Category: holidays

I finally see it, Dad

holidays parenting thankful

I finally see it, Dad

It’s a story that gets told often. Middle school canoe trip along the Little Spokane. My Dad was taking the day off work to come with us. I really don’t remember too much about that day, except that he brought his brick with him. The iconic cell phone of the late 80’s. How embarrassing right? I mean not only did no other Dads have one, but he was going to bring it in the canoe with us. Ug, could it get any worse? Oh yes, yes it could. At some point in the trip we tipped. Great, new school, 7th grade, soaking wet. Lovely. And yes, there’s my Dad, middle of the river, hand stretched out above, holding the brick, far from the water, out of harms way. Mortified.

Recently an old blog post resurfaced, “I Finally See You, Mom”. It’s tear inducing and if you haven’t read it I highly encourage you to. I think every Mom goes through that “Ah ha” moment about their mom, what it must have been like for them while you were growing up and what was silently, invisibly, thanklessly sacrificed. And it is bittersweet because we wish we could go back in those moments and give our mom a hug, let her know we see all she does. Tell her thank you, and that we love her for all of it. That we love both our parents for all of it.

Like I said, I don’t remember too much else from that canoe trip and that day. I definitely don’t remember thinking how grateful I was that my Dad took the day off of work, stepped away from his busy schedule, to spend time with Gina and me. I don’t remember feeling bad for him that he had to bring the brick along for the ride and had to split his time between us and his job. I don’t remember saying thank you to him for making the effort and wanting to share in that time with his daughters. Retelling the story always brings a smile to my face and the feeling of being loved, yet that definitely was not part of the story as it played out.

Dad, over the years your constant reminder that experiences and memories are so much more valuable that things has been such a gift. Growing up I definitely did not make it easy to be my Dad, yet you always showed up, even if the first quarter of the game was missed, or you had to step outside to take a call, or bring a brick along for the ride. You always showed up, with pride, love, sacrifice and support.

I finally see it, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

General holidays

oh mother.

I was exhausted and sweaty as I looked in the window at the kids club at the gym. I was also a little teary eyed. I was waiting for another parent to come out from retrieving their child and took that moment to watch the bean be bean. She was sitting at a small table coloring a picture with some other children. Every once in awhile she would pause, look up to see who was around her, and then go back to coloring. She had a book next to her, and her doggy on her lap. Those two things have been her security blankets lately. She carries them with her wherever she goes. She has been such a trooper lately, with our busy schedules, our oten impatient, raised voices and our “not now bean, go find something else to do” comments.

As much as we complain that she won’t stop talking, or needs to calm down during lessons, or needs to be a better listener… she is a good kid. A really good kid. A kid that is so affectionate, and so excited about the world around her. A kid that always says thank you. For “downloading Eloise goes to Hollywood on my phone” or for “letting me eat pancakes for dinner” for “stopping at the bakery on the way home” or “for snuggling me this morning”. She is a kid that pats other children’s backs at school when she senses they are scared or plays with them when their best friend is home sick that day. I think about these things and my heart swells. And I can’t help but feel a little guilty that I am not being all that I can be for her.

I think of the strong and amazing mother’s in my life, my friends, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and most of all my mom, and wonder how they do it. Being a mom is such an enormous responsibility, how do they handle that weight? They all make it look so easy. One child is enough of a challenge, how do they do it with two, three, four or five? I feel extremely blessed to have them all in my life, and have learned, and continue to learn, something from every one of them. I look and me and my sisters and the women we have become and think we turned out pretty darn good. A lot of that is because of my mom. She must know a thing or two, that mother of mine. So when I have a hard day, or I feel like I am not giving it my all, I find myself thinking, WWBD? What would Bebe do? It’s what gets me through those days… and some days it is more like “what would Bebe drink?”. Whatever gets you through right?

Happy mother’s day to all you mom’s that keep me going. Especially you Bebenator. Love you Mom!

General holidays

how blessed is more like it

This past week has been hard on the Bean. There has been zero quality time on my end. Everything is “in one second” “just a minute” “all I need is 5 minutes and then we can play”. I promised her that once this workday is over and we hit the road I am hers for a whole week. Granted we will be with a bunch more family so she won’t be neglected by any sense of the word, but I feel bad that I dropped her off at holiday camp today. I feel bad that we weren’t starting our vacation this morning, that work has to take the front seat some days. I am not one to make resolutions but I am making two this year, and one is to slow it down a bit. To savor the moments. Throughout the year I kept saying “how is it already ___” and part of the reason is because I am always looking forward, to the next goal, then next vacation, the next item on the to-do list. I don’t take enough time to sit and enjoy a meal with Sofia and Ajay, or to snuggle the bean while we watch a movie. I find myself saying “I’ll be there in one minute” way too often. One minute turns into one hour and another moment is missed.

Yesterday Sofia and I went to visit our Nana and Papa at Nana’s “apartment” as Sofia fondly calls it. Papa and I were reminiscing about Christmas eves of the past, ones filled with midnight mass at the retreat house followed by driving around looking at Christmas lights. He reminded me why I find Christmas eve so magical. Because of the spirit, because of the tradition, because of the hope and the sense of peace. Because of the family, because of the memories. He also reminded me how much things have changed, even from last Christmas. I don’t think last Christmas he anticipated spending this Christmas up north with his children, but without the company of Nana. I can hear the sadness in his voice when he wishes us a Merry Christmas. I think about our childhood and how lucky we were to grow up with our grandparents in town, and that they were so involved in our lives. Every Sunday it was a stop by Nana and Papa’s, every basketball game I knew I could look into the crowds and see my Nonno. Anytime we needed a hug from our Nonna she was right next door. How lucky right? How blessed is more like it. It makes me happy that Sofia is growing up the same way. Sofia calls her cousins her sisters and brothers. How sweet right? How blessed is more like it. She shouts to the world that we are heading to Spokane to see Bebe and Grandpa and she cannot contain her excitement. Again, how blessed.

I remember being excited on Christmas morning and thinking at the time it was all about the presents. Now looking back I know that wasn’t the case. Bean keeps asking when the presents come and how excited she is for Santa. Deep down I know that it’s not all about presents for her, that most of the excitement would be gone if she wasn’t surrounded on Christmas morning by the family she loves, that loves her… Okay, so maybe right now it is all about the presents for her, but I know that when she looks back she will have wonderful memories of family and tradition like I do now. That she will know how blessed she really is. And that right there is enough reason for me to want to slow down a bit this Christmas, to linger over each gift a bit more, to hug a little bit longer, to look around in all the chaos and soak in the joy and the love that surrounds us. I hope you will do the same.

Merry Christmas.

General holidays humor video gallery

what Christmas is all about

At this time of year it is easy to get caught up in the buying, the rushing, the chaos and pressure of getting it all done. People are cranky and grumpy and tearing around the malls trying to get the best deal. Those people have lost sight of what this time of year is all about. This time of year is about family and friends, about what is truly important, about the little things in life that make it all worth while. Sometimes it is snuggling with the bean while she falls asleep that reminds me to take a moment and enjoy this time. Sometimes it is the quiet of a winter’s night and the calm a fresh snowfall brings. And sometimes it is videos like this. Laugh it up and Merry Stinkin’ Christmas!