Browsing Category "parenting"
12 Dec
2016
Posted in: parenting
By    Comments Off on Gifting Experiences Over Things

Gifting Experiences Over Things

I watched our seven-year-old come on stage to walk-through her part in The Great Russian Nutcracker with big eyes and slightly hesitant steps. The stage was bigger than she’s used to dancing on with movable backdrops and multiple props lining the stage’s wings. Professional dancers from the Moscow Ballet company waited in the wings or on the stage. They were speaking Russian and looked aloof and marginally bored. As I watched our daughter and her fellow snowflakes, I was impressed with how confident and brave they were in an environment much different from their normal dance setting experience.

The professional dancers have been touring from city-to-city for weeks. Their lives are a blur of venues and local youth dancers. The rehearsal was for the benefit of our local dancers who auditioned for parts in The Great Russian Nutcracker and have been practicing for weeks for the performance. Our daughter was giddy and breathless when I asked her how she felt about rehearsal on our way to our backstage area. She used words like amazing, perfect and scary. She was awed by the adult dancers and intrigued by the cultural and language differences. She wanted to be those ballerinas.

Snowflakes in the Great Russian Nutcracker

The excitement level grew once the youth dancers were in costume. We could hear the music, the applause, shadows on the back drops and dancers coming and going from their entrances and exits in the wings. I was teary-eyed as I watched our daughter dance on stage with professional touring dancers in beautiful costumes and saw her face light-up from the experience. That frigid December night will stay with her. She gets to tuck away that experience and those feelings of joy at doing her passion in a unique way.

It almost didn’t happen. I didn’t tell her about the auditions. I didn’t want to add one more weekly thing to our calendar with an added practice. I knew performance day would be long. Then she read the poster for the auditions, and that changed everything. She dropped hints. She begged to audition. I caved, and she won. I’m glad she’s relentless.

We don’t gift our kids with many presents on Christmas. They each get three presents from us. I don’t like stuff for the sake of having stuff. There’s only so many things the kids actually play with in the house. The rest is shoved in a closet or bin and forgotten. The Nutcracker experience reminded me how powerful the gift of an experience can be. It’s not something tangible to put on a shelf, but an experience having the ability to change people and shape the way they view the world.

I remember those looks on our kids’ faces when they saw the ocean or Old Faithful or Mickey Mouse or an alligator in a swamp or the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or driving our car onto a ferry. There’s close-to-home experiences like the look I get when we sit in a theater and the lights dim for the showing of that movie they’ve been waiting for months to view or the first time skiing or a concert for someone they have only heard on the radio.

They’ll be a few things under the tree to unwrap on Christmas morning and the promise of some new adventures in 2017. I’m already looking forward to the memories we’ll make thanks to some experiences we’ll share.


 
Keeping Children Out of Politics
By     |    Oct 5, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Keeping Children Out of Politics

Keeping Children Out of Politics

I’m not overtly political in nature. I have my opinions, but I don’t enjoy debating politics. The last few weeks I’ve had conversations with my elementary-age children regarding issues they’re hearing at school from children that have me questioning what, exactly, adults are thinking. It started with comments about Benghazi and deleted emails. Then there were walls and taco trucks. My daughter has been told by a fellow 1st grader that she’s “what’s wrong with the country” because of who... [Read More]

Read more
Dear Teachers: It’s Not You, It’s Me
By     |    Sep 12, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Dear Teachers: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Dear Teachers: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Teachers, I’m asking for some grace. We’re in our first full week of the new school year. We’ve done the back-to-school nights and signed all the papers. We’re almost in the groove, heavy emphasis on almost. Give me time to acclimate to the four varying schedules and demands of our children. Half our kids don’t have homework. The other half will, one far more than the other. There are reading logs to keep and behavior ladders to memorize. When I... [Read More]

Read more
Broken Bones and Mommy Guilt
By     |    Sep 1, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Broken Bones and Mommy Guilt

Broken Bones and Mommy Guilt

Confidence is fleeting in my parenting game. One day I think we’ve got this. The next, Craig and I are looking at each other wondering what we’re supposed to do. This morning I had no clue what to do when a child potentially breaks bones. By this evening, I had it figured out. Almost 14 years into parenting and we had yet to have any child break a bone. The simple act of running ruined that record. Our first-grader was... [Read More]

Read more
Tailoring Parenting to My Audience
By     |    Aug 28, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Tailoring Parenting to My Audience

Tailoring Parenting to My Audience

Our second oldest son and I were driving to his 6th grade orientation last week. His brothers and sister weren’t with us. This was the perfect time to talk one-on-one about heading to middle school. I over-think and prepare for situations. I was going to begin with talking about responsibility before moving into the importance of kindness and bravery before wrapping up with a shortened version of previous talks on drugs, alcohol and sex. I’d given this talk to his... [Read More]

Read more
No Rose-Colored Glasses for Me
By     |    Aug 18, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on No Rose-Colored Glasses for Me

No Rose-Colored Glasses for Me

She told me I was overly sappy. She accused me of looking at parenting through rose-colored glasses. I was told I was crazy for not wanting my kids to head back to school. I’ll admit to being a sap. It’s taken me years to embrace the fact that I’m an emotional person. I have all the feelings all of the time. I’m passionate and a little emotionally volatile. I feel my way through life, and no longer make apologies for... [Read More]

Read more
Wandering Through the Summer
By     |    Aug 2, 2016
Posted in: parenting, travel     |    Comments Off on Wandering Through the Summer

Wandering Through the Summer

We’ve spent our summer doing what we do best: wandering. I play the part of responsible adult most of the year, attending meetings, turning work in on time, volunteering, and running kids hither and thither. Summer is for following my gypsy heart. I long for deserted roads stretching to the horizon and open vistas from the mountain tops. I pour over the road atlas and maps looking for the next place to visit. I’m sidetracked by road signs. I constantly... [Read More]

Read more
Parenting the Littles
By     |    Jun 24, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Parenting the Littles

Parenting the Littles

Something has been missing all week. Someone actually…two someones. Our oldest two sons have been at summer camp this week which is the first time half of the children have been away at the same time. It’s been interesting to see our third son step into the role of oldest for the week. He’s been extremely helpful and attentive to his sister. He’s enjoyed being the leader instead of the one who tags along with whatever his older siblings want... [Read More]

Read more
Mama, They See You
By     |    Jun 6, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Mama, They See You

Mama, They See You

I’ll be limping across the finish line this week on the last day of school wrung-out and emotionally drained. Our 5th grader has had A YEAR. I cannot tell you anything specific academically he learned because academics took a backseat this year to some serious life lessons. There have been difficulties in the classroom with another student. There have been laws to study and bureaucracy to wade through. There have been meetings and emails…so many meetings and emails. We seriously... [Read More]

Read more
May Madness
By     |    May 13, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on May Madness

May Madness

The month of May is when I’m in high-mama gear. Four school-aged children means that on any given weekday from now until the last day of school, someone has a field trip or track or junior Olympics or an assembly or a concert. Some days it’s multiple children requesting a parent make an appearance. If field tripper was a profession, that would be my career in May. The build-up to the end of the school year starts at the beginning... [Read More]

Read more
A Birthday and Loss
By     |    May 11, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on A Birthday and Loss

A Birthday and Loss

Today our third son celebrates his ninth birthday. I cannot believe he’s already nine, but also feel he’s older than those short nine years. He’s a joy-filled, sports-loving boy who was born at a time when his mama needed him most. Ten years ago I was pregnant for the third time and over-the-moon excited to add to our family. Eleven weeks into the pregnancy I experienced cramping and was placed on bed rest. Two days later the cramping turned to... [Read More]

Read more
Surreal Moments of Mothering
By     |    May 2, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    Comments Off on Surreal Moments of Mothering

Surreal Moments of Mothering

Mothering has been a series of surreal moments lately. Last week, I traveled with our oldest and a large group of his 7th grade classmates two hours from our hometown to the University of Wyoming, my alma mater. UW is the only four-year institute in Wyoming. Both Craig and I graduated from there. Much has changed in the decades since we called Laramie and the university home. I was giddy leading up to this field trip. We’ve taken our kids... [Read More]

Read more