This morning my youngest son asked what the hardest part is of parenting. It took me a few minutes to decide. Not being able to fix heartbreak. Not being able to fix injuries. Watching time slip through my fingers. Making sure everyone feels listened to and treated fairly. All possible answers. The one I gave him: there’s no guidebook. Sure there are plenty of books on parenting. I remember with our oldest flipping through “What to Expect the First Year”... [Read More]Read more
I picked up our 8th grader from school on Wednesday expecting our normal post-school conversation. The script goes something like this: I ask him to tell me something about his day. He tells me about some meme someone showed him at lunch. I either laugh, or don’t get it and he laughs. He’ll run through his homework list and pick a few small things to discuss. Thus concludes the recap with further items thrown in at random times throughout the evening. Not on Wednesday.
“So, I almost punched someone, but I didn’t.” I had a guess where this was going. We tried to prepare him. I suppose since he didn’t punch anyone, then he was prepared for a sudden bout of anger and stopped it. But, I’ve been worried and a little on-guard. The thing with grief is that it’s unpredictable, harsh and multifaceted. On Tuesday, we celebrated the life of a young man that my son admired. He’s gone far too soon, and it’s confusing. There are lots of whys. We told our son he might hear people say things inappropriate or uninformed. He knew what to say and walk away. Some boys in PE said something and wouldn’t stop. There were tears. A teacher stepped in and calmed a hurting teen. There are some teachers who have quietly been a saving grace for our family this last week. No one was pushed, and no punches were thrown. The sudden bouts of anger over the last week take our normally docile child off-guard. He’s surprised by that reaction mixed with the sadness, confusion and love.
This is the first time our children have been blind-sided and consumed by grief. We had no idea how they would grieve when we sat them down with news I was ill-equipped to deliver. It’s uncharted territory and rockier with someone so young. There’s been anger and quiet and tears and laughter. There’s been no eating and trouble sleeping. There’s been chats with counselors and surrounding ourselves with others who know.
We’ve been open with our own grief with our children. My heart hurts in so many ways. On Thursday, I had my own bout of anger with another adult. In a normal week, I would have shrugged it off as annoying. Instead I was snippy and grouchy. I threw a tantrum. I apologized, but I’m just as taken aback by my emotions as my 14-year-old. We’re working one step at a time through grief that strikes at times when I least expect it. It’s the ebb and flow of the process as I watch my teen that makes it even more difficult.
Grief sits on top of a current of love. Loss stings because we loved. Grief is a horrible pot of all the feelings swirling and mixing uncomfortably, disappearing at times only to rear up to remind us how much we loved. March has festered with grief for many people we know, several precious lives lost and people left hurting and healing. Be kind friends. You don’t know who is suffering or from what. Extend grace in the moment and blanket people with kindness.
I know I sound melodramatic, but Elton John may have saved my sanity. We’re awful at setting time aside for just the two of us. We have dinner dates at home after kids are in bed with takeout and a movie but are pros at having a litany of excuses for not leaving the house on dates. There’s not enough time. There are other ways to spend money. Quite frankly, we’re tired. Craig enters contests regularly and has won some... [Read More]Read more
I want my kids to love learning for the sake of learning and to hunger for knowledge. School projects that actively enforce those principles are my favorite. Genius Hour is a prime example. The idea behind Genius Hour has been utilized in corporations to increase productivity. Employees are given a set amount of time each week to work on pet projects in their field. Google has seen success with this route. Gmail anyone? I’m more motivated to apply myself to... [Read More]Read more
Forty years…that seems like a lot of life and yet not much at all. I won’t shed tears over this milestone. I’ve been celebrating this birthday since last month when we visited California. We spent my birthday weekend snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park. I said goodbye to my 30s and hello to this new decade with multiple adventures. Growing older has taught me to make experiences happen, and I’m abundantly grateful to have another year of living written in... [Read More]Read more
Quite a few people in our circle of friends will be spending Spring Break in Las Vegas. I’ve replied to a few inquiries about family-friendly ideas in Vegas on the cheap and outdoor activities that don’t include sitting poolside. We’ve been through Las Vegas numerous times one our way to and from other adventures like Disneyland, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. My go-to suggestion for people staying in Vegas who want an outdoor adventure is Valley... [Read More]Read more
If there’s one thing I know about parenting, it’s that children grow up too fast. I know. I know. It’s the epitome of cliché, but also heartrendingly true. Our oldest will be a freshman next year and will register for high school classes this month. I’m sentimental, sometimes to a fault. The email confirming his placement in high school seemed surreal. It surely belonged in someone’s else inbox. I can’t possibly have a teenager in high school. I’m too young,... [Read More]Read more
I’ve always been drawn to the magic of movies. My parents owned a video rental store when I was growing up, back when VCRs were just hitting the market and movie night meant watching a video tape. When we decided to spend a day around Hollywood during a recent California vacation, I knew a movie studio tour should be on the agenda. We chose to tour Warner Bros. Studio based on a Harry Potter exhibit, a Batman vehicle exhibit and... [Read More]Read more
Our runDisney Star Wars 5K race marked the third time we visited Disneyland. We chose to only spend one day in the park, just in California Adventure, enabling us to also spend a little time playing tourist in Los Angeles during our quick trip to California. The last time we visited Disneyland was in 2012, a few months before Cars Land opened. Our mission was to fully explore Cars Land this trip, and it’s now one of my favorite areas... [Read More]Read more
Our latest adventure began with me despising winter and ended in a galaxy far, far away at a runDisney event at Disneyland. Living in the middle of Wyoming means roads leading out of the state can be closed for heaven knows how long throughout winter. Weather forced us to drive to California through New Mexico and Arizona. It was ridiculous. I am blessed with fantastic traveling companions. I don’t ever want to do that again, but it was completely worth... [Read More]Read more
Once upon a time, I spent hours creating scrapbooks. I had more stickers, paper choices and paper punch tools than one person probably needs. I enjoyed the creative process of telling our life story through photos. When our daughter was born seven years ago, scrapbooking was this insurmountable mountain to tackle. I hadn’t set time aside for me to keep up with my scrapbooking hobby. I was years behind where I wanted to be with our books. It became clear... [Read More]Read more
There isn’t a whole lot I enjoy about winter, but a family game night at home because the weather is too frightful to be outside in is one of the positives of cold-weather living. We’re experiencing a winter with intense winds which makes the safety and warmth of home a giant blessing. Our wind is soul-sucking at times. More than once in the last month I’ve asked myself (and my husband) why we continue to live here. Thankfully our summer... [Read More]Read more