A Parent, Or a Friend?

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Me: “Ana, you’re one of my best friends.”
Ana: “That’s weird mom. You’re old.”

Thanks for keeping it real, hun.

I’ve talked a little bit in my stories about the train the trainer parenting workshop I recently attended called “The Joy of Parenting.”

The facilitator had some really good points. * A parent can and should be a great friend to their child. * If you’re a good friend, you have expectations. * If you’re a good friend, you listen well and ask questions to draw out good choices. * If you’re a good friend, you support and encourage healthy and productive behaviors and dreams.

A good friend sounds a lot to me like a great parent. What do you think?

One of the girls in the training shared that growing up, her mother always said to her, “I’m your parent. Not your friend.” Now that she’s an adult her mom wants to be her friend, but she can’t wrap her head around that. Her mother’s words when she was young have stuck with her all these years…

This little anecdote was a very real reminder of why it’s so important to parent with the end in mind. Friendship with our little ones can start now – How fun is that?! Hope you all have a great weekend with your best buddies, even if they think “you’re old.”

Get Outside for Childhood Memories

I’m in the process of conducting interviews for camp counselors for our summer camp, Camp Smashbox. The interviews typically go a little something like this… the applicant walks in nervous. They answer the first few questions looking and sounding anxious. For some of our employees this is their first job, or first interview ever, so they just aren’t relaxed.

And then about half way through the discussion I ask them to tell me about their favorite childhood memories…

WITHOUT FAIL, before the question is even entirely spoken, I watch their shoulders drop and their body relax. Their eyes light up, their demeanor changes, they shift in their seat – lean forward – and the spark I’ve been waiting for takes over the conversation. Their tone is animated as they begin talking about imaginative things and outdoor play and important people. I am obsessed with this phenomenon.

Outdoor creative childhood play you guys. It’s magic. ✨

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? And when you think about them, do you feel yourself relax? Does a smile creep across your face? Are your memories outdoors? Do they include other people? Tell me! Tell me! I want to know if these things are as widespread as I suspect they are.

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Jump In

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself, or heard other parents, telling their kids not to do something that really would be a great learning opportunity if we could just learn to stay quiet.

Back in the day when kids had the chance to play outside without adults hovering over them, they were able to learn so many things as a RESULT of a CHOICE – not due to a warning from moooommmm.

Icy puddles are cold! Next time I’ll think about that.
Swinging a stick can hurt someone. Next time I’ll think about that.
Getting sand in the tent is annoying. Next time I’ll think about that.
Getting my church clothes dirty is… not really that big of a deal and God doesn’t care anyway… maybe next time I still won’t think about that. 🤪

I’m constantly catching myself (usually after the fact) parenting in ways that are more socially acceptable and less true to what I believe to be beneficial and awesome and so so good for our kids.

Minor risks build character. Learning from experience builds actual skills. And overcoming obstacles builds critical thinking, creativity, perseverance and problem solving capabilities.

I see you looking at that mud puddle little buddy, and I like it. Jump in. With both feet. Because that’s the kind of adult I want you to be. And you are practicing becoming that person Right. About. Now. ❤️

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Copy the Moves

Last week I went to a training on positive development. One of the activities they had us do was dance with a stranger. Can you say AWKWARD??

Before they told us the activity they had us grab a partner we didn’t know and pick a person A and a person B. They then told us that they were going to play music for 30 seconds and that person A would have to dance, and person B would have to mimic. I was slightly horrified.

Then they made us switch, and we had to endure the embarrassment for another full 30 seconds!

Part 3 of the activity was the most telling. We weren’t to mimic anyone. We were just supposed to dance. Our own moves. For 30 seconds.

Keep in mind this was a day time, professional people training. The lights were bright, the refreshment table was serving just water, and we were among strangers.

While we all got through rounds 1 and 2 and people were getting a little funky with it, the room was oddly more calm and still when we had to go it alone. Nobody had anybody to follow! And the intent of purposefully leading someone else was gone too.

You guys! Dancing… and life… are so much easier to pull off when you have someone’s moves to copy.

The friend in this pic right here is a total answer to prayer. Like for real, an answer to prayer. She’s my pastor, mentor, boss, parenting coach, leadership role model and friend. And travel companion this weekend. I am so grateful I have her to watch and that I don’t have to come up with all my own dance moves. Girl has got it going on.

Do you have someone in your life who’s got great moves? If so, share this post with them to say thank you! 🙂

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Sympathetic Resonance

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Our eldest daughter has been noticing things lately… .

“Mom, is anyone else in my class adopted?”

“How about anyone else in my school?”

“Mom, I’m the only one in my class with darker skin.”

“Mom, I’m the only one in this family with dark skin.”

As much as our culture applauds individuality and following your own path (as long as that path fits in a particular box), doesn’t it sometimes just totally suck to feel like you’re the only one?

A few days ago Ana was particularly upset. She flung herself on our bed and wailed loudly. When she did that, my guitar, which was hanging on our wall untouched, responded with a sound to match. My guitar, WHICH WAS HANGING ON OUR WALL UNTOUCHED, responded to her cry with a sound to match.

The note startled her out of her despair. She looked at me scared. The whole situation just about had us both running right out of the house.

I did a little research, and it wasn’t a ghost… .
It’s a thing. It’s called sympathetic resonance. It’s when a “formerly passive string responds to external vibrations to which it has harmonic likeness.”

What for a moment was beyond creepy, now became one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard. That dang guitar, usually just literally hanging out doing nothing, internalized our daughter’s pain, identified a likeness, and responded to her with its own note of mourning. Ana felt scared, but I imagine she also felt heard.

1. Is this the craziest thing ever, or what?! 2. Does this strike a chord for you as it did me?!? (See what I did there?) It’s so easy to feel like we’re the only one… no matter what it is we’re going through. You’re not the only one. I promise. And it feels good to match pitch. So let’s not be passive strings. Let’s tell our stories. Let’s show up for each other.

I love you friends.

Perspective

Last night our baby hardly slept at all. She lost her fav paci this weekend and we didn’t realize what a catastrophe this was until 11 pm became 2am became 4am. Needless to say, I’m TIRED.

I woke up this morning after an hour of sleep and I kid you not my very first thought was, “shit, today is going to suck.” Um. Of course it would with that attitude!

I was riding the chair lift up the mountain with another solo momma last week. We got to talking. She was visiting from San Fransisco. It had been snowing here for a solid 24 hours. She had already been skiing all morning and it was my first run of the day. “Yeah, I went over to the other side of the mountain for my last few laps,” she said, “but it’s much better over here.”

“Oh,” I replied, contemplating what she had said. “What do you mean, ‘better’?” I asked.

“Well the powder is really deep over there,” she said, “much easier skiing over here.”

Um. Glad I asked. …………

It was nearing the end of autumn and I was chatting with a friend on the phone. “It is dumping snow over here,” she said. “We are going to be in for a looonnnng winter.”

Um. Or the best winter in a really really really long time.

There are two sides to every coin and there’s a bright side to most dark days. Just a little reminder when you’re super tired, like me, or super snowed in, like my friends. Sometimes we just need to adjust our googles and view life through a different lens.

And on a side note, how handsome is the view in mine? (husband) ;P

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Shame and Shushing

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A few months ago our family hung out with a new family for the day. About an hour into our time together, Ana called out to get my attention… “Mom!” The eight-year-old-ish son of the people we were with was startled and confused. “Wait,” he said, perplexed, “You’re her mom?” He paused. “Why is she… Indian?” His mother’s mouth dropped wide open. She looked HORRIFIED. She tried to shush him but not be obvious with her shushing.
Aside from him being oceans off on our daughter’s ethnicity, I was unfazed. “She was adopted,” I told him. His mother remained uncomfortable and continued her not-so-covert attempts at getting him to shut his cake-hole.

Our daughter just kinda watched it unfold. …… Last month we took our family to the homeless shelter to help serve dinner. Please note that I said HOMELESS shelter. More than the actual serving I was hoping our kids’ eyes would be open to different people, different ways of life, options for how to love well, etc.. Well our little chatter box @solanagilbertadventures made herself right at home there. She plopped down with a bowl of stew at a table with the men and started asking easy questions. “Why don’t you have a house?” was her intro.

I felt an unstoppable urge to shush her or chime in. “Well they might have houses,” I said to her. (Um, what?) I looked at the guys. They ignored me and carried on, telling our daughter how they hunker down in sleeping bags and then roll themselves up in tarps to stay warm during freezing nights. …….. I’ve seen situations like this unfold, and also been the shushing mom, anytime kids get near anyone with a disability. “Mom, why is that boy in a wheelchair?” “Mom, why is that man missing an arm?” “Shhhh.” As if the person with one arm is unaware of their situation. ………. I think it’s so curious how we assign shame to other people where shame does not, and need not, exist……….

Thoughts for the day. I love the girl in this picture something so fierce. There’s no shame in her game. Can we all stop the shushing?

Mountain Culture

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Mixing up the topics a bit with this one…
Yes, that is a mountain bike, on the wall, in a bedroom. When it’s summer the bike comes down and the cute little baby skis go in its place.

Luckily only one of our kids is old enough to mountain bike at the moment. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when we’re three deep of these things.

But this isn’t a post about mountain biking, or even what ya gotta do to make living in a tiny house work, per say… it’s a post about mountain lifestyle and culture. You see, it did not for even one second dawn on me that putting a bike, on the wall, in a bedroom, isn’t normal. It’s kinda just something people around here do. (Um, right guys?? 😬)

And then we Face Timed with my mom in Phoenix.
“Is that a bike, on the wall, in their bedroom?” she asked, astounded.

I wasn’t sure if I should be proud or embarrassed, because why yes, yes it was.

I would not call our family crunchy by any stretch of the imagination. If they still sold Twinkies we would buy them. (Because that’s the measure for whether or not you’re crunchy, you know: Twinkies 😉). But when it comes to mountain gear, and you live nestled in a mountain town, it’s kinda imperative to own all the things that make this mountain life so fun. I’m talking crunchy things… like Tevas sandals and such. 😁

And we happen to not have a garage. So yes, mom, (and now all my friends in the web world too), that is a bike, on the wall, in a bedroom. And I think it’s 👌.

New Year, More Nature

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Isn’t it interesting that as people, we can literally decide to give ourselves a fresh start in any month, on any day, at any moment, yet so many of us wait for the New Year to do so?
I think it’s incredibly encouraging that we can reset and refocus ourselves whenever we muster up the courage and self-discipline to do so.

Speaking of self-discipline, that is one of the things I want to focus on for 2019.
Also for 2019, #getoutside 🌲 (even more). I shared an article on Facebook the other day that multiple countries now have laws in effect that make it a thing for doctors to actually prescribe time spent outside as a medical solution to ailments. How wild is that?
It’s like, we’ve come so far as a society in so many ways, and then also gotten so off track and backwards in others. I wish we didn’t need doctors to tell us how important it is to rejuvenate with sun and wind and trees. For me, time spent in nature is spirit-filled and life-giving and awe-inspiring and sooo good. Is it like that for you? I am hoping to execute “self-discipline” in many ways physically, mentally and spiritually this year, but the most exciting to me is also the most playful. I’m looking forward to 52 Saturday adventures outdoors with my family. It might sound silly that committing to play takes self-discipline, but I do think there are a lot of things that can get in the way… house chores, cold temps, grocery shopping, the task of kids and snow clothes, TV, work, etc.. but when the year is done I want to look back on a childhood for our kids that was full of outdoor explorations and memories together. Even when it’s negative degrees outside (like today!), the thought of this kinda life gives me the warm and fuzzies.

How about you? Next year, when you’re ringing in 2020, what do you hope to have “accomplished” that will make you smile?

 

Baby Boys and Silent Night

It’s Ziggy’s birthday!!! I wrote this earlier today when Zig’s was at school, but I didn’t have pictures to post so I waited. I just put the little… sweetheart…. to bed, wayyyy too late on a birthday school night, and the mini-gremlin’s kicks and flails and begs for “daddy” had me second guessing everything nice I’m about to say.
And then I watched him sound asleep for five minutes, and now I feel honest again. 🙂

This kid turned four today, and he is seriously, THE BEST.
Five years ago, when I found out we were having a boy, I had all these visions in my head of what he would be. He would be wild, rambunctious, impulsive, thrill-seeking… an adrenaline junkie. He would be a tad thoughtless, oblivious, and in general he would have dirty fingernails (after-all, @campsmashbox ). Ziggy is none of these things. He is everything I didn’t dream up. I could not have, in my wildest imagination, envisioned a little human boy with a heart as pure, as thoughtful, as other-focused, and as aware of all that is good and beautiful, as this kid.

It is not uncommon for Ziggy to wake up as the sun is rising (while he has many strengths, sleep is not one), pause at the window, and say in his yet toddleresque and awestruck voice, “Mommmmmmaaa. Isn’t the world beaut-i-ful?” He says this about the stars when the moon’s not out, and the moon when the stars aren’t out. He says this when the sun is shining and when the snow is falling. He notices his sister’s new dress, my painted nails, and the new lights when they go up on the Woodbridge. . “Awe,” he’ll say to Ana often, without any prompting whatsoever, “you look soooo fancesome.” It’s a Ziggy word… fancy + handsome… and I will love it forever.

For his birthday, Ziggy asked for “the present Ana wants, because she’s been asking and asking for it.” I kid you not. He wanted nothing for his birthday, just “the present for Ana.” Ziggy. You. are. GOLD.

I have a horrific memory. I don’t remember bringing Ziggy home from the hospital. What I do remember, is Christmas Eve, one week later. At that time we lived in our other #tinyhouse – the one that also happened to be a church.
I didn’t go to Christmas Eve service that year because, one-week-old. I was home alone with Ziggy and I remember looking down at our sleeping baby boy, the only light in the room from the choir of Christmas trees just outside our frosty window. I remember soaking in the peacefulness of Ziggy’s soft breath.

As the Christmas Eve church service (which I could vaguely distinguish through our wall) neared an end, the amplified crescendo of hundreds of peace-filled voices poured into our blessed home. They sang together. Silent Night. It was an offering to the heavens. It was like Zig and I were all alone, and yet surrounded by a thousand angels.
I remember thinking of Mary… how she must have felt cradling her Prince of Peace in that stable so many years ago.

That Christmas Eve was one of the more profound experiences of my life. Miscarriage after miscarriage had left me feeling hopeless time and time again. And here I was, with the ultimate Christmas gift of a newborn son on a Silent and Holy Night. This memory will forever shape who and what Ziggy means to me.

Little Zig-man, happy birthday. You are a true and precious light. You have the soul of a poet. You are a treasure beyond treasures. Keep shining, little buddy. The world needs more hearts like yours.

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