Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Found Me in the Process

The other evening I was making my rounds at bed time.  I make it a point to sit with each girl and give them a few minutes of one on one time to sign off the day.   Often times there's a tickle or a loaded question or something else to make sure the moment is unique.  On this night, as I sat on the side of Genevieve's bed and went over the days events with her, she did something that took me back; she subconsciously began to run her hands over my several days old beard.  It shouldn't shock me, after all there are obvious reasons behind her action: texture, tired hands, the closeness and the unique feature of me being the only male in the house.  But for me it got much more personal then that. ... as weird as that may sound.  You see my father had a beard for the entirety of my life to date.  And I would never have felt at ease stroking my father's beard.

My dad and I haven't talked in a decade.  And I don't mean we haven't talked in depth, or often enough; I mean we haven't spoken at all in 10 years.  Prior to that we haven't had much of a relationship in 15 or so years.  I don't need to go into the details of that relationship as this blog is not set up to handle that much of a load, but I rarely let my beard grow more then a few days length because of how mismanaged our time together was and how troubling it is that I begin to resemble him physically.

My one goal in parenthood was to do things differently, and I have.  I've chosen my own path and made deliberate choices in what I do, how I respond (even when my instinct is to follow his patterns) in order to ensure my kids never look at me the way I did at him.  And in this moment, as her small hands lovingly caressed the prickly follicles on my face,  I relished in the accomplishment that I had succeeded.  I was not the man I grew up with.  I was not the father I had known.  I am not in jeopardy of driving them away and living in isolation, wondering what's become of them and what I could have done to salvage it.  I've carved my own path by realizing what I did not want to become and heading in an opposite direction.  And I found me in the process.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Son of a Fish!

Sometimes it's to our own benefit that our kids don't fully listen to us when we talk.  Like today, when I was downstairs vacuuming the living room rug and attempted to pull out the waste bin to dump it.  At which point the bin literally fell apart in my hands and emptied months worth of dust, dog hair and questionable particles all over the recently (half way) vacuumed rug.  After my expletive response, Arianna calls down stairs "Daddy, what son of a fish are you talking about?"

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

To My Baby

Dear Lorelei, tonight as I rocked you to sleep, your little body wrapped up tightly in Mama's iron clad swaddle, your thin lips pursed against your pacifier and your bold blue eyes desperately trying to escape from heavy eyelids, you and I had a conversation you won't remember.  Much as I have with your sisters before you, I wanted to take a moment, a moment still in the infancy of this life of yours to tell you all the things that I want for you. 

Every parent wants for their child; it's a requirement for parenthood.  Those that don't never were parents to begin with, only hosts and donors.  But what each parent wants for the their child is unique to their own parenthood.  It may stem from their own lacking or short comings, it may stem fair their failures or successes, it may come from some article that they read in Time magazine which made no sense to them but which they thought you may understand one day.

For you, much like your sisters, I don't want perfection.  Perfection is boring, it's predictable, it's lacking.  It's the flaws that make us unique.  My deviated septum, my left eye, my chipped tooth - they create the image of me that you will come to know.  With out these flaws I'm a stranger in your eyes.  Now, I don't wish upon you any of these specifics flaws that I have, but I hope you embrace your flaws for what they are; a part of you.

I want you to be content.  Not rich, nor poor, but in it's own unique expression to you, I hope you find fullness in what you have.

I want you to be joyful.  Beyond happy, which despite expressions can be bought, as happiness is easily mimicked.  Joy, on the other hand, is the smile that you can't keep from creeping across your face as you drive in gridlocked traffic and a familiar song explodes from your radio and reminds you of some warming memory.

I want you to be loved, but more over I want you to feel love for another.  It's nice to know that your mother loves me; I find comfort in that.  But what truly blows my mind is how much I lover her.  How much I love you and your sisters.  This side of the emotion truly grows my soul.  I fear there are many people out there who are loved, but don't feel that love towards another.  They have no real understanding of what they're missing.

I want you to feel compassion.  I look at the world around me, the one we're passing to you in time, and given there are so many here, there are so few who seem to allow themselves to view the world through another's eyes.  They spend so much time worried about themselves and how this effects them and how that will change them. ... they can't stop for a moment and realize there are 7 billion other people on this earth who are also changed and effected in their own ways.  Have compassion for them, even if you can't help them or decide to choose what's best for yourself - still experience an understanding for them.

I want you to have gratitude.  I'm certain you'll find your way in this world and achieve your own successes for which you will be rightfully proud (as will I of you), but be grateful for that which you've not had control over.  You were born to a middle class family in Southern California, with several siblings who will support you and carry your load when needed.  Fortune will continue to bounce your way more often then not; be grateful for those moments, appreciate them.  Understand that you did nothing to deserve them and were blessed that they happened to you.  Don't let them go unnoticed.

Have faith.  Choose any religion, choose non at all - but have faith there is order and not chaos.  That there is right and not wrong.  That you matter, to someone or something that is beyond what any one who has ever lived on this earth will ever fully understand.  Have faith in yourself, that you carry all the potential to achieve anything you can imagine.

And that leads me to the final want.  I want you to imagine.  Imagine anything.  The only people to ever affect the world, where those that were capable of imaging they could.  Sure, imagination brought us computers, and the arts and space exploration and medicine.  But go back further.  Imagination brought us cars and trains and telephones.  It brought us ships and songs and language.  Watch a man ride a horse some time.  Eons ago, a similar man sat on the dirt and watched a stallion tear across the plains.  And that crazy son of a bitch imagined himself on top of it.

By the time you are reading this it will be too late for me to want for you.  You will already have grown down a pathway towards or away from these things.  I hope some day we'll  be able to finish this conversation.  Unfortunately your sister Rosaline just vomited in her bed because she was sucking on the cats tail instead of going to sleep like she was supposed to.  And yes, that's a live cat not a stuffed animal on whom she was sucking. .... did I mention I want you to have kids?  Dear god how I want you all to have kids!!!!


FOMO; it's new phrase for me.  Apparently it's how the trendy kids say someone has the "fear of missing out."  We all have it, I suppose.  That's probably why we fall to peer pressure so much.  But then there are those who fear missing out on things they may not have even been invited to - things they probably should be missing out on.  We've got a food FOMO kid over here.  Big time. 

Arianna has loved food, ever since she got away from the breast milk she's like an eating champ (most of the time).  And of all the girls, she's the most willing to try new things.  She gives the sample ladies at COSTCO a run for their money: sushi? yes, please.  mango salsa? sure, why not. dog food? ..... what brand?  But this willingness to try things has morphed into a near a panic when someone is eating something (anything) and she isn't having any.

On Saturday the girls were at my moms for the day and I went to pick them up that night.  Having not spent much time with my mom in a while we sat in the backyard talking for a bit while the kids watched a movie.  My mom, classy lady that she is, was having a glass of wine in a kids sippy cup because that's all she could find (hey, YOLO after all) when Arianna pops her head out of the back slider and glares at us.

"What are you eating?" She asks accusingly. 

"Nothing," I respond.

Her eyes narrow as she retreats back into the house, a look of distrust painted across her face.

Oh she'll find out what we're eating. ... and then she'll get some of her god damn own!

FOMO.  Big time FOMO.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sleep Walker Potty Training

 This is what happens when you try and potty train a sleep walker.  When she's awake she's effective 99.99% of the time.  But when she's asleep. ... well, she can't quite make it to the bathroom before she falls back asleep on the living room floor and wet's herself there.  God love her for trying.  And for spending extra on the "puppy" pad when we had the carpet installed.  Who knew!