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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

B a blasting cap

The youngest always tend to get the short end of the stick, but my youngest is actually the short stick of dynamite with a blasting cap on top -- with a capital B.

There is so much truth to how you coddle your first compared to the kids that come after. It's not that you don't love the second, third or fourth (that goodness we only have the second), you're just less apprehensive, more relaxed and tired (which aren't the same thing, mind you) with the second than the first; you're raising exponentially and metaphorically a gaggle of children, not only two. You spent so much energy trying to figure out what the hell to do with the first one without screwing them up too much, that with the second you think, "Oh, do I really need to put the frayed electrical wires away?"

Plus, there's the whole thing about the rest of life and work and providing for family and maybe taking care of other family (as we did the past few years with my parents)...

Yep, you usually lighten up with the second, coddle them a little less, not necessarily ignore them, but you definitely allow them more freedom than the first (and write less about them than the first -- sigh). And then while all of that is going on (or less of stuff going on), there's the doubled efforts of the second wanting to be more like the first.

Our youngest, Bryce, is just under two years younger than the elder B, Beatrice. Seemingly she's been scrambling to keep up with Bea every since she was born, upstairs. Bold, brazen, bossy and as sweet as apple pie laced with jalapeno and served with a wedge of lemon -- Bryce is my barrel of monkeys with dynamite and blasting caps. Bea is the politer Curious George of the two.

Another big difference, which says a lot about their personalities, is that while Bea still refuses to each much meat except for tuna and fish sticks, Bryce is a carnivore. Not a lot if any red meat yet, but pork, chicken and fish are all yum in the tum for Bryce.

Good to know that at the end of the world, Bryce could turn out to be our little hunter, while Bea will help with gathering.

Every time we take the girls outdoors to explore, romp and play, Bryce is the fearless investigator. Actually, she's fearless everywhere, but what's even more interesting is that there's a reciprocal big sister scrambling to be like Bryce, injecting a little of the bold, brazen and bossy Bryce into Bea's more reserved bloodstream. It's fascinating really how different they are and how much they complement one another.

Trust me, if you're ever feeling like the short end of the stick, B a blasting cap.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Being Back Here

I couldn't get the song out of my head once it started. It was 2:30 in the morning, last night, the night before my Mom's last memorial, which was earlier today. (That's what strung out feels like, kids. We were up for hours last night...)

The song was Still Fighting It, a bittersweet reflection on growing up and having children of your own, by Ben Folds.

"It was pain
Sunny days and rain
I knew you'd feel the same things...
Everybody knows
It hurts to grow up
And everybody does
It's so weird to be back here
Let me tell you what
The years go on and
We're still fighting it,
we're still fighting it..."

Because at that moment, while I watched the Mama (my wife) hold and try to console an inconsolable stuffy Bryce (my youngest daughter), and Beatrice (my oldest) and me laid awake unable to sleep, I thought of my Mom and all the times she consoled and took care of me and my sister growing up, much of it without help with we were young children.

It's so weird to be back here...

Whether it be a cold, or the flu, or chicken pox, or allergies, or asthma -- Mom always took care of us and did everything she could to make it all better. Always.

Even the time I nearly ate an entire bottle of orange flavored baby aspirin and our family doctor at the time told Mom to make me throw it all up. Now that was a joyous memory. If you've tried to convince a young child to throw up for their own good, you know what I'm talking about. So no, I never did throw up that time, but fortunately it all worked out and all that yummy aspirin didn't affect me adversely.

I watched the Mama hold Bryce and remembered Mom and those are/were the memories that live now and forever in the tidal pools of my heart, a universe within universe within universe without forgetting once the "sunny days and rain" shared amid torrent and still water like glass.

Two weeks ago we said goodbye in Oregon, leaving Mom and Dad forever in the bay where they loved and lived in the end, where their souls reach to heaven...and today we said goodbye with local family and friends in Visalia where we grew up and where it all started for us, another tide rushing in to scatter memories from pool to vibrant pool...

Thank you for always being there, Mom. We were there for you as much as we could be in the end.

We love you.