Tag Archives: Parent

Daily Prompt: Treasure, My Mom

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

Treasure: as a verb is defined simply as to “keep carefully”. A synonym listed for treasure is the word “cherish”.

Cherish: takes things a little further, “protect and care for (someone) lovingly”.

Today is my Mother’s birthday. I cannot express in mere words how much she means to me, and how much I love her. I treasure her. I cherish her. And then some. As I mentioned so briefly in the post below from 2011, I have been so blessed that God chose my Mother for me. I could have been born anywhere, to anyone. God is good. God doesn’t make mistakes. God’s plan is perfect. God could not have chosen more perfectly than He did. I am eternally thankful for my parents, and today, I wish my Mother the Happiest of Birthdays! I am so thankful for you Mom. It is incalculable to figure just how much I am indebted to you, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because were I to get to this age and feel I owed you nothing, then that would have been a terrible life thus far. I am so thankful that is not the case. Thank you Mom, for everything. Happy Birthday!

I wrote this simple post in 2011.

http://1inawesomewonder.com/2011/12/08/happy-birthday-mom/

Happy Birthday Mom! I am glad that God allowed me to be born into our family. I am so glad I got to grow up with you Mom. I am my Mother’s son, and I couldn’t be happier. I hope you have a tremendous birthday and an even better year.

24, Then and Now

Steve takes in the views of a Utah canyon

Steve takes in the views of a Utah canyon, during our cross-country trip in 2011. (C) 1inawesomewonder.

Yesterday my oldest son turned 24 years old. I was 24 years old when he was born. So, it got me thinking about how long ago that was, and just how much has happened in that time. It truly seems like a lifetime ago.

To my son, I only knew what I knew. I didn’t always know what to do. I made a million mistakes. Never has a moment passed that I haven’t loved you. I’m as imperfect as I ever was, but I pray to be a better man constantly. I am so blessed to be your Dad.

I’ve been so proud of you more times than I could ever record. You are a fine young man. You’ve accomplished much, but your ability to humbly love and be one of the family, fully engaged, and comfortable in that space, is what I am most proud of. Don’t ever lose yourself, because you, well, you, is already a pretty good example of a wonderful person.

I look forward to watching you proceed from here. I hope for many more times when we all can be together and enjoy the uniqueness of one another. I hope you had the best of birthdays.

Love,

Dad.

Wife is Away

My wife is away for a few days on a business trip. She is very much missed in our household, and her absence is noticed in numerous ways. One such instance occurred over night number one of her trip.

At 4:11am our nearly five-year old son walked into our room. He was sniffling and coughing, but knew exactly where to go in the dark. He climbed up on my wife’s side of the bed, as his routine. Upon discovering the empty space, he continued his roll-slide-shuffle over to the first thing he bumped into, which was me. His breathing was somewhat restricted from being stuffed up, and he is one of those boys who likes to bury himself more and more as he sleeps, often times burrowing himself under his pillows and piles of blankets. I did get him to rest against me and a pillow to get his head elevated. It worked well and he quickly was deeply sleeping again. I enjoyed the snuggle with my dear little boy and it is always rewarding as a parent to know that the child’s journey is complete when arriving here with me. Now my wife, she masters this edge of consciousness and deep sleep thing; me, not at all. I was up.

At 4:53am his twin sister came into our room. As always, she closed the doors to the rooms she left and entered. She wanted mommy but was slightly confused. She asked me if this was the night that mommy came home. I told her tonight was not the night. As she made her way across the bed towards her brother and I, she said, “Oh I thought tonight was the night.” She laid down but she was restless. After a few minutes, at 4:58am exactly, I asked her if she wanted to go back to her bed and sleep there. She said yes. I picked her up and carried her to her room and gently placed her on her bed.

For several minutes, I sat on the floor next to her bed, there in the dark, and I rested my head on the edge of her mattress. My daughter curled up into sleeping position and wrapped one arm around my neck. I sang to her for a little while, going through some of her favorite bedtime songs. Before long she was asleep again. At 5:11am I walked back into our room, wishing I was asleep, but realizing I was fully awake. My son was melting into the bed, sleeping so peacefully and beautifully.

In the dark silence, with the cold winds howling outside, I noticed the gorgeous star lit sky. I walked around and looked at the sky from four different windows, looking in every direction to notice the cloudless sky, and the piercing light from the stars that had no man-made light to compete with from my vantage points. I cannot begin to count the number of times ever since childhood that the sky has captured my attention, often times for long stretches of time, especially at night.

Being wide awake and wanting to get a better look at the sky, I figured I should do something about it. So I made my way downstairs. I threw on some wind-pants and a light jacket. I grabbed my camera and the awesome tripod I got for Christmas from the kids, and ventured into the front yard. Now, the temperature was just 17°F and the winds were whipping up at 15-25 mph, driving the wind chill factor to 0°F. One thing that someone taught me long ago was to take some pleasure in the exhilaration of those cold blasts, and to know that I am very much alive. Standing in the cold, looking to the skies, at 5-something in the morning, I chose to embrace the idea of being very much alive.

Now I am a novice photographer at best, but I do love to participate. I don’t know exactly what I captured in the pictures I took, but I tried to make my camera see at least what I could see, if not more. I set the camera on the tripod and left the shutter open for the maximum 30 seconds that my camera is capable of for each picture. After each shot, the image on my little display looked pretty cool to me, even as I stood shaking a bit in the cold. I hoped I was getting some decent pictures even though I didn’t take a lot of time fumbling around in the dark and the cold.

At 5:58am I made it back to our room. I checked on my son who hadn’t moved a muscle and was sleeping deeply. I checked on my daughter too, and she was out cold, hands and feet both perfectly and symmetrically together. I climbed into bed as not to disturb my little boy, but also with a sense of urgency to get warmed up again. I did get back to sleep for an hour or so before our 8th grader got up for school. The twins both slept until after 7am which is later than usual, especially for my son.

As the morning wore on, I sat down in front of this keyboard to make sense of last night and to figure out the chicken scratch notes I wrote to myself in the dark. I also wished (in a small way) that I could engage with the kids while not fully waking up like my wife does. Then again, I am exhausted but I got to see the treats that are a perfectly clear starlit night sky and the illuminated dots that pierce the darkness from distances measured in years. These are the same sources of light that I sang softly about to my daughter as she drifted back into the awesome vastness of sleep. So tired as I may be (I am), I would have to say it was a great night. My son’s first words to me this morning were, “Dad, I love you soooo much.” Who am I to complain.

I sit here wrapping this whole typing thing up. The sun is bright. The winds are making their presence known. The various shades of green seen in the form of needles long and short, wave and lurch to and fro in the breezes that blow. The outline of the massive pine catches my eye, as it always does, when those greens sway against the perfect blue back drop. I could watch it all for hours, if not days. The sun climbs and the angles of the shadows change. The sky beckons, and I am always game. My gaze is often fixed upon that boundless space. My prayers are so often delivered as I stare to these blue depths. Finishing this, I think of my wife, away from here, and the sky she sees today. I take solace in the space that connects us even in times apart, and one such thing would be the sky. I stare at the blue knowing she can see the sky too, and it helps me feel close, even though my wife is away.

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30 second exposure looking north. I brightened this up quite a bit but the colors are untouched. The wind was howling so our neighbors outside motion light came on over looking their back deck while I was outside.

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30 second exposure looking north. Again, brightened some but the colors are true. Loving the night-time sky! There is not a lot of wide open sky around here.

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30 second exposure looking northwest. The colors were barely visible to my eye, but the open shutter picked them up much better.

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30 second exposure looking north. The glow, the stars, the silhouetted trees, the colors, and the accompanying cold wind will make this overnight hard to forget.

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30 second exposure looking north-northeast. I could barely see any discoloration of the night sky with own eyes, but the camera captured this beautifully.

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30 second exposure looking north. I don’t know what the glow is closer to the horizon. I was hoping for the Northern Lights, but I am not sure I got them. There was a faint light I could see without the camera, but when leaving the shutter open so long, it grabbed a lot of light.

Lesser Pain

Sometimes I wonder what it is you see
Because you’re not all that different from me
 
My eyes open too, I look upon this world
But I cannot say I know this direction hurled
 
A light I used to see, and could only share
Now only blinks from a place near despair
 
Love. There’s plenty here, even more
But your hands won’t rap on this door
 
Life’s too short, is what they all say
Too long, when you question each day
 
Looking inward I wonder yet again
If it’s yours or mine, the lesser pain
 
Sleep, or don’t, the answer’s not consumed
You know that, I need not presume
 
Maybe a day’s hard work would do
Look in the mirror, is it within you?
 
Care, I do, believe always and forever
Choices pull and push, there’s no never
 
I know enough to know that I’ve lost
The answers I mull carry such cost
 
It’s neither a game nor a contest
Yet time runs out, wish the best
 
Doors left open, yet left behind
Not yet closed they’re just hard to find
 
I don’t know what you desire
Do you know to what you aspire?
 
Not necessary now, progress at least
Push yourself from your will’s increase
 
We’re not all the same, that’s the thing
So many words carry a not needed sting
 
Focus, to your heart what does joy bring?
Helping another? The freedom to sing?
 
It’s not all bad, only the frame we spin
Break it down, and let yourself in
 
This hole in my heart, belongs to you
But I can’t make one do what they won’t do
 
The ball’s in a court that I cannot access
So, I ponder and pray, but will not regress
 
Run forward, and leave for always, this rut
You know the way better than you thought
 
I love you my dear, you’re with me still
You, and yourself, should address your will
 
Enough said, perhaps too many thoughts
There’s a place though, always, your spot
 

So, after sitting down and spilling these thoughts all over the pages on which I wrote, of course, I thought some more. I read this back to myself while I thought, and I decided that I am entirely unsure with the quality of this piece. On the other hand, I am certain that these thoughts rushed away like a torrent from the space closing between my heart and my brain. Then, for some reason, I thought of an old song that I probably shouldn’t even know. Somehow these words fit too; To me anyways.

I'm looking for a girl who has no face
She has no name, or number
And so I search within his lonely place
Knowing that I won't find her
Well, I can't stop this feeling deep in inside me
Ruling my mind

I feel no sound
Don't know where I'm bound 
The scenery is all the same to me
Nothing has changed or faded
I'm a part of it, some part of me
Painted cool green, and shaded
So, try to find myself must be the only way
To feel free

~ Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi

 

 

Beautiful Innocence II

I just watched President Obama deliver a speech from Newtown, CT. I cried as he talked of our children and of parenthood. Then I cried a little bit more as he read the list of names. I imagined how it must feel to hear your child’s name listed on that list. A name that Mom and Dad may have argued over, certainly they discussed the name many times. Maybe they didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl, thus having names for both. Then the baby is born and the name is given. Not long after, the name is repeated over and over, while taking in this new bundle of joy. Silently, and maybe even together, the parents repeat the name while looking over this precious miracle and confirm that she looks like the name she was given. And then, much later, that name is listed by the President of the United States in a prayer service honoring those who lost their lives. I can’t imagine.

She’s just a little six-year-old girl. She smiles more often than she doesn’t. She searches to make eye contact just because she has already figured out that her smile always brings a return smile. It’s a beautiful innocence. She wears skirts when her Mom will allow it because she likes to see the frills in a circle as she spins just for fun. She kisses her parents when she goes to school each morning, leaving a wet residue similar to that of a wet snowflake, but is welcomed every time. She learns quickly and remembers most everything, all with a smile as bright as a star. She is a friend to everyone because she’s been loved for every moment of her life and, in turn, she welcomes everyone. This little girl is a joy, a sweet, innocent girl, with hope in her eyes, and a look as wide as an ocean.

Then on a Friday, just 11 days before her favorite day, Christmas Day, she has her life taken from her in an instant. An eruption of pure evil has taken her life and several others. Worse even, is that so many of her classmates who survived the mayhem have seen their own innocence stripped forever by a stranger filled with uncertainty, selfishness, and evil. This school, this community, this part of the world, ripped apart and thrown into despair by a singular act of selfish cowardice.

Words are hard to come by, for everyone. The President of the United States of America comes to town and offers heartfelt words and genuine feelings shared by all parents. Then, the list. The names. Those names; each associated with a beautiful face that a mother and father loved. A face that Mom and Dad would give anything for a chance to kiss again. A name that will never be forgotten. Never. Sobs are heard. Tears stream. The lights go down and the service ends. Mom and Dad, maybe siblings as well, return home and the little girl is no longer there. That beautiful innocence is now missing, where it once showed itself in the moments that were least expected.

I pray some more. As we all should. For strength, for guidance, and for resolve to be the best we can be. I pray that this is a spark, a badly needed starting point, for America to become a God-fearing nation once again. I pray for the families in Connecticut. I thank the heroes that saved additional lives by being brave, brave beyond anything that most of us could even comprehend. I pray for a future where beautiful innocence thrives again, and lives to see the promise that comes with young life. God Bless America. And America, don’t lose sight of God, as He should once again become a part of our daily lives.

Beautiful Innocence

I sit here at my keyboard tonight, trying to procure rationale from the chaotic swarm of thoughts swirling in my head; In doing so, I try to separate the thoughts of anger that bubble up in my attempts to understand the how and the why events like this can happen. Somewhere over time, I have tried to be better at facing the things that bind my mind and twist my intellectual limits to the maximum, and just think on them, inside and out, backward and forward. And sometimes I win, and peaceful rest finds my cranial capacity for a time, and another battle is won at least for that night. Sometimes I write and let the words go where they take me, hoping that the vastness of constant thought presents itself in a manner that is legible, understandable, and worthwhile. Lest I waste more time not getting my thoughts out in the form of words strung together, I move forward, not sure of what will show up on this screen next.

I think of any smooth-faced five-year old boy who shows up at his school not because it was his plan or thought, but because that’s how his parents have explained to him that his days must be spent, for now. Nevertheless, he shows up, smiling, trusting, and innocent; looking forward to the days’ promise as explained yesterday by, some larger than life figure, known as his teacher. He believes all will be well because each day he’s left at this place with a kiss and a promise. And the beauty of his human spirit, instilled in each of us, develops a little bit more every single day, and his innocence is both beautiful and sought after. For innocence is purity, debased not, and nothing is more beautiful. Sought after, only because the beauty of purity is tarnished for all time once it has been contaminated or otherwise compromised. And knowing these things the boy’s well being is entrusted in this place day after day in hopes of his safety certainly, and the maintenance of his fragile, lovely innocence. He doesn’t know he carries this innocence, he just knows he is, and in being him, he smiles, he loves, he feels, and he learns. He openly displays his lack of fear as he knows no difference, and his purity glows about him as adults watch in the blur of warm fuzziness while recalling their own youth and wishing for that pure innocence once again.

Then one day, it was today maybe, that innocence was stripped away. And worse yet, the little boy with no fear learned to fear in an instant. Maybe he had seconds to process the feeling, this new thing that he wasn’t familiar with, this feeling that his parents hoped would only come in appropriate doses, as needed, but maybe never be completely developed. And this precious little face, where nuzzling, hugs, and kisses were never far away, fell silently, forever to sleep. This little boy’s life was taken away. The boy who, now would be denied, the chance to learn why the adults looked at him with silent smiles and sparkling eyes, all because of a random act of selfish cowardice. The boy rests next to Our Lord tonight.

Here on Earth, we have more questions than we have answers. Investigations will uncover all that they can in order to explain the things that can be explained. All I can surmise is this: The act is one of selfish cowardice.

Selfish: devoted to or caring only for ones self; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Cowardice: lack of courage in facing danger, pain, or difficulty

Perhaps my words are an understatement, perhaps they sum it up. I know it’s not that simple, but it also may not be that complicated either. A young man, who may have started his life, not much different from the five-year old I have described above, was the reason that innocence was plucked from its beautiful place, and life was taken. I will not dwell on the reason, cause, or my interpretation of the dark, ugliness presented in human form in Connecticut today, as his choice to live life as he did today, renders him as completely insignificant in my book. Any and all attention devoted to this evil act should be replaced instead with thoughtful prayer, loving communication, and the spiritual commitment necessary in taking the road to heaven, and all its promise. Heaven welcomed several children today, sent along their way by the evil that is capable of dwelling within us if we so allow it, and those children; who are loved, cherished, adored, deeply missed, and mourned, will also be waiting in all of their glory for any and all of us who join Our Lord one day in heaven.

I wasn’t sure how to start this, and I am less certain on how to end it. I have cried many, many tears over the hours I have taken to untangle the mess in my mind. I will hug my children tighter, kiss them a little bit longer, and notice them in their beauty a little more alertly, like many parents around the world. I will again cry as I try to place myself, mentally, into the shoes of parents and survivors from the horrific scene in Connecticut today. As my parents have taught me, and as my family, far and wide, have reminded me, when the questions come faster than the answers, and relent is nowhere near, just pray. Pray.

Dear Lord I come now to you in prayer. I pray for the strength, wisdom, and direction to be a positive difference in every way I can, in hopes that many, maybe thousands, or even millions, will stomp out evil where we can by being the difference in someone’s life. As I have written many times before, it’s important to remember that we don’t know when we are being the example that other’s need to get through this battle or another, so it’s better to be the example as a matter of the way we live our lives. Lord, I pray that I will never be the example of human nature that let someone clinging to one last hope, fall, stumble or fail. Lord, I realize this may be a massive responsibility, but I believe that we, all of us, need more examples of responsibility in the hopes of making differences all around us. Amen.

I honestly cannot share effectively through these typed words how emotional it has been to write these thoughts out. I sob, in tears, thinking of our future, these children, who have been slain, especially in the places where we have been taught to feel safe and nurtured. I sincerely hope this hasn’t been too much for anyone to read through. Many of the images and thought patterns I have tried to compose here, have been gnawing at me since I first heard of this tragedy earlier this afternoon. I feel sickened by the evil that manifested itself today, and my emotional response is sincere and is as thoughtful as I know how to be. I observe. I think. I write. And tonight I cry, and I pray for all of those folks affected by the tragic events in Connecticut today. But mostly I cannot free myself from the thoughts shaping the pictures in my mind’s eye of that most beautiful innocence and its unauthorized loss.

 

Thanks #21 (Sue)

I am thankful for Sue. She is the mother of Steve, Ryan, and Erin. I am thankful that she did not, and has not stopped being their mother. A good mother, who has used all she knows of parenting, and even learned more in order to do her best as a mother. As their father, I am fortunate to have had a parenting partner who has been as committed to being mom as Sue has. The challenges we’ve faced and our differences aside, we still communicate often and work together to be consistent, caring, and involved as parents; and I’m very thankful for that.