Friday Letters

 
 

Friday Letter to My Kids: That Was Real In Tents

March 25, 2016

Dear J, J, L and L,

Sorry for the bad pun in the title. I couldn’t help myself. But this letter happens to discuss tents. One tent in particular.

IMG_5982

Very handy

Your father and I recently went camping. Yes, camping in March in Arizona. We got up in to the pines but not into any patches of snow. We’ve done that with L and L as I recall. That was the “Little Muddy Foot” and “Queen of the Flame” with snow patches around us trip. That was cold. Oh, and once with Aunt Ny, up American Fork Canyon in April. Brrrr.

I digress.

So, as I was saying,  your dad and I went camping. Instead of the two-man tent, which is pretty snug and requires crawling around and barely allows kneeling upright, we chose to bring the good ol’ six man tent. You remember that one, a big yellow and white dome with a gray rain fly. Yup, that tent. It’s big enough for standing up to get dressed and maneuvering around in. It’s a spacious and comfortable temporary abode for two people.

For six people, it’s a snug fit. Oh, but the warmth generated inside there is awesome on a cold camping night. We’ve had a few of those in that tent.

IMG_5974

Ponderosa Pines and sunshine!

If I put my brain to it I’m sure I could almost come close to remembering all the times we’ve put up that tent and slept in it. We’ve slid the poles through the sleeves on that tent in a bunch of states. Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, (oddly, never Colorado) Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennesee, and North Carolina. Let me know if you think I missed any.

I remember a Thanksgiving in North Carolina with raccoons visiting during the night. And two days of rain camping also in North Carolina a little too near a stream that rose a few feet. There’s the New Mexico fiasco as part of the camping our way across the country. Pitched our tent across the lake from a nuclear power plant in Arkansas, where I was sure I was gonna die but somehow didn’t. We’ll never forget rain camping with a grand mud fight in Oklahoma.

We’ve had some grand adventures in that tent. We’ve also experienced angst and anger, aggravation and sheer boredom in that tent. If that tent could talk, imagine the tales it would tell. We’ve owned that creative piece of engineering genius made from fabric since October 1989. That makes it 27 years old. That’s quite a long life for a tent.

How can I be so sure of the year and month? Your Dad called me from Oakland, California where he was working in a skyscraper on October 17, 1989 to tell me he was in an earthquake. We decided in the days following that disaster that we needed to be more prepared for whatever the world and life threw our way. Owning a tent and some camping equipment would make us a bit more self-reliant if we ever found ourselves evacuated or homeless for whatever odd reasons life comes at us with.

One of the best investments we ever made was that tent and those sleeping bags. I hope you agree.

IMG_5981A few years back the rainfly became a congealed mass of guck. I think it spent a month too long in the back of the truck on an extended road trip and the heat did a number on its chemistry. The manufacturer no longer made that tent or rainfly (imagine that after 27 years) so we didn’t haven a replacement.

On this most recent camping trip we jury-rigged a rainfly out of a blue tarp. We did that not for any rain in the forecast, but to keep the heat from escaping out the mesh panels at the top of the tent. It looked a little amateurish, but it served its purpose.

Breakage kind of defined this camping jaunt. Luckily no bones were broken. But one of our cots broke, which was inconvenient but not unbearable. And one of the camp chairs collapsed while your dad was sitting in it. That was inconvenient. (I knew we should have thrown in an extra one.) And then after nightfall a zipper broke on one of the tent doors. As a quick and dirty fix we simply duct taped it shut. (Red Green would be proud.) But by morning the wind had kicked up and the duct tape didn’t hold things together in all that swaying. I woke up to a cold breeze blowing through the tent.

IMG_5977

My sewing job included a needle poke and blood.

We debated what to do about that, since we wanted to stay another night. I dug through my backpacking pack and found a sewing kit and guess what? I sewed that broken zipper opening shut! Was that clever or what? I was pleased with myself. Luckily that tent has two doors, so we simply used the other one.

Between the rainfly and the tent door we got the hint that it’s time to retire the old reliable family tent. I knew you’d be broken hearted to hear this. Or at least semi-interested. So I thought I’d let you know about it before we give it a fitting farewell. It almost feels like we ought to be respectful and burn it, but I don’t know if I could watch that happen. Saying goodbye is a tough thing.

Of course, we need to buy a replacement tent before we do that. I’d like a four-man tent that you can still stand up in, at least in the middle of it. I think we’re past the backpacking stage, but you know your dad will want to camp in all four seasons, so it’ll need to be a rugged piece of equipment.

FullSizeRender-3 copy 4

These Flutterbys were everywhere!

I have so many happy memories that revolve around that tent. We had some great times camping, didn’t we? I’d love to hear about some of your favorites sometime. To me, they were all epic and made us the family that we are.

Even though three of you are out of state this Easter, and I’ll miss coloring eggs and putting olives on our fingers during Easter dinner, I’ve been feeling a strong connection to you this week, thanks to that old yellow tent.

Thank you for always being willing to go along on those outings, and for being part of the joy of the outdoors that’s such an integral part of who I am. Here’s hoping that a love of nature and camping has woven itself affectionately around your genes as well.

Love you each beyond expression,

Mom

~~~~~

“My tent doesn’t look like much but, as an estate agent might say, “It is air-conditioned and has exceptional location.” ~ Fennel Hudson

 

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Letter: The Traffic and Song that Never Ends

Dear J, J, L and L,

Finger puppets might save your sanity.

It all started with Lambchop, although I don’t remember when he began riding along with us in the car. I just know that one day we found ourselves sitting in traffic amongst a zillion other cars going nowhere and getting there at five miles per hour. More than likely, two of you, (guess which two) were arguing or whining in the back seat. No doubt the radio played nothing but the Macarena or advertisements. And most likely the AC failed in its efforts to cool our car just as summer arrived.

Whatever the circumstances, I remember putting Lambchop the finger puppet on my left hand, and letting him wildly sing his signature song whilst dancing out the window.

“This is the song that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started singing it not knowing what it was… and they’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends…”

Here’s a reminder if you’ve forgotten that ditty:

The Song That Never Ends

One of you in the back half of the car probably slunk lower in your seat or said something profound like, “Mooooooooom!!! Stoooooooop!” or may be not. Maybe you laughed. Maybe someone in a car behind or beside us laughed.

Then Lambchop changed the words. “This is the traffic that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…somebody started driving once not knowing where they were…and they’ll continue driving now forever just because this is the traffic that never ends…

Lambchop was a hit. I laughed. Ya’ll laughed. Tension dispelled, at least momentarily.

From then on I was on a quest for other finger puppets, which it turned out, were rare and hard to find. (Pre-Amazon and Google, y’know.)

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Moose, the finger puppet. Who could resist this smile?

This guy, Moose, joined our car late in the game. He liked to sing “We wish you a merry Christmoose,” if memory serves me correctly.

There may have been others, but some of our more traumatic years seem to reside in a foggy region of my brain that I’m unable, or unwilling, to access. But Lambchop, for sure, spent a ton of time on the dashboard, reminding us of the threat or the possibility of performances while stuck in traffic.

Now the most traffic I encounter happens while trying to cross Greenfield road on my bike. And of course, your father doesn’t appreciate the finely honed skills of finger puppet singing. So Lambchop now lives in the closet with all the other stuffed animals. I found Moose covered in dust next to a certain restaurant gift card on my dresser.

If you remember the names or songs of any of our other sweet car companions, remind me. Good times ought not be forgotten. In fact, perhaps they ought to experience a comeback.

Hey, whatever it takes to maintain your sanity in traffic seems like a great idea.

May all your roads lack multiple four-way stops and frequent construction zones. And may you laugh daily and often.

Happy driving!

Love ya tons,

Mom

Categories: children, Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Fun, Traffic | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Letter to my Kids:Can You Spare Some Change?

Dear J, J, L and L,

I have to publicly thank you for the awesome Christmas gift of a wifi photo frame. I think I’ve never recieved a gift that I liked more. It fills a void that’s slowly been opening up as each of you has left home, left the state, left your old selves behind.

IMG_3284I find myself staring at the photos as they fade from one to the next, awestruck that each person in each photo is part of who I am. Each person represented by those pixels on the screen makes me a better, brighter, happier me.

It’s stunning to see how quickly you’ve each changed and how suddenly your children grow from newborn or toddler, to yes, even a teen. How does that happen? How young you all once were. How young you still are.

I often feel I’m not much older than those photos I see, and at the same time I often feel ancient and treelike. I feel stuck in time while everyone around me changes, morphs and transforms into stunning works of beauty and art and joy.

As it’s a new year the topic of resolutions swirls around in conversation and status updates. I posted a Calvin and Hobbes comic on Facebook that actually is meant to be sarcastic but today captures how I feel about each of you and your families.

Calvin, in his usual bravado, tells a blank faced Hobbes, “Resolutions! Me?? Just what are you implying? That I need to change?? Well, buddy, as far as I’m concerned, I’m perfect the way I am!”

I want you each to stay just the way you are, young, nearly perfect, happy. I want to capture you, suspend you in amber and keep you just so. Don’t go making resolutions and changing. Change happens far too quickly without any encouragement at all.

This sounds like I’ve forgotten all the difficulties of raising kids. I haven’t. But I think, in the long run, and maybe even in the short run, the balance of good times won out over the tough stuff.

I used to jokingly say, “before you know it you’ll be all grown up and off to college.” Well, that’s already happened. Now I say it about the grands and the speed of it actually happening takes my breath away.

Nothing I say will stop the change that goes on day in and day out. I can’t hold the past in my hands any more than I can keep water cupped in them. Life drips through, like sand through a sieve, and you each keep your momentum, growing older, wiser, able to laugh more.

I guess I want to say how proud I am of each of you. What sweetness you did and do bring to my life. I can’t imagine a world without you in it. Thank you!

Make whatever resolutions you will, or don’t make any at all. Know that how I see it, in my memories and in digitally transmitted photos, you’re perfect just the way you are. Calvin thinks so, too!

Happy New Year!

With love and gratitude,

Mom

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Holidays, motherhood, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
 
 

Not a Cookie Cutter Holiday

Friday Letter to My Kids ~ May 8, 2015 ~

Dear J, J, L and L,

You know how I was always such a grouch about mother’s day? I’ve decided to give up that silly notion and move on, finally.

I don’t know about other women, but I feel like I came from the planet Venus. Not because I meet some arbitrary list of ideas that some author came up with, but because I’ve never met anyone else like me. There may be other Venusians out there, other Kami-like creatures, but I’ve yet to run into one.

What does that have to do with Mother’s Day? I suppose it’s that I’ve always felt a bit out-of-place and not in my element. I surely never felt like I fit any Mothering Mold. But I’ve come to believe that there isn’t a cookie cutter for Mothers.

Closest cookie cutter shape to a Mom that I could find.

Closest cookie cutter shape to a Mom that I could find.

Mothers take on the shape that they must to meet the needs of their children. At least, most of them do. (I’ve met a few who don’t.) I tried to shape myself to your needs, not consciously, but instinctively. Whether I was ready for the job or not when each one of you came along I molded myself to fit your little fuzzy head and squalling cry. I moved and shaped my days and years to do what I could to make your life a happy one.

Naturally I fell short in that effort simply because I’m a human. And in that shortfall I often felt I’d let you down somehow. Not that I could have done things any differently than I did. I think it’s just part of life that we disappoint those we most love in spite of our very best efforts.

And that’s where my head and heart sat every May when that greeting card angst-riddled holiday of Mother’s Day rolled around. Feeling that I didn’t deserve honor or accolades or chocolates or flowers. Silly, don’t you think, that I’d hold myself to some standard of perfection? I can see now how nonsensical that was.

But having some close calls in losing my mother the past year or two made me think more about mothering. I never felt like my Mom let me down or fell short. She gave me life. She shaped me. She answered my cries in the middle of the night, cleaned up my messes, worked hard at everything she did and somehow still kept loving me in spite of stupid and hurtful choices I made. Amazing!

And that made me think about how much I love the four of you, each in a different, but intensely personal way. I’m proud of each one of you. I became who I am because of your influence and shaping and needs. I’m blessed beyond words to be your mother.

No gifts are necessary. No cards or words or hugs, either. You are my gifts, my jewels, my crowning joy.

Thank you!

All my love forever,

Mom

~~~~~

"Bluebird of Happymess"

The Bluebird of Happymess

Categories: children, Family, Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters, Friday Letters to My Kids, mother, motherhood, mothers, parenting | Tags: , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Nameless: The Bear Who Still Lives, Sort of

Friday Letter to My Kids – April 17, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

When I need to get some conversation started with someone I don’t know well I often mention my Grand-dogs, Blondie and Pabst. Almost everyone can relate to dogs and dog stories. They always get a chuckle out of the term “grand-dog.” For sure it’s a real thing. I bought some doggie treats the other day to have around the house. Is that a Grandma thing, or what? It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to dog ownership given your dad’s anti-dog attitude.

Kind of along the same lines as pets, with an imaginative metaphysical leap, stuffed animals fall in a similar category.

This one's on ebay and labeled Vintage.

This one’s on ebay and labeled Vintage.

The first stuffed animal to join our family back in the very early eighties was Peter Cottontail. I know you all know him only as “That Creepy Bunny” but he once had led a charmed and happy life. When Peter first arrived, Big J had also just arrived. (Hard to believe the man i stand on tip-toes to hug was once such a tiny snuggable babe.) If you wound up Peter’s key he’d play the song “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” in sweet music box chime, while his head moved from side to side with the music. His fur was soft, his blue velvet jacket removable, and his whiskers ever so cute.

After a few years, in an attempt to keep him from getting destroyed, Peter spent some time in a box or two, and in storage more than a couple of times. Then he became an Easter decoration. Somewhere along the way his blue jacket got lost, his whiskers bent and his head movements grew jerky and odd, more like a tick than a dance. Oh, and his song kind of warped. In fact, I haven’t seen Peter for a while now. I’m a little worried about him. Probably made the migration to another box in the garage. I’m not sure he’s going to get to be a real bunny. But that’s another story.

Other stuffed animals came to stay, most for a long time. The Care Bears that your Grandma M made captured my heart. And Sparky moved away with Big L and now frolics with her littles, flatter and smooshier than he was when he got named by Grandpa M.  And then there’s Lambie, a few years younger than Peter and much fluffier with a wind up chime that still plays. Where did Lambie go anyway? Hmmm.

Then there’s this guy…

Big enough to sit up in my office chair.

Big enough to sit up in my office chair.

This bear came to me in my early teen years. A snuggly friend to hold and talk to when I felt friendless and forlorn. (A common malady called puberty, if I recall correctly. As per Baymax.) Somehow I never named this bear. How strange is that? He came along with me when I moved out of my childhood home, but shortly afterwards developed a leaky foot. Pieces of stuffing bled out of him in spurts and squirts and made a mess. He got put in a mending pile, then the mending box, then a box of his own. I finally, finally, finally fixed his owie last year so he doesn’t leak. But still, no one really plays with him. Is he too big? Intimidating? Lacking a personality? Maybe if he had a name he’d seem friendlier and more approachable. Maybe he needs a little messenger bag that hold treats and chocolate, a kind of bribery for friendship deal. I just don’t know.

He probably needs to hang out on the couch so he can pick up some pointers from watching Netflix, TED talks and PBS. Frankly, I’m a little sad for him.

The playgroup?

The playgroup?

Maybe I can get a playgroup going between him and the White Tiger, Beremy, the Huggy Bears, Chicken, and Giraffe. Red Pig and Crocodile will want to be part of the gang. Maybe Lambchop can join in too, if he can promise not to sing that endless song.

I’m a little worried that I’m even considering such things. I’m sure I just need to get out more often. It might be time for me to find a paying gig. Or go back to school.

I’m fine. Really.

In the meantime, If you have any ideas for a good stuffed bear name, let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

Lots of love,

Mom

~~~~~

P.S. Do you remember The Teddy Bears Picnic? Click here to listen to it again. Good times!!

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The Power of a Few Blankets

Friday Letter to my Kids – April 3, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I grew up in the no-bike-helmets, no-parental-supervision-all-summer, kick-the-can-long-after-dark, stay-away-from-the-river, eat-all-the-sugar-you-want and drink-red-Koolaid era. We lived fearlessly and with abandon.

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

boogeyman (not John Travolta)

Why then, as a child, would I feel the need to hide and protect myself at night, at home in my own bed? Why would my nighttimes fill up with so much fright and worry?

I have no idea. Honestly. I’m just a weird kid. Or I was.

Okay, let’s be honest. I still am weird.

If anything, the world’s gotten scarier the older I’ve gotten, but not in the boogeyman kinds of ways. And of course, I can talk myself through the things that go make odd noises in the dark, usually. But I do still sleep with a light on if your Dad is out-of-town or hasn’t come to bed yet.

I suppose I’m just a creature of habit.

From as young as I can recall I’ve always gone to sleep with the covers over my head and just my nose and mouth poking out for breathing.

That’s not an easy thing to achieve. Getting the covers to wrap around your head and eyes and still snug in under your chin takes some skill. It’s trickier if you’re sharing the bed with someone, which I have for most of my life. The secret, I suppose, lies in scrunching down low enough on the mattress, toes almost touching the end of the bed.

Floating head phantom creature.

Floating head phantom creature.

Most people waste that bottom twelve inches of mattress space, but not me. It’s necessary to use every bit of leg room for proper cacooning under sheet, blanket and comforter.

You wonder, no doubt, how I came to sleep this way. I have no idea. Perhaps I was cold one night as a tiny munchkin and discovered the perfect sleeping arrangement. Everyone knows if your head is warm the rest of your body will stay warmer. I’d guess that’s how sleeping caps came into vogue back a few centuries ago. I could go for one of those some nights even now. Except that I have my head wrapping sleep position down to a science.

The other possibility lies in this true fact: I’m a born worrier and a ‘fraidy cat. It’s true. I didn’t come into this worry addiction by accident. I’m certain I arrived, heaven’s dust still shining on my little chubby cheeks, worried about some potential catastrophe and scared outta my newborn diaper about every little noise and new thing in the world.

He looks harmless enough, but watch out!!!

Only looks harmless…

That’s a lot to come in to the world with. Maybe I learned to be afraid of the dark, although I think that came as part and parcel of the whole Kami package. I remember yelling for Mom from the safety of my warm bed after a scary dream, or needing a drink. I’d yell a good ten minutes or more if that’s what it took. My poor mother. I must have done that a few thousand times to her. Little did I know at the time what I was doing to her sanity and her sleep deficit. (Sorry, Mom!!)

Karma, also known as getting what’s coming to you…

I suppose all the middle of the night waking you kids did while you were young could be defined as Karma. I had it coming to me.

Afraid of the dark and worrying about life made me want to hunker down under the covers and hide from the world, especially the nighttime world. I somehow felt protected by those few inches of cloth, from whatever intruder, ghost, goblin, boogeyman, specter or fearsome creature might appear in my bedroom.

Mike? Mike Wazowski? Gah!!

Mike?

Maybe my bedroom door really did open up on Monsters, Inc. back in the day. Who wouldn’t be petrified if Sulley, or Mike Wazowski, or heaven forbid, Randall, appeared in their bedroom from time to time. Oy vey! But, I don’t believe in monsters, so that can’t be why.

I suppose why doesn’t really matter. I suppose I just wanted you to know a little something more about me. Maybe it explains something you never understood about your dear Mom. Or maybe it just cements the idea that you have an odd mother. That’s okay. It’d be as close to the truth as you can get.

Hey, occasionally I find myself falling asleep just fine without my head protected and my eyes covered. Of course, I’m usually reading a book when that happens.

Happy Dreams!

All my love,

Mom

photo 1-9 copy 8

~~~~~

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” ~Ernest Hemingway

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Light and Dark

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 27, 2015 –

*****

Dear J, J, L and L,

I wish I could dispense amazing tidbits of wisdom and peace in these letters to you.

Although, that’d probably just come off as advice, which I really don’t want these turning into. And I’m not really all that wise, just old. Older.

Think about it. In twenty years a couple of you will practically be my age and I’ll be my mom’s age, give or take few. That ought to blow you away a little.

Here’s the thing. Time doesn’t always equal wisdom.

Time amounts to experience, which some people confuse with wisdom.

Compared to some people’s stable, lived-in-the-same-town-forever lives, I’ve had a bunch of experience. But compared to other lives, I live a sheltered existence. The closest I get to some things comes across a flickering screen. And that’s fine with me. I don’t want those kinds of experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I read this thought that hit me full on in the face with how simply profound it felt.

Don't know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Don’t know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Wish I’d had that a year or two ago. Wish I’d known and believed it twenty years ago. I’m certain I’ll need a reminder of it in the future as well, dang it.

We all need reminders of certain things. This one now serves as my big reminder about who am I, where I’ve been, what I want, what I’d like to overcome. Hopefully this reminder will help me.

Maybe it’ll help you sometime, too.

By the way, you’re each part of the light I learned in. Thanks for that.

***

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” ~ Mark Twain 

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Mugging It for the Camera

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 20, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

A solid, deep blue basic. My go to mug.

I went through a kitchen cupboard this week in my continuing efforts to downsize, declutter and dejunk. I also sorted and organized one of the messier drawers since Dad couldn’t find a twist tie and I knew we owned at least a thousand of them. What a tidy drawer the plastic bags and foil and waxed paper have to live in now.

In my defense, most of what resides behind those closed doors and drawers exists for those mythical and rare times when the entire family gets together. Your Dad and I only need a few of everything, even on our wildest cooking days. But when it’s time to fondue, or holiday dinner or family barbecue then we need more than a dozen plates, a zillion drinking glasses, multiple forks and knives, myriad amounts of pans and bowls. But for the other 361 days of the year we have far too many things in our cupboards.

Might be a collector?

Might be a collector?

This particular cupboard received a comment probably half a year ago. Something having to do with owning more glasses and mugs than a small nation needs. It’s true. Between the glass cups I prefer and the blue plastic ones Dad likes, the sippy cups for the littles, and all the other odd mismatched ones it’s an overabundance of drinking paraphernalia. That doesn’t even include the mugs and teacups.

I pulled all the mugs out of the cupboard first. Ah, such fun memories. I have a bit of a collection, one that could be on display except that it’s not classy like china. Granted it isn’t a shot glass collection, or salt and pepper shakers from around the world. It’s just a small taste of my past life. I admit I’m a bit of a hot chocolate fiend. Having the perfect mug that fits my mood when I mix the elixir simply adds to the pleasure of the experience.

I though if I paraded my mugs perhaps it’d help me decide which ones to let go. Maybe you want to claim one or two for yourselves. I think a couple actually belong to you guys. Let me know. I’m happy to pass them on to a new life.

I have a few more around the house that became pencil holders when the handle broke or the lip chipped. A purple Venus, a silver snowflake, a blue speckled tin. I can’t seem to let things go. isn’t that weird? I think so.

There’s some history in these mugs. Lots of cold mornings with a steaming cup of cider. Some snowy afternoons with hot chocolate to thaw your toes from the inside. Plenty of sick days with Russian Tea warming the mug and soothing your throat. It’s been fun looking at them with you.

You know, it’s not the mugs I’m hanging onto so much as it is the memories. Seems like that’s what it all really comes down to in most decisions. People, not things.

Love you all,

Mom

~~~~~

“Hot chocolate is like a hug from the inside.”

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One of the Coolest Kids I’ve Ever Known

Friday Letters to My Kids – March 13, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

One of the coolest kids I’ve ever known showed up in my house the other day. Actually, it was a photo of him.

In it he’s about six or seven years old. A first grader I would guess, or maybe the summer before second grade. He’s got a great set of wheels, complete with hand brakes. The Northwest sun reflects off one of his slightly chubby cheeks, which he inherited from his Mom’s side of the family.

Is this cool, or what?

Is this cool, or what?

He’s smiling, but just barely. I’m not sure if the camera simply captured him before he reached full grin or if he was going for a certain look.

He’s got a James Dean confidence in his stance, on his face, in the way he rests his hand on the bike. And, this important detail, he ain’t wearing no sissy helmet.

Not that the little guy on the right is a sissy.  He probably went on to rock the quarterback spot of his High School football team in Gig Harbor.  I liked his family. Nice people, salt of the earth people. I feel bad we lost touch with them.

Big J here, on the left, loved riding that bike. A year later he got a Joe Cool skateboard because, frankly, I’ve always thought of him as a Joe Cool. Suave, relaxed, charismatic, able to master any skill he set his mind to.

He’s still that way. Except the bike is way flashier and a helmet would not be a sissy thing at all, not at those speeds. And he has a hot blond who rides on the back with him. He can also do anything. At least, I think he can. Change out an engine on a car? Why not? Design, engineer and build a custom part for his ride? Easy. Make a computer do whatever the heck he wants it to? Cake. Need any kind of repair in the house done?? He’s got it handled. No problem.

On top of such coolness he’s a nice guy, too. He’s one of the first to stop and help push a car to the side of the road if they stall out in an intersection, or do a gas run for a car on empty. He’ll go out of his way to help a friend or a member of his family, even if it means missing out on sleep or giving up something he wants. How cool is that?

You might not be able to tell from this picture, but he’s got a bit of a teasing streak and loves to laugh, too.

This kid shows up at my house on a pretty regular basis, live and in person. Am I lucky or what? He’s still just as awesome as this picture shows.

I sure do love this kid.

Love,

Mom

~~~~~

“Dream as if you will live forever; Live as if you will die today.” ~ James Dean

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Are Your Edges Tucked in Neatly or Sprawling?

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 6, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

Last night your Dad told me I’m predictable. This floored me. Sure I like to have some stability in my life, some routine. I seem to function best when I can anticipate and plan. Aren’t most people that way?

And you four, of all people, know my life has been mostly anything but predictable. I’ve learned to be a chameleon, adapting to all the various hues life’s thrown at me. Sometimes, I’ve felt like one of those Color Race runners, smeared in so much color it’s tough to figure out who’s who. I’m flexible and easy-going. That’s not predictable, is it?

In homage to my perceived unpredictability and spontaneity I even changed my mini chalkboard to this quote recently:

This week's thought...

This week’s thought…

Compared to your Dad, I suppose,  I’m a brick of predictability, a Stonehenge-sized rock of boringness, an Easter Island statue of immovability.

People keep holding up these mirrors that show me I’m not who I think I am. It’s a little unnerving and discombobulating and confusing and annoying.

I am cheerful though, usually. I at least try to maintain cheerfulness amid my staunchly dry toast without butter demeanor. Sitting here at my freshly cleaned up desk and pristine “writing room/guest bedroom” I look at my bulletin board and read these thoughts which daily remind me of my wish to be contagiously happy and sunshiny.

See, cheery thoughts that I look at multiple times a day. I might be predictable, but at least I’m smiling.

Why do I see being predictable as something negative? I’m not sure your Dad meant it as a negative. He probably said it as a fact, something with no value judgment attached at all.

There’s much to be said for predictability, stability and stick-to-it-iveness. It’s pretty much what keeps the world going forward. But then, so to, the unpredictable, unstable, outside-the-box-thinkers, who never want to color inside the lines or conform to anything. That’s where innovation and invention lives and produces. Mostly, anyway.

This saying also hangs within view from my desk:

photo 3-5 copy 11

A good idea.

It should probably be in Dad’s office and not mine. He has bigger dreams than I have. Mine are tiny and tentative and his are the epic kind that can change the world given a foothold. Or I could make one for each of you, since you’re young when dreams have such promise and possibility.

I guess I’ve always seen myself as a creative thinker. But, really, I’m a schlumpy, by the clock kind of person. I like to be on time or early. I like to have things to look forward to. I like a schedule and a plan. Even if I’m not great at following through with those plans. I need structure.

Where each of you fit on that spectrum, I’m not certain.  I know I’m wowed by what you accomplish and by how fearlessly you face forward. As always, I’m amazed that you’re my kids. I think you’re more like your Dad than like me. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

Really, you’re each simply a good mix of both your Dad and me and a bunch of stuff that’s uniquely your own. It’s fun watching you be you. Not a one of you has been predictable yet.

I sure love you!

Mom

~~~~~

“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.” ~Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Categories: Friday Letters, Friday Letters to My Kids | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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