Sunday, September 27, 2015

Macy the Zombie and Avery the Soccer Player

Last week Macy ran her first 5k.  It was a "Zombie Run" where each runner wears three flags and try to run from zombies trying to steal their flags and making the runner into a zombie themselves.  At five years old she was the youngest competitor and for her age she did fantastic.  While Macy was awesome, the point of this post has more to do with her sister Avery than Zombie Macy. 

Initially, Avery was signed up to do the Zombie Run but she was unable to run it.  She had trained for her run as much as an eight year old would and was geared up and ready to go.  She had considered costumes and elected for practical running gear and a tutu, less for flag protection and more for flair.  She was trained, she was styled and she was ready to go, unfortunately , much like they do on my college football watching, the soccer gods frowned on her preparedness. 

Avery had been signed up for the race before the seasons soccer schedule had come out.  As luck would have it, her first game fell on the same the same time as the Zombie run.  Both my wife and I were torn on what she should do, Avery was less torn and more destroyed by the conundrum.  In a fantastic parental cop-out we elected to let Avery decide, not without guidance, but it was up to her. 

We discussed it over dinner with her and through her tears she decided that she wanted to do the run and that we would call her coach and let him know.  My wife leaned towards her playing soccer, I leaned towards the run but we both decided that it was her choice and accepted it.  That night, Avery went to bed crying and upset that she would miss her game, and an opportunistic Macy was crying because she wouldn't get to fill in for Avery at the race.   

When I woke up the next morning, I would get a lesson from my eldest child.  Here is where I would usually give the lesson for my daughters grab onto.  Today, it is a lesson I was given by Avery.  That morning, over Eggo's, Avery let me know that she had changed her mind.  Her explanation was simple, "if I miss the run I'll be letting myself down, if I miss the game, I'll let my whole team down".  From the mouths of babes.  She was willing to give up the race she had trained for to play one of ten soccer games she would play this fall.  The lesson is this, to my wife it was more important for her to play soccer, but what was probably for the wrong reason.  She was worried about what it would say to the coach if she missed the first game. To me, she had earned the run and missing one game wasn't a big deal.  Congratulations Avery, today you are the grown up.  Both mommy and I are impressed with your decision and your reason.  P.S. you are signed up for the Hot Chocolate run the week after your soccer season ends so get running little girl. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Is Raider Nation the Hill You Want to Die On?

The Oakland Raiders play again this weekend and I can only imagine it being another weekend of them being drubbed out of their own building.  Being  a Raider fan in the greater Denver area is uncomfortable business and something I wouldn't wish on anyone.  In that "anyone" I include my daughter Macy.  

Macy has recently come out as a fan of the downtrodden organization and while a small part of me secretly cheers her decision, most of me would urge her to go a different direction.  During every week of football season my little girl faithfully asks me "Did the Raiders win today?" and almost every week I let her know that they came in second.  I imagine that her little head calculates that the Raiders are the silver medalist of the NFL.  While I envy the world her naiveté allows her I can't help but think that being a Lions fan, a Steelers fan or even, gulp, a Broncos fan might make her precious life a little easier.  

Kowtowing to the masses isn't generally the stance I take, but my mother always told me to ask the question "is that the hill you want to die on?".   In my life I didn't ask that question enough.  I didn't ask the question when I wore a haircut that would make the Flock of Seagulls blush, I didn't ask it when deciding on getting an English degree and I certainly didn't ask it as I was growing into a Raiders fan.  

Girls, the moral of the story is this, it's okay to be different, in fact, it's fantastic.  As you grow up you can dye your hair, get a nose ring and study the philosophy of pottery making if that is what makes you happy.  But as someone who never did, I would recommend that you pick your battles a little more intelligently than I did.  It's fine to have neon purple hair because that's what you want, but it's also okay to join the tennis team because that's what all of the other kids are doing.  

This applies especially to you, Macy.  You are an adorable girl, one who loves Bob Marley and the Beastie Boys.  You have a wonderful sense of style and who knows,  rain boots, jeans and a tutu may one day be all the rage.  You are a unique and magical girl but what makes you awesome also makes you a little different.  Perhaps the addition of wearing the "kick me" flag that being a Raider fan brings may not be for you. 

As a dad I want the world for you and in that world I want you to be yourself but fit in as well, to be able to let your freak flag fly but to do it with your feet firmly on the ground.  Just know that no matter what you do and who you become, your Daddy will always love and support you, even as a green haired, philosophy studying Bronco fan.    

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Misadventures of Starchild Bumblenuts

So girls, most of the stories to this point have pointed towards your successes, towards your wins and how to repeat these things in your later lives.  This one speaks directly towards one of your less than stellar moments.  As it turns out you can learn from your failures too.  This story points to the greatest of these failures we have experienced so far.  Daddy always loves you, but some days, just a little less than others as it turns out.  

This past summer we had a steady babysitter, who was, by all measurements a  fantastic babysitter.  She was a little more "earthy" than my wife or myself but the both of us felt that exposure to an example to someone with a different perspective would open their eyes to a new world.  She was creative, adventurous and taught them a lot.  The problem was that she was beholden to another family and also going to school.  That meant that while she would maintain her normal schedule she was not available in emergency situations or when mommy and daddy needed a break.  Enter Starchild Bumblenuts (name changed to protect the dipshitted).  Our babysitter mentioned that she had a friend that could use a few hours of work here and there and that she trusted her complicity.  In hindsight, it was the equivalent of someone recommending "Pearl Harbor" as the best movie they have ever seen.  

My radar should have gone up for me the first time she watched the girls when we returned after a night out and the little ones had leveled the bottom floor of our house and been awake much later than their pre-designed bedtime.  Adrienne said that we couldn't use her anymore but I dismissed it as a "feeling out process" and that she was probably fine.  

Fast forward to the next time I suggested that we use Starchild.    Starchild jumped at the opportunity and my wife and I went to work without much hesitation.  The only saving grace for Starchild Bumblenuts is that I was the first one home.  

So when I got home, Mrs. Bumblenuts was waiting by the front door.  Clearly I missed the first sign.  She stated that the girls had been very good, and that they had explored their creativity, and that the hoola-hoop she had brought with her was in the backyard and that the girls could keep it.  From there she took her cash and left skid marks out the door, I had just missed sign number two.  As I walked into the house the first thing I noticed were purple footprints all over the carpet (which I would learn was food coloring).  I would surely have noticed other damage to the interior of the house had it not been for my middle child trying to hug me completely covered in Crisco.  The rush of confusion, laughter, anger was an indistinguishable cacophony of emotions.  It was a like being hit with a bucket of water, but it was mild in comparison of the reaction I had when my eldest approached.  She was head to toe in Crisco, smattered with oatmeal and, what is that, corn meal?  I didn't know we even had corn meal.  They were dressing up as zombies.  

I needed a moment.  I walked to the backyard as a reprieve, mistake number three.  The girls grandparents had invested in an amazing swing set which was now blanch white in Crisco which, to date, even a power washer cannot make amends.  The deck had been covered in paint and the lawn was strewn in the empty containers of the food-stuffs that had been used to destroy all it came across.  

There was a confusion, I couldn't sit them down to yell at them as they were covered in a baker's nightmare, I couldn't shake sense into them and I couldn't retreat into my bedroom and curl into a fetal position and wait until mommy came home.  So I said the most base level thing that came to my head; "Just because the babysitter is an idiot, doesn't mean you can be too".  Poor verbiage, sure, but considering the circumstance, I hover somewhere between regret and justifiable stupidity.  

So girls, the lesson here is twofold.  Obviously you can't do whatever you want regardless of circumstance.  Just because someone gives you carte blanche doesn't mean you should take it.  The age old axiom, look before you leap comes to mind.  But more subtle is this.  Sometimes people work really hard to give you the things you have.  Mimi and Poppy wanted you to have something nice and your actions showed less than little respect for it or them.  That applies in a lot of places.  When people give you something, or spend time with you or do things to make sure your life is a little better, it is your obligation to show them the gratitude for their gifts.  Generally speaking, you are the most generous thoughtful girls on the planet, but never forget that your actions are what defines you.  The swing set gift helps define your grandparents, your treatment of it helps define you.  Trust me, little ladies, you have shown a lot more of the good than the bad, but you'll do yourself a service not forgetting the times where you don't live up to your own expectations.