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, September 23, 2012

This new magic of now

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The teenagers threw us for a few minutes. Yes, the Mama was told they were college kids, but mercy me did they look like kids. They were supposed to resemble a prince and princess -- correction -- the girl had called and asked if it would be okay if she dressed up like a fairy.

But when they walked in the house, the boy wore a Navy-like military outfit in all white with a Burger King-esque crown on, kind of a Prince Harry caricature (clothed), and the girl wore a conservative "I Dream of Jeannie" outfit that never made it off the studio rack to the sound stage. They hauled in boxes of stuff with them. What stuff we weren't sure of.

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I mean, they really looked like kids, and I was worried. They were supposed to perform magic tricks, paint faces and make animal balloons. And fortunately that's exactly what they did, although Bea's birthday four-year-old and younger party attendees were just happy when the dressed up "older kids" strolled through the house to the backyard with the mysterious boxes. I joked with the Mama asking her if she had ordered ponies, too. Thankfully she didn't.

We laid out blankets on the grass for the kids and parents to sit on while Prince Harry and Jeannie started the show. The kids loved every minute of it, Beatrice as bubbly as I've ever seen her. One little boy was overheard saying:

"I didn't know magic even existed."

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Brilliant. And you know what else is a big hit with a little kids' magic show? The little animals. The cuddly, furry and feathery little animals. The magic kids brought a hamster, rabbit and dove to share -- or more specifically, made them appear. Everyone had a chance to pet them after the fact.


Of course Bea loved opening gifts and immediately playing with and sharing all her new toys with all her guests and her little sister. For being the youngest, Bryce held up pretty well, but was also the one who dragged and dropped her iced cupcake all over the living room. What did we expect, right? Give a kid a loaded cupcake…

Oh, the party was so much fun. Really. We couldn't have dreamt it go any better. The magic kids, their live trick animals, the face painting, the balloon animals, the pizza, the cupcakes and cupcake decorating (which thankfully didn't turn into a sticky sweet mess), all of it fun beyond measure for the kids, for the me and the Mama, for Nonna, for my best friend Troy and his children, and all the other parents who came over to celebrate.


The best part came in witnessing our elder birthday B interact and play with the other kids, laughing and tousling one another without incident, gasping and giggling with ever sleight of hand and surprise animals to pet, sharing and playing with toys and gobbling up pizza and pink cupcakes and slurping down juice. 


I didn't even know this kind of magic existed, this new magic of now.

Happy Birthday Beatrice.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Family love has a dizzying trajectory

Atoms spin at different speeds. The younger, faster B atoms swirl around
the older, slower A and K atoms, keeping the older, slower atoms a little younger and a little faster.

But time is much different physics for the younger atoms. A moment to the B's could be days for the A and K. Even weeks. And the faster it moves for A and K doesn't seem to affect the B time, or it can make them move even slower.

And be crankier.

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Yesterday I took Beatrice to her occupational therapy session, which went well; the progress she's made since last year in getting her neural network to fire age-appropriately has been excellent. But afterwards she wanted to play in the playground right outside of the building we go to, and I wanted to get us to the lighthouse to meet the Mama and Bryce so we could all see the Space Shuttle fly. I encouraged her positively and even tried to barter, but she fought and cried and mercy if the school we were at (which isn't where Bea goes) didn't think I was stealing a child. Ended up she was fine once we got to the Mama and Bryce. Sigh.

And last week we all went to see Bea at preschool where the Mama volunteers in the class -- me, Nonna and Bryce. But soon after I read a story to the class and we got to celebrating Bea's birthday, Bryce got ornery as all get up, which she does more often these days, so I removed her from the class crying and flailing and throwing herself to the ground, which outside meant atop the kid-safe bark that sticks to kids like velcro-friendly objects. Highly friendly objects. That stick everywhere. Hair, face, mouth, arms, legs. Ended up she was just hungry and wanted a snack. Sigh.

Thank goodness for the lightness of Pop. The B's are sister disco birthday sidekicks, now two and four respectively (but not always if you know what I mean). Since Pop's passing it's all been a blur -- the B, A and K atoms all accelerating to the speed of light and life -- providing for and nurturing family the best we can.

The B atoms whirl and spin even faster and faster around the A and K atoms. Family love has a dizzying trajectory but each other's gravity keeps us all in place.

Or spinning in a chair.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lightness of Pop

"It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

It was always a sunny smile, my dad's. A master of levity, Pop injected humor and silliness into most everything he did. He infectious laugh brought smiles to anyone in its radius, the scar above his lip glinting under light like polished glass. For the life of me, I can't remember how he got the scar. All I know is that it added a richness to his character, like biscuits soaked in honey and butter -- you could never get enough.

This from someone who served in the Air Force and who also was a law enforcement veteran of 32 years. Anyone who ever worked with him shared the same sentiment -- from the most hardened cops and criminals (who he called his customers), to literal strangers he'd meet on the street, in the store, in the campground, in the post office, in the doctor's office...everyone experienced his sunny disposition, his goofy humor and his viral smile.

He inspired me to do the same, to be silly, to embrace life and all the people in it, to give life and all the people in it a second and third chance, to laugh in the face of adversity -- while at the same time tackling it and pinning it to the ground. Mercy me, that ain't easy, but his gumption combined with the Mama's has helped me keep it pinned to the ground.

And when the Mama and I started the B-hive, we knew we'd go all in. For us, there was and is no alternative; your children B-come your life, and your life B-comes more beautiful, more vibrantly alive with wondrous mess, like crayons melting together beyond the lines and creating pictures we never thought possible.

Pictures of rainbows and silly faces and sunny smiles and birthday hats. There's enough darkness out there as it is. I prefer to stay in the lightness of Pop.