Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Back of my hand

July 31, 2018  Tuesday, Red/Orange sun just peeking over the hills in a cloudy sky

The water and sun soaked summer continues to wash over our kids leaving changes to their bodies and minds forming them into lake rats.  Learning to dive (yesterday), learning to freestyle swim (two days ago – a moment caught on paper by my daughter shown below), learning to do a 180 on the wakeboard (last weekend), learning to spin on the kneeboard (2 weeks ago) -  sun drenched fisherman, rock collectors, and cannonballers, they are becoming a part of the lake or perhaps more tellingly, they are internalizing the lake into their childhood so that this slice of water and sun will be forever with them.  I actually had fears that I would not be able to pass onto them the love of this locale. The love of a place where the streams, rocks, sunlight, weather, trees, hills, birds are seared into my mind like the back of my hand. And just as the back of my hand has weathered and deepened since I was 18, so has this place changed: New names, new faces, new boats, new fish and with age, I see new rhythms.  But it retains its character, and this character is the one my kids are growing into, a falling in love between two things that I adore. So though I feared once they would not like it, I now fear that they will soon know more about the shoreline, the creatures, the weather, and texture of the place than I ever did. It is disconcerting for someone to know the back of your hand better than you do. But comforting in the end.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Santa Claus, Indians, and number lines

Brown and Joseay both have been learning about Native Americans recently.  It is hard to teach history to young kids in a way that they can fully grasp (adults too for that matter).  Talking of hunting, living in wigwams, and other daily realities of life centuries ago is difficult to wrap your head around.  Which led my son to ask the all important question recently:  “Did Santa Claus go to the Indians in their tepees?”   I have tried to resist flat out lying about Santa Claus in the past few years, so I deferred and said “I don’t know, what do you think?”  After a few thoughtful moments, he definitively said “well, I don’t believe in Indians” and the matter was settled.

His next bit of insight was discussing the afterlife.  A character in a story (Underneath) had died, and the narrative was still following her experiences, after death.  Brown then took the chance to inform me, “well I am going to live forever.  Is that more than a thousand years?”  “Yes” I said.  “Well, I am going to live longer than that, I am going to live right off the number line.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Holding on to what you love

This last Sunday, on Father’s day, we were lounging on the couch, and Brown asked if he could keep Bear (his loved stuffed bear) when he was an adult.  I told him he could keep him for as long as he liked.  He said good.  And after a bit more reflection, he said, “and when I die, I am going to hold on tight to his ankle and pull him to heaven with me.”  Yes, hold on tightly to that kind of faith.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yep, that's a pretty good answer

Life is sometimes like trying to camp in white clothes.  There are just going to  be scuffs and marks all over the place.  The only way to keep clean is to not participate which is much worse than getting dirty.
Kids are difficult.  I mean as a parent, I leave a lot to be desired.  It's not that I am uninterested or have a lack of interest.  I try, I really do.  I work at it, but instead of running a race, I feel like I am on one of those gerbil wheels spinning and spinning but really not going anywhere.  As a matter of fact, sometimes in all my work of spinning the big metal wheel I am on, I feel like shrapnel flies off the wheel and injures my kids who are the ones I am trying to help and guide.  
Thankfully, God make my kids (like most kids) pretty resilient.  Tough, and somewhat oblivious to their father’s flailings.  Joseay is more and more interested in asking some deeper questions.  Part of it is that she just likes to talk, and I guess she has learned that when she asks us a deep questions, we talk about it for a while.  So, the other day, I thought it would be interesting to ask her how she knows God loves her.  I was ready to give my kindergartner a great explanation, with verses, and arguments to bolster the belief.  Sounds like a great idea right, I mean what kindergartner doesn't want a list of reference to know why to believe in god. Anyway, I asked, so how do you know God loves you.  We were coloring in a book at the time, and she didn’t look up or really even pause what she was doing, but simply said “because he is God.”  And kept right on coloring. Yep, that's a pretty good answer.  It certainly shut me up and pulled me off the gerbil wheel for a bit.  At least now I could concentrate on the coloring book.  
Thanks God for making my kids tough enough to resist their bumbling father.  How do I know God made them that way?  Because he is God...

Friday, August 14, 2015

First day of school

Can you tell that our kids are getting older and our reflections (at least the recorded ones) are becoming rarer and rarer...

Well, school started yesterday and the energy was infections.  Both kids were fired up about it both before and after the fact.  One the way to school, Joseay said something to the effect of I have been waiting for this since I turned 5 last November.  She was so cute in her dress as she headed into her first day of school.  Kindergarten is going to be a blast for her.  As I was tucking Brown into bed last night, I asked him what the biggest difference in first grade and kindergarten was, and he said, it is very different.  We have a hole (storage cubby) in our desk...  Yes, very concrete this one.

So is it too soon to call this year a success?  At least we are off to a great start.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Olivia and the heartbeat

This week, Joseay bought a ceramic piggy bank at a yard sale with the name of Olivia painted on the side.  The girl who was selling it, said to Joseay “oh, is your name Olivia?”  To which Joseay replied, no.  “Do you know that the pig has Olivia written on it?”  So Joseay simply reasoned/decided that Olivia must be the pig's name.  So now, we have a piggy bank named Olivia who Joseay has been carrying around with her.  Olivia is white with flowers painted on her side. She is quite the lady.  In fact, yesterday, Joseay informed me that Olivia doesn’t poop, she just tee tees because she is a lady. So we had a quick biology lesson.  I don’t think it took.
These kids, not unlike most kids, begin to burrow into your heart and you find new levels of love.  Of course, this is also a risk as this burrowing exposes your heart to pain, to loss, and to heart break. But Joseay and Brown are deeply loved in this house.
I heard a phrase, a phrase I didn’t quite get on a podcast the other day.  I am pretty sure I misheard it, but it triggered in me the phrase “you realize at some point during your kids lives, that your heartbeat no longer emanates from your own body, but has begun to come from your kids.”  I think this is a beautiful statement of selfless love, and though it is “easy” to feel it with regard to our kids, we have to realize that we have been called, chosen and tasked with loving those around us with this same love.  As I feel the depth of my love for my kids, I recognize my extreme failure in loving my neighbor.  So I continue to pray for that heart change, that allows me to love more deeply those who I am not naturally drawn towards.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last day of kindergarten

Friday, May 22, 2015 Early and quite cold as dawn breaks
The house is quiet, and I imagine that it mirrors my expectation for the day - this last day of kindergarten.  A parent’s love is deep.  To hear that without a child, you might think of the deep end of a pool as compared to a shallow kiddie pool.  But  when you actually arrive at parenthood, you soon discover that the depth can only be compared to the ocean, vast and seemingly unmeasurable.  A depth that is quiet and almost scary as you begin to plumb the depths of emotion contained in your own heart.  Brown reminds us of this often. Brown’s love is a more quiet love, so that sometimes it slips in unnoticed and surprises you at the oddest moment. He has blessed us and evidently those around him.  Where my love for him may be sometimes too quiet, his teachers love him loudly and we are reminded of this fact.  And we are loudly grateful.