At the beach, certain dads I noticed this weekend were singularly focused on digging their children the biggest possible holes in the sand with sturdy industrial-strength shovels: The tide comes in, the water fills up the holes, and the kids can swim around in them, as the fathers stand back and appreciate their handiwork. Except that sometimes -- as with youth sports -- it's more about the dads than the kids.
One such father was about waist-deep this morning, shoveling away in a sand fort, when his daughter goes running over to her mother crying, "Mommy! Daddy got sand in my eye." To which the father yells back, sounding more kid than authority figure, "I said I was sorry," as the mom reaches for her towel and water bottle and starts doing the parental thing of cleaning out the little girl's eye. Later, the father says to the daughter something like, "Are you ready to come back and not whine?"