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Posts Tagged With: parenting

Love is time

I don’t know about you but I like a schedule.  A schedule gives me comfort and a steadiness of knowing what to expect. Monday-Friday you’ll find me consumed with work obligations; weekday evenings are devoted to time outside, reading or workouts. Early to bed, early to rise.  And by the time the weekend arrives, I tend to follow the same pattern over and over again.

  1. Friday night – no cooking for me; we enjoy an easy take-out dinner and time together to talk and catch up.
  2. Saturday finds me reading blogs, sipping coffee, doing laundry and completing a grocery run. All of this is done before mid-morning; afternoons I’m in the pool before readying for date night with Hubbs.
  3. Sunday – I cook at least two meals for the week, take a walk, read books and blogs, enjoy the pool or a nap, and chat on the phone with Mom and my cousin.

If I switch out just one part of the routine I find myself out of sorts.

Case in point: yesterday, the boys went golfing so I spent the day with the Grands and oldest boy’s fiance.  It was great! We enjoyed the “Minions” movie, perused every inch of the toy aisle, played in the pool and devoured a picnic lunch on the deck.   I appreciated the time I got with her and when littlest one took her hand or our grandson excitedly showed her his new Yu-gi-oh cards, my heart swelled.  I liked that she was comfortable with us but I loved that the kids were comfortable with her.

step-parenting

Going back to my routine, none of my “regularly scheduled” Saturday programming took place.  I found myself out of sorts when I woke this morning but then I reflected on all that yesterday was and couldn’t help but smile. If my biggest challenge today is to shorten my coffee-sipping and blog reading times, speed up the grocery run and cook one meal, not two, that’s just fine.    Why?  Because I’ve found the best way to show your love is to happily give someone your time.

 

“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”  ― Rick Warren

 

Can you relate to this?  Are you a schedule follower?  If you deviate from your schedule how does it affect you? Do you resent it or lean into it – and, does it depend for whom you deviate?

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Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Family, Growth, Home, Life Lessons, Love, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Romance, Self Discovery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Two for Tuesday ~ Resemblances

So there we were Sunday, oldest boy, grands and I, out shopping for Halloween costumes.  I know Halloween is weeks away but this happened to be a weekend where 1) he had the kids and 2) I didn’t have plans – whoop!

We started out slow but smart – at a Chinese buffet – Yum! The kids love that because they can each dish up whatever they like.  Later, an elderly couple stopped by to compliment them on their “nice” restaurant manners.  Apparently the kids they’d been seated to the night before were “beasts,” per the Grandmother. Yikes, glad that wasn’t the case for us.

Care to play along?  On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

Care to play along? On Tuesdays, pick a topic and segue into it!

We arrived at the store and found our way to the Halloween display.  Now if you’re going shopping with me you need to know we try everything – all the displays, the sounds, the costumes, you name it.  We weren’t in a hurry and I think that’s what the kids like the most – we “moseyed” and they had time to point, laugh and be silly.

MJ ran right past the Princesses (yay!) and declared her choice: Supergirl.  AB hand-picked a white Ninja costume with, ahem, built in muscles.  Of course he had to get the $2.00 sword and she couldn’t resist the $4.00 bejeweled mask.    They stayed in costume the rest of the day :).

An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Kids spell love “T-I-M-E” ~ An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Talking over their Halloween plans, I mentioned growing up on a farm and how we couldn’t go “trick or treating” door to door – our nearest neighbor was a 1/2 mile away.  Instead, I told them that my Mom and Aunt would load us up in the Pontiac (with the heat on high) and we’d visit 4 or 5 farms (mostly relatives) where we’d sing a song (Billy Boy) and enjoy home-made treats. By the end of the night – and 5 farm visits later – we had a pillow case and a tummy full of treats.

Most of the time we made our costumes and we recycled year after year.  As we got older Mom would break down and let us buy a costume. Remember the plastic clothing? Freezing cold and guaranteed to rip 20 minutes into the wearing.  And those masks let us all experience our first full facial sweat.  Yuck.

google.images.com

google.images.com

Their excitement was palpable and it was in watching MJ’s facial expressions that I remembered a picture of me taken around that age.

this MJ at age 3; on the back, in my Mom's handwriting is "MJ and The Look!" An Emjayandthem (C) photo

THIS MJ at age 3; on the back, in my Mom’s handwriting is “MJ and The Look!” An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Compare to the cheeks on our MJ:

MJ on her 5th birthday ... look at that excitement!  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

MJ on her 5th birthday … look at the excitement! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Come to think of it, I’ve always loved Halloween and the excitement that came with it.  I wasn’t a fan of the scary/gory stuff (still not) but the dressing up and the planning and the treats and the rest of it?  Bring it on!

Frankie hated Halloween. image from thebuzzmedia.com

Frankie hated Halloween. image from thebuzzmedia.com

How about you?  When you were a kid, did you make your costume? Ever recycle year over year?  Do you remember a full facial sweat in a gorilla mask?  What was the best home-made treat someone made then?  Do you see family resemblances across your generations? Do tell.

Related:

 

Categories: Animals, Family, Fun, halloween, Holidays, Life, Personal, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

My first true love

Valentines Day was great when I was a kid.

It was a happy fun day to hurry through Math and wait for the parties to start.   Our mothers would come to school and cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love through our classrooms.

mmm good; google.images.com

mmm good; google.images.com

We’d decorate shoe boxes in hopes of a Valentine overload… and sometimes those wishes came true.

You see I’d grown up loved.

I had siblings and cousins, Grandparents and Aunties, Uncles and friends and kitties and ponies, dogs and more.  I don’t remember anyone saying “I love you” as much as just knowing … that they did.

Later on, I had my share of boyfriends, some more serious than others, and yes I even grew up and got married – but to the wrong guy.  ( I did meet the right one later on — otherwise known as “Hubbs.”)

But it wasn’t until I became a Mom that I really understood what love – true love – was all about.

Real love. Deep love.  The kind of love that makes your heart-hurt-sometimes love.

It was a little green-eyed curly-haired moppet who claimed me.  Once I loved him, I didn’t know how my heart could hold any more.

He didn't like the grass on his toes. And I had short hair .. never again. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

He didn’t like the grass on his toes. And I had short hair .. never again. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

When I realized, pretty early on, that the “shine was off the penny” (the marriage was a mistake), I knew there was no way I was going anywhere without my boy.

That face!  My boy. My first true love.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

That face! My boy. My first true love. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

In the thick of the divorce, I remember my mother-in-law calling Mom to try and talk me into staying.   Mom’s response?  “My daughter would rather live in a tent and eat dirt before she stays and you’d be wise not to get in her way.”

My Mom.  All 119 lbs of her. God, I love her.

She’s the one who taught me.  It was her their example I followed.

Mom & Dad, An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Mom & Dad, An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Not always having enough, but making whatever we did … special and joyful.

Youngest boy now has that guitar; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

A simple Tuesday night made fun; an Emjayandthem (C) photo

And so, I remember with great joy, my little guy’s first Valentine’s party in pre-school. I got the afternoon off work, and arrived in time to cluck and fuss and spread heart-shaped treats and love throughout his classroom.

His 5th birthday; I met Mr. Hubbs a month later. Our fates were forever changed.  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

His 5th birthday; I met Mr. Hubbs a month later and our fates were forever changed. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

She’d done it for me and it was in doing for him that I realized we’d be OK.

Why?  Because when you’ve been loved … you can love.

My Boo and that Broad-shouldered Michigan man .. shortly before our wedding.  And Emjayandthem (C) photo

My Boo and that Broad-shouldered Michigan man .. shortly before our wedding. And Emjayandthem (C) photo

Last night, on a spur of the moment, I met that boy for supper.  Hubbs had a work engagement and youngest boy was working so it was just the four of us.

Him and I and the two little chirpy ones had a great visit, some yummy food, and moments of hilarity around the table.  When my grandson corrected my granddaughter, my boy looked at me and smiled as if to say “you know what this is all about don’t you.”  A single Dad with two wee ones in his care, one a “step,” although he doesn’t call him that. Others do.  He just says “this is my son.”

Adult life hasn’t been easy for him and I know the walk he’s walking and the trials he faces.  We do our best to help him know that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t have to always be an oncoming train.

Someday, I hope he will see that he’s been loved, and because of that, he can love, too.  I hope he meets someone wonderful who will love him for him and accept them for them and who might just go out of her way to make a Tuesday night something special.

Boo & his boy, A.B.  An Emjayandthem (C) photo

Boo & his boy, A.B. An Emjayandthem (C) photo

smiling wee ones tonight, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

smiling wee ones last night, an Emjayandthem (C) photo

So, as Valentines Day nears, it’s not the flowers or the candy or the parties that I think of, although they’re sweet childhood memories.  Who comes to mind on Valentines is my first true love.

My Boo Bear. All 6’2″ of him.


Categories: Beauty, Determination, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Men, Mom, Opinion, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Like that

I lifted this list from a previous post because I saw a trend of mine in there … the words “like that.”

1.    Some of you know that I hold citizenship in both Canada, my birthplace, and in the United States, my home. What you don’t know is that every time I go through customs, it’s all I can do to hold it together.  When an Immigration Agent says, “Welcome home” at either border, I blink back tears, every time.  I’m patriotic like that.

image from photos.igougo.com

I love this land. Image from photos.igougo.com

2.     I love to read and always have a book at my side.  But I get ornery when authors leave me hanging with a poor plot line or a dismal ending.  I will finish a book I’m not enjoying but won’t visit that author again. They don’t know this, or care, but I do. I’m stubborn like that.

Great book!!  image from goodreads.com

Now this is a book I’d read again and again. ~Wonderful!~ image from goodreads.com

3.     I bake goodies and give them away; chocolate does little for me.  Potato chips?  Different story.  Potato chips take me back to summer nights in a backyard tent, reading comic books with my cousin, telling stories and plotting our next great pony-riding adventure. I’m quirky like that.

oh yeah!

oh yeah!

4.     I love going to the airport.  I can cry watching someone else’s reunion.  I’m sappy like that.

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales; an emjayandthem photo

The beautiful Budweiser Clydesdales make me cry, too; an emjayandthem photo

5.     The older I get, the less I care what people say and the more I watch what they do. I’m seasoned like that.

photo source: watch-roseanne-online

“Seriously?” photo source: watch-roseanne-online

6.     I try not to look back unless the view is really worth seeing.  I’m determined like that.

The day our own Royal Princess arrived - baby MJ!  (an emjayandthem photo)

The day our own Royal Princess arrived – baby MJ! (an emjayandthem photo)

7.     No matter how big or tall or experienced they become, my boys will always be mine and I pity the fool who dares hurt them. Yep, I’m a Mom like that.

This is how I mother. Get over it. google.images

This is how I mother. Not apologizing!  google.images

I’d love it if you shared 7 things about yourself “like that.”

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Family, Gratitude, Home, Opinion, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

On Mothering

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me... having a Killian's in Branson, MO

One of my favorite pictures of Mom & me… having a Killian’s in Branson, MO

A mom reads you like a book, and wherever she goes, people read you like a glowing book review.  ~Robert Brault

***

We all need someone who believes in us – someone who sees our potential and who encourages us to keep on going when times get hard.  Someone who reminds us of what is working in our life and that tomorrow will be better.  Someone who points out all we have to be grateful for right now.

We need someone who cheers the loudest when we succeed and stays the closest when we’re hurting.

No matter how robust our self-confidence is, knowing that we are treasured is the magic elixir that gives us the ability to be our best.

In everything I’ve ever accomplished and all that I’ve ever experienced, I’ve had one tiny but mighty powerhouse behind me: my mother.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me the importance of a meal lovingly prepared, of make-believe play on stormy days, the joy of reading and the ability to laugh at myself.

Thank you to my Mom for driving me to piano lessons even though I could “hear” the music and didn’t bother learning to read notes; for sewing my skating costumes, helping me finish 4-H projects and listening to me practice my speeches.

Thank you to my Mom who put up with my petulance at 14, what I was sure was true love at 16, and impatience at 18.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me that a real man cries, loves children and animals and his wife, and shows up.

Thank you to my Mom who  inspires me to challenge what I know for sure, to stretch my limits and to never underestimate what can be done.

Thank you to my Mom, who let me have sleepovers, talent shows, weenie roasts and birthday parties.

Thank you to my Mom for teaching me how to have a warm & inviting home; to cook, clean and entertain in a way that makes my family want to be home more than not.

Thank you to my Mom who taught me to not save my best manners for strangers and to, no matter what, stay up for kids coming in at night so there’s always an audience for their stories.

Thank you for my Mom who let me go; who, in spite of the miles that separate us, and the time between our face-to-face conversations, has never failed to rally behind me and say “You can do it, kid.”

Thank you, Mom, thank you.

The greatest gift I’ve ever received … is a Mother who is happy to be one.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

*originally posted 5/6/2011

Want to read more about the 4’11” dynamo?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Everything

Hubbs and I met up with another couple to watch Michigan vs. Michigan State play basketball Sunday night.  I can’t say I follow it, but he does and then some;  I’m good with tagging along and enjoying the outing.

Talking to our oldest earlier that day, I asked what his plans were.

Sighing,  he said, “Well this is when I wish I had cable because I’d rather stay home and watch it than go out and spend money I don’t have.”

So you know I invited him to join us.

“Really?”  he asked.

“Sure, we’d love to have you. Come and have a beer and a sandwich on us.”  I said.

“Thanks, Mom. I’ll see you later!”  The excitement in his voice was palpable.

You see, between his work schedule and ours, and him having the little ones regularly, he doesn’t get a lot of time on his own much less with Mom and Dad.

Time without interruption, without tying shoes, bed times or monitoring who got the last of the fruit snax.

Time to talk, time to be heard.  Time to cheer along; time to just be.

Our table brightened when he arrived, pulled up a seat, and settled in to enjoy the game.

In the big scheme of life, it wasn’t anything. But, in its own way, it was everything.

 “When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.  ~The Talmud

me & my  Boo

me & my Boo

Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mom, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Work it out

Growing up the youngest of five, there were times that we just didn’t get along.

With 9 years between the oldest and youngest (me) and 3 channels to watch, one of them French, TV shows were often decided on by the (much bigger) boys.   Favorites like “The Carol Burnett Show” or “The Wonderful World of Disney” garnered cooperation from all but  “Hockey Night in Canada” meant front row seats for them and we girls off doing something else.

When Mom heard us bickering over something – the last cookie, the TV channel, etc, her response was always “Oh for Pete’s sakes, work it out.”

The thing is, we had each other and several thousand acres to run around on. We had animals and bikes, ponies and hay stacks.  We made up games and found ways to stay entertained.   And as much as they teased and tortured, my brothers’ schemes and ideas made for great adventures … and usually got us into trouble.

Like smoking in the hayloft.

Maybe not the best idea.

Or test driving the farm truck with three or four of us in the truck bed … headed down prairie trails at 50 mph and no brakes.  It’s a wonder we survived to laugh about it now.

In my experience, being farm raised meant a firm foundation and consistent values sprinkled with a healthy dose of neglect  freedom. We were taught what to do and we did it.  We had chores and responsibilities. We were trusted to figure things out as we went.  And did we ever.

I’ll never forget one hot summer’s day when the boys convinced us to trek a half  mile to the river for a swim. I was 4.   Filling a couple of mason jars and swiping a few cookies, I’m sure Mom assumed we were headed to the tree house, a daily play site.  The five of us took off, making our way through the brambles of the coulee, and down the raggedy hills to that swiftly flowing river.  I was too young to know better but oh-so-happy to be included.

the South Saskatchewan river, view from our homestead; an emjayandthemphoto (C)

the South Saskatchewan river, a view from the homestead. That water is cold and swift and deep.  an emjayandthemphoto (C)

The sun warmed my back as we played and that river sand felt so silky smooth sliding through my fingers. I remember water above me and lights cutting through it.  I didn’t know I was drowning but it was my brother’s arm who yanked me out, sputtering and scared.

A neighbor found us a few hours later and our parents, frantic and panicked, spanked every single one of us, both crying hysterically as they did.   I can only imagine the terror we terrorists caused them.

So when I saw this Mom’s creative way to make her kids “work it out,” I just had to chuckle, think of Mom and Dad and the five of us rug rats, too.   Because if we had been made to wear this as kids, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be around to talk about it.

image from Pinterest.com

“You shut up; no, YOU, shut up.” image from Pinterest.com

How were conflicts resolved in your family?  Did your parents have a saying you remember hearing?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Fun, Home, Life, Life Lessons, Mom, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Go to your baby a million times

I saw this image recently and it made me chuckle.

Why?

Because this is me and this is how I mother. All-in.

google.images

Both boys tower over me by 10″ or more but when times are tough and obstacles seem impossible, I help silence their fears by channeling Mrs. Cluck.

* * *

“Don’t stand unmoving outside the door of a crying baby whose only desire is to touch you. Go to your baby. Go to your baby a million times. Demonstrate that people can be trusted, that the environment can be trusted, that we live in a benign universe.”  – Peggy O’Mara

If you’re a parent, can you relate? 

Categories: Attitude, fear, Growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Intuitive Mothering

We don’t have to be the same to be lovable; Google.images.com

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.

I never imagined my life without a family and I certainly had lots of practice nurturing baby animals and babysitting on the farm.

Having said that,  I felt fate gave me boys: two hilarious, ridiculous and busy boys.   Why? Because even though I knew it would be fun to have a girl, I knew that I was far from a girlie-girl.  I mean, as a kid,  I lived out my days like Billy Jack, riding ponies and shooting cap guns, staging shows and cooking up adventures. I felt confident to handle two rumbly-tumbly boys; I wasn’t sure that I could manage a Barbie-playing girl.

But, in time, life brought me a daughter-in-law and, a later, a grand-daughter. Cool, the scales have shifted, I thought.  Secretly,  I envisioned all kinds of girlie escapades for us. I took my time getting to know her and making sure I wasn’t one of those mother-in-laws, overpowering or with-holding. I accepted her and her cute little boy and tried to let her know that if you love my boy that’s enough for me.

But, here’s what I didn’t anticipate:  I never expected that I’d mother her, too.  I mean, I knew she had a Mom and I’d heard enough to know that they weren’t as close as could be, but still, I hesitated … better tread softly here.

So, as it does, life moved along and I began to notice certain things: Like when she was expecting, it was me who organized a baby shower and it was our huge, crazy family that welcomed her.  When they got engaged, it was me & hubbs who booked the hall and paid the caterer and organized the guest list.  It was our house where she dressed and and it was me who helped her into the wedding dress; it was our yard where their pictures were taken in and our patio where the gifts were opened.  Them? They were … guests.  And when she related her struggles just talking with her,  I was the one who encouraged her to keep on trying.   You see, as a daughter of a wonderful mother, not having that relationship was as incomprehensible as not having …  air.

We talked a few days ago and I made it a point to tell her that, no matter what happens,  we hope she stays in our lives.  I tried to convince her that, despite her past experiences with them, it’s not in our hearts to trash, bash or discard her. Punctuated by her sobs were the words I’d never expected to hear, “I wish I could talk to her like I do to you.”

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

Have you ever parented someone who wasn’t “yours?”

Categories: Faith, Family, Growth, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Rocking or Retreating

In the past, when stressed, I would have retreated.   I would have retreated, grabbed a bag of Lay’s and maybe even gotten on the phone with my cousin for a long-winded rant.

I’m stressed.

I can feel it in my stomach, I can see it in my eyes and I can sense it when I wake – there it waits, starting at me like the relative you’d rather not see at Christmastime.

This time, I didn’t retreat.  I rocked. As in rocked it out on my treadmill.  That’s right, peeps, last night I hit a new milestone – a 20 min run.  5 weeks ago this 49-year-old Grandmother couldn’t run 90 seconds; last night I ran almost 2 miles.   Huffing and puffing, sweating and soldiering, I ran.

I ran through my anxiety, my fears, my stress and my sadness.  I ran and I ran and I ran and when I was done, I felt better. Clearer.  Nothing was solved, for that’s beyond my control, but what was better was …me.

I rocked my babies in a chair like this .. google.images.com

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. – Anonymous

How do you cope with the stresses in your life? Have you found new methods of managing it?

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, fear, Home, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

It’s in the watching

Father’s Day takes me right back to being a little kid.  I remember the hours spent making a special card and saving a little money to buy Dad something he’d really want. Except that my Dad never seemed to want anything. Oh he loved black licorice, chocolate bars and pretty much any kind of candy, but if ever there was a man hard to buy for, it was him. He wasn’t like those guys on TV or in the Sears Ads: He rarely wore slacks, he didn’t golf or fish and he certainly didn’t putter in a workshop.  He worked in one but that was an entirely different matter.

As a farmer, Dad worked more days than he didn’t; unless it rained, there were no days off.  When everyone else took holidays, that’s when he worked the hardest.  Toiling in the summer sun, he’d come in for lunch and enjoy a cold sandwich, iced tea, and a bite of pie or two.  His hat would come off and he’d wash the grit and dust from his face and neck before sitting by the fan, his reading glasses on, perusing the Western Producer. Smiling at us, he’d mess our hair and ask a question or two but it wasn’t long before he was out the door again.

Father’s Day usually found us all gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for cake & ice cream, coffee and orange pop floats.  The grown-ups would visit and we kids would mess around. Sometimes we’d all gather for a wiener roast at the local park, my mom and Aunts making extra Tang and working hard to keep the cold food cold and the hot food hot.

It was one of those hot summer days that I remember whining to Mom about how I wished I could spend more time with Dad.  In her usual efficient style, she answered simply “Go where he is.”

“Huh?”

“Your Dad is always around, dear. If you want to spend time with him, go spend time with him.”  I can still see her shooing her hand at me as she said it, iron in hand, a pile of laundry behind her, and jam jars simmering on the stove.

The next day, I got up extra early to find he was already gone.  Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, my flip-flops padded softly down the dusty prairie trail to where he was, laying underneath the swather.  I figured I could be a big help by handing him tools and stuff but I forgot to think about how hot that summer sun would soon be, beating down the back of my neck.  I hadn’t considered how quickly I’d grow bore of this chore.  I listened as he hummed his way through the morning, wondering aloud at what time we might break for lunch.  I’m sure I was more in the way than not but, later, when he told Mom what a “big” help I’d been, my chest swelled with pride. Dad taught me that the most mundane jobs can be enjoyable with a little tune and the right attitude.

When I think about what Dads teach us, it’s easy to compile a list of all he taught me:  how to hold baby kittens like their Mama does, how fun it is to squirt cow’s milk at the barn cats so they stand up to reach it, how to cinch a saddle tight enough that I wouldn’t fall off but not so tight that my horse would want to bite me.   Dad taught me to be gentle with living things, to have fun in my world and that being responsible brings a certain level of safety.

I wasn’t strangling Tigger, I swear!

Dad was the one who steadied me when the training wheels came off and he was the one who gave me a little push and yelled “you can do it” and I did.    Dad taught me to stretch myself and grow.

Dad made hauling manure fun!

Dad was the one who reminded us girls that “too much makeup … was too much makeup” and it was always his praise we looked for when we debuted new dresses or pretty hairdos.  He demonstrated gender equality by handing me things that were far too heavy for my little arms to carry; he expected me to manage it .. and I did.  Dad taught me that girls could do anything but that looking like one wasn’t anything to be ashamed of, either.

Grandpa, me and Dad;

It was with Dad that I stopped in to check on elderly neighbors, and it was Dad who pulled teenagers cars out of  the sandbars down at the lake. Dad taught me to make time for people, and that being helpful and kind are just good ways to live your life.

Dad showed us where the Saskatoon berries grow the best, how to find fossils in the riverbanks and why we should leave Indian graves undisturbed.   Dad taught me respect and the importance of honoring where we come from.

Saskatoon berries grow best down in that coulee

It was Dad who taught me to dance while standing on his feet and that it was perfectly OK to make up a song and be silly once in a while.  Dad taught me that laughter is part of living.

Dad & I dancing at my wedding; He was so happy!

He taught us all what persistence looks like, braving rehabilitation hospitals and strangers after a series of strokes.  It was Dad who taught us how to let go and that, no matter the distance, that I was still his and that he would always be mine.   Dad taught me to handle what life throws at you with grace and dignity.

One afternoon, when our oldest was still in high school, he whined a bit about wanting to spend time with his Dad.  I looked at him and instinctively I knew what to say, “Go where he is.”

He gave me the same look I’d given my mother, all those years ago and I gave him her answer, “Your Dad is always around, dear. If you want to spend time with him, go spend time with him.”  I said this as I shooed my hand his way, a pile of laundry behind me and supper simmering on the stove.

* * *

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland


Love you, Dad, forever and for always.  Happy Father’s Day in Heaven.

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Holidays, Joy, Life, Men, Personal, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Happy of myself

So … it’s happened: youngest boy has graduated.

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He’s got the world by the tail and his whole life ahead of him.

And for all of us there’s a little bit of the now what?

Oh, there’s a summer job on the horizon and college classes in the fall.

But that’s not it.

I feel a shift.

It’s not a bad thing, but still, it just feels different.

He’s 18. He’s graduated. He’s ready to go.

But maybe not just yet.

He’s responsible and polite, obedient and kind, most of the time anyways.

He’s pedaling hard and the training wheels fell off long ago.

In pondering on it, I think growing up is a bit like learning to ride your first bike: Think about it. Your parents help you pick out the right bike for you and someplace soft to practice on, just in case you fall, and you will.  You play with the gears but, more importantly, you find comfort in putting your feet on the ground as needed.  You practice on your balance, venturing out a little farther every time.  Sometimes, you get cocky and take an embarrassing spill. You discover that saving your energy means you can coast when the conditions are right. You know this but, in the back of your mind,  you never forget how to stand up and pump as hard as you can if the situation requires it.  And all it takes is one or two times to learn that some roads are better traveled in pairs and with eyes wide open.

He’s pedaling …  and we’re learning to let go.

And if we can manage it, I’ll be happy of myself, too.

Categories: Family, Growth, Joy, Life, Life Lessons, Personal, Relationships, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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