1halffull's Blog

The Surprises of Life…
April 4, 2010, 5:05 am
Filed under: Change, Dad, Friends, God, Happiness, Humor, Jesus, Kids, Legacy, Life, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents, Travel

For the average person, there are very few really big events that take place in our lives.  You’re born – but you probably don’t remember that.  You learn to walk – don’t remember that either.  Your first day at school – maybe.  Your first visit from the tooth fairy – yep, pretty sure you remember that.

 The first date…the first kiss….the first ‘real’ boyfriend.  High school graduation then college.  Getting engaged then the big (or small) wedding day.  The birth of your first child, and every child after that.  The death of your mom, then your dad; your grandmas and grandpas if you were fortunate to know them at all.  There goes your favorite aunt and suddenly you’re so much older than you’d have thought you could get when you were 20.

 For me, most of that happened in the first 30 years.  It was a lot to pack in there.  They were all a big deal at the time….some remain a big deal in my heart, my head, even now.

 Someone once said that it’s the little things that sneak up and grab a hold of you.  They were right.

 Some of my ‘little things’ include, in random order….

 Going fishing with my dad and catching more fish than him.  He let me.  I loved the lake.  Still do.

 My friend deciding that I wouldn’t be able to deal with a club meeting when I got home after my dad’s death.  She put herself in my place and took care of it so I didn’t have to.  A little, but thoughtful thing.

 My dad poking his head into my room, handing me a $20 bill as he told me that he knew all I’d been doing around the house to help out.  Demonstrated appreciation that meant so much to me under the circumstances.

 Aunt Betty who invited me to visit her in the summers and allowed me to see myself as a valuable person like few others did.

 Learning that my friend Avis daily sang ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’ in the final weeks of her life.  I’d always hoped she would.

 Playing a game of ‘keep the car moving till the light turns green’ when taking kids home from church – it’s a fun game – you should try it.

 Having a mother-in-law who patiently listened over the years, didn’t butt in, and has spent hours on the phone with me, talking about anything and nothing.  If we were running the world, it would be a much better place.  Thanks, mom.

 Going to the beach with the whole clan; all the kids playing together; sunburns radiating.  Sea creatures scurrying out of the bucket of sand while one child screamed and the others all laughed.

 My sister-in-law and I in the ocean – without our contacts in – screaming at ‘jaws’ coming for us then laughing our faces off when we finally could tell they were just shadows.  Another time laughing ourselves silly so hard in the card section that a man ‘just had to come see why we were so hysterical’.  “There are two sides to every divorce” the outside of the card said.  “Yours and the s— head’s.” (not my words – but how we howled and promptly sent it to a sibling who may still have it today)!

 Two little faces pressed against the window waving and calling ‘bye mommy’ as I’d pull out of the driveway on my way to somewhere else.

 The surprise 40th birthday party my husband gave me where I was totally surprised.

 The kids so excited to sleep in the van the night before a vacation started.

 All the Christmas videos we made that could be Christmas any year except for the changes in sizes, hairdos, glasses and voices.

 Howling at the moon from the causeway with my daughter.

 Taking my son for his first tattoo.

 Oh, the list goes on and on and is my way of saying, let the little things grab on to you and you hold on tight to them.  In the end, they’re really the only things that matter.


Automatic Bragging Rights? Or Not?
July 17, 2009, 2:31 am
Filed under: Bragging, Kids, Love, Memories, Parents

Here’s a question for you:  Do parents have a right to brag about and take pride in their children’s accomplishments?

From the kid’s point of view, maybe not.  After all, it’s the kid who is doing all the great things, not the parent.  Why does a parent think they should get to talk about it, show off and make a big deal even, about what their kid has done?  The parent should get a life and create something of their own to brag about, right?

Okay, so maybe parents are just plain lame.  However, as a parent, I have to say I don’t really think so.

Here’s my POV:  As parents, we spend a lot of time on and with our kids over the years.  It feels to us like we invest an awful lot of ourselves into their raising.  These kids don’t come out with a care manual in their little hands.  We do the best we can with what we know; we hope we don’t screw things up too badly for the poor unsuspecting little one.  We want, even need, reassurance.  Unlike getting a good grade on a test, which is instantly gratifying, there is no grading system that shows us how we’re doing along the way with this parent thing.

As a parent you’re constantly second guessing yourself; even after the kid is grown and out of the house, you’re constantly remembering and reviewing all the stuff you did and didn’t do that makes you pretty sure you were an idiot, to say the least and the worst parent ever, to say the most.

When your kid messes up, you blame yourself.    You’re sure it’s proof positive that you’re a loser!  You didn’t see they were hurting and help them.  You stopped paying attention for just a moment and down they went.  You beat yourself up royally and you rarely forgive yourself for what somehow slipped by you.

For some parents, the success of their kids is a form of redemption.  It becomes that good grade, the thing that says, in spite of me, they were able to do this good thing.  Regardless of how much I screwed up, they’re pulling through.  It makes us so happy that we want to brag, sing the song of praise, let people know – in spite of me, they’re making it!

Sometimes, we also hope it means that we just might have done something right.