Category Archives: Parenting

Time Capsules

A moment in time. March 31, 2012.

There is one truth I am sure of as I grow older: some things you just can’t understand at a younger age.

It’s not that you are dumb or the things you feel are not true or real – there are just some things that take time to understand, and time is not something that you can manufacture, or learn from a textbook, or garner from YouTube videos. Some things only become clear after many years have passed and you look backwards, into the time capsules of life, and the events and experiences you see there get processed through all of that time – and ONLY then – do those events and experiences reveal their true nature and beauty.

So it’s ironic that for some, the moment this clarity arrives – so too, does death.  For some, it never arrives at all.

Another random moment. April 1, 2012

Somewhere In Between

My 30’s are winding down. This year I turned 36, which is neither old nor young, but somewhere in between. And somewhere in between (from my experience) is often the hardest place to be in. Hard because you are neither here nor there. You are neither looking ahead at the endless possibilities of the future, nor are you reflecting back on the entirety of your life. You are usually traipsing along,working your shifts, keeping kids alive, regretting your past, nervous about your future, and extremely unsure about your present.

I’m not sure I have anything good to say about these years. The first 10 years of parenting has been exhausting. Three daughters in (almost 11, 9 and 6) and I feel spent. The day to day is enjoyable most of the time, but I often feel like I am riding a short roller-coaster, knowing the end of the ride is just minutes away, trying to hold on to the exhilaration of the loops and turns without thinking too much that the ride will end before I have barely understood that it started. A lot of the time, I am just holding on and watching the world fly by, attempting to take it all in – but unsure I am doing a good job at whatever job it is I’m supposed to be doing while hurtling through space on this little giant blue pearl.

Two Sisters before the 3rd. April 20, 2012.

I often hear people lament, “where has the time gone?” and this sentiment is only truly understood after years and years have slipped through our fingers, time being one of the few things you can’t truly replace. Once it is gone, it is gone. Our memories (and photography) the only link to the past – the time capsules we go back to time and again. And I stare at these photos, and I remember the day. The wind. The smell of the flowering plant above them. The shadows on the ground. The anticipation of our third daughter coming within the next month. And looming over my oldest, just a month later, a seizure that would shape our lives for the next 6 years. These moments, the time capsules, nobody really cares – except me. Nobody really mourns the moment’s death – except those who experienced them.

We are told to live in the present – but living in the present means forgetting the past, and the past is when we were alive. I mean, sure, we are alive now – but to only focus on the present means we miss out on the clarity that is only gained when we look backwards, through the looking glass, into the shadows.

Just another day, buried in stuffies. May 1, 2012.

It’s not that I focus on the end. Really. I mean it. Day to day, I’m not thinking about death and the end of it all. But when I stop and consider where I am at and where I have come from, I can’t help but pause and consider… the end.

The quick slip into nothing. The frozen sleep which never ends. It’s inevitable, so they say.

I just want to live a full life. That’s always been my goal. A full and complete life, full of adventure and laughter. Full of friendships and selflessness. A life that is worth living. I gave up on the dream of being remembered long ago, but all I hope is that my fingerprints – the invisible effect of my life’s work – are on those around me whom I love and have served, and the qualities I have worked to attain over the years are passed down, or passed on to them.

Caution. Trail ends. May 3, 2012.

Moments: sort of a review of the movie Boyhood.

This is me.

This is me in the car with my daughters.

I took this picture within the last week.

But I have no recollection of where we were going or where we had been. If not for this picture, I wouldn’t have known this happened. I don’t remember.

It’s just a snapshot.  A moment.

These moments happen everyday, and most of them – sadly – I do not remember.  It’s why I take so many pictures; because when you’re a parent of three kids you barely have the energy to take it all in.  It just happens.

Continue reading

The shaking that will not break us.

Tonight started out as the perfect night.

Just before 5 we rode as a family to the airport to pick up Oma (Robin’s mom) and then went to Chipotle and sat outside on a blanket watching airplanes land.  The cool air of a summer storm (without the rain) was a brilliant respite to the recent heat wave which broke 100 degrees (F) with insane humidity.  The girls played and wrestled on the grass and for the first time in their short existence, it seemed like Amalea and Maya REALLY loved each other, their joy shared in their free for all frolicking on this beautiful August day.

When we got home there was a brief melt down by Maya, which is normal. But she soon calmed down and I was on my way for a night off from parenting duties to go play pick-up soccer in the park – something I haven’t done in a long time.

Normally I am nervous at meeting new people, but I felt a sense of calm and resolve knowing how much I needed this night off and to both exercise and do something I loved with new friendly faces.  And it was truly fun. I had a blast.

There was a moment where I looked up at the sunset sky, the wind blowing through the trees, full of their green summer foliage, the ambiance like a symphonic master piece and I marveled out loud: This is so wonderful. Those of you who seek to experience joy and pleasure every single day know nothing of the quality of joy one experiences when you have endured a period of pain or suffering, or simply existing. The last few months have been very stressful, culminating in a vacation that felt less like a vacation and more like a marathon. And then we returned to Portland to an epic heat wave that required us buying another fan to try and beat the heat. It lasted only a few days, but it felt like it nearly did us in: the straw that broke the camels back.

Continue reading

The Legend of Daughters

You believe in justice, little one. You believe in the true hero that will rid the world of evil and bring light to the darkness.  You believe that there is good in the hearts of people and you can stand up to those who have lost their light.  You believe you are one of the defenders of “good” and “justice”.

You are a hero, my daughter, and you will shed your bright light upon the world.  You stand up to the injustice in the world and fight to bring light into dark places.  You bleed on your sleeve, and cry genuine tears of pain when you see others being treated unfairly.  You have a hope for a better world that goes beyond your years. You have a spark in your eyes and a brilliance in your smile – and it sets the world on fire with joy and love.

Right now,  it is so hard for you to understand what is fair and just, and what is unfair and unjust.  But the passion is there. One day you will learn the wisdom to discern between injustice and unfairness, and discipline.  One day you will understand that it takes a steady hand and a soft but strong voice to shape children into heroes. One day you will learn that a little bit of darkness is necessary sometimes for some to actually notice the light.  One day you will know the hard love of a parent…

For now, keep fighting the good fight. Keep pushing back on what doesn’t feel right.  Keep sticking up for your sisters and for yourself when you feel unfairly treated.  Never back down, never give in, and always – always – love with your heart on your sleeve and tears in your eyes.  Do not let us jaded and hurt ones destroy that sparkle in your eye.  Do not let the darkness win in your heart – let your fire burn strong and proud.  You will change worlds with your passion and love.  You already have.

I love you my sweet, strong, fiery, fierce daughter(s).


The truth of why I left, and where I’ve been

It’s midnight, and I know I will regret this in the morning, but when you have three kids, personal reflection does not happen very often and when it does you must seize the moment… and so I am writing.

I was inspired tonight; by a movie. The Way Way Back. It was a coming of age film that told the story of an awkward teenage boy who lacks confidence and the summer he finds it by working at a water park. The boy meets the manager of the park, an early thirties “camp counselor” sort of guy who brings the boy to life, gives him confidence, and mentors him through the summer. It was about the boy finding his voice, but more importantly, finding his worth. The film begins with his mom’s boyfriend telling him that he thinks he is a 3 out of 10. The boy himself only gives himself a 6. The first half of the movie the boy is seen mostly with his head down, surrounded by his mom and her boyfriend and their friends, with no friends of his own. Until he finds the water park. Owen, the manager of the park, is a sarcastic, carefree, comedian who sees a boy who just needs someone to give him meaning and significance. And so he does. He provides Duncan (the boy) with a job, but more importantly, experiences that allow him to feel worthy. Significant.

It was a wonderful film.

And it left me in tears. Sure, it was emotional – but I wouldn’t say it was a tear jerker or anything like that. But for me it was very very personal. It struck a nerve in me – so much so that here I am at midnight writing about it. Because my life has taken me down a path – a path that at times I wonder why I am following. And although the answer to why I am here, on this path, has been simmering for quite some time – I have never been able to put it into words. And so, I will try.

Continue reading