his story to tell


Overheard under the Big Top:

You know when I was born I was so, so tiny and so, so sick and all alone. The doctors said I needed a family and they asked, “who will be a family for this sick, tiny baby?” and my mom raised up her hand and said, “I will!”.

And then my heart exploded into confetti and glitter and mini hearts when I walked in on that conversation my son was having with one of his sister’s friends.

Daniel is indeed beginning to really consider the fact that he is adopted and has been asking a lot of thoughtful questions about who he is and where did he come from. Sometimes it is hard having those conversations with him…sometimes even harder than talking about sex and personal boy hygiene. Still these are important conversations…conversations that Bill and I both knew we would be having someday answering his questions. And just like the sex talks, we have to just take a deep breath, swallow and just do it because it’s his life, his story…his story to tell.

So far he tells it pretty well.

masterbuilder training


“With proper training…”

(and a little help from Zelda) …you could become a great MasterBuilder.”

Just remember who it was who helped you with that word search homework.

Yeah.

I know it sounds like a cat poster but it’s true. Just look at all that you have done when you believe that you are special.

Lego building and The Lego Movie, just a small part of our summer vacation where everything is awesome!

give them wings


Lindsay, over at Suburban Turmoil, beautifully described an analogy that is not new to any of us that unfolded outside her front window.

And now I miss back home and cardinals because you just don’t see cardinals around here.

She then posed a question on Facebook:

To all of you who’ve raised children to adulthood- Based on your experience, what’s the best advice you can give those of us who’re still in the trenches of parenting?

So much wisdom was shared. And then I added my 2¢ worth because I am the mother of four children over the age of 18. I’m no expert but I somehow managed to get this far so why not offer? After all, she did ask.

Patience, lots of patience. From the time they are walking and talking teach them and expect them to take on self care, taking care of their own things and doing things for themselves.
As they grow and discover their passion and interests know that it isn’t always going to be the same as yours or what you imagine or expect it to be and begin to learn to be okay with that.
Let them fall down or fail sometimes. Then love them and guide them as they get back up and try again.

Not bad considering I was dispensing such wisdom while standing in line at Safeway on stop number four of today’s errands, which my 12 year old, who accompanied me,  was cool with during stop number one. As I was trying to form a coherent thought to share, he was making sure that I knew he was over my errands. And it was then that I remember why it was I rarely took his older siblings with me on errands once they were too big for the baby sling.

Clearly I need to work even more on the patience. I can’t imagine that I will ever have the patience that it takes to be an extraordinary mom. Still I press on.

But I have managed to nurture and teach these clowns how to take care of themselves. They can do a pretty good job at it too. Some of them are so good at it they are taking very good care of others too. I can thank the time I spent with other people’s high school aged children years ago for the inspiration that someday my kids would know how to keep track of their own toothbrush, do their own laundry, hang up their own clothes, clean their own room, pick up their own prescriptions from the drug store, carry their own suitcase, yada, yada, yada. Sure I failed at teaching them how to bargain shop because Safeway time was “me time” but they have managed just fine because they have come to realize that yes, they can take care of themselves.

The learning that their passions and interests are not always the same as mine has been an education yet surprisingly not nearly as hard to accept as I imagined that it would be. Well, after I accepted the passion that Hollie chose to pursue because suddenly parenting her wasn’t nearly as exhausting when I was watching her do and create and beautify the way that she does. It actually was kind of exhilarating. Added bonus is she makes me look good. These adult children of mine are really just barely getting started still I am working hard at just cheering them on as they chase those dreams, explores those interests and live those passions. Theirs are not mine. They shouldn’t be. Not ever. Still I get to passively live them with my adult children and my world opens up even more.

The hardest part of all has been letting them fall or fail. I am a parent of millennials. Any good parent of millennials would never, ever let their precious angel baby fall or let anyone fail them ever…no, not ever! I’m not really a very good parent of millennials still how could I possibly just stand there and watch them fall?

Right?!

But I do.

I have. I probably have Daniel’s former physical therapist to thank for being brave enough to do just that. But just like when they were wobbly toddlers, they somehow manage to get back up again and again and again. And I praise them because they did it all on their own. I also quietly heave a sigh of relief because I am still mom.

I’m sorry dear parents in the trenches, it doesn’t get any easier even as the nest empties. It’s a lot quieter. There is (sometimes) less laundry. You learn not to cook as much for dinner every night. You answer every phone call, every text, every FaceTime and you hold yourself back and mostly just listen because, more than anything, that is what they need.

Hard?

Hell yes, it’s hard.

How much easier it would be for me to lecture them, tell them what they are doing wrong, what they should do, what they could have done.

But I gave them those wings; wings that were made to fly. So I take a deep breath, I say a prayer, I bite my tongue and sometimes I shut my eyes tight as they do just that. They fly.

Today’s reward:

Clearly I’m not the only one impressed with the magic she makes.

 

 

what you should do on your summer vacation


Overheard:

Look Mom! I’m visiting my childhood!

These would be games that he played a long, long time ago in a land called 2012. His present day dirty fingernails look the same as they did back when he was a child…in 2012! It’s a losing battle. Yes, Daniel is visiting his childhood having rediscovered his Nintendo 3DS and a multitude of old 3DS and DS games which have pretty much been collecting dust sitting neglected on his bookshelf.

Don’t worry, armchair parenting experts, there is much more to his summer vacation activities than this. Still, sometimes, some days it is just fun to pull out old toys and games and just be a kid.

Daniel told me that.

for the daddy I love


“They” say that a little girl’s daddy is the model for which a woman’s heart will fall for when she finds The One. Yeah, that’s what “They” say.

Hmmm…

Well, I seriously doubt that theory for myself, personally. Then again, I look at my own girls, their wonderful, complex, loving, open, crazy relationships with their daddy, that man I married and I might believe it. My girls are very picky with whom they might share their heart with and they can be pretty hard on the ones whom fall for them. Perhaps the latter is because of their mom. I don’t know. We’ll let those experts in fathers and their relationships with their children armchair analyze that as they do.

Based on my own experience and my imagined expertise, I am quite certain that my children have the absolute best daddy…the best daddy ever. Of course that means that I am married to the best daddy. No, that doesn’t guarantee that I wear the best mommy ever crown. Not at all. Let’s just say that the world’s okayest mom is married to the world’s best daddy ever.

There are so many examples I can list here to illustrate that but then I would just be bragging and showing off. Still, I am pretty certain that Hollie, Zoë, Abby, Jodie and Daniel are the children of the best daddy ever. Sure others might object. Some believe that they are or someone they knows holds that title.

It’s fine.

We all are entitled to what we believe to be true.

For me, I look at the way my kids look at this man, their daddy. I look at the way that he looks at them. I listen to their conversations…especially when they think that I am not listening or can’t hear them. I see and hear what I imagine in my heart every child must have, absolutely needs and always deserves from the man in their lives who is their daddy…love with no limits and no conditions. A love like that has no room for fear, dread, criticisms, disappointments. Of course this man whom my kids call daddy is not perfect. Far from it. Neither are those kids of mine. Who is really? But through the years, I have observed nothing but consistency when it comes to this man my kids call daddy. They were raised by the kind of daddy I imagined in my heart to be the perfect kind of daddy:

  • a daddy to laugh with
  • be silly with
  • to dance with
  • to sit with you in the bathroom for what felt like hours during that potty training phase
  • to ride in the car with while he sings along loudly to some weird country-rap song just as your friends pass by
  • a daddy who will discipline without excessive fear or force, or endless criticisms or a book recording all your wrongs that will be brought out and opened up every time you do something wrong forever and ever, amen
  • a daddy who might be disappointed or frustrated with your choices in almost anything from the music you listen to, the strange person you choose to date, the way that you alter your appearance, whom you vote for, whom you pray to or don’t pray to, the career path you choose but will love you all the more so that you might not ever know that he was ever disappointed
  • a daddy who is there for you when you are scared, broken-hearted or picking yourself up after your latest fuck-up without mocking your fear, your sadness, your pain, your anxiety or your own self-criticisms
  • a daddy who might never, ever understand what makes you tick but tries his damndest to understand…even if it is who is the latest super-hot boy band or the latest Hot Wheels release or Legos set.
  • a daddy who makes more sacrifices than any of his children will ever know so that they will always be safe, be warm, be dry, be fed and pursue almost anything that their heart desires
  • a daddy who teaches them all about hard work, self-discipline, sacrifice, love and how to relax and have fun not by lecture or instruction but by doing and by example.

Oops!

I’m kind of bragging, aren’t I? My bad.

No, he’s not perfect. Some might be quick to point out the chinks in his suit of daddy-armour. Some have as the experts known as “They” like to whether you ask them to or not. Regardless, this man is the best daddy ever…for my children…which is really the only thing that matters to me and to the people who call him daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to the man my children call daddy, the daddy I love.

Go forth this weekend and celebrate as you wanted to, as you deserve to playing golf, grilling and just relaxing…the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day.