Archive | January, 2019

He Was That Starfish Kid …

30 Jan

I felt a little twinge in my chest as I walked away and got in the car — that sharp pain in the chest that never seems to go away. It gets less debilitating with time, but never really goes away. And there it was … as I looked at the sunset there it was … the pain of losing your Dad. It just sits there.

I know it’s not supposed to be painful anymore, but I have my moments — the kind where you get real quiet because if you start talking about it, you’ll probably break down and lose it on the spot. I still have those. No one told me that I’d still have those. But it happens and then all I can do is be grateful that I had all those moments with him, that he was my Dad, and that I can still remember little bits and pieces of him.

Like how he shaved with old school blue Gillette disposable razors on a daily basis and how the living room smelled of musk aftershave long after he’d gone. Like how he tuned into the local jazz station because he found it relaxing on the drive home. Like how he’d probably be wearing a Los Angeles Rams football hat all week because the SuperBowl is coming up and he remembered when Jim Everett used to be the Rams starting quarterback. Like how he’d grind his own coffee beans at home and brew a fresh pot for himself right after dinner and then have no problem sleeping at night.

Today was a big day of memories. He would have been 71 and I was missing him so much that I fought the tears during the pockets of time throughout the day. Just sitting there and emotions just hit me.

But there was something that made me smile.

Something new I could share with my kids, something to keep coloring in the fading picture of their grandpa.

As I was reading a book to my daughter the other day, I came across this passage about starfish …

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I was like … that’s him. That’s what he was like. That’s what I hope I’m like. That’s what I hope you’re like.

You see, I know I’m my father’s daughter, and I’m hoping to pass some of that awesomeness along to my own kids.

So when they read the story, I waited. And then there it was … I knew what they both thought when their smiles came out. They smiled with their eyes. And I knew they got it.

That’s how papa was, and you know what, I think that’s how you’re gonna be.

Bigger smile.

I was grateful for that moment today. Glad that I found that one to sustain me all day, the one that would help pull out the rest of the memories, because that story right there, that one helped me picture it and picture him. And it helped my heart hurt less. It helped when I mixed up the batter for his chocolate cake. It helped when I whipped up the buttercream frosting. It helped when I sang happy birthday to him and blew out the candle. It helped because he was in my life and he did make difference.

Happy Birthday Pops. I miss you with everything I got.

Buen Camino …

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Late for Paper Airplanes

16 Jan

I had no idea I didn’t know.

For the past ten years I’d somehow managed to get away with not knowing. It’s important as a parent to know these things. You should know these things. I didn’t. I mean I knew other things, like how important it is to have Ritz crackers with you at all times, or how Legos rock the world, or how Neosporin and Star Wars Band/Doc McStuffins band-aids fix almost every injury.

I knew those things. But for some reason this parenting skill was missing, and I was completely unaware of it until the teenage kid from the robotics team at the local high school taught me.

Paper airplanes.

These aerodynamic origami wonders failed to make the list.

I never thought I’d need to learn how to make a paper airplane … but I did  … at age 43 … I did.

You see when my son was a baby I folded something that looked like a plane that glided for a second and then took a nose dive immediately. That seemed to entertain a toddler no problem. As he got older his dad usually did up the paper airplanes and made awesome ones that circled and landed with Wright Brothers dynamics. When my daughter was a baby same thing. As they got older, my son knew how to do that and just constructed planes for his sister and that’s how things were handled.

It wasn’t until I was sitting at the local library in this STEAM workshop that I realized I had never made one, a proper one for my kids. I was having a moment of wonder as this kid leading the workshop was so excited about the physics of building, that he inspired the kids and the rest of the parents to feel the same way.

There we were in a rainy day seminar, competing on the imaginary runways. It lasted longer than the robotics team thought. This simple bit of fun. I sat there smiling at the fact that I had just learned how to fold a paper airplane. I mean I could have easily just looked it up on YouTube. Everything is on there. I could’ve learned a long time ago. I mean I had to have known when I was a kid, all kids do right? But I couldn’t remember. Maybe my uncle and dad made them for me, or a friend from school built one and gave it to me. I don’t know. I was just tripping out on this very simple skill I happened to overlook before and now … I was a paper airplane genius. I looked over at my daughter and smiled.

“… to infinity … and your mom!”

Whoosh!

Plane would take off. She’d rush to get it, and start over again.

My son stood there, comparing his original design to the one he had just learned. He tried figuring out which one flew higher and longer. I was glad that this one new lesson brought some enjoyment with it and that it wasn’t some Pinterest or Parent epic fail. I have too many of those.

I was glad I finally learned something I hadn’t known before, and that if my kids every ask me … “hey can you make me a paper airplane?”

I can say … yes and make one for myself too. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced something like that before on a big, or small scale. But it ends up making you smile and enjoy the mini accomplishment you just checked off the list, because you realize it’s never too late for paper airplanes, even at 43, it’s never too late.

 

Buen Camino, my friends!

Nature’s Perspective

9 Jan

It just felt like the right place to start something, to catapult the new year. Not a huge dynamic turn of events, but a small shift that helped steer things in a new direction for positive change.

The Great Outdoors brings on a surge of rejuvenation and hope and so I thought climbing the tippiest of the top would be an inspiring goal for our little family. We are usually beach people and head to the warm sand and big waves with our boogie boards. We love how the ocean makes us new again.

But we tried something a little different this time.

We explored a different part of nature. It’s nothing we haven’t done before, we’ve been hiking. It’s just a new mountain and a new path.

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I thought it would be best to tackle something with a beautiful view and we could still see the ocean if the air was clear enough. It wasn’t the most excruciating uphill battle but it wasn’t easy either. Still a challenge for my little ones, but they were up for it. I was proud that they made it to the top. Not many kids enjoy climbing long windy roads, but they felt like reaching their goal was an important way to start 2019. They pushed themselves and raced the last 20 yards.

The view put things in perspective … there’s always something out there bigger than yourself, and it’s calming when you’re that far away. You see the beautiful that you can’t focus on when you’re up close.

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I’m not an avid hiker, but I enjoyed this adventure. Being out there and knowing we were starting the new year together felt good. Something to think about and smile when they got older … remember the time we hiked to the sign with mom? I’d like to think they’d call each other when they’re older and talk about it. It was easy hanging out with them. No pressure. No rushing. No arguing. Just hanging out, admiring the view, and appreciating the company.  The calm in-between conversations was a reassuring silence.

Everyone was out there that day, from big group of tourists, to a few friends, to couples, and dog lovers. We all had the same idea for this new 2019 beginning. Perspective from the tippy top to help our own state of mind. Nature is powerful in that way.

Mantras and Momentum on the Yellow Brick Road Journey

2 Jan

And so I saw it there in between the flowers and had a flashback to last year … the mantra written in seeds with a bright sunshine colored petal backdrop. It found me.

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My 2018 mantra

I feel like I started this marathon year with a sprinter mentality. I got tired around mile 19, but then picked it up in the home stretch. I feel like picking it up in the home stretch was important. That’s the kind of athlete I am.

Overall, I feel like my family lived with momentum, created it the best we could.

We took road trips, we explored The Canyon, tried new races, read more books, experimented with culinary adventures, listened to new podcasts, tried to be kinder, and emptied our tanks with whatever fuel we had left.  We had plenty of failures and journeys that went off course. I’ve mentioned this before, but as a parent I fail continually, on a weekly basis, but I still get out of bed. As I writer, I’m constantly failing, although that one takes me a little longer to shake off, but I do. Eventually, I get up.

We inspired ourselves. We didn’t wait for invitations, we made our own momentum and that helped make the year better than last. Ultimately, that’s always the goal, making things a little bit better than before.

So as I was browsing through the artistic displays of flowers on wheels I saw it. Another sign from the universe pushing me in the right direction.

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2019 Mantra

 

I don’t think we ever stopped living … I just think that sometimes we get busy and forget to take a minute. A minute for something joyful. To live life. Whether it’s on a quest for the best piece of pie or banana split, or traveling to explore unknown parts of nature, or reading a good book. Whatever the definition may be … for me trying something new once a month feels good for 2019. It’s something to look forward to, something that will inspire, something that will challenge, something that will bring me peace, something that will make me laugh, something that will teach me, or something that will help me grow, or something when I’m lost … something that will help me recover the person I was intended to be. Big moment, or small quiet one. Just something that feels like I’m spending my life, living it, recovering it, thriving on it.

Now just for a reality check, I’m not gonna go off and explore places I absolutely know I’m not gonna like, just to try something new. Like car shows. They’re great. I’m sure, but I’m not going to wake up at the crack of dawn to check out hot rods at a flea market. It’s just not for me. Eating olives. That’s just not for me. Hanging out at places like Chuck E. Cheese, because some other moms will be there, that’s just not for me. I’m at the point in my life where I pretty much don’t want to waste time on outings that I don’t find interesting in order to please other people, or have people try to like me. I came to that conclusion a long time ago. It was awesome.

So I’ll be looking for adventures to enrich my existence. Big or small.

That’s the mission for this year. That in combination with last year’s theme. You see, this yellow-brick road is hard. Dorothy forgot to mention that. But I’m on it. So anything that helps me thrive will keep being part of the journey.

Buen Camino my friends!