It’s a choose-your-own-adventure, except that instead of an exciting mystery to determine the fate of the protagonist, it’s a battle of the minds, emotions, and wills to get my kid to do something not very fun. Today it was “I don’t want to go to school—don’t make me!” First from the 7-year-old, then from the 10-year-old. The second I hear those words my mind kicks into gear, going through all the techniques I’ve learned over the years—and tried sometimes with success—in the last month.
My life is so full. That’s code for I’m blessed…and I’m tired. Yeah, I’m blessed and pretty tired and…of course there are times I’m overjoyed…and, honestly, overwhelmed. Actually, there are whole spans of time I’m just overwhelmed.
This is life.
It’s four blog posts in the last year and 3,000 photos to curate. It’s more adorable moments than I could reasonably hope for (or even imagine). It’s brilliant quotes, like Aliya saying, “I think I’ll just quit school.” and Mama asks, “What would you do instead?” to which she calmly replies, “I’ll sleep in and watch TV.”
Yes, we did it. We got a puppy. He’s such a sweet little bundle of joy and…what were we thinking?! I’m going to blame Maia. And Sarah, but mostly Maia. Maia began really wanting a baby pet last fall, and the answer has been no and no and no. But like all barriers over time, our resistance eroded with persistence, and Sarah began to crack first.
On my last work trip in mid-February I started getting texts of adorable puppies who were available on Craigslist and I knew it was the beginning of the end. Then on 2/20, Sarah said (in front of the kids), “Oh Papa, let’s just get one!” I thought for a second and figured it was inevitable, so figured why not. No time like the present. We called the number on Craigslist—one puppy left—so we drove up to the hills, pulled up to the house with the puppy, and before I was even to the dog pen, I heard all four girls squeal, “Awwwww!” And I knew it was over. This was definitely the day we were getting a puppy.
Sometimes I forget that at any given moment, life can take a sharp, unexpected turn. And as a parent, there’s probably a higher statistical chance that that will happen. Yet, we sail along with the usual small bumps in the road, and it’s easy to start cruising. This morning at 6 a.m., we encountered one of those sharp turns.
Keana woke me up a little after 7 a.m., she had already been sick, and now the pain was too much to lie down or get comfortable. Sharp pain in the gut, lower right. She was light-headed, dizzy, and on the verge of passing out. Sarah took one look at her and said we gotta take her in right away.
It’s seems important to have markers—points along the continuum to clearly state something has ended and something has begun. And even though most people seem drawn towards delineations on some level, there’s something about having kids that really pushes the demand for recording the beginnings and the ends.
It starts with birth and quickly becomes first foods, words, and steps. Just as you record one marker another has already passed and pretty soon you just can’t keep up. But today was a clear marker that’s pretty easy to name but hard to consolidate into a concise description that captures everything that was experienced.
School has begun. Again.
I not only had the privilege of being at opening night to see Keana and Maia in Cindy!—a local production of the musical via the Shine! Theatre—but I also had the privilege of doing their makeup…and I really do see it as a privilege.
First, I’m just glad I’m around to take up such an opportunity. Second, I’m glad my daughters (and wife) trust me enough to do their show makeup. Actually, that’s not totally true—they kind of didn’t have a choice since Sarah and Aliya are out of town on a camping trip with Grandma Jennie and Tia. No mom this weekend, just dad.
Last weekend we gathered with friends and family up at Millerton Lake to celebrate one of our brightest stars: Aliya. We spent two nights camping and one full day hanging out lakeside, enjoying the water and the sun, and marveling at the six-year-old before us. The fact that so many of the people close to us were able to make it made the day even more special.
Every birthday is a reminder of how amazing life is. There are so many variables in being created and born and making it through each year of life, that when a birthday comes around, it deserves a day of fun with those you love.
I could write more but I think the video and photos speak for themselves…