January 2013


Party PooperSaturday was a challenging day.  Sara had a baby shower, leaving me to take the girls to a birthday party.  The party was at place called the Sky Zone – an indoor trampoline park. 

Since the party was for one of Olivia’s friends, I turned her loose when we entered the building and paid for Amelia to jump on the trampolines.  As soon as we got to the play area, Amelia froze.  She didn’t want jump and wanted everybody in the building to know it. 

I tried to encourage her to jump, but she just wouldn’t have it.  She stood there on the trampoline refusing to jump and bouncing slightly as other kids hopped by.  They were laughing and jumping, she was scowling and crying. 

I then took her over to the smaller trampolines with younger kids… still no luck.  She finally entered full meltdown mode and made me carry her the whole time.  Nothing like paying 14 bucks to carry a 40 pound kid around for an hour.

As she was mid-tantrum, Olivia came limping up and she was crying because she twisted her ankle.  It was at this point that Amelia had to go potty.  Olivia was incapacitated and Amelia is at the age where she is too little to go the women’s bathroom by herself, but too big for me to take her to men’s bathroom.

Fortunately, there was a family restroom.  Unfortunately, it was a single-seater and one of the largest humans I have ever seen entered it right before we got there and locked the door.  We waited… and waited… and waited until the person came out – about 15 minutes later. 

Upon entering, I fully understood why the person was in there so long.  It smelled like the black death had descended upon the bathroom and the ominous plunger next to the toilet was wet from recent use.  It was at this point that I realized that Amelia was barefoot.

I held her over the toilet trying not to let her touch anything and suddenly she no longer needed to go.  By this point, I was about to lose it.

Eventually the party ended and we got home.  The girls had forgotten the challenges of the day and were telling mommy what a great time they had at the party.

What?

Was I in some parallel universe for the past two hours?  I guess kids just have a different perspective.  That’s what makes them so challenging and such a blessing at the same time.

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If you have been following me very long, you know that I left Corporate America about seven years ago after getting fed up with the proverbial rat race.  I spent some time out of the corporate world to cleanse my palate, then jumped back in a little over two years ago.

My goal was to enter the corporate world not for my own advancement, but to help others find significance at work.  While this is a difficult task, it is not impossible.  Shortly after rejoining the corporate ranks, I was asked to be the chairperson of the local council for our charitable foundation. 

This afforded me the opportunity to work with several non-profits and even take a trip to Nicaragua, a country that I am also working in through another non-profit.  As I write this, I am sitting at my company’s corporate headquarters preparing to go to the board room… as the newest trustee on our national foundation’s board.

This is exactly what I set out to do when I reentered the corporate world and am very excited to have this opportunity.  I write this not to boast, but to encourage you that there is a way to combine work and your own personal mission.

Courage

As my neighbor noted in his comment to my previous post, I now have a full-fledged cyclist in the family.  Olivia has been riding her bike without training wheels for a while now.  We started out in the backyard because it is a lot softer than concrete.  Also, for the eighth of a mile that our driveway takes up, only about thirty feet of it comes close to resembling a level surface. 

Given the option between learning to ride her bike in the hard-to-pedal-through grass filled with land mines deposited by our chocolate lab and the concrete hill of death, her cycling practice has been very limited.  I would try to get her out, but she just wasn’t that interested.  She could go for a little while, but inevitably she would fall. 

Sara decided to take her up to the cul-de-sac to try on a more level paved surface.  Again, Olivia wasn’t interested.  Her previous attempts of riding a bike were riddled with failure and frustration.  Nevertheless, Sara loaded up the bikes and the girls and drove them up the driveway to the cul-de-sac (yes, that’s the way we have to do things with this ridiculous driveway). 

At first, Olivia was resistant.  She now had the audience of a neighborhood to witness her failure.  She quickly learned that riding a bike on pavement is a lot easier than doing so in the grass.  She also realized that it is not nearly as terrifying when there is no risk of riding off into the abyss of our driveway.  She caught on quickly and spent quite a while honing her newly discovered skill.  She also told Sara that she couldn’t wait to show daddy how good she had gotten at riding her bike.  See what just happened? 

Fear + Courage = Pride

When I got home on Monday, she was out in the driveway riding and telling me how much she loved riding her bike.  She even told me that she thinks she will become a professional bicycle rider – all we need now are some blood transfusions and performance enhancing drugs (sorry for the cheap shot, Lance). 

The bottom line is this.  Riding her bike is now one her favorite activities because she experienced a little success.  Previously, her attempts were filled with failure and she didn’t enjoy it… but the act of riding a bicycle hasn’t changed in the past week.  So it was not riding her bicycle that she disliked a week ago; it was failure.  With a little courage and perseverance that thing that you despise today may be your passion tomorrow.

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Sara is in Nicaragua this week and I am doing my best to keep myself and two kids clothed, fed, bathed, and at the appropriate school/workplace. To tell the truth, I actually have a lot of help from Grandma… and children’s Benadryl.

Just kidding – I didn’t use children’s Benadryl… we were out, so I gave them adult strength.

Of course I’m kidding. Actually the kids are really good when Sara is gone. I guess they know how thin my nerves are when I have them by myself. In fact, Olivia has been a great helper. She even made the poster in the photo above to give mommy when she returns.

I have to share some of her writings on the poster with you. I will write them just like she did because part of what makes these so great is the words and spelling she used.

I have the best family in the wold. My family make’s me feel like I am safe and happy. I love my family so moch thay make me feel like I am a grat prsin. I wot to be a vet win I grow up. I love to go to scool. I hav lrnd a lot of stof. I can rede naw. Scool ad chajd my lif.

My cosins are the best cosins in the wold. I have tow boy cosins and one girl cosins. The boy’s are name Black and Matt. The gril cosin’s name is Bella. I love thim so moch. Thay or the best cosins in the wold.

Hi my name is Olivia and I love dog’s. I have a choclit labe. Her name is Maggie. I love her so much’s. Me and her play together. Me an her make a prfit (perfect) time (team). I love my dog so moch.

My hole family is a fan of Tennesse. I have a grat family. My Nana and Grindaddy have a pool. My Grama and Grappee have a big bak yord. I love my family so much.

There’s more, but you get the idea. Mommy will be sew prowd whin she gits hom.

I wish all of you a happy new year in 2013. Is it just me or are the years starting to sound like science fiction settings? Twenty years ago, I would have thought that by 2013 we would have levitating cars and robot butlers. Instead, we have light bulbs that look like curly fries and take five minutes to brighten up.

At any rate, happy new year and forget the resolutions. In the words of the Avett Brothers, “Decide what to be and go be it!”