Being a father of four has it's advantages.
Some are obvious, such as never having to fetch anything from the kitchen, or knowing I will have a full selection of basements to call home in retirement.
Others take time to appreciate, like the realization that we can all pretend, at any age.
Last weekend we went to the mall, the "union hall" for today's parents.
We enjoy the mall because we can each wander our separate ways and everyone can be happy.
On this day, my teens joined me in taking my younger daughters, age 2 and 5, to the "play area," a small indoor playground complete with mini tunnels, cars and houses. It's also fully loaded for parents with electronic ports and comfy benches.
The girls had settled in when suddenly a boy at least 10 years of age with a buzz cut and meaty arms came barreling around the corner chasing his younger brother. He flew past us, jetting around the playground a couple times before I stopped him. The rules are clear, I said, no kids over 42 inches, especially those who hover about like a Macy's Day Parade float.
Suffice it to say the boy had a listening problem, so I then flagged down a mall cop to speak with mother and child, now deep into a can of Red Bull.
After Paul Blart departed the boy quickly went back to his naughty ways.
This time, when the mall cop returned, I'd had enough. I joined him in speaking to the family, then pulled him aside and admonished him that, as an attorney, if he wasn't vigilant I would take down the entire mall, or something to that effect.
I am not an attorney.
But I've watched enough Law and Order to put a scare in him, and he then stood guard the rest of the time.
Like father, like son.
Dad dropped us off before parking the car. After the game, we walked down a dimly lit street where many of the cars were on blocks. On the way home I asked Dad how he managed to keep our car in one piece.
Dad wore a trench coat in those days like Peter Falk in Columbo.
He said, "It was easy. As I got out of the car a group of kids ran up and wanted $20 to protect the car. I flashed my wallet (equipped with his military I.D) and said, Nobody will touch this car. I'm a detective."
Have you ever "played a part" with your kids? Thanks for reading, and your comments are welcome. I would enjoy hearing from you.