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Kodak Moments and Oscar The Grouch at The Pumpkin Patch

28 Oct

I could have gotten the six-dollar pumpkin at the supermarket down the street, no need for the heat, the crowds, the parking lot battles, toddlers crying over the ponies, or random chickens everywhere. I mean a pumpkin is a pumpkin. I probably had a coupon for it.

But I didn’t mind driving the long windy road to get a giant six-dollar pumpkin at the farm. I mean of course I’d enjoy it if the farm was closer, but it’s a whole experience. It’s the vibe. It’s the Doreen Cronin books my kids grew up with that set the scene. Farmer Ted.

It’s another memory for the Jar of Awesome, the kind where my kids still seem to enjoy my company and hug me while we take a picture, even without me having to ask. I hear that trails off once the teen years hit. Crossing my fingers for the opposite effect. Maybe the pumpkin farm trips are what keeps the hugs going.

Even though my son entered the world of lockers, over-sized backpacks, six different teachers and hundreds of new students weathering all kinds of emotional outbursts, he still welcomed a family trip to the farm, where the little kid in him enjoyed the pumpkin patch and fall festival activities with his younger sister.

They enjoyed panning for fossils and gems, as well as, racing dune buggies on the dirt track, firing the green-tomato sling shots, and corn blasters. And … it was fun watching them get into the farm vibe try rope tricks and go on hay rides. One of the highlights being that my son guessed the exact weight of the ginormous pumpkin, and won his first farm prize ever. Another would be the fact that my daughter won her first mini pumpkin with the ring toss game. These Kodak moments I captured, but there is an event that I’ve come to admire year, after year.

Now every year I look forward to the giant tractor, the band at lunch, the corn maze, the pig races and eventually choosing our pumpkin. But one of my favorite activities has been discovering the pumpkin art contest. I hadn’t realized how creative these people can get. Most of the time, I’m making sure my kids don’t stab themselves as they’re cutting out the triangle eyes in their Jack-O-Lanterns. I hadn’t even thought of tapping into my childhood painting hero Bob Ross for inspiration.

But this particular farm does a good job of bringing out the creative artist in a lot of people and inspiring people like myself to think they can create something awesome as well. But, we’ll see.

For now I just admired the inventiveness of their imagination.

I’d say Oscar the Grouch was my favorite. I enjoyed Elmo and Big Bird on Sesame Street, they were my favorites, but something about Oscar the Grouch made me smile. This display always makes me take a minute. Even if we’re rushing to get in line, to sit and watch the band, or just to leave because I’m exhausted by everybody at the end of the day. This has become one of my favorite stops at the farm.

The family vibe sits with you, accompanied by the all the hay in your car, and long after you drive off into the sunset you feel good about doing a good thing … About going the extra miles to give your kids an experience you never had as a kid. You’re tired, and still driving back the long, windy road while they sleep, but you feel like the Kodak moments and Oscar the Grouch were enough for today. Today parenthood did not beat you down in the dumps with the difficulties of life and raising kids. Today you got this.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

My Son is Kevin Arnold …

25 Aug

So the summer began with the end of fifth grade and the start of the unknown …

I mean, I knew it. I’d been to junior high … I survived 6th grade, but as an 11-year-old girl in the 80’s who took the city bus every morning at 6:45 a.m. I had a different set of issues and concerns. 80’s concerns.

Today is today and my son goes off into the Wonder Years. He is Kevin Arnold. I hope he finds a friend like Paul, or Winnie Cooper, or another Kevin. It makes the transition so much better, to have a friend … a good one.

I worry a lot because the dangers are different now, social media and phones allow kids to publicize harshness when in my time it would eventually, if you were lucky, phase out.

But there are so many other concerns or issues that stress me out about junior high, but I’ve been corrected … “It’s not junior high anymore mom, they call it middle school.”

And so middle school … my sweet kid is going to middle school and it’s a growing pain that tugged at my heart and tuned up the dial in my mom anxiety, because I’m gonna miss my little boy as he turns into a young man.

See ya later kiddo… to the one that used to sprint out of the dismissal gate with joy inside and sport the biggest smile as he’d charge into my arms for a hello-I’m-so-glad-to-see-you-I-love-you hug so powerfully strong that it would take down The Hulk. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that snuck into bed still in pajamas before toothpaste or toothbrushes made their appearances because he wanted a family hug and just five more minutes, five more minutes … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that giggles at corny jokes, cracks up with his sister, and dances to songs from commercials on the spot …any time of day, he feels the music he dances and doesn’t care if anyone is watching…I hope I see you again.

see ya later kiddo … to the one that was so cool he listened to Queen, U2, and the 80s, the kid that liked feel-good songs in the morning to jump-start his day … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to my sweet, sweet boy with a BIG heart who still loves StarWars, Avengers, America Ninja Warrior, Bear Grylls, and Legos… who likes to hang out with his mom and play board games, soooooo many board games, and baseball, and beach soccer, badminton … who is my daydream believer who gets lost in books, so many books, and thoughts … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one who loves sharks and wants to grow up to be a part-time shark conservationist, part-time hockey player, part-time baseball player, part-time firefighter. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that still wakes up for Saturday morning cartoons and can watch for hours … the one that likes pancakes and Honey Bunches of Oats … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo… You’re growing up. You’re a 6th grader the kind with lockers, P.E. Classes, nutrition instead of recess, and life changes that will involve deodorant. You’ll run into jerks who don’t know how awesome you are, and kind people who’ll know you’re magic. You may doubt yourself, but I hope you won’t because everything about you is incredibly awesome. I hope that even though your life is changing, you still hug me with that 10-second embrace, eyes closed tight because it feels like home. I hope your heart will still feel safe and big near me. I hope you’ll always remember how much I love you. You are the most amazing kid I know and I’m proud of you.

You’re my kid and you’re growing and I hope that when you’re in sixth grade and seventh and eighth and you turn 12 and 13 that you’ll still remember your 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 years … because they’ve been the best, with ups and downs they’ve been a good life. We just started year 11 and the adventures have been memorable.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I love you, I love you, I love you …

Buen Camino …

Birthday Candles, Papa, and Trampolines

17 Jul

In the midst of the happy moments of jumping on trampolines, completing America Ninja Warrior obstacles, conquering the warped wall, and blowing out the candles on the birthday cake, I wished he was there.

He’d be the only senior citizen trying that warped wall and attempting to keep up with his grandchildren.

It’s always a mixed bag when my kids turn another year older, as there is a happy day full of good-times-and-noodle-salad moments and then a pang in my heart because it’s the day before my Dad passed away. He’d be a great witness to their lives and definitely enrich it on a daily basis with epic grandpa stuff.

His impact was missing, I knew it and it made me think that may be the reason why I try so hard. I try to fill the empty cups so that my kids don’t miss anything but it’s not always easy. Nothing measures up to grandpa, but I do my best to reach the top no matter how many obstacles get in the way.

Trampolines help with that I imagine.

It’s hard enjoying happiness when sadness creeps on in, but I take the moments I can get and hold tight as they get me through the sadness of the day. Because the sadness of losing someone never goes away, it exists with you, but at the very least some happiness can overpower it so you feel it less. I watch my daughter’s laughter as she zip-lined and soared into the pits, as she tested her grip-strength and arm muscles going through the mini challenges and the enjoyment on her face when she shot some hoops in the slam dunk area. I saw my Dad’s spirit. She’s got his playful personality and stubbornness as well.

I get home and open up his last bottle of musk aftershave, close my eyes, and smell. I’d never been into aromatherapy before but this was definitely bringing back memories and peace. And I felt his presence and a pat on the back. His cologne helps bring him back.

He saw my kid and knew that her strength was a good thing. He knows this new eight-year old rocked the sevens. This new eight-year old, who loves elephants, penguins, and hippos, drawing and painting, Bob Ross and every chef on the Cooking Channel, cooking and baking, cannon-balling into swimming pools and gliding through the water, will bring on a whole new bunch of excitement and gray hair into my life. His adventurous granddaughter who likes rollercoasters and hitting homeruns, will be trying one of his favorite sports in the fall … soccer. He’d like his granddaughter …

And she would have liked hanging out with Papa. Grandpas are cool hanging out buddies, they let you keep the remote control and watch penguin shows with you all day.

It was a tough one, but at least there was chocolate cake and someone else wishing the best of the best for this little lady .. this Ninja-Warrior-Artistic-Master-Reader-Kind-Hearted-Athlete-and-Bacon-Enthusiast Extraordinaire.

Buen Camino my friends…

The Morning After Pill

14 May

The laundry still needed to be folded, the dishes washed, and the kids carpooled.

It was one 24-hour day to be appreciated or at least take a moment and pause to appreciate myself. Stop and think … I’m doing the best that I can at every moment, and sometimes there’s nothing left in reserve. So I fizzle out and then fill up the tank when I can.

I was grateful to have gotten a Mother’s Day photo with everyone smiling. I was thankful to have spent it my way … watching my Boys in Blue win a game and to witness a grand slam. I didn’t let the small moments pass me by, I took a minute to enjoy them. All the little ones added up to something.

It wasn’t filled with amazing jaw-dropping glitter and glam, just good-time-and-noodle-salad moments that kept my heart full until the stars came out.

And then the sun rose and Monday showed up with all its Monday Madness. The whining of kids not wanting to wake up, the failure to listen when I ask them to do things the first time, and the rush-rush-rush of being on the go and getting where we need to get to on time.

It’s parenthood chaos that sometimes leads to migraines, which is then followed my the Mother’s Day morning-after pill … Advil.

Because migraines suck any time you get them.

But … I was O.K.

I didn’t feel beaten down. The wave of my awesome moments still sat with me and I continued to remember even 24 hours later, when the Mother’s Day spell is usually broken.

But I woke up with peace in my heart and purpose for the day. Today was Monday and I was good with that … no Advil today.

Buen Camino my friends!

He’s My Driving Force, Even When I Run Out of Gas

17 Apr

Every year I feel like I can’t do it, but then I remember my purpose, and it gives me strength to keep going. I find that as I get older, purpose becomes the driving force that sustains me through challenges. The stronger the purpose pulls at my heart the greater the force that drives me.

Success, wins, or goals feel empty if the purpose lacks substance.

I find that obstacle races and running breathe fresh air into my life and help return me back to center. Peace is my driving force, but this one race, every year, this one is for something bigger than myself.

The 63 stories, 1,393 steps I climbed at the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb was for my Dad, for what he represents to me, to my life, and to my kids. He was my purpose.

The thoughts of him holding my hand and walking with me out in the patio in our bell-bottoms when I was little, gave me strength to keep taking those steps. The thought of him giving me rides to school at 7 a.m. after he had finished his night shift, kept me going. The thought of seeing him clap for me as the basketball swooshed through the net at one of my games pushed me further. The thought of him being there for me even though he had his own dreams, and troubles, gave me strength to move forward when my body felt like breaking down. The thought of us being friends when I was older helped me reach the top when all my muscles just wanted me to stop. The thought of holding his hand in the hospital room and being the last one to talk to him, to see him alive, that made me teary-eyed as I caught my breath, kissed my fingertips and pointed to the sky. He was there when I reached the finish line.

He’s my driving force, even when I run out of gas.

It was tough this year. I say that a lot, but my aching knees definitely think that this year, the seventh year, was testing the limits. I mean before I even start, I always imagine the previous year and how difficult it was for me to reach the top, and I think it can’t be more difficult than that, but then I start the race and it is … it is more difficult, because I feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel every single year of my life in those bones and muscles of mine when I climb. It hit me when I saw the 20th floor sign, and I tried my best not to look at the signs as I ran up the claustrophobic stairwells, but sometimes there was no where else to look, but up.

My calves were burning, my legs felt weak and my chest heavy as I tried to breathe.

And then I grew even more exhausted because it was only 20. I had 43 more floors to go. And so I went, passing people sitting on steps, clinging onto the walls, and holding onto to handrails just trying to regulate their breath, trying just to make it. Getting to the halfway mark made me feel better I thought I was almost there, but my legs disagreed with me in the most volatile voice.

But I dug deep because it was for the one man that’d seen all my flaws and shine and loved me through it all the best way he could. I dug deep because so many friends, old and new, read his story and donated to the cause to help someone else’s Dad, someone else’s mom, brother, sister, son, or daughter. They made a difference in the lives of someone searching for a cure, someone trying to raise awareness, someone trying to breathe a better breath.

I made it to the stop and took a moment to hold onto that feeling, a moment to remember my purpose as I looked out at the city.

He was worth it. Every step. Every ice pack. Every rock of lavender Epsom salt that my muscles needed. Every bit of that Ben-Gay. It was Gatorade-Worthy.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Letting Go

6 Mar

30 Days.

What the hell?

It was a completely unintentional a 3-hour-tour-Gilligan’s-Island disappearance on my behalf. I had no idea where my motivation fell off the ship, but with the help of The Professor and MaryAnn and rest of the S.S. Minnow Crew I’m able to tap away at the keys again.

It might have been the fact that our family kept up our New Year’s Resolution and tried something completely new that inspired this post and sent me on the most anxiety-mom-crazed-roller-coaster ever. Feelings like that tend to spur inspirational writing moments.

Growth is what people call it. Parenthood, I guess.

Our new adventure last month?

Away From Home.

Letting go.

Normally my people don’t do sleepovers. It’s something that I hear other families talk about and moms share stories over the preparations, fun times, and lack of sleep. But us?

Nope.

Unless it’s family, my kids have never slept over anyone else’s house. Aunts’. Grandma’s. Cousins’.  If you’re not a blood relative my kids were not sleeping over your place. Their Dad and I are both on the same page with this. And I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we’re just like this and we’re O.K. with it.

That was until the annual Fifth Grade Outdoor Science School field trip where everyone in the fifth grade goes away for three nights and four days, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones. My son was excited to go. Looking forward to this all year. All. Year. And then neither their Dad, nor I got selected to be chaperones.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

Huge dilemma for me. BIG.

For most people this was an easy decision. But I struggled with it for weeks. Now I didn’t want to be that crazy parent … the one… that didn’t let her kid go on this trip. I didn’t want to be that one, where the kid is on lockdown and never experiences anything because the overprotective parent is watching them like a hawk and protecting them like SuperMan everyday. I didn’t want to be that parent. Even though every fiber of my being was like nope, you just CAN’T let him go. You can’t. You can’t!  

But I didn’t want to be that parent. I know that with the best intention they have sometimes this kind of parenting does more damage than good. I know this. I do.

His Dad and I discussed it.

And I opened the gates.

It’s been the hardest thing I had to do as a parent so far. First time ever.

Let go.

It felt like the first time he went to preschool or kindergarten and I was that parent peeking through the fence, making sure that one kid didn’t push my kid off the tricycle. That was me. I had flashbacks. But I let go.

Letting Go

🙂

 

He was so excited when we gave him the news that he could go. I got that thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-hug-you-so-tight hug. His sister was not that thrilled as they’re pretty close buds. And me? I was wrecked with anxiety and filled with summer camp 80’s movies and wondering if some jackass kid would scar my kid for life. Other moms seemed to have it so together, while I was losing it inside.

When the day came, we walked to the front of the school and waited. All I wished for was positive vibes and good things. I hugged him goodbye, waved as the bus drove off.

I felt the ugliness in the pit of my stomach and hoped for the best.  His sister was having a hard time with it, although I put on my Mom face and told her everything would be fine and he would get the secret letter she put in his sleeping bag and he would love it and be fine.

After she fell asleep, I completely lost it.  I felt like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption the last night Andy Dufrane was there. One of the longest nights of my life.

The next morning I realized I’m completely unprepared for when he leaves for college. I’m gonna be a complete wreck. Sobbing. Weeping. Heartbroken. I can totally imagine it. It’s going to be a disaster and this in no way prepared me. Sure I wasn’t that parent that kept her kid home and deprived him of an awesome learning opportunity, I wasn’t keeping him locked away from the world. I know he has to grow and learn and get beat up by life a little bit. But inside I soooooooo wanted to be that parent.

It was a serious internal struggle.

And in the midst of this internal battle and complete breakdown he came back early. Snowstorm in the mountains. Freak storm closing down the roads forced them to come home earlier than expected. Gone just two days instead of four.

I felt like an idiot afterward, just two days. But the anxiety was real, the worry was real, the stress, the emotions. I was battling my Motherhood worst-scenarios and he came back smiling and full of hugs.

Best hug ever.

He was disappointed that the trip ended early but grateful that he at least got the chance to go.

I ended up being NOT that parent, but I struggled every minute of it. I’m gonna need some advice from the parents out there about letting go, because I know I’m gonna have to do it again and I know I’m not prepared for it. I might be better at it the next time it comes around but I’m for sure not going to be emotionally prepared for it.

The college years will be here before I know it and that part of Parenthood is going to suck. But I guess until then I’m gonna make sure to instill lessons of strength, empathy, kindness, responsibility, resourcefulness, and humor. If I’m missing something I’m probably gonna pick it up along the way, but veteran parents out there feel free to let me know.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

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 …

 

 

 

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.

Thankful for Pies and Non-Turkey Trot Early Morning Runs

23 Nov

So there I was feeling all the feels as I made my pumpkin pies in the morning. Remembering the early morning run and being grateful for the fresh air after a good night’s rain.

I was one of the few in the city probably not participating in a Turkey Trot that was up that early. And the quietness of the Thanksgiving morning was a peaceful blanket I was happy to wrap around myself.

I felt the feels and tried to keep that moment with me the entire day … when my mother came over and started her normal mothering observations that immediately make your eyes roll and take deep breaths … when the kids  just lost it because the ever so important golden string was pulled out from the ever so important LEGO Palm tree outdoor set and they couldn’t put it back the “right” way and the arguing felt like forever … when I couldn’t find parking on my own street and had to park three blocks away … when there were too many people in the kitchen and opinions were everywhere … when it felt like we were having a Costanza Festivus Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza instead of the Hallmark moments I imagined everyone posted on Facebook, which is why I don’t check it often anymore.

I closed my eyes and felt the feels of the early morning and remembered the crisp air filling up my lungs. I remembered feeling good just breathing. I remembered my Dad.

I remembered it being my Dad’s favorite holiday and the day I definitely think about him the most. The Diestel turkey was bought in part because we sold hundreds of them every year at the shop and remembered it being my Dad’s preference. Remembered all those long days at the shop when he was alive and the ginormous refrigerator where I was the inventory champ, but still complaining about why I’d always be the one in the freezing temperatures. He’s just smile and say I was younger and should be able to handle it. I remembered the hard days. The long days. The endless paperwork. The stress. And then the relief of sleeping in on Thanksgiving morning.

I remembered driving in his gray Nissan truck, picking up pies, and listening to jazz on the radio as he tapped the steering wheel.

I remembered the pies, and so when I pulled them out of the oven, I knew.  He would have smiled and asked to taste-test it before everyone … you know … just to be sure. I’d probably argue and reason with him, but eventually taste-testing would be an important reason.

And so on the chaotic day where the good, the bad, and the ugly show up at varying levels and different times during the day, I was grateful for moments remembered, moments with pies, moments of loudness with family, and moments of morning quietness in my Non-Turkey Trot run.

I held onto those moments as I remembered my Dad, and I took a deep breath because I missed him. I missed him with everything I got. Then I closed my eyes and sent him some light and love.

And pie.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Buen Camino, my friends!