Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day to the Dads

A father is one who conceives a child. That's the easy and fun part.  Turn on any daytime talk show on any given day and you'll hear at some point in the show, the host's announcement of "You ARE the father."  But usually those who are receiving that announcement are only getting the confirmation that they have made a child, and they have yet to be more than a father and to be a dad. 

But what makes a father a dad?  A dad is there when the baby smells like powder. A dad is there when the baby doesn't smell so nice.  A dad is there when his child begins to eat real food.  A dad is there when his child throws it all up.  A dad is there when his child is healthy. A dad is there when his child is covered in chicken pox or up all night with a bad cough. A dad is there when his child learns to ride a bike. A dad is there when his child falls off that bike and is crying because of skinned knees.  A dad is there when his child comes home from school with smiley faces and "A's" on his or her homework. A dad is there when his child comes home with his or her first "F".  A dad is there for the parent-teacher conferences where the teacher raves about what a great student and child he or she is. A dad is there for the conferences that don't go quite so well.  A dad rejoices with his child when he or she gets the winning run, the winning goal or the winning touchdown.  A dad comforts his child when he or she misses the catch or the pass and feels like a failure.  A dad is there when his child gets his or her license.  A dad is there when that same child gets his or her first speeding ticket or is in an accident.  A dad is there for the school dances, the first boy or girlfriend, the first date, the graduation, the first job, the wedding, the birth of a grandchild, the joys, the tears, the ups, the downs. 

A stepfather is one who marries a woman who already has a child with another.  He becomes the stepfather to that child.  Sometimes this is a very sticky situation for the stepfather.  His stepchild already has a father.  If the father is involved in the child's life, it can be tough on the stepfather who is with the child every day and is many times "the everyday father".  However, some fathers don't appreciate the difficult role of the stepfather and don't understand that the stepfather is also now in a parenting role of his child.  But the stepfather loves the mother and wants to help her by helping to take care of her child, loving, providing and disciplining.  A good father and a good stepfather are good dads and good stepdads when they realize that they are co-parenting, not trying to take one job away from the other, but simply just another parent who loves the child.  And a child can never have enough love.  Stepdads are there for all the times that the dad is there, and they love that child as their own.  And the dad should get that and appreciate the assistance.  My husband and I married when my son was 7, and there have been many times that my son's father has said that he appreciates my husband and is thankful for him being there for his son, and for that we are all fortunate in that we can see the bigger picture of working together as parents.  My husband and I have 2 children together, and he loves all 3 of my children the same, as if they were all 3 his own.  He provides and cares for them and is there for all of the above occasions.  Next Sunday we will celebrate Father's Day, and they will both be there, my son's father with his own family, and my husband with us.  Co-parenting for the greater good of the child...because he is loved by both his dads.

My thoughts today are also with the dads who are parenting alone, whether by choice or not by choice.  I think in particular of two very special dads who lost their wives, the mothers of their children.  These dads have had to become both mother and father and have worked hard to make the transition as smooth as possible for their children, by keeping their schedules, their activities and their hopes and dreams going.  Through their own grief and their own tears, they have devoted their lives to continue the parenting plan they had made with their wives for the children and to ensure that their children still have plenty of reasons every day to smile and laugh.  God bless you for all that you dads do.

So today I would like to honor the fathers who are dads, the stepfathers who are stepdads and the fathers who have the very tough job of being moms and dads.  I would like to honor my dad who has always been there, when I've made him happy and when I've disappointed him.  I knew he loved me the same during both of those times, and I never doubted his love, his support and his prayers for me.  I would like to honor my son's dad for loving him enough to share him with my husband.  I would like to honor my husband who I respect and admire every day for the gentle and quiet ways he shows his love and care for our children, all 3 of them.

Happy Father's Day to all you DADS for all you do and all you are!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What would you do?

There's a term called the "bucket list". The "bucket list" is a list, written or mental, which includes all of the things you would like to do before your time on earth ends.  But what would you do if one day you were told that there was a distinct end, a light at the end of the tunnel if you will, or a limited time left here on earth?  Would you make amends with someone with whom you had parted ways?  Would you spend as much time as you could with those you loved, doing the things you love?  Would you become the daredevil you always wanted to be?  Would you go bungee jumping? Skydiving?  Parasailing? Would you get a tattoo? Would you travel and visit all the places you always thought you'd have the time to visit?  Would you make sure you never missed a single chance to tell your loved ones that you love them?

I've been thinking of my own "bucket list". I've gone parasailing.  I've always wanted to go hang gliding.  I've always wanted to go to Italy and Hawaii.  I'd love to take my parents and all my siblings and their families to Disney World.  I'd like to just walk the beach holding hands with my husband and children, kicking our feet in the water as we walked, and NOT picking seaweed off our ankles or from in between our toes.  I'd like to get a tattoo, and I just did that.  I'd call a former friend and apologize for the mean letter I sent her when she hurt me.  I'd like to get together with old friends and laugh and reminisce about good times.  But mostly I'd like to spend every moment making memories, memories to treasure in my heart to carry me through dark times, and memories to leave in the hearts of those I'd be leaving behind. 

It's hard to think about things like this, much in the way it seems morbid to make a will or to talk about who you would want to raise your children if you were no longer here to do the job.  But why does it take receiving a death sentence to make us live?  Why don't we do these things each and every day?  Why don't we say "I love you" more often? Why don't we make more of an effort to spend time with our families and friends? Why don't we build memories now? 

There is a saying that I like that says "Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children".  It's so true...what kind of memories are we giving our children?  What kind of stories will they someday share with their children about what it was like when they were children living with us?

Tim McGraw sings "Live like you were dying", and maybe we should.  No one knows when their last day is so why waste a single minute?  Life here on earth has so much to offer, there is so much to see, so many things to do, and so many people to love and treat well and memories to be made every day.

I'm going to work on making memories, leaving good memories in the hearts and minds of my children, never missing an opportunity to say "I love you" and maybe, just maybe, go hang gliding in Hawaii someday. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fun Friday!

Today was the best Fun Friday ever.  For those of you who don't read my blog regularly, there will be some references to previous blogs so let me catch you up to speed.

Fun Friday originated at work between me and my co-worker Hailyn.  Fun Friday is a day that you wear jeans, order a really good lunch, and by really good, I mean really bad in terms of healthy eating.  Some Fun Fridays even begin with chips 'n dip that we buy from the convenience store across the street at 10 AM.  But there's always bad eating, that's a given.  Sometimes we even go out for a long lunch, with the boss's permission, mind you, or the boss buys us lunch.  The other definite of Fun Friday is doing little work, unless you count shopping online or watching music videos on YouTube as work.  Yes, there is also dance music playing, rather loudly at times, and dancing in our cubicles.  Fun Friday is, in a nutshell, FUN!

The only downer to Fun Friday is when others don't understand the concept of Fun Friday.  For example, our other co-worker is a little bit of a downer, all right, I'm being nice, she IS a downer.  She doesn't wear jeans EVER, doesn't eat bad food, and if she ever feels evil enough to order with us, she hardly eats anything and tells us repeatedly how her meal is going to last her all weekend while we shovel the entire meal into our mouths and then immediately thereafter begin talking about how we need something sweet to polish off the meal and thereby enhance the fun that is Fun Friday.  The downer also almost always has a "boo boo belly" which is fancy talk for an upset stomach, and from previous blogs, you will have learned that every time she says "boo boo belly", it is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  She is also a hard worker and ALWAYS overwhelmed with work, but it is work that no one can help her with.  I know because I have asked in an effort to make her more fun.  So picture Hailyn and I eating, dancing, laughing and shopping while she runs around from computer to copier to file cabinet all while complaining of a "boo boo belly" and wearing dress-up clothes.  DOWNER!  There are also clients who don't understand Fun Friday, and they show up or call, expecting us to take messages or make appointments for them or listen to their tales of woe, self-inflicted tales of woe, mind you, as there would be no tale to tell if they didn't get in trouble in the first place for their own wrongdoing.

The other thing you need to know is that I have been trying to get past my aversion to exercising and have been spending a lot of time bonding with my new treadmill.  I've only seen a weight loss of 5 lbs, but have been told I look better so I'm guessing my hard work is paying off.

Now fast forward to being Friday.  I took the day off from work.  Initially I asked for the day off because I needed to take my son to a doctor's appointment.  I thought I could go to the mall before picking him up at 11, and spend my Christmas and Mother's Day gift cards.  However, the mall didn't open until 10, and that wasn't going to allow enough time. So although I had the day off, I wasn't thinking I would be able to observe the weekly holiday known as Fun Friday.

So this morning I was awakened by my husband telling me that he was taking his motorcycle to work and Jake would take his car to work so that I didn't have to bring Jake to his doctor's appointment. Bonus!  Now I could go to the mall.  So as I lay in bed, I planned my Fun Friday.  I got Nathan and Allie on the bus and off to school; we average MAKING the bus in the morning maybe twice a week, so this was already a plus.  I then came home, threw in a load of laundry and baked a cake as my husband of almost 13 years had just announced the other day that his favorite dessert was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Staying with the positive theme of Fun Friday, it's good to learn something new about your spouse after all these years, right? I'm not a bad wife for not knowing that, right?

Then I headed to the mall which is just under an hour away.  Oh yeah, I was also having a good hair day.  On the way to the mall, I heard all my favorite songs which I sang at the top of my lungs.  My first stop was DSW. I had never been to DSW which is SHOE HEAVEN!!! 
I didn't know where to begin, but then saw my favorite sign "Clearance" so headed to my size.  DSW isn't cheap, and for someone who doesn't like to pay more than $20 for any item, this was the section for me.  I found 2 pairs of shoes here and then began to walk the hundreds (all right maybe more like 40) of aisles of regular-priced shoes where I found another pair.  I paid with my gift card and coupons and ended up leaving with $10 left on my gift card for a future visit.  Then it was off to Macy's to spend my other gift card.  I was in search of pants for work, Monday thru Thursday pants, in other words, not jeans.  I found 2 pairs in my size that were regularly $98 but were 80% off which would have made me buy them just for that but then the best thing happened.  I tried them on, and they were TOO BIG!  After a quick thank you to my treadmill for not bucking me off anymore, I returned them to the rack and grabbed the next size down.  I then found 2 cute summer tops and headed to the cashier.  I went over my gift card by $7, but I gladly paid it for my smaller-sized clothes.

Then I headed home, windows open, good hair blowing in the cool breeze, sunglasses on, again hearing my favorite songs on the radio, singing along, pleased with my new purchases and looking forward to my daughter's concert at school at 2:00, and then it happened.  Something that could potentially be a literal buzzkill to Fun Friday...a bee flew into my open window and flew into my shirt.  I pulled my shirt out and could see it and feel it flying in my armpit.  I tried to reach it through my shirt to no avail so I ripped off my seatbelt, ripped off my shirt and began beating the bee until it could fly no more.  It was then time to get off on my exit so I figured I would just put my shirt back on while on the exit ramp.  Then a car began to pass me, and I thought, "Oh great!"  I looked over and a nice young man, who was clearly in need of an eye exam, gave me a big smile and a thumbs-up.  So see, nothing bad really ever happens on Fun Friday!