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, February 19, 2017

Why We Celebrate Our Crazy Little Thing

“This thing (this thing)
Called love (called love)
It cries (like a baby)
In a cradle all night
It swings (woo woo)
It jives (woo woo)
It shakes all over like a jelly fish
I kinda like it
Crazy little thing called love…”

—Queen, Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I didn't really get it until days later. Yes, it was our Valentine's Day family date afternoon/night, and we did spend quality time together as a family, for the most part.

First, the girls and I needed to get our flu shots, being overdue in that department and still in the throes of flu season. Plus, I'm going to be traveling again soon, and will be exposed to all sorts of bugs Americana. The Mama (what I lovingly call my wife) had already gotten hers months earlier since she works in physical therapy and helps older, more susceptible patients who live in assisted-living facilities and also those who have home health care.

Kaiser Permanente is new to our area and now has a downtown office in Santa Cruz, so that's where we went for our flu shots. We switched to Kaiser recently due to the rising costs of health care for families (don't get me started) and the fact that their services are more reasonable (by far and so far) compared to what we had (which had increased by over 25%), along with us having Direct Primary Care, all of which is a whole other Get Off The Ground article for another time.

The shots didn't take very long -- I went first, and then Beatrice, and then Bryce -- but before the nurse practitioner had the needle ready and poised for Bryce's arm, Bryce erupted in tears. She's never been a fan of the shots. Who is, right? She cried and shook her head and said she didn't want the shot and cried and shook her head.

We all told her it would be a quick pinch, but she just kept crying and shaking her head while the Mama held her. Finally she stood still enough for the nurse to give her the shot, and then Bryce wailed and cried even louder. The nurse left and came back in with rubber duckies for both girls and that perked Bryce up.

Then we were off to Bookshop Santa Cruz to buy books the girls had earned and for a Reading Flash Mob -- of which I had no idea what that was. Bookshop Santa Cruz has been an iconic community bookstore for over 50 years now. I came to learn that the reading flash mob was a gathering for kids and adults alike to come and literally read any book in the store for about an hour, whether purchased or not.

What I didn't know about the event (even though I'm sure the Mama told me more than once) was that the Live Like Coco Foundation, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit, and the Santa Cruz Playground Project launched this series of “Reading Flash Mob” fundraisers to fund literacy panels at Leo’s Haven, the county’s first playground for children of all abilities.

And so we read for a great cause. Wait, two great causes. No, three great causes that included our own love of reading. We also found out that the Live Like Coco Foundation's executive director had a daughter named Coco who had died in a car crash at age 12. And so the foundation was founded to celebrate her spirit and for us all to "do good things" in our lives and in our community. Right on.

Out of all the amazing books at the bookstore, Bryce of course chose Dog Man Unleashed, another silly graphic novel series for kids from the creator of Captain Underpants (tra-la-la!). I read nearly the whole book to her during that inspirational hour while the Mama and Beatrice read to each other.

After that we were off to our family Valentine's Day dinner. All of us were hungry and we had a wonderful time -- until we didn't. Well, not the girls, the Mama and me. This is what happens sometimes in the adulting world. Life trips up your mindful happy along the way and fall flat on your fallible face. We both started worrying about our work and our commitments and the weeks aheads and all the other American crazy breaking down all around us, and then when one of us nearly dropped a plate at the end of the meal -- ka-boom.

We both got angry with each other unnecessarily and it deflated some of fun Valentine family we'd been having since the flu shots. For us at least, but thankfully not for the girls. The Mama and I survived the adulting fall and apologized, reminding each other that it's okay be get mad sometimes as long as we acknowledge it, own it and reconcile it. It still takes longer for me than the Mama, and yet we always get back to the heart of each other.

I didn't really get it until days later. Yes, a family bond is a crazy little thing called love, no matter how mad we may sometimes get with one another. And we will. And there will be more ka-booms between all of us as the girls get older. And more tears and shouts and laughter and love. And yet I cannot imagine, do not want to imagine, if any one of the ladies in my life -- these suns that rise in my heart each and every morning -- were gone.

This is why we stay in our moments as much as we can, hold fast to each one and each other, and celebrate our crazy little thing.

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