Tag Archives: kids

Once in a lifetime

Sometimes a moment or even an opportunity comes along that almost seems too good to be true. And sometimes, it is true. And then still other times, it’s true, and better than good. Thank God that reality doesn’t get hemmed in by the parameters of my small mind.

Not too long ago, I had a once in a lifetime moment that lasted nearly one full week. All I can say is that I’m thankful for those I shared it with. I’m thankful that God gave me the wherewithal to sit quietly (some of the time) and enjoy each minute for all it meant to those around me, and even then I probably missed too much. I’m eternally grateful for my brother’s generosity as I could never repay the cost of bringing the moment to reality for so many of us. So much further than that, I could not begin to put a price on the memories shared daily with me. Nor could I replace with anywhere near the value, that which I still hear two months later, in commentary oozing with excitement and pure joy almost every day.

No matter how, no matter where, no matter when, no matter who, no matter what, that once in a lifetime moment will always stand alone. I hope I never forget it. Those of us fortunate enough to be there and experience it together will never let us forget it. I know I’ve said thank you, sincerely, many times over, but somehow it still feels like that is not enough. So, this humble attempt to put into words, my thanks, and the depth of experience our once in a lifetime moment together means to me, might fall short too. It’s been on my mind since before we ever gathered for the moment we all shared together and I imagine it will stay with me for quite some time.

Again, I say thank you. There will be moments described as “once in a lifetime” in the future and they’ll be accurately described. But this one will always be it’s own. It’ll grow in time, and lore will only reinforce the true joy we experienced once in a lifetime, together.

Thanks #3 (Kids)

I am very thankful for my kids. I am also so very thankful for the inherent resiliency within them. Thank God for their ability to adapt, overcome, and improvise at levels we don’t give kids enough credit for. I’m thankful for these six amazing kids, who kept being kids while I worked through various models of parenting. I may never get it right, but I know that these kids are fantastic, and their potential is limitless.

The best kids ever.

 

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It’s all about the kids

I am pretty sure that my views and thoughts that I am about to share are either warped or certainly not taken serious by many. We will see how many times I change the words that end up in this … Continue reading

Parenting in the dark. My privilege.

Sometimes I wish I knew how many times my mom and dad had to change their plans, get up in the night, or get up earlier than they wanted to, on account of me in my first 2-3 years. Then again, I am sure I was like any other baby or toddler and I did my share of making things difficult for my parents. I guess our formative years are in many ways as much a learning curve for the parents as they are for the children. All children start at day one, but parents arguably have experience to draw on once they have more than child, right? Well, yes and no. Sure there are some things about raising multiple children that make tasks and routines easier the next time around. Then there’s also the new, or different dynamic or raising another child while also having another child or children in the same household.

This morning was another morning where the kids woke me up long before I intended to get up and tackle the day. My wife has been, the middle of the night, or early morning riser many more times than I. When I am tired, more like over tired, I don’t wake up well most times. Many times I have been compared unfavorably to a bear coming out of hibernation. I know this about myself, better now than I would have previously admitted. Either way, I am, and have been making a conscious effort to be better about my own demeanor and help more with the kids in these, “parenting in the dark”, moments.

Oh, and I when I say ‘kids’, I generally mean our twins who are almost 18 months old. A boy and a girl who somehow seem more precious with each passing day. Which is saying a lot because I thought they were as precious as it gets from the day my wife told me we were having not one, but two babies. Now, I have 6 kids ranging from age 19 to 18 months. So I have been down this kids road before. But I have never been down this road, in this scenario, within this dynamic before. Thus the return to formative years. I guess we never really stop being in formative years although some years are more difficult to navigate than others.

When I rolled over this morning and noticed our door was open and my wife was out of bed I looked over to my shoulder to see the clock. I couldn’t read the time as my eyes were clearly not ready to be open and functioning. Once the blurry numbers came into focus, I muttered to myself, “It doesn’t matter, it’s just too early, it’s still dark outside”.  I could hear the babies crying from their room on the monitor in our room. I wondered for a second or two why they were crying if my wife was already tending to them. My wife is awesome with the twins. There is peace in her arms. So I got up and went out into the hall to find the babies room door closed and my wife coming up the stairs with cups of milk. We both went into their room and each grabbed a twin. I picked him up out of his crib and he just put his head down on my shoulder while she went with my wife to snuggle in our bed.  He is Theodore, she is Jacqueline, and my amazing wife is Amaris, also known as Mare in our family.

As I stood in the dark, holding my youngest son and gently swaying back and forth, my mind wandered. I thought many things. I thought of how much I wish I was still asleep and that today could be a really long day. I thought of how this little boy in my arms just conforms his body, leaning over my shoulder, with his head resting gently against my neck, and finds comfort easily. I thought of how these moments, inconvenient or otherwise, really are the ones I will miss when they are gone. I thought there’s nothing inconvenient about it really, it’s a privilege. I thought, how many times did my mom or dad do this for me as a child? I thought, what if they hadn’t? I thought, I am glad I am here, right now, present right now, awake right now, to care for my son. I thought there is beauty and enjoyment in many moments no matter how big or small. I could feel Theodore’s arms drop as his breathing eased, and although I couldn’t see his eyes, I sensed his eyelids were growing heavy again. I quietly sauntered over to his crib to lay him down. He stiffened some trying to cling to me, but didn’t fight it. As I returned him to his pillow, he lied there, looking up at me in the dark. He was still. He was quiet. I stood there looking down at him in the dark. I watched him until his eyes closed. It was a wonderful moment that I am glad I could experience. It certainly wasn’t the first and won’t be the last one of these moments, but they are all special.

I made my way back to Amaris and Jacqueline as Theodore gave in to sleep, at least for the moment. I was ready to go back to bed and go to sleep. As I got closer to laying down I noticed Jacqueline was restless, wrestling with sleep, but keeping Amaris from restful sleep. I leaned over Jacqueline and whispered to her while her eyes were tightly closed, as if she was trying too hard to sleep. She reached for me and I picked her up so as to let Mare rest and enjoy some more sleep. I slipped out of our room while it was quiet and still dark outside.

See, I work from home everyday, and care for our twins all day, so I have a routine with the kids all our own. Our nap time routine has taken on its own identity. The kids actually look forward to it everyday. It’s pretty cute and often times funny, but I will tell you about that another time. Anyway, the point is that at nap time, Jacqueline sleeps downstairs in a playpen while Theodore sleeps upstairs in his crib. I guess this started when they would sleep at different times and I kept them separate as not to wake one another as they would go down at different times. Now they go for naps at the same time and this set up works so I have kept it the same. This morning when I came downstairs with Jacqueline I intended on her going back to sleep in her playpen. First I rocked her in my favorite chair, our Canadian Rocker, in the dark, and just let her rest on me. She was calm, quiet, completely at ease. I whispered to her that we were going to her playpen and off we went. I placed her in her playpen, on her pillow, and tucked a blanket around her. She never made a sound, closed her eyes, and drifted off to sleep.

As you parents out there know, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding your own child close enough to forget the world outside that embrace exists. See, that’s the privilege, the closeness, the bond, the feeling of being needed, and the need to be the parent present for your child. So my day started early, and maybe it will be a long day, but so what. When the kids are grown and gone, or I am old and embracing memories, it’s these days that I will wish had been longer. We all know these days pass way too fast. That’s what makes this morning so special. It was dark, it was quiet, it was still, it was perfect. I held both my babies, close to me, feeling every bit of need they had for me at that moment, and ultimately was happy to have that privilege. This morning, I call it as I see it, parenting in the dark. My privilege.

Left behind or brought to a halt?

This was on my mind so I decided to throw some thoughts at this before I forgot to. I suppose I will get to the end of this and ask anyone reading this a couple of questions. Maybe it will cultivate some thoughts and actions to positively affect a situation you may be experiencing or are familiar with. Recently, I read some different blogs regarding the topic of schools and education. The question being written about was what would you do to change how schools work, or something to that effect.

I certainly don’t proclaim to have the answers but I certainly have some thoughts on this. When it comes to getting an education, I know there’s not supposed to be any child left behind and the goal is to improve the education students receive. Maybe the guidelines are loose or the outline for this program is unclear. I don’t know.

I do know that the quality of education being offered to our nation’s future is all over the board. Diversity in the classroom is great, the make up of the student population and the approach of the instructors can be very diverse and quite healthy. I have seen cases where one class aims at literally not leaving anyone behind and caters the instructional pace to those students that need the most help moving forward. Then at the other end of the spectrum there are classes run at top speed and either you get it or you don’t.

My question is where’s the American Spirit in all this? Did the USA become a country, that the rest of world envied for decades, by making sure nobody was left behind or by setting the bar high and doing everything it took to get there? I think the latter. There shouldn’t be a prize for able bodies and minds to simply participate, but for performing, for stretching, for growing, for exceeding, for being good at what you do and the list goes on. God bless the teachers we have throughout our country. I wish all of them had the salary, the benefits, and the passion that make it worth their while to show up to their job and provide for their families. I also wish that more of them played to win, and didn’t play not to lose. There’s an enormous difference and I am not blaming anyone here.

As a coach for many years, one thing I tried to live by, was to just give the kids a chance to succeed. Show them how it’s done correctly, ask for their understanding on how it’s done, practice the skill, continually encourage them, and then give them the chance to succeed. Time and time again the kids exceeded both their expectations and my own. This wasn’t because we brought practices to a screeching halt while this skill or that skill was being taught to someone struggling with it, but because we expected more, practiced correctly, and through tolerance for one another we all helped each other get stronger where we were weak.

There are kids in schools throughout our country that are either being left behind in the sense everyone else is running past them or; even more perhaps, that are being asked to learn at a slower pace than they are capable of. In the same breath, these kids, at either end of the equation, are good at something or many things. I use a line from time to time about how horses are meant to run, and to draw a parallel to this thought, why aren’t we teaching our kids to run? Can’t we teach them to stretch, to grow, to run, from a young age? Encourage them, let them know the things they do well, no matter how small, instill confidence and push them to new heights. They already know the things they don’t do well, they hear from everywhere, to the point that a lot of kids think they’re not good at things that they are just fine with because they’re not perfect. None of us are perfect but that’s a topic for another time.

Maybe the previous paragraph would be easier if we just took the time to do those things. In this age of now, now, now, it’s gotta be done now, I need it now, time is in short supply. Well if now was the time we deserved to get all we want, why does the old adage read, good things come to those who wait. Part of waiting is the passage of time, and what better way to pass time then to invest in our future. Kids are amazing! They are resilient. They are so smart and observant. They are brutally honest and if we take the time to ask questions and listen appropriately, they’ll tell us most everything we need to know. They have more answers than a lot of people give them credit for.

So are students you know being left behind? Are they being taught at a slower pace so that others can keep up? Is there something you can do to help the situation?