Sunday, May 14, 2017
“Let’s go to my class first!” shouted Bryce.
“No, we’re going to my class first!” shouted Beatrice.
“Bryce, we’re going to Bea’s class first to make sure her invention is set up and then we’ll go to yours,” the Mama said (what I lovingly call my wife).
Bryce grunted something indecipherable and then shouted, “No!”
“C’mon, Bryce,” I said.
“But I need to be your tour guide in my class!”
“We know, you practiced that, and we’ll go to your class next.”
It was open house at the girls’ school and they were busting at the seams to get us there. All week they talked excitedly of the things they’d show us once we were there – all the great projects they’d been working on, their schoolwork and their amazing artwork and more. Bryce and her classmates had also role-played with their teacher on how to be a tour guide for the classroom, complete with a checklist on a clipboard to ensure we saw every single station set up for open house.
And making sure we saw everything she did. As did Beatrice in her classroom, with her special flying concept car proudly on display. But it wasn’t just those things we were incredibly proud of. It was the in-between things we noticed; the peripheral behavior of our children growing up before our very eyes.
Of fearless Bryce jumping right in with other kids and adults alike to show us “the ropes” of her combined kindergarten and first grade class, and then wanting to visit the first-grade classes, one of which she longs to be in next year. To saying hit to everyone she knows, and anyone she doesn’t.
Of poised and bold Beatrice going out of her way to say hi to her speech and occupational therapists who have helped her tremendously over the years. To hand them and her current teachers thank you cards that the Mama helped to prep and package. And like her little sister, wanting to visit the third-grade classes to meet her possible teachers come this fall.
Of both never being afraid of asking for what they want and need, something I was much more afraid of at their age growing up in chaotic circumstances.
pride and love for my girls and my family as we walked around the school campus during open house. And for all that, I love and thank the Mama. Relentlessly focused on loving and consistent positive parenting and incorporating Kidpower into our lives, while tirelessly ensuring that every school day they are prepared for their days with their homework all done, the Mama is simply amazing.
Of course, I won’t sell myself short; I just follow her lead and do my best to keep up, underscoring the consistency when and where I can, even though I’m definitely rougher around the edges. For those of you with kids, you know parenting is a lot of hard work, and you don’t get it right all the time. There are times when we’re strung out and stressed out and the girls are driving us friggin’ bananas and we scream and whine louder than they do, but that’s the deal when you’re all in with your family. The good, the bad and the ugly – mostly good, sometimes bad and thankfully rarely ugly.
An old friend just texted me and commented that Mother’s Day would be rough for me since I lost my mom nearly five years ago now. He and my other close friends grew up with me and remember my mom well, some even “adopting” her as a second mother in high school. It was rough early on after she and my dad both passed. Both struggled with chronic illness and cancer. Plus, for my mother, she had the trauma of two previous crappy marriages that included mental and physical abuse, and did the best she could raising my sister and I for a while as a single mom.
I told that old friend that fortunately I didn’t feel that way anymore. That I celebrate the best of what she was, just as I celebrate the best of what my wife is, and the best of being a Mom (daddy) myself.
The mostly good, you know.
Two days after open house, while me and the girls were putting some cards and gifts together for the Mama and Mother’s Day, Bryce walked over to me and put her right hand and mouth close to my ear.
“Daddy,” she whispered, “I had an extra card I made at school, so I’m going to give it you.”
She handed me the card and the front read in big and colorful all caps MOM. And then right underneath she wrote in smaller all caps DADDY.
I gave her a big hug. “I love you, Bryce.”
“I love you too, Daddy.”
This is the best of the good that I celebrate as a father on Mother’s Day. I’ll take the Happy Mom (daddy) Day any day of the week.