Philosophy and R&B

We have a new radio station in my home town that plays pop music from the 90’s.    Technically, I guess the kids ’round here are calling it an oldies station…but I just can’t go that far.  All I know is, its music I listened to growing up and its funny how quickly a song can turn into a memory (you see what I just did there Mari?).

I just heard the song  “Two Occasions” by Babyface.  Man, this song captured the essence of my adolescent heartache.  I used to crush HARD.  When I decided to like a young man, I was committed.  I guess I’ve always been a sensitive, romantic artist type.

(Here is the YouTube link I found, the video is TERRIBLY awesome.)


Who will ever know the amount of time spent in front of the bathroom mirror singing my pain away and acting as if I was in front of a wind machine filming my music video.  You never knew a white girl could get down so hard on New Edition or Jodeci!  Time spent in front of the same mirror, perfecting the art of a messy bun or high pony-tail (with the ever necessary, carefully pulled strands of hair on either side of your face to mirror the T-Boz look).  Strait gangsta.  Never mind that I was a chubby, red-headed white kid from Northern Nevada. The struggle was real.  I wish I could get my hands on the journals and notebooks I kept my two years of middle school. That is when I discovered that writing could make me feel better about things that were bothering me, though mostly all it did was get me in trouble for writing trash talk and bad poetry about everyone.  

Back when there wasn’t anything quite as painful as not having anyone to couple skate with at the roller rink on a Friday night (that is IF my parents allowed me to go).  The dramas that we had were so REAL and PASSIONATE.  If a boy and girl dated longer than two weeks it was the REAL DEAL.  The fights and squabbles we had were ridiculous.  That was when we had to actually write notes with pens and pencils on binder paper, fold them up and pass them to each other.  No texting, no social media. Just good old-fashioned rubbish.  Simpler times that seemed so intense while I was living them. Looking back now, it only makes me laugh!  If I had only known how short that time would be, I would not have rushed through it.

How cliche.

Now, I can’t help but wonder about my son who is going to be 9 this winter, and what kind of teenager he is going to mutate into in a few short years.   I can’t even allow myself to imagine what kind of teenager my daughter will be yet.  Gives me heartburn.  I think about all of the little triumphs and tragedies they will experience that I might not even get to know about because I’ll be the old boring mom.  Soon enough, they will have a whole secret world of thought and dreams and loves and heartbreak that my Hubs and I will only be spectators of.  Rooting and cheering or grieving from the sidelines as we watch and pray with bated breath for a strong and victorious finish.

Its only in thinking of my kids growing older that I can appreciate this line from John Mayer”s song “No Such Thing”:

And all of our parents, they’re getting older.

I wonder if they’ve wished for anything better?

While in their memories, tiny tragedies.

They love to tell you, stay inside the lines.  

But something’s better on the other side.

I wonder if my own parents watched my teenage years approach with as much reservation, nervousness and even a little excitement/sadness that I feel for my own kids?

Did they hope and pray ( as I do for mine) that I would stay inside the lines and get it right??  Did they know deep down (as I do) that, that isn’t at all possible?  Will I remember this when my kids are older and steeped deeply within the dramas and concerns of their social world, that they will make mistakes and not stay inside the lines?  Will my husband and I remember how enormous it felt to crush on someone the first time, and be rejected the first time, and yes, even get into trouble (real trouble) for the first time?   Will we lose our minds and take it personally?  Will we show grace and understanding while still providing direction and discipline?  Will we be able to keep a foot in the door with our kids so that we can really know whats going on with them??


Luckily, I don’t have to have all of these answers today, and most likely never will.  I will just have to trust God with my babies who loves them even more than my husband I do.  But I do wonder about the little people they are becoming and if they will be ok.

This evolution of roles and growing up stuff isn’t for sissy’s.





Musings from a hot car


I can’t even believe it. Before we know it it’ll be the start of the holiday season. Time rushes by as an adult. As a kid, the summers were long and drawn out. Sticky and hot. Somehow the hotter the day, the more time seemed suspended. As if the hours would get stuck in the stale heat that left us bound in front of open windows, fans and Nickelodeon. We weren’t the kind of kids who grew up with air conditioning. But there were endless amounts of otter pops.

Yesterday, while waiting for my husband to run inside a store to pick something up real quick, the kids and I waited in the car for him. We had all 4 windows down and were only waiting for my hubs for about 8 minutes. You would have thought my children were gonna die. They couldn’t handle being hot. I couldn’t believe the fits that were thrown. They live in a comfortable, air conditioned existence.


This got me thinking. My husband and I both want to give our kids a life we didn’t have. We both came from families with lots of kids (me being the eldest of 4 and he being the second oldest of 5). When a family has lots of kids the money for extra curricular activities, sports, movies, and vacations is almost non-existent. We both wanted a small family so that we could afford to do these things with our kids, and raise them comfortably. Even having the TWO kids gets expensive! I honestly don’t know how people do it with more! Our friends with large families have often teased us about having more kids,
but we are confident in the decision we’ve made. But sometimes I wonder if we aren’t creating entitled and apathetic monsters in the process. I think that I am pretty strict with my kids. We have rules, chores, and consequences in our home. Yet, I still find myself asking so many questions. How do you take the best care of your children without spoiling them? How do you teach them work ethic and responsibly without cracking a whip? How can we instill gratitude and empathy from this air conditioned point of view?

Everyone has their opinions and techniques. Once upon a time I would have thought I knew exactly how to execute these things with my kids. Having worked in child care for 10 years I was confident that with every new stage I would know exactly what to do. Well, was that ever WRONG.

Bottom line? My kids are amazing. They have tender little hearts for people and animals that they have acquired in spite of me and my parenting. I know that God has a plan for their lives and loves them even more deeply than I do. I just want to get it right!

Sometimes it’s just hard to let to and trust.

Some thoughts from Fathers Day

He would press my face against his belly and brush my hair up his torso towards his chest. His furrowed eyebrows and heavy breathing would indicate this was serious business. Lips pursed tight and clutching in them the rubber band he’d use to gather all of my wild red curls into a firmly fixed pony tail. My face pulled tight while smashed into his belly. Clothed in the familiar Hanes ribbed tank top and the smell of Jovan Musk cologne. My sister and I still crack up over this shared experience and the irony of our dad caring so much that those suckers wouldn’t come out that he would over look making them even. So many pictures with us donning lop-sided pigtails.

I can remember him plopping me up on the kitchen counter to give me medicine on a spoon, and being thrilled to find it hidden somewhere in the middle of a dollop of chocolate pudding.

I have the foggiest snippets of him picking me up from my grandma’s house late at night while he worked a swing shift. Carrying me out to his truck and without fail, throwing a blanket over my head to shield me from the harsh winter air. (Even now when it snows, the sweet and new smell it brings instantly reminds me of this memory.) Then he’d take me home and we would watch Johnny Carson while he took off his heavy work boots.

These are my first memories. You know, the ones that squeak through when you really squint and strain to try and recall the first moments of your life’s history. My parents had divorced just before I had turned two and despite my efforts, my memories just don’t reach beyond me being three or four. So the few of my earliest ones are just of He and I.

Our family grew over time and my Dad would add to my memory bank a new wife, new siblings and new traditions. Family life, holidays and unofficial rituals…the small and specific things that make families special and unique. Like, learning the lyrics and artist to nearly every song in the last 6 decades of music. As well as eating ice cream in a glass with milk poured on top of it. A lazy milkshake (hold the “shake”). We didn’t really know that people ate it any differently. We also didn’t know that other families weren’t holding family meetings in the bathroom while their dad was sitting on the toilet. To us, that was the norm. Despite the good, the bad and the ugly I’d say growing up we still experienced a lot of the classic “Dad” moments.

For me it was being taught the the art of the bike ridden without training wheels in the school parking lot. Truly the golden keys of freedom when you’re a kid. My Dad made boundaries between some neighbors drive-ways and I was to ride in the confines of what he deemed safe. Driving a car in my late teen years would prove to be no different. At 31 he still corrects my driving.

There were softball practices and games. Teaching me how to get under a pop fly ball…and I better not close my eyes if I’m gonna go for it…DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE BALL!

The pride of a day spent pulling weeds and doing yard work because the world has no use for lazy people… ( still working on that one Dad).

There was the disappointment of my first school dance in junior high. He, pulling up in the Oldsmobile to pick me up after school and asking how my day was. Me, trying so hard not to burst into tears. The lump in my throat making it impossible to hold a bluff. I remember him reassuring me that I was pretty and wonderful and someday there would be someone WORTHY of dancing with me. I rolled my eyes, but deep down I believed him a little. Ultimately, he’d be right.

These are some examples of a few good memories pulled from 31 years of my experience living on earth. There are too many to share. Good ones and of course the not-so-good ones that I wouldn’t share. We all have terrible stuff that we’ve had to endure and would rather forget. My dad can be extremely difficult. He is demanding and dramatic and explosive. He has had bad habits and has made bad choices. I am a lot like him! We have had as many rocky moments as good ones. But, at the end of the day I know his love comes without stipulations.

When I watch my husband and the way he is with our children I understand my dad a little deeper than I would have been able to before. Knowing my husbands heart and intentions for our son and daughter are probably not far from where EVERY parent has been trying to aim since the beginning, including our own parents. Maybe in parenthood is where we finally give our parents a break?

Wishing my hubs a happy father’s day this last weekend was important. I want him to know that I appreciate him as my children’s father. My baby daddy! There isn’t anyone else I’d rather be doing this parenting thing with than him.
But the day is more about appreciating my OWN father while he’s still around to be appreciated. Some people don’t have that luxury.

Maybe even taking a moment to appreciate all of the wonderful men in my life?
I’ve been lucky enough to not only have my dad, but also a wonderful step father and a spiritual father to both my husband and I, the pastor of our church. All three of these men have been instrumental in my life.
I also have amazing brothers who have become honorable men and beloved uncles. I am surrounded by strong men who have taught me to be bold and unapologetic about being myself. I have been given the space to freak out, ask questions, roar and be my loud and obnoxious self. I have been encouraged to be a leader and charge taker in a world where a lot of women are made to feel the exact opposite by the men in their lives.

To this, I say a huge “Thank you”.

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