This past weekend I discovered why Charles always made it a point to bring Ryan.
Saturday night our youth went out for an adventurous game of Laser Tag at Lazer-X in Archdale. Originally I hadn't planned on going. But then someone asked if I AND Jacob were going to come. Take Jacob on a youth trip? I had brought him along on a few things before but that was when I had to be there and there was no other choice. But now I could bring him along because I WANTED to. So at 6pm, Jacob and I loaded up with the rest of the youth to head of for a few hours of shooting red beams at each other. To say that Jacob loved every minute of it would be an understatement. But the truth is I had as much fun as he did. Not because I finished first in kills 2 out of the 3 games we played (if laser tag was real I'd be Rambo) but because of the thrill Jacob and I had playing with each other.
Sunday continued our weekend extreme sporting triathlon as the children's ministry headed over to the Ice House in Greensboro for an afternoon of Ice Skating. This time I took Maria along too (Beth had to stay home do to her bum foot and sick baby). When we first stepped onto the ice all I could think of was, "This is going to be a long day" as both Jacob and Maria couldn't skate three feet without falling. After one time around the rink my back was killing me from trying to hold them up (and myself). Those two most have fallen over 100 times each. Some were really hard hits on the ice. But every time they bounced right back up with smiles on their faces determined to keep going. I had to pull them off the ice to get them to stop and rest. By the end Jacob was skating, I'll use that term loosely, without any help from me or the wall. Maria was able to skate with me holding just one of her hands. They both loved it and were begging to go back as soon as possible.
Monday capped off our weekend of extreme sports as Jacob and I once again joined the youth for another outing. This time it was to Sugar Mountain for tubing. I'll go on record and say that cold weather, snow, and I do not get along. I was probably the only person in the Triad this past Christmas praying for a green, sunny, and warm Christmas instead of all the white stuff we got. So the idea of driving two hours to tube down a hill for two hours wasn't that appealing. But after the Laser Tag and Ice Skating I knew I'd regret it if we didn't go. And go we did. It was by far the fastest and most fun 2 hours I've ever spent in the snow. Jacob was a little too small to go down by himself, so with him in his tube and me in mine we must have conquered that hill 40-50 times.

On the way home as I watched Jacob interacted with the youth laughing and playing. I couldn't help but think of Charles and Ryan. Charles didn't "have" to bring Ryan along all those times. He wanted to. Those were times Charles knew he and Ryan might never have again. Times when a father and son could play together, laugh together, and have fun together. Ryan got to be a little older than he really was around the big kids, (I experienced that yesterday when Jacob refused to order a happy meal and instead wanted a regular value meal) and Charles got some valuable time with his little boy. I'm going to cherish this past weekend Jacob and I got to spend together. We may never have a weekend so packed with Laser Tag, Ice Skating, and Tubing again but I know we'll have a lot more adventures before he's too old or to cool to hang out with his dad.

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