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Duct Tape Adventures Continue …

6 Oct

It’s an adventure inspired by my childhood Saturday morning cartoons and now continues into a family tradition. Something that involves the very best of our creative bones, laughter, and smiles.

Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than my kids, but when I see their faces during the race or at the night, it might be a tie.

Do you remember those Saturday morning cartoons, the kind you needed no alarm for, just sprang out of your bed in pajamas and snuck into the living room to watch as everyone still snored and dreamed away until the sun shone through the curtains?

This story always begins there …

Wacky Races. I loved the competition and how each character created their own custom vehicle. The whole concept was something that stuck with me for years. I’d always wanted to do something like that, but nothing like that existed in my neck of the woods. So I needed to wait until I had kids to finally participate in something as cool as that. So the duct tape and cardboard make appearances every year in the fall.

I don’t necessarily do it so that the kids can look back on it and say … yeah we had a tradition … more so that they can be able to remember the fun in building, in creating, in racing, in cheering others on, in thinking yeah we had fun with mom on that, that was something cool I enjoyed in my childhood. I know they enjoy it in the present moment, I just hope the memory lasts long after I’m gone and they smile at the pictures. They start conversations with each other and tell stories of our family. They think … good times, noodle salad.

Our annual duct tape adventures took place last month and I seemed to enjoy the creativity and architectural skills of all the participants. I’m surprised every year by the ingenuity and awesomeness of people’s spirit. Sometimes I wonder if these people make props or stage sets for a living because they’re so great. But I give my mom skills a high five as we are always one of the few boats left afloat.

This year my son, a true fan of The Rebellion, chose a Star Wars themed ship for the race and in truth we almost didn’t make it. But a couple late nights and the amazing strength of Gorilla Duct Tape and we were sailing away.

 

Our Rebel ship ready for takeoff 🙂

As always we participated in the child-adult race, but they also decided to try their luck in the child-child category as well. It was so fun to see them paddle their way to the finish line. Now they weren’t experienced kayakers as some of the older kids, but the fact that they raced on their own and tried it was pretty fun to watch. I was worried by son’s competitive edge would result in a frustrating loss, but he enjoyed his first kid race, regardless. My daughter attempted paddling and I believe her arm muscles didn’t appreciate it the next morning. Next year we’re gonna have to try taking rowing lessons as we finally got the buoyancy and staying afloat part nailed. We just need our rowing muscles and a little more coordination.

IMG_4100

My favorite this year was Marty, Doc, and their DeLorean …

But no matter what, we enjoyed our day at the beach, the camaraderie of the other boat architects, the creativity of the boats and the excitement of the races. I’ll keep building the boats as long as they keep enjoying the journey.

Buen Camino my friends

 

 

 

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The Bench Is Not A Fun Place …

15 Sep

You hope at the very least that they have a moment when they hear the cheer. The clapping. The loudness. You hear the woo-hoo charged with such energy and enthusiasm that it reverberates in the air.

You’ve heard it before for your kid and hoped the start of a new year on a new team, that you’d hear the roar again, at the very least from you.

But instead it was silence, frustration, and disbelief. I rubbed my forehead and face in anguish. It was painful to watch.

It was one of those times you tried to find something positive to say or remember about the performance and nothing … absolutely nothing came to mind.

I had one of those parent moments where I couldn’t believe what was happening but it was happening because my eyes were watching it, so I just sat there stunned.

I was watching everything fall apart, just completely sink. From the top of his game to being third string. As a parent and sports enthusiast it was tough to face.

He had the worst … and I mean the worst game of his life, where everything that could go wrong did. He forgot how to pass, how to shoot, how to move fast, how to defend. It’s like he had amnesia and forgot how to play the game. It hurt to watch him self-destruct.

It hurt to come to terms with the terrible plays and effort, it was disappointing to know that he was just a body out there, not making an impact at all … well … he was, but a negative one.

That’s one thing I tell both my kids … did you make an impact? Did you do better than last time?

Both answers were no.

I mean just yesterday my daughter continued making strides in her first year of soccer. The way she continues to improve as a player every game only makes me believe that we’re just scratching at the surface of her potential. I’m excited at what she can do and what’s to come for her.

My son, however, has started his journey this year at an all-time low, and I’m troubled by it. I’m having a lowly parent moment where I feel there’s nothing I can do for my kid. No matter how many pointers or words of encouragement I shout out nothing was getting through and the slump snowballed into a disastrous state of play.

It’s the first time I couldn’t see a positive. It was an epic failure and it sat there for all to watch and the oohs and ohhhs could be heard.

The performance will hang over him like a Scarlett Letter and he’ll have to dig and fight his way out. He’ll have to work twice as hard now to even earn half the time he had before. It’s slipping away.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to rewatch Rudy, or Hoosiers, or read the sports biographies of comeback underdogs. Perhaps rewatch Nadal’s Championship match in the U.S. Open, because the bench is not a fun place if you’re an athlete. It’s not great if you’re a parent either.

This uphill battle is going to be tough. I’m wondering what Coach Taylor would say …

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…

Not Everyone is Worthy of a Purple Velvet Couch …

6 Jul

I stopped to appreciate the coolness of it all. I’d never seen someone so out of their element look like they were in charge. Confident. They had that Fonzie swagger.

At first I thought they were plastic, decorative statues to bring more funk to this older gentleman’s car, but no … there they were hanging out on the back of a classic Dodge during an American Graffiti Friday Night vibe at the local burger joint. All the classic cars were on full display, but these iguanas were cooler than any 67 ride parked out front.

And the thing is I think they knew they were the new kids on this block, but they were being themselves … relaxing and observing every passerby. These iguanas didn’t need anyone’s approval or love, but they got it. They sat there checking out the seen and keeping their fixed stare on anybody who chose to stare at them back.

I don’t know if their home houses those sweet purple velvet couches or logs with leaves, but I’m sure they lounge on those chairs on a daily basis, chit-chatting about when the Geico lizard will come over go a visit.

The awesomeness these iguanas exuded in an environment that wasn’t their own made me think about my son. You see, he was having a hard time with a friend that wasn’t being very friendly, but my son continued to try to include himself in this boy’s life, assuring me that there was no reason why this kid wouldn’t like him. Maybe I was mistaken, he suggested.

But as group hangouts and play dates increased I felt my son was off the mark. So I had a little chat with him … I explained to him that not everyone was going to be smart enough to know what an amazing, and cool friend he was, but that didn’t mean he had to let himself believe what they believed about him.

“You be yourself,” I said. “People will like you for you, I know you want to hang out with certain kids but sometimes it’s best to take your friendship and walk away. The fact that they don’t want to get hang out with you is their loss. You know you’re an awesome dude. You’re like an iguana.”

That seemed to confuse him. He didn’t know what I was talking about. So I showed him the picture. I explained that they might not have been in their own environment, and were surrounded by people they didn’t know, but they didn’t care. They were themselves, hanging out with their real buddies, they didn’t care that people were watching, to which he answered if they were themselves they’d be in the rainforest. And I don’t think these are iguanas, they’re lizards.

And I laughed.

Maybe they were hanging out this way in the rainforest or desert or wherever. Nobody can make them stay posed that way this long. Maybe they were purple velvet couch lizards and didn’t know it yet.  Maybe this is more comfortable than the branch or cactus that sticks in them in the back. Maybe purple velvet is their jam. They sit there and they don’t care, they know they’re awesome in every way and if you want to hang out with them, take pictures with them, find out more about them then cool, if not then it’s your loss. The lizards don’t care. They hang out regardless.

“Not everyone is worthy of a purple velvet couch. But I think you can definitely own one.”

“I like green.”

“I know. You would rock any color.”

 

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!

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!

 

 

 

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!

Motivation Mondays: Don’t Steal the Sunshine

12 Nov

 

A good friend of mine recently shared this feel-good video and it was something that made me smile …

 

 

 

You see I desperately try not to steal my kids’ sunshine, their spirit, their juice, their rainbow of colors that brings them to life. I try to keep my neurotic parenting to a minimum as I’d like my kids to have some sense of awesomeness still radiate like the sun on ocean waves. As a parent I’ve seen this happen and in truth I did it myself a when they were younger, and I caught myself feeling crappy and ugly for it as I saw the immediate brightness dim itself a bit.

It was just water.

Jumping in puddles. What kid doesn’t want to do that? I was so worried about the car seats and rugs getting soaked that I forgot it’s just water. Mr. Clean Erasers work like magic and the moldy smell would eventually go away if I just aired it out.  I totally let the air out of the balloon.

That was me.

I deflated the little spirits when they were 6 and 3. The crazy mom just trying to get through the day, the “getting through” part was what I was missing. I was all about keeping on schedule so breakdowns wouldn’t happen later on. I was just trying to get through it, when I should have been present. Parent fail. Big time.

But I learned.

The person that helped me turn the corner was someone I hadn’t even met. Randy. I remembered Randy Pausch and his Last Lecture … and I remembered splashing in puddles was definitely worth it. Remembering Randy Pausch and his message helped me shift gears. Galoshes and raincoats were in full effect, and I was happy to see the energy and light come back.

I promised myself I wouldn’t steal their sunshine after that and to the best of my recollection I haven’t. I’ve done other crazy mom things, for sure, but that … that is promise I kept.

This touching short film, Alike, was another reminder of that, a reminder of what I could lose if I’m not paying attention, what I could lose if I try to mute their vibe, what I could lose if I forget they need encouragement even if I don’t have it. It also reminded me of what someone else can lose because of me.

It was a good reminder … and I was grateful.

Buen Camino my friends!