Is that a dangling participle in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

Sitting at the table, my dinner looked simply fantastic.  (Ok, we got the dangler out of the way, now for the good stuff…)

My daughter looked at me this morning when she woke up and said, “I don’t think  can ever say I love you enough, daddy.”

My daughter is six.  When I was six, I think I was trying to figure out how fast I had to eat Fruit Loops before they got soggy.  Apparently, my daughter is more refined.  At any rate, chalk up another memory I will have forever.  Kids say the most incredible things. 

The second comment made by my six-year-old this weekend.  “Apparently, you didn’t shave good enough yesterday because you are already scruffy again.”

Two years ago, hell, not even that, she called my “scruff”, fur.  It appears as if I need to start saving for her first car NOW, because the time is just a flyin’ by…

I was stuck in traffic on the highway today for a good half hour.  When the cars finally did start to move, there was nothing.  No construction, no sign of an accident….absolutely nothing.  So, my mind started to wonder why in the hell the cars were stopped to begin with.  Here is what I decided.  While driving, two cars in the “front of the pack”, suddenly decided to stop in the middle of the highway.  They put their cars in park and decided to just sit there for a half-hour while traffic piled up for miles.  Then, when they had their fix, the drivers started their cars up again, and traffic started moving.  Either that, or Daisy Duke hopped out of the General Lee and cause a twenty car pile up because she is so hot.  Not the original Daisy Duke either.  I am talking the Jessica Simpson, Daisy Duke.  Those are the only two logical explanations I can come up with.

I suppose the final thing I have for you tonight is that I lit a pumpkin-scented candle when I got home and as a result, felt a little guilty.  Why?  It’s not a summer scent.  We are supposed to light scents that make you feel like you are on the beach or snorting Tide powder in June.  I don’t care.  Pumpkin smell makes me feel like I am watching college football, eating chili and carving pumpkins.  When I am doing that, I am happy.  So, you can keep your freshly cut grass and clean cotton candles–I’ll stick with what I know–pumpkin spice, with my daughter in the background wondering if she will ever be able to express how much she loves me enough. 

Oh how I wish I had that on tape–I’d play it for her just before she introduces me to her first boyfriend with the tattoos and the long hair.  I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂

 

The lives of people I’ve known and the journey.

Often, I sit back and think of topics to blog about.  It’s hardly a scientific procedure–I just start thinking of ideas until something seems interesting. 

Although Facebook’s allure is fast wearing off on me, there are benefits to subscribing–one being that I get an opportunity to see how the lives of people I knew have turned out.  It’s amazing to think of people I knew 20 years ago in high school and to look at where they are today–and think about what their journey must have been like.  Everyone I knew back then impresses me today.  Some have kids, others great jobs and still others who live in the most fascinating places.  Others, all of the above!  Regardless, to have a chance to see where life has taken them–it’s a rather fun experience.

I don’t need to google people to find out what they’ve been up to.  I can tell by the pictures people post and the smiles on their faces how much joy and pride they take in their lives and in their families.  Years ago, I would find myself a little jealous or envious of people who seemed to be doing SO well.  Today, I am thankful–that people I knew have had a chance to experience life and become happy where they are and in what they are doing.

That is what social network sites like Facebook should be about.  It’s a chance for people to post things for others to see and admire.  “This is my life now and I am proud to share it with all of you.” 

I find myself tonight somewhat sentimental which is never a bad thing.  And while I seriously doubt that most of the people I am directing this to will ever read this post, I’d like to say that I am proud to know all of you.  I am profoundly happy for each and every one of you and wish you all the very best in your life’s journey.  Stay true to your families and your children and always know that you have a friend in me if you ever need one.

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a picture of a family together–the generations posed for a brief moment, capturing a time in their lives that they want to remember forever.  I know I do this with my family every chance I get and I know the reasons why.  When I take a moment to look at the lives of others, and see their pictures, I can only smile knowing they too are feeling the same thing.

Here’s to life and the journey.

 

There are moments–even when you vomit.

I received my father’s day gift a week early and I have to say, it was the best one I will ever get.  My kids should just stop there and never buy me another thing.  Two year old Brantley grabbing at my card and six-year old Kathryn reading it out loud to me.  There are moments in life you never forget.  When your child reads your card to you for the first time, it makes you swell with pride.  The moment is lost on my kids…at least for now.  They might be parents someday and when that moment happens for them, they will know why I had tears in my eyes.

Every day is Father’s Day for me.  I don’t need a special day on the calendar.  Each moment I have with my children is one I embrace.  As you get older, special moments become important.  More important than what kind of car I drive, or what kind of job I have.  Sometimes you just have to chalk those things up to circumstance and just let the world take you where it wants.  Moments though, can happen at any time.

It doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny, rich or poor–the mental camera inside your mind captures special moments and plays it back for years to come.  In future years, when I open packages with ties and ceramic ash trays, I will always remember Father’s Day 2012.  I am convinced that one of the true meanings of life is to be able to catch these moments when they happen and realize how lucky you are.

I suppose the lesson in this post is to just allow life to unfold and enjoy what is important.  My children are loved so much, it hurts.  That is the best gift I can ever give them.  In return, I get to watch them grow and make moments for me to remember for the rest of my days.  Don’t wait for the calendar to tell you it’s a special day.  There are moments out there for you to enjoy every day of the year.

Shortly after the precious moment, my son got sick and hurled projectile vomit all over me and the carpet.  I’m not going to lie–that sucked.  With a look of fear in his eyes, he immediately cried “dada” and hugged me as tight as he possibly could.  Even projectile vomit doesn’t suck for very long.  

There are moments everywhere. 

 

The cheering conundrum.

Every year, there is a story about a high school student who doesn’t get their diploma because his/her parents stood up and cheered for their accomplishment.  This year, there were arrests and threats of lawsuits.  Personally, I think people just need to shut the hell up.  It isn’t a matter of showing pride in your child’s accomplishment, it’s a matter of civility which is a concept totally dead in today’s society.  It isn’t a matter of policing uncivilized behavior, it’s a matter of blatant over-reacting.  And it seriously needs to stop.

Get your diploma, go home and throw a party for the ages.

They don’t want you to cheer because if everyone stands up and screams for their child, the ceremony will take five hours.  If the ceremony takes five hours, parents will be lined up at the next school board meeting crying because the graduation ceremony took so long.  They also place restrictions on celebrating because some kids don’t have an entourage to hear from.  This moment isn’t for you–it’s for your child.  It is their time to grab a piece of paper that recognizes their achievement.  Shed a tear, wax poetic, but save your wild applause and yells of joy for after the ceremony.  Go home, light the grill, tap the keg and shoot off fireworks.  Enjoy it because the whole family deserves it.  Just don’t make it about you.  If you end up on the local news because you were asked to leave a graduation ceremony, you made an ass of yourself.  You broke the rules.  They asked you politely NOT to cheer.  They would like to keep things moving so everyone has a chance at a moment.

The ceremony is not about your moment as a parent.  It is a collective moment for the class of 2012 (or whatever class is being recognized.)  I know, it sucks.  It doesn’t seem fair, or right.  Think about it though.  You just sent your child to school for 13 years, asking them to learn how to follow the rules and to behave in a civil manner.  Why then, is it so difficult for families in attendance to follow a simple rule for the betterment of the ceremony?

If cheering would make the ceremony better for everyone involved, they would let you do it.  School administrators don’t want to ruin your day.  They just want to provide a nice, civil experience for everyone.  So follow the rules, let the process play itself out and when you get home–yell from the rooftops!

The ramifications of ignoring a simple request are just not worth it.

Why we let our kids win.

Parents will often find themselves in contests with their children.  Today was no exception.  My daughter Kat and I put on these silly plastic discs with velcro padding and threw a tennis ball back and forth–the object being you catch the ball with the plastic disc, w/velcro padding.  Ok….so the stage was set for some sort of competition.  Kat, age 6, threw the ball to me and I caught it.  Grandma said, one point for daddy.  I threw the ball to Kat, she caught it…you get the idea.  The “game” turned into a contest to see who could catch the most balls.  The Mayans would be proud.

We played to ten.  The score was Daddy 8, Kat 3, before I realized I needed to suddenly become completely inept at catching things.  Why?  Because kids need to win.  I know, I know, life is a bitch and kids need to learn we can’t always come out ahead.  I don’t care.  In a situation like this, you need to let your kid win.  They need to feel victorious and they need to feel the satisfaction of beating the person who can ground them if they talk back.  More than that, they need feel like they can have something to build on.  “Maybe I CAN throw and catch better than my dad.  The next time I’ll kick his ass even more.”

The final score–Kat 10, Daddy 9.  When the final catch was made, my daughter jumped up and down like she had just won the Stanley Cup.  It was a memory I will never forget.  Kids love little victories because they aren’t little–they are huge.  Parents need to remember that.  Kids need victories to know they are capable.  Just like Santa Claus is engrained in our minds and passed down from generation to generation, “throwing” games like I did today is a ritual every parent is faced with.  And I say, “God bless the ritual.”

I will trade a loss to my child for anything in the world, because I got to see the look on her face when she realized she beat her dad.  The next time we “lace up the skates”, she will be that much stronger and confident.  For those of us lucky enough to have kids, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Let your kids win when the opportunity is appropriate.  It’s a time-honored tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation.  And it’s a good thing.

Eating chips for breakfast is another story….that is one contest Daddy will always win.  And that’s good too.

Be well.