All Praise the Glorious TV

Tonight started like any other. I came home from work and greeted a thrilled Matilda. Millie was even happy to see me. We shared hugs and kisses and immediately the girls were asking to watch a show. Tilda, of course wanted to watch "Daniel Tiger" and Millie was requesting "Puffin Rock." I said to them ,"No! We aren't going to watch any shows. Momma missed you today. So much. Lets go outside and play." This lead to fights about who the "rocks" really belonged to (hint: they came with the house). It led to tears and screaming and fighting. We ended up inside. Even though dinner was 15 minutes away from being done, they both lost their cool, claiming they were hungry. Two bananas (don't worry, I didn't dare cut Matilda's into pieces, lest she completely lose her shit), one squeeze food and some pretzel fishy crackers later...and things seemed a bit better.

Oh, but then Millie looked at Tilda the wrong way. And Tilda hit Millie. Which led to a complete and utter breakdown again. I tried to capture this moment on my camera, but realized quickly that I was just making matters worse.

Rather than lose my cool, I decided to turn on our family happy song, "Can't Stop the Feeling." I picked up Millie and together we twirled, ran around the kitchen and living room, laughed and shook our bums. Then I picked up Matilda to do the same. Which caused Millie to absolutely break down. So I set Matilda down and tried to get both girls to dance with me at the same time. Of course it didn't work. Matilda then broke down. Each of my girls placed their little bodies against the kitchen cabinets, and sobbed. One on the left side of the kitchen door, and one on the right. They wobbed as I did whatever I could to cheer them up. I did the running man, the Roger Rabbit, the "sprinkler". I even channeled a bit of vaudeville and kicked my legs and shook my hands. I peeked around the corner of the kitchen door making various ridiculous faces. I twirled my head in circles and shimmied across the kitchen. And of course, the "Becky Dance" was out in full force. I worked my ass off to change the mood of the house. It didn't work.

And rather than amuse my children, I apparently annoyed them. Defeated and sweating (because I'm so out of shape), I turned off the song, closed the windows, turned on the air conditioner and poured myself a glass of wine. Because being a parent has apparently made me a wine-o.


Then I shouted, over their screams, "FINE! Fine! You win! You can watch a show!!!!!" I turned on some awful show - Umizoomi? I think that's what it's called.


Within 37 seconds the house was quiet.


So I finished preparing dinner, thanked the TV gods for once again shining down upon our household and tried to ignore all of the "you bad mom" thoughts that popped into my head. I know full well that I just taught them the valuable lesson of "If you cry and scream enough, mom will lose it and give in." I'm amazing. Another "Mom of the Year" award right here. Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.

It's approximately 8:30 and I am going to bed.  Two glasses of wine, no dinner, and a date with my book and bed. Cause sometimes, these kids really just take it out of me.

Repeat to myself: tomorrow is another day.

The Longest Shortest Time

Parenthood. I've never experienced anything more wonderful, exhausting, rewarding, discouraging, fun and miserable in my life. There are some days when I look at my beautiful daughters and can almost feel my heart expand with love and joy.



Days when we make cookies together, dance to "Moana" in the kitchen, wrestle and laugh. Days when Matilda says, "I want my mommy. I love you mommy!" and Millie kisses my face over and over while saying, "Best. Mom. Ever!"


There are days where we sing, craft, go on wagon rides, laugh until we cry. Days when I feel like I'm not only a good mom, but a damn great mom. Days when Seth and I glance at each other and smile, clutching our chests and sharing a knowing glance that says, "we are the luckiest." Days when I see them running through the backyard and the light catches them just so, and I think, "This is the happiest I have ever been in my life."



Then there are other days when nothing sounds more amazing than getting in my car and driving far, far away. Days when I think to myself, "This sucks. This is all work, no fun and my kids are assholes. They've ruined my body, they've ruined my marriage, they've taken all of me. And I don't want to do it anymore."


There are mornings when 6:15am feels like complete torture. When I think, "I just want one day, one damn day where I don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn and start cooking pancakes!" I want to sleep in, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee, maybe crawl back in bed and read. Then maybe I'll go for a run, bike ride or to a yoga class. Then I'll take a quiet and long shower, without the girls fighting or crying outside the door. Onto lunch with a girlfriend, maybe a pedicure and some shopping. I'll feel tired afterward so a good 2 hour nap sounds perfect. Then, I'll get ready for a night-out with Seth. Dinner with friends, maybe a movie and some hot sex to end the day. I think that's what I used to do with my free time. Right?

The other day, I was snuggling with Tilda on my bed. I was tickling her face and she smiled up at me with her big green eyes. I realized that I simply don't want her to grow up. This girl is absolute perfection right now.


If I had my choice she would stay 2 forever. She's the family clown and makes me laugh hundreds of times a day.


She's independent and yet still a momma's girl. She is inquisitive and clever. She NEVER stops talking. The other day when we were running errands she literally chatted my ear off the entire time. "Are we going to Gaga's house? Is she working in the backyard? Look at that airplane. I see mountains momma! Is today the day we get shots?" She dances constantly. She loves to act like a kitty and lick my face. Anytime I'm sitting on the couch she will inevitably run and jump right onto me, laughing hysterically. She tells me when she wants to "go night-night". I love when she asks for her zippy and her "bink-a-bink". My heart just melts when she asks to snuggle with mommy. Each day when I come home from work she shrieks with delight and runs straight for my arms. Oh...I just love her so much I can hardly stand it.


As we were snuggling I said to her, "Tilda, don't grow up. Don't ever change. Don't become 5-years-old. Stay exactly the way you are." She smiled and exclaimed, "No Momma!"

I do find myself yearning for the days of older children. I am excited for ages 7 and 10. Old enough that they can feed themselves, dress themselves, are easy to travel with, and we don't have to be home and in bed by 8pm. Days without sippy cups, diaper bags, and interrupted sleep. Days where I don't throw away 85% of whatever meal I attempted to feed them. I look forward to days of roadtrips and summer movies, swimming and camping. I can't wait for that sweet spot. That time before their problems become teenaged problems. Before they start feeling embarrassed by me. Before they start acting like they don't love or need me.


I know I shouldn't wish this time away. I know that. That's the thing about having young children. You know how the saying goes, "It's the longest, shortest time." It is 100% true. Each day feels like an eternity. The days start at 6am, and don't truly end until 8:30 or so. Then it's the battle of "should I go to bed or spend 2-3 hours doing what I want to do for a couple hours?" I yearn for the days where I don't drop on the couch as soon as the girls are in bed. Hell, I'm amazed that I'm even writing right now. Even sitting on the couch and trying to do something other than zone-out feels exhausting. And yet, as much as the days feel like an eternity, the years fly by. It's unreal. How do I really have a 5-year-old? It seems like just yesterday that Millie and I were driving weekly to visit "Mr. Big Guy" and nows she's busy at preschool and playing with friends. I know it'll be over before I know it and that I'll yearn for this time. Sticky hands, reading the same 2 books every single night, bubble baths, naked-noodle dancing, rocking my babies to sleep, being needed. 100% loved and needed. I'll miss that. I'll yearn for these exhausting and wonderful days.



So that's the challenge. Enjoy this phase. Enjoy the long-days. Make the best of it. Because it won't last forever. And this life is really extraordinary.

video

David

It's been four months since we lost Seth's dad, my beautiful father-in-law, David.



It's been four months that I have wanted to write this blog for him. He was an avid reader of my blog and used to encourage me to write more. I have felt this desire to put into words what a remarkable man he was, and how much he meant to me. That pressure always felt too heavy. It still does. How can I possibly write something beautiful and meaningful enough about this giant of a man that we lost? I'll never be able to do him justice. I do want to try. I don't know what I am going to say but tonight felt right. I'm sitting in my lovely home, fire lit, watching the snow falling lightly outside. It's time.

Simply put, David is the best man I have ever known. I don't mean this to somehow belittle the other incredible men in my life (you know who you are), but David was different. He was extraordinary.


I have many words that describe him: genuine, charitable, patient, wise, soft-spoken, handsome, healthy, charming, etc. The word that describes him best is simply, kind. David was the kindest person I have had the pleasure of knowing. I don't believe I ever heard him speak ill of another person. Even when people fully deserved an ill-word or two, Dave always was kind. Always. In fact, one of the last days he was alive he told his family to please just be kind to one-another.

His cancer crept upon our family. I remember the night Seth took him to the ER to help with an abscess. They did a CT scan on his abdomen. Seth sent me a text and said, "I've never seen a CT scan look like that." When I asked if we should be worried he said, "Probably not." Tests were done, specialists were seen. Cancer. Colon cancer. Stage 4. 6-12 months to live.

No, not David.

We used to joke that of all of our parents, David would live to be over 100. Why wouldn't he? He was healthy. He exercised nearly daily. he ate an extremely healthy diet, he participated in the senior games, he meditated daily (even while on vacation).


He stayed busy with gardening, volunteering, he had a large and interesting group of friends. Really, how could this beacon of health be the one to get sick?

Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes, and we keep living anyway....

He deteriorated really quickly. I had the misconception that the silver lining with cancer was that you had a chance to live. To do those things you always wanted to do. To be with your loved ones. Sadly, that wasn't the case for him. Within three months he was unrecognizable...withdrawn...depressed....and it was absolutely heartbreaking to witness.


I don't want to remember David this way. But that was the harsh reality of him last month or so. I choose to shift my memories to ones of family vacations together. Hiking, playing in the waves, biking through Zion...




I was lucky enough to have David active in my donor club at KUER. He was excited to be involved in as many activities as possible. We went to SLAC plays together, he joined me at the symphony, he met Ira Glass and even came to a cooking class or two.



His greatest legacy, and the thing I will always cherish the most, was the legacy of love he cultivated in his family.



People always seem so shocked when I tell them about Seth's parents. "Wait, so he and his wife were divorced? But they still lived together? Wait and then he had a girlfriend that lived there too? What? How did that work?"

It worked because above all, he loved. He never stopped caring for Patricia (his ex-wife). They remained dear friends even 20 years after their divorce. So why not buy a big home and have her live there too? They still shared a life, in a community. Roommates came and went, and then Shelley entered the home. And she and David fell in love. The other roommates moved out and the three of them stayed together in the house. Patricia has a room and a kitchen in the basement, and David and Shelley lived upstairs. But they really all had a strong relationship together. They had daily "expression sessions". They cooked together, did yard-work together, had friends over for dinner and movie nights. It just worked for them and it was really extraordinary to witness. Family get-togethers always were at their home. Everyone got along. David would often ask for extra tickets to KUER events so that Patricia could come along with them as well. Family vacations, we all went together.


It's tradition for the family to go together on a vacation each summer. All of us and David was always kind enough to pay. Sun Valley, Zion National Park, McCall, Palm Springs, etc. Part of the family vacation was to have at least one expression session. Basically the chance for the adults to get together one evening, and each of us had 5-7 minutes to just talk. To cry about what is difficult in our lives, to talk about our fears, but mainly to express gratitude to one-another. On one particular expression session I remember David saying how he felt he wasn't a good example to his grandsons, because he was living with his girlfriend, not married to her. And we all laughed. How could he possibly not have been a good example? He was the BEST example of what it meant to be loving and kind to each other. He took care of all of us. He was always the one we would go to when we needed advice. He always helped us when we needed it. He would come and help us paint the house, he helped assemble furniture, do yard-work, whatever we needed. He was always there, and always willing to help.

He was a wonderful grandpa, Papa David. He loved taking the grandkids swimming and camping. He built a great playhouse in his backyard for the kids. He loved each one so much.


I'm so grateful that Millie had special time with him. For two years in a row, we went with David to Newport Beach. The first year it was just the four of us. We played at the beach, we cooked together, played games, watched movies, and just played. And it was so special. I am so glad we had those weekends with him, that Millie had those weekends with him.





Although Matilda won't remember him much, I'm so glad she had a year or so with him. The first time we went to his house after he had died, Matilda ran into his bedroom. When I found her she was pointing up at his bed saying, "Papa David!"


One of the things I miss the most about David, was hearing his chuckle. He was the quiet one in the family. He always sat in the background and observed his loud family. But he got a kick out of his grandchildren. Lately I have been scouring videos from family dinners, birthday parties, just hoping to hear that laugh. Oh how I miss that laugh.

video

The last week of his life was one of the most special and bitter-sweet times in my life. We really held vigil around his bed. Each night, we would gather, order take-out, and hang out in his room. We all held his hands, rubbed his feet and his legs. We sang Billy Joel songs to him. We talked and cried, and cried and talked. We all had the chance to say our goodbyes to him. I kissed and hugged him and asked him to watch over us when he was gone. He replied, "I will. Don't worry, I'm an easy grader."


The night before he died he kissed each of his children, held their faces and said, "I love you. God bless you." And he died peacefully with Patty, Shelley and his 5 children around him. While he was too young, and it was too soon (just 4 months after he was diagnosed), it was a beautiful death. He didn't suffer. He didn't have regrets. He didn't have a bucket-list that he hoped to complete. He did all that he wanted to do. He lived life fully, every day.

Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a parent. It still feels unreal that he isn't here. I keep thinking he is just off on a long vacation and that soon he'll be back. But he's gone. And the world just feels darker without him here. But how lucky we all were to have had him in our lives.

David, I love you. I am grateful every day that I had the chance to spend 10 years of my life knowing you. I miss you. I miss having you over to watch football. I miss you playing with the girls (hide-and-seek for hours with Millie). I miss talking to you about religions, politics and church history. I miss your constant and steady presence in our lives. I'll miss discussing the latest RadioWest with you. I miss your voice and your laugh. I miss your guidance.

Thank you for accepting me into your family. Thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful world you created and cultivated.



Thank you for giving Seth some of his greatest traits. He is kind, he is generous and loving. He's a great father because of you.



Thank you for teaching me that love and being true to you are some of life's most valuable lessons. Your legacy will live on through each of us. As we seek to live lives worthy of you.

We love you.