Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bea in the memory of every moment, even when you're bloodshot Bryce

Helen Reddy's got nothing on Bryce.

Imagine every moment of infantile angst, loneliness, frustration you've ever experienced in the heart of a white hot nucleus in the base of your brain firing all dendrites at once sans the dopamine via the mouth.

It can crack the earth's mantle. Plus, she's a Leo.

It's fascinating to witness the developmental differences between our girls.

Beatrice, the tentatively sweet walker before crawler cuddle bug that now sleeps all night and plays by herself well; and then there's Bryce, the aggressively shriek teething diver who's ready to mop the floor with her onesies and chew everything's head off. Sure, she's a cuddle bug, too.

But mercy. They're exhausting. Just ask the Mama. Remember, I just work here.

We love our girls and are so very thankful they're both healthy and happy. It is sweet how they both interact and play with one another now, how Bryce wants to play so badly with her sister and be more mobile.

We don't necessarily with for that; Bryce is going to be an escape artist ninja where Beatrice was fairly easy to track.

For those of you with grown kids and those of you who haven't started yet, don't ever fast forward. Bea in the memory of every moment, even when you're bloodshot Bryce.

I am strong.

I am invincible.

I am baby.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sharing the cathartic zero gravity of family love

That's why we have our very own space station in orbit upstairs.

Every night after dinner, when it's time to decouple from the reality of the earthbound realm, we take the imaginary shuttle up the staircase and bathe ourselves in the cathartic zero gravity of family love.

In other words, family play time. Beatrice chasing me and me chasing Bea while Mama plays with an excited Bryce eager to join the chase. Bea loves for me to hide and then pounce out from the shadows and scare the Be-Jesus out of her, which makes Mama giggle because she thinks it's crazy funny that Bea likes to be scared like that. It won't be like this forever I know, but then again, I'm not worried about forever right now, only right now.

I've just started a new career that I'm very excited about, but that will take me away from home on travel from time to time. Considering I've been home a lot more in the past six months, it'll certainly be a transition for us all.

Then there's global instability -- both manmade and natural -- that seems to be on the rise, which has put Mama in super-protection mode, elevating our emergency preparedness that includes buying way too much dried seaweed and capsules of unidentifiable green stuff. At least I've convinced her not to buy radiation suits or a Geiger counter since as of today the West coast is in pretty good shape.

Closer to home, we've got Beatrice in potty training school with teacher Mama (I'm helping, but Mama's still put the plan together). The good news is, Bea tinkled in her potty chair for the first time this week! Yes, I'm comfortable using the word tinkled. Pee-peed works as well.

The bad news? Bryce still ain't sleeping well, which means we're not sleeping well, which means I may have to hit the couch again soon, which means me playing Angry Birds and continuing my sea-faring adventure through Moby Dick at 2:00 a.m. while Mama takes over the bed in an Ambienic haze.


Good times.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

Although, I wish I could send some of our zero gravity to Japan, Libya and a gazillion other places and circumstances around the world and in our own backyard (in one hour per week).

Maybe I'll poke a hole in our space station and share some AM Gold.

Yeah, maybe that's what I'll do.

"Oh, ho, ho -- it's magic, you know. Never believe it's not so..."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You really can change the world in only one hour per week

He gave me a high five and his mother smiled.

"I'm so glad you're here. He doesn't have a lot of good male role models in his life."

None of them do. At least the six little boys that I, along with the other child advocate, took care of while their mothers sought domestic violence counseling in group.

The boys ages range from nine months old to five years old. And there are others as well who I don't see because they come on different days.

I don't know anything about their home life because we don't talk about it; I'm not a counselor and don't pretend to be one. Some of the mothers who come to the women's center were initially hesitant about my volunteering, even scared (I'm only the second of two men who have volunteered to date).

But they've warmed up to me. Again, I have no idea what their lives are like. I can only imagine based on my childhood and what my mother went through.

What's amazing to me is that, for all things considered, all of them seem pretty well adjusted. The two youngest ones sat on my lap while we watched the older boys bust a gut shouting and playing with plastic dinosaurs and superheroes.

And the fact that someday "they'll" grow up and befriend, even date my daughters, motivates me to be a positive influence.

I plan to continue the child advocacy and eventually get into the center's mentor program (like a Big Brothers program).

But this post isn't self-congratulatory; it's a call to action for other fathers and men to get involved. There are women's centers in almost every city, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs and many other programs where guys (and gals) can get involved for the betterment of children's lives.

You really can change the world in only one hour per week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Celebrate the Miracle of Choices. Always.

I still have the journal cover packed away somewhere. It had ripped away from the journal body after years of use and I wanted to ensure I kept it since it was one of the first presents Mama gave me.

The cover reads: Celebrate the Miracle of Your Choices!

They're a work in progress. Always have been. They may have not always been the best choices or the most productive and mindfully present after so much life lived, but you can and should celebrate them nonetheless. I can, did and do.

Because all the choices woven together make up the tapestries each of us carry, high atop a flagpole in our individual pride parades.

Sure, some of us drag the damn things behind us through the mud sometimes, heads and hearts down and out, but then we wash away the dirt in redemption and hang them in the sun to dry.

If you're paying attention at all, and learning along the way, you know they're not prefabricated; you painstakingly on accidental purpose process each bale of life lived into the golden spun thread of yours truly tapestries.

Segue to finally reading through the Whole Living articles on overcoming fear and living fearlessly Mama had saved for me about a week ago.

Guys, I'm telling you, don't write off girl-power inspirational writing. Trust me. It resonates more that we'd care to admit.

Like this excerpt from the article:

My doctor gently told me, "Year by year all is unclear, but day by day we find our way." I hear those words at least once a day and find my way back to the present. Fear is about what might happen, not what is happening right now. It takes us to a place of panic, not power. The only thing you have to master is the thing right in front of you, this very second.

That's the way Mama and I have always lived our lives -- her more than me, but I keep up pretty well.

The past six months have been amazing path of love and bonding for me, Mama and the B-hive, punctuated by moments of excruciating doubt and fear, and we still hold our tapestry high in the air -- dried mud, baby food, leaky bank accounts, sleepless nights and all.

The only thing you have to master is the thing right in front of you, this very second.

The following is from our marriage vows (sewn right into our high-flying tapestry):

You are my sun,
and I am your Moon.
I rise in the night
to settle the darkness
that reflects my past,
but the second you rise
and call out my name
making my day aglow
with a moment of grace,
it’s then I relive our love:
our present eclipse embrace.

We are two wholes, together.

We are Heartmeld.

We believe in a lifetime with happy.

We celebrate the miracle of a million interwoven threads; we celebrate the miracle of our choices.


Oh, and Happy Birthday Mama! We love you!