“Dad, can we wrestle?”

That is a frequent request in my home these days. I have three children: nine, seven, and four. They simply love to test their strength against the old man. I know the living room is not my wife’s favorite venue for these carpet clashes, but I think she tolerates it because of the laughter. Sure, the basement is suitable and undoubtedly the preferred location if you ask my wife, but there’s just something about the living room. Can I justify it? No, other than to say it just feels right. My wife is a good sport, but there are limits. We know not to push it. The moment we break or maim anything, I know it’s over.  

So far, so good.

The wrestling was something I initiated long ago as I’m sure many fathers have done.

It’s not unique to our family, but my children sure have embraced it. It’s just part of the culture over here–it’s what we do. My kids love to triple-team me, attacking from all imaginable angles. We have some ground rules, of course, but they’re quite determined to take me down.

“Say Uncle, Dad!”

“Never.”

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My 4-year-old’s attacks are adorable and almost completely ineffective due to her lack of size, but I know better than to let the cuteness overload distract me. Through gritted teeth, for heightened intensity of course, she growls and charges toward me. It’s cute, but I know too well the older ones are just waiting to pounce. I exercise greater caution with my youngest because she’s so small, which usually creates the perfect window for the older ones to make their moves. And they do.

 I’m just vulnerable enough.

Sometimes the laughter takes over, and my defenses are compromised.

When three kids pile on at once, it’s hard not to chuckle. My children are not exactly small anymore either. The older two can inflict a little pain with their aerial assaults and all-out bum-rushes. I know that now.

It’s honestly just so much fun, though, and the kids are the ones who initiate these battles. I usually agree to a match unless something more pressing presents itself. Though, there aren’t too many things more pressing than spending quality time with my kids.

I pray I never forget that.

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As I’m writing this, I’m realizing there will be a time when the wrestling matches cease, a time when the kids won’t even ask. They’ll outgrow it as kids do, and I know it’s coming. I don’t know how many matches I have left with these three, which is why I hate to say no. Sure, they’ll ask after a long day at work or at some other inopportune time, but while they continue to ask, I’ll continue to say yes.

Bring it on, guys and gals. Another living room battle awaits.  

Patrick Danz

Patrick Danz is a follower of Christ, husband, father, educator, and sports enthusiast. He lives in Trenton, Michigan, with his wife, Nicole, and their three children: Keason, Carmella, and Alessandra. When he's not teaching, Patrick spends his time writing, golfing, grilling, and quoting lines from Groundhog Day. His work has appeared on Parent.co and Fatherly.