Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thanks Tank #206

My 7 year old daughter ran in the house this afternoon and told her 10 year old brother, "Alert! Alert! I found a new bug." Then, he jumped up and followed her outside. I watched them eagerly walk together to look at the new discovery. A few moments later, my son walked in and said, "False alarm. It was just a woodchip."
I love moments of discovery- even non discovery. I love the excitement of seeing my kids explore nature.
This past Sunday I did my first triathlon. I'm still sort of stunned that I did it. My running partner had been training for it for a while and I was training with her. Two weeks ago, I decided that I was going to do it with her. It was a blast. I loved it. I see more triathlons in my future. I am thankful for new experiences. I am thankful for my fitness level. I am the most fit I have ever been and it feels incredible.
My parents were in town for a week plus just recently. I am thankful for their visit. I am thankful that I spend time with them. I am at a stage in my life where I appreciate them for who they are and understand them and the struggles they have. They are not perfect but neither am I. Being mature enough to recognize that has deepened my love for them in ways I never imagined. I love that my kids enjoy being around their grandparents. I am thankful for my parents.
Sometimes my husband and I have these moments when we look at our kids and each other and the obvious non-verbal communication is, 'What just happened?' Our kids are amazing. But, sometimes parenting is amazingly challenging. I am thankful for the communication and respect my husband and I have with and for each other. We don't always agree but we do always try to be respectful. When we disagree on a parenting issue, we try to talk privately about it. Our kids know we are a team. I am thankful for the way we work together as parents.

I've had a good day focusing on being thankful.
I am thankful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strong Parenting

I am amused by the viral video of a mother smacking her son around for being a part of the Baltimore protests. She's been called the Hero Mom and The Natural Hero. I am amused about this for a few reasons. It is interesting to see what goes viral. The video was entertaining. What causes me the most amusement, though, is how people (myself included) applaud this mother for strongly and physically stopping her child from bad behavior. The Baltimore situation seems to justify the Baltimore mom's use of force. What a strong woman to react without hesitation and without concern for judgment! Her child was in harm's way- both a present harm and a perceived future of harm. So, she did what she needed to do. She pulled him off the path of destruction.
I am glad she stood her ground. I do not have a problem with her being commended for taking charge of her child. Quite frankly, like many others, I found the story heart-warming.

But, there is a disconnect.
The same people who applaud this strong mother would probably be disgusted by a mother spanking a child at the grocery store.
People cringe when they see parents enforcing consequences for bad behavior. We cringe because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We cringe because we do not know if someone will view it as abusive.
Admonishment of children, especially if done in a public setting, is not lauded.
Therefore, character development is often saved for home.
I do not believe it is optimal.
I cannot count the times where I chose to delay a punishment because I was within the public eye. On numerous occasions, I would then either forget to go forward with the disciplinary consequences or chose not to because life had moved on.
I see a society that craves strong parenting but prefers for the discipline of children to be done behind closed doors.
There is a disconnect.
It is both amusing and maddening.

Monday, March 23, 2015

a beautiful moment

On Saturday, I was waiting outside of the middle school for my son to finish a study group. I looked at the sky and was taken aback.

A beautiful moment, almost missed.

There is beauty in the ordinary. There are extraordinary things in everyday life.
Oh, also, always remember to look up.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Morning has broken

It was a fly-by kind of morning.

Seth and I got up on time but we hit the floor running. More accurately, he hit the floor running. He got in and out of the shower and woke up kids as I pulled myself out of bed. I've never been quick to get up. It is harder some mornings more than other mornings and last night we stayed up later than we should have. It was rough rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I stumbled into the kitchen where I was hit with the urgency of the morning.

Lunches were packed, hurriedly and lovingly. One to two servings of fruit were added. The sliced apples are awesome, fresh and organic, but the fruit sticks were purely to delight the kids. Desert was not forgotten.
Two of the boys went from arguing to punching each other in moments. And then there was the discourse from each one trying to explain what made them right.
My daughter had to add a drawing to her homework. Thankfully, I had noticed last night that she missed that part of the assignment. I didn't feel thankful listening to her cry as I packed lunches. Her tears were due to an inability to draw before breakfast.
Somehow, pictures were drawn.
Agendas were signed. Backpacks were packed up.
I pulled my daughter's hair in a quick pony and attached a bow as if to say, there was effort put into this cute hair-do. It wasn't so, unless you count the water I splashed on her hair, trying to tame it.
Hugs were given.

Seth ushered the kids out the door to his truck.
He loaded a bike for the son that prefers to ride his bike to and from school.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, I noticed Seth's hot coffee in the travel mug on the counter. I slipped on my flip-flops and dashed out the door in my PJs to deliver his cup of sanity. Oh what a sight to see! But no one saw me and my man got his coffee.

They left the house with 9 minutes left before the start of the special breakfast at school for dads and kids. Thankfully, school is .6 miles down the road.

Seth will eat a mediocre breakfast in a cafeteria with the kids. He doesn't usually eat breakfast. He'll help the 3 kids navigate the breakfast line. My kids never eat at school and it isn't easy for them to manage or at least it wasn't the last time they went to the breakfast. They'll eat and listen to a speaker. Seth will get to work late. The kids don't realize what it takes to be there by 6:55. They don't realize the effort that was made. They do love the breakfast and taking their dad to school.

I marvel at the morning that Seth and I had. We had a moment of tenderness in bed just before he got up to go to the shower. Never mind that I was hardly coherent. That moment was real, and important. Love. Once he was driving out the driveway, it was as if we had flown by each other.

This morning was all about love. The kids showed love to Seth by asking him, or in my daughter's case begging him, to come to breakfast. Seth is loving the kids by being there, when it would be much easier not to be. The work we struggle through for the kids- the daily morning grind- is love. Mornings can be tedious, especially busy special mornings, but I appreciate the love that's woven throughout them.