Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My dad always says...

You know it's funny in life the older you get you realize how little your parents actually do know! Like when you're little, they know it all right? They are an encyclopedia of life, from dating to flat tires, to housing investments to cooking, everything they know. Then you get older and well part of the beauty of childhood fades. The beauty that your parents like the rest of us are human.

They too make mistakes, fail to live up to our expectations sometimes, disappoint us, of course. When you are spending your lives with someone on an intimate level such as a member of our immediate family. These things, well they happen.

And in the end we are all trying our best. I like to think so at least, that we are on this parenting journey and trying to do the best for our kids. Doesn't mean we always succeed or that there aren't bumps in the road of course, (like the time it was 30 degrees out and Graham was 3 and throwing a tantrum and I rolled down his window to shock the you know what out of him, yep not my proudest moment).

But, in the end I have been blessed with two parents of entirely two different worlds. And with that, I am open and able to see amply a much bigger picture than if they were the "cookie" cutter kind. I used to despise this. That my family was not the "normal" family growing up, that my parents got divorced when I was 13. Well, I still kinda hate that. But, now that I am a mom, I embrace all that both of my parents did for me, while trying to do their best.

I love that my mom was so creative with her time with us, when the power was out, we would take cheese and wrap it in foil and heat it over the fireplace and read and pretend we were Heidi in the hills of Switzerland. She transported us there with her imagination and enthusiasm. When it was a spooky summer night, we went "ghost hunting" to the cemetery, random, scary as all get out, but you know what, it was always an adventure and taught me to branch out with my kids. To be the silly mom in the Kindergarten class that gets down on the kids level and for mystery reader time, uses funny voices and asks crazy questions. And my son says to me this morning, "I wish you were my teacher mom!" I about cried, and asked sheepishly, "why?" And he said, "Cause we'd have so much fun!" It melts my heart, mainly because 30 minutes before it was at the top of his lungs, "I don't like you mommy, ICKY MOMMY!" LOL. Such is life with children, they will sell you out in a heartbeat!

But in the end you realize the little moments and how powerful they are in their hearts and minds. It's in those little, quality time moments that your relationships with them are defined and treasured. Hard to remember during our busy days to stop and look at their drawing and talk about why this pirate ship looks different than the 1000 before. Or what it means to let them paint your nails and gush over how beautiful they look.

My dad, well he's always had a place in my heart. Being his youngest little girl, I am sure that has helped. Also, being that if you have met him, known him for years or passed by him, you would know. Know what is true about my father. He is real. He is genuine. He doesn't take time out of his life worrying about others perceptoins of him, or the shallow things that fill most of our minds. He truly doesn't. I used to despise this about my dad, when I was a kid, I used to be embarrassed that he would pick me up from school after fishing and have a shirt on covered in fish guts and blood, I mean come on dad?! But the thing about my dad that is amazing is he truly loves and cherishs people in his life with little expectation. He could have a lot my dad, he could ask of people all that he gives and well be rather disappointed, because in honesty, most people don't give that much to others. He is a self-made man. He made all of his money from hard work and struggle and he would say a lot of luck. But, I don't think so, I don't think you run successful businesses for 30+ years and call it luck, I think it is motivation, drive, will power and as he always said, "when everyone else gives up, keep going". I wrote a book for him years ago, just a little book, and it was titled, "My dad Always says..." because he has the most amazing true advice! I could tell you a million things my dad has taught me about love and life, tell you amazing thoughtful things he has done, like sending my friends and I to see Oprah for my birthday! About the type of person he is and how he has effected so manys peoples lives for the positive. A most recent example is we were out to eat for our monthly father-daughter dinner at Marx in Stillwater and we ran into a group of local moms I know and we were there an hour before them and two after, yep, my dad survives 4 hours of talking to his daughter and loves it, I love it more, but truly we have a unique relationship that I cherish.

My parents are anything but dull. They have full, rich, lived lives. Somthing they also taught me, live life. Be bold. Be honest. Give back and be generous with your time and money. It all sounds so beautiful doesn't it? That's the thing about life, I can paint a picture in my head of the difficult trying times in my life growing up and my parents mistakes and have your mouths drop open. I can also re-live and focus on all that they did to equally drop your mouth. My favorite quote has always been, "perception is reality". So true. What we see and believe to be true, well it is.

lately though, just in this last year, one of life's lessons that my dad has said to me at least 1000 times, "don't worry about other people Grace, worry about what you do, how you handle yourself, that is all you can do." In reference to being stressed about some wrong doing by me or another. I focused my life on others for so long. What they said when I did somehting right or wrong. How they felt when I hurt them or tried to make them happy. The whole time hanging on that moment of approval or disregard. A lesson many of us women learn the hard way. Trying to do our best, for others, for our friends, husbands, parents, children, the list is endless. And isn't it true that your right way of doing things can also be the wrong way for someone else? I love getting older for this simple reason. Learning little by little just how LITTLE I really know! But, it finally sunk in. I finally understood what my dad has been saying all these years and really it is pure genius. If you focus on your own behavior and being the best you can be, you won't live in regret, or in question, you will feel confident you did the best you could and had true intentions and find peace in that alone. Your results may vary. Why? Because we are human and all of us may try not to disappoint, offend or insult others, but we may, just by being, but that's ok too, that's on them. We don't have the control or answers to make everyone happy, not even our children, and well, my parents know that! They've listened long and hard to years of me questioning their decisions and choices in life. They have always listened. I hope they hear this tonight. I am blessed to have them for parents, blessed that they live life and choose to take risks in love, and taught me to do the same. Love you both.


  1. I have a lot to say about this post but I think that the most, most, very valuable thing is this:
    If you are fortunate enough to still have your parents around and available, consider yourself blessed. We often do not realize the impact and true value of the love and lessons we receive, until the ongoing teaching is no longer a gift. I am thankful that I am able to pass on the valuable learning to my son that I got from my Mom and Dad. I still wish they were here to revel in the wonder that is their Grandchild. That will never diminish. Nor will my respect for the loving (and not so likable) life skills that I learned from my parents. SO, as frustrating as families can be, embrace the chaos. Or you will be without.

  2. AND Thanks Grace for reminding me of all I have and all that is good in life if you choose it!


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