spontaneous moments like these


I have become very bad about capturing life under The Big Top with my camera. I still carry my camera with me practically everywhere I go but more often than not I’m just holding it, or worse, it is sitting in my bag. I was thinking that as I looked at this shot that has been living in my camera for a few days now.

And after berating myself for not taking pictures like I used to, I found myself smiling just a little bit because I DID CAPTURE THIS MOMENT…THIS MOMENT OF AWESOME BETWEEN A DADDY AND A DAUGHTER!!!

If I ever find myself doubting whether or not my children realize just how lucky they are that this man is their Daddy, I just have to look to spontaneous moments like this.

They know!

 

 

spoiling the favorite


Here under The Big Top, it is no secret that we play favorites. “Experts” agree and opine all the time that parents, whether they want to admit it or not, do play favorites. Some parents write about it and become viral media sensations. There’s even a freaking how-to guide for us more indecisive parents. And of course growing up with four siblings, each one of my kids are always trying to figure out who is my favorite child…right now.

Well this week “the current favorite” received a little something from me.

Not because she wanted it…because they ALL wanted it. Not because I had the disposable income to buy it for her because I don’t and if I did that money would be going to stuff like bills that need to be paid. I won this sweet little iPad mini. Boys and girls sometimes you do win those social media contests that you must like or retweet or repost or share or whatever.

The more you know!

But I have an iPad. Gifted to me by my Dad…probably on a day where I was the favorite. My iPad is great.

Cue the sucking up and presentations from my circus act of why each individual clown should have an iPad from me.

Actually my clowns surprised me and did not do so much sucking up…or at least not as much as I expected which could have been a little bit disappointing kids. I’m just saying. No actually because I really didn’t talk too much about winning the iPad to them, or anyone else…well, except for my darling husband because I knew each and everyone of my darling clowns would LOVE for me to gift them with an iPad and OMG the dilemma of choosing…people the struggle is really real.

No!

Really!

It is real.

After much thought, consideration and discussion with my darling husband, the father of these clowns, the decision was made.

They all could use it.They all WANTED it. They all (in their minds) needed it. They all definitely deserved such a gift because, frankly, Bill and I have FIVE pretty damn awesome kids. Still, we both decided that the one who needed it the most RIGHT NOW should have it…the one who finds herself with no working computer. The one who has a phone that no longer connects to the Internet too. The one who recently moved from one part of Cali to another and needs to get settled back to work and (soon I hope) back to school. The one who is our favorite…today…this week.

This playing favorites thing as parents is hard! Still we are rewarded….with hugs, lots of hugs and thanks….

and iPad selfies of their gorgeous, happy smiles.

This week’s favorite child appropriately spoiled…check. Next week will likely be Daniel because Back to School and all that.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying the Nursing Handbook app on my iPad. Thank you Wolters Kluwer Health.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.