Posted in confessions, coping mechanisms, death, Family, finding your way, growing up, Inspirational, life lessons, memories, moving on

Remember Me…


The other night, I took my four oldest daughters to see a movie. It was Thanksgiving, we were restless, and I did not want to go shopping. Since my youngest does not do that well in movies yet (she is a bit of a busybody), my wife stayed home, and I took the girls to see Disney/Pixar’s, CoCo.
Without giving any spoilers, the story involves an aspiring musician named Miguel, who, by chance, finds himself in the afterlife. In his quest to get back home to the “real world,” he searches for his great-great-grandfather. Like I said, I am not going to go into details here, because I think you should watch the movie yourself. However, the premise of the movie is that once your last living relative has forgotten you, you are truly gone forever. Nobody deserves to be forgotten, and if someone remembers you, then you still get a chance to come back and visit your family.
As a kid, I met older relatives, not really understanding who they were, how we were related, what they did for a living, etc. I never really knew them. You know? I have brief memories, flashbacks, if you will, of visiting my grandpa at the grocery store he worked in. I can still remember going to a work picnic at the factory my grandmother worked in. To this day, I still don’t know what they made at that factory.
My great-grandmother and great-grandfather used to live in a nursing home. When we visited, we never stayed long, but I usually left with a dollar I didn’t have when I got there. I remember my great-grandfather wearing overalls and glasses, and I remember his name. I do not know what he did for a living. I do not know what he was like as a person, who he aspired to be, and if he ever reached his goals.
My parents went through a lifetime of hard lessons raising my sister and me. There are some spotty memories, and some stick to me like paint on a wall. I know a lot more about my parents (not really that worried about forgetting them), than I do about my grandparents, my great-grandparents, and my great-great grandparents. In a way, I have forgotten them. I hope someone else in my family is taking the reins and remembering them for me, and showing their pictures to their children and grandchildren, so they will not be gone forever, and can still come and visit us.
Truth is, none of us really know what happens to a person when they are gone. It was kind of nice the other night, nonetheless, to think that my deceased family members come back to check on me and the rest of my family. I bet there were times when they were wondering when I would ever start to grow up. If life really is like that movie, I hope all my relatives come and visit me all the time now. Even if it is just once a year, I am okay with that.
I have heard a lot of names in my wife’s family, and many I have forgotten.
However, I know that I will never forget the nickname, “Apple.” From the stories my wife has told me of her grandfather, I know she loved him just as much as I loved my grandpa. Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to meet him, and she never had a chance to meet my grandparents. However, I have had the pleasure of meeting her grandmother, and I could not be happier she is now a part of my life, too. She is just as big of a cheerleader for me as my own grandmother used to be, and for that I will always be grateful. PicsArt_11-25-08.27.06

Do not get me wrong, I am still a young man, but my kids seem to be growing up a little faster than I would like. Occasionally, I will throw out a random number, like “five years,” and see how old my children will be then. It puts things in perspective, because I keep getting older by that many years, too. Hypothetically, in five years, I could be a grandfather myself. I could have a kid about to graduate college, another in the middle of college, a couple in middle school, and another in elementary. I know one thing, in five years, “I” will be a college graduate, and if you had asked me about that five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Life has a funny way of revealing itself to you, and the last year of my life has been eye-opening. Instead of looking at things on the surface, I pick them up, peek behind them, and dust them off before I put them back down. I have struggled with certain aspects of my life, and there are plenty of chapters in my life I wish had never been written. I still struggle attempting to turn a couple pages of the new chapters I strive to write. Despite that, I know there is still a lot of my book left to be written, but one day it is going to say, “The End.” When it does, and the book shuts one final time; I am going to tell you all the same thing I told my kids as we walked out of the theater the other night: You guys better remember me.

 

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Posted in coping mechanisms, death, Family, Family Time, growing up, life lessons, memories, Uncategorized

Goodbye, Old Friend…


Last week, my mother invited me to go out of town with her. When I left Kansas City, I didn’t realize I would be seeing my grandfather for the last time that week. I guess I’ve always been a pretty optomistic guy, and although I knew he was not doing well, he’s always persisted in the past.

On our way to Illinois, my mother and I conversed about anything and everything. As we crossed the Mississippi River, leading into Illinois, the tone of our conversation became a little more serious. The doctors had given my grandfather possibly, a couple more months of life on earth. Turning down small country roads, we passed through St. Elmo, and we wondered if that was where “St. Elmo’s Fire” was filmed (I looked it up — it wasn’t).

As we pulled in front of his house, I was a little uneasy. We had visited numerous times over the years, and he had met my oldest four daughters. I hadn’t been to his house, however, since high school. He had moved since then, and it was surreal seeing my grandpa through a different set of lenses. My mother told me that more than likely he would not ever be coming back to this home. It hit me pretty hard as I walked through his house trying to learn about him through his acquired possessions.

Walking into his home, I was greeted with oxygen tanks next to the doorway. A grandfather’s clock hung on one wall, a rifle next to his rocking chair. Sitting on his coffee table, was a picture of our family we took at Christmas this past year. Another wall displayed a picture frame with my nephews and my oldest four kids. His coffee table reminded me of my other grandparent’s coffee table. There was a small office space, and a small guest room. One of the closets was filled with Western genre books.

I have never read a Western novel, but I do enjoy watching them occasionally. In his bedroom, his cowboy boots filled the bottom of his closet, and his clothes were neatly hung. Although he was already fairly small in stature, as he aged, he appeared even smaller.

My mother invited me out to the back yard, so we could take a look around the property. We spotted the well, and the old outhouse. There was a large barn, with a broken-down tractor, and a dilapidated bike. Into the edge of the woods, an older bus had been tucked away. IMG_20170731_154733 We walked around to the front of the yard, trying to avoid the hornet’s nest we had awoken when we first arrived. His garage told the biggest story about him. His main passions in life were fishing and hunting. In the small guest bedroom, you probably could have guessed he liked to hunt, by the amount of rifles that were in there. However, if you hadn’t guessed that by now, maybe the amount of antlers hanging up on the garage walls would have given it away. In the back of his pickup, a single fishing rod was still hanging out, just hoping for one last trip to the water.

After a few minutes of looking around, we headed to the hospital. Since he lived in a very small town, we had to drive over an hour to get there. Seeing grandpa lying in the hospital bed, he looked even smaller than I had remembered. He looked up at his daughter, his grandson, and smiled. Although he was having an incredibly hard time breathing, he insisted on talking with us. He sat up, had dinner, and inquired about the girls. He was doing better than I had thought he was going to be, and we had a good conversation. I shared the newest pictures I had of all the girls, and reminded him of just home much they loved him. He said he loved them, too and it felt so good to say those words, and hear them reciprocated back.

On the way back to his house, we stopped at his sister’s house to visit with her and her husband. I may have met her when I was a child, but I cannot recall. Either way, after spending a couple hours with them, I felt so much better about the quality of my grandfather’s life. I know he has been in good hands with them. In fact, they had been taking that hour-long drive back and forth to the hospital every day, and helping him with anything he needed. I am truly thankful he had them looking after him.

With life, the only thing guaranteed, is death. It is inevitable. Too many times in our lives, we lose people, just to have regret over something we said–or didn’t say. As a younger person, when I was just eighteen years-old, I lost my grandfather on my dad’s side. We all said our “goodbyes” to him in the hospital, as the doctor’s said he may not make it through the night. However, he willed himself out of the hospital, and back into his own home for a couple more months. Not one time, did I go back to see him. In my mind, I had already told him goodbye, and I have lived with regret ever since.

When my mother told me last Thursday night (after I had driven home), that the doctors had given her dad only seven to ten more days to live, I had a little bit of regret creep back in. Although she had spent hours at the hospital that day, without him even waking up, I still felt like I could have maybe seen him one more time. I could have hugged him one last time. I could have told him one last time that I loved him.

The following morning, my dad called me to let me know my grandfather had passed early in the morning. My oldest two had already been told of his recent situation, but my middle two were out of town. My youngest, being only one, will have to rely on pictures and stories to know her great-grandpa. That night, was my twenty-year class reunion. I tried my hardest to suppress any sadness, and enjoy my night. Although I truly enjoyed seeing my classmates, it didn’t take away the fact that he is gone now.

My middle two children were out of town last week, and my wife and I agreed that their first day back should be a day of relaxation, happiness, and them telling us stories of what they did on their trip. Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I had the talk that no parent enjoys having with a seven and eight year-old. My wife was cool, calm, collected, and worded everything perfect for them to understand. Perfectly-formed words, however, do not turn away tears from a child’s eye, and hurt from their hearts.

It was a pretty rough week for my mom, and she is still out of town tying up all the loose ends. For a few more days, she is still battling hornet’s nests and his neighbor’s twenty dogs who like to show up unannounced in the pitch-black. My mother has worried about him for years since we lived so far away, and now the worry part has gone.

grandpa

We all love you grandpa. Goodbye, old friend.

Posted in growing up, memories, single life

The Single Life…


The Single Life.

Sounds awful, huh? Or does it sound amazing? Now, before you get too far ahead of yourselves, just know I’m probably NOT referring to what you automatically assumed.

No, what I’m referring to is being an only child. I have an older sister. Her and I are not very close although we live one town away from each other. At times growing up I wished she didn’t exist. I’m sure the feeling was mutual occasionally. It’s not like I had a total disdain for her, but she and I never really saw eye to eye.

My sister and I (circa mid 1980s)
My sister and I (circa mid 1980s)

Even now, literally a couple of decades almost into our “adult” lives, we’ve yet to bridge that gap. On the rare occasion that we see each other, we do talk, but there’s usually not that much substance to the conversation, if you will. A couple of months ago, I did take the time out to text her (baby steps) and tell her I love her. We came from the same place, and we’ll always have that.

Growing up, however, a couple of my best friends had no siblings. Zero. How amazing that must have been, I remember thinking to myself. There was no one there to fight with. No one there to interfere with your mom and dad time. No one to build forts with, no one to have a food fight with, no one to have thumb wars with. There was no one to play bloody knuckles with, no one to play catch with, no one to help with your homework.

Wait a minute, maybe that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. But maybe it was. I’ll never really know. I do know I really enjoyed going over to those friend’s houses a lot, because they and their parents really made me feel welcome. I think maybe it was because they could tell how happy their kids were to have somebody over to play with. Whatever it was, they invited me to come over all the time, and I even got to go on a couple of vacations with them.

I loved them almost as much as I loved my own family. There was no drama. There was no tattle-telling on each other. There was nothing but good times. Eventually though, we had to grow up. It’s inevitable. We all do it. We ran off, got older, got married (some of us), and started our own families.

I keep up with them. I really do. Not in “real life,” but definitely in the Facebook life. I absolutely love seeing who my friends have become. Never in a million years, could we tell in high school just who the person we knew the most would be 20 years later. Sure, we had our ideas, and maybe some of them did grow up and be the doctor or lawyer we thought they may be.

As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized something about people and something about life. It’s all about finding YOUR happy. Your friends will never be the same person later in life than they were in grade school. They just won’t. One thing I think we all took for granted growing up, was our siblings. When there were no siblings, I think we all took for granted the friend(s) that took the obsolete sibling’s place.

I don’t like to think of myself as a placeholder, but if that’s what I was to them, then so be it. I’m OK with being a placeholder, while my friends started becoming an adult, and finding their happy. Some of my friends are single, some are married. Some have children, some have had children and lost, and some have never had children. I just hope they know how much of a joy they meant to me growing up. I hope they know they made a huge difference on who I am now, just as much as who I was then.

Some of my friends have made choices over the years that I’ve questioned, and I am more than certain I have made a few baffling decisions in their eyes too. Watching my friend’s kids grow up right before my very eyes gives me a little happiness and a little sadness at the same time. I don’t hang out with my friends anymore. Not for real. Thanks to Facebook though, I see them.

As I sit here typing this, my wife is currently checking a marker to make sure it’s non-toxic because one of my kids just colored her lips and teeth with it. Thank goodness she isn’t living that single life though, or her non-existent sister would have never told on her.

Posted in Ashleigh, Audrey, confessions, coping mechanisms, dad, daddy, Divorce, Ella, empathy, expectations, Family, Family Time, fatherhood, Inspirational, jobs, Kids, love, memories, mommyhood, moving on, Parenting, Relationships, responsibility, Taralynn, The Meaning of Life, Uncategorized

You Can Judge Me…


You can judge me…after I’m dead.

After my life has finished here on earth, by all means, judge away. However, I don’t want you to judge me by my accolades. Don’t judge me by the amount of trophies I won, or the amount of certifications I earned. Don’t judge me by my social status. Don’t judge me by my place of employment. Don’t judge me by the amount of hair left on my head, nor by the changed color of it.

After I’m dead, and you start your judgement, don’t judge me on whether or not I went to church. Don’t judge me on whether or not I finished college. Don’t judge me by the type of car I drove, or the house I lived in. Don’t judge me because I thought differently than you. Don’t judge me because our politics didn’t align. Don’t judge me because I talked differently than you. Don’t judge me because I got divorced. Don’t judge me for falling in love. Don’t judge me for falling out of love. Don’t judge me because I didn’t understand.

Don’t judge me because you’ve seen me drink in excess. Don’t judge me because you’ve seen me places I shouldn’t have been. Don’t judge me because I didn’t have as much money as others. Don’t judge me because I had more money than others. Don’t you dare judge me because of the way I looked. Don’t judge me because of the way I looked at you. Don’t judge me because I didn’t ask, and don’t judge me because I did.

This may seem like a fairly long list, and rest assured, it should definitely be a little more lengthy. However, the list is there for a reason. It’s there because like every one of you, I have a side that is not the prettiest. It’s not the most insightful. It’s not the most handsome. It’s still me, don’t get me wrong. Just be sure to understand, that it is not the only side of me.

As I’ve gotten older, and the years go by, I’ve learned a lot. That, you can be sure of. I’m still a work in progress as are each and every one of you reading this right now. I do have many things I’m proud of. Some of them are accomplishments. Some things I’m proud of are intangibles. You may not be able to see every side of me at once. In fact, you should consider yourself lucky if you catch the majority of them as I pass by your lives.

As far as accolades and trophies, you’re right—there’s not that many. I’ve earned a diploma, sure, and I’ve even received a few certifications in a few things after that. I’m not a wealthy individual, but I do work (a couple of jobs) to ensure I’m not in poverty. I’ve actually worked lots of jobs over the years, and I don’t regret a single one of them. I may not go to church every Sunday, but that does not mean I do not strive for what’s morally right in most cases. There have been times I’ve been fortunate enough to have a pretty decent car, and other times that I went months without one. There’s been times when I’ve lived in a nice house, and others where I was fortunate people cared enough to take me in.

I’ve fallen in love at last count at least 145 times—and that was just the first year of high school! I married young, divorced young, and didn’t learn a thing from it. I married a little older, divorced a little older, and learned lots from it. Am I happier now? Yeah, most of the time. I have been drunk. I have thrown up all over the side of a couple of my friend’s cars because of it. I’ve thrown up in my house because of it. Some of those times I was younger and thought nothing could phase me. The other times I was older and thought nothing could phase me.

I’ve been in numerous places I probably shouldn’t have been. If you saw me there, then before you judge, let me hold the mirror up for you. Sometimes I thought I was rich, when really I wasn’t. Sometimes I thought I was poor, when really I wasn’t. Either way, money is overrated, and I hate that we have to use it to get things. I’m all for going back to bartering for stuff. Sometimes in life, I’ve taken good photos. Like, really good ones. Ones that made me take a second glance, because that model looked a lot like me. Other times, I’ve taken some not so flattering ones. Especially recently. Maybe it’s because I’m gaining weight. Maybe it’s because my hairline is retreating inland like a hurricane is on its way in. Maybe it’s because now when I look at a picture it’s just “me.” That’s what I look like now. Life, in general, has made me look like this. “This,” by the way, is NOT like a model.

Anyways, back to this judgement people like to pass on towards others so much…Here’s what I’d like you to judge me on:

thegirls

My kids. Judge me by THEM. Judge me by their kids. Rest assured, my life at some point in the last few years went from “me, me, me, me, me” to “I have to protect them, love them, be there for them, love them some more, study with them, teach them about boys (trust me, their moms don’t know the half of it like I do), and love them even more.

TARA
TARA
I have to teach them every single thing I know, both good and bad. I have to teach them to trust themselves, believe in themselves, and to be GOOD people. I have to teach them to reach inside their souls and find something, anything that they have a strong passion for, and to follow their dreams.
ELLA
ELLA
It’s such a thin line, we as parents toe each day, as we strive to LIVE through them. Watching them grow, watching them play, watching them learn, watching them argue, debate, cry, laugh, whatever it is.
AUDREY
AUDREY
It is my life. They are my life. They truly are my everything. And I guarantee that by the time you decide to judge me, after I’m gone…You’ll see that I did OK. I am so freaking proud of my children in everything they do. I delight in the smallest things. They make me laugh like you would not believe.
ASH
ASH
They give my life a purpose. Because of them and their acceptance of me, as their dad, I will never worry again what others think about me.

Go ahead, you can judge me…after I’m dead.

And He Loves You
And He Loves You
Posted in empathy, expectations, Family, Family Time, fatherhood, imagination, Inspirational, Kids, memories, Parenting, Relationships, responsibility, The Meaning of Life, Uncategorized

The Best Things in Life are Free…


“The best things in life are free.” It’s such a simple statement. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who is not familiar with that quote, or something very similar to it. It was a song, then another song. It is the title of a movie, and is the subject of many popular “feel good” images here on the internet.

It really is a lovely statement. If you think about it, and I do mean really think about it, it rings absolutely true.

In forty-five short minutes, one of my children will turn eleven years old. Although it is only forty-five minutes away, this kid has yet to really ask me for anything for her birthday. She gave me a little list to give to my mother and sister, because they insist on lists for birthdays. As for me, her father, however, I get nothing.

I have taken her to numerous stores, mentioned her upcoming birthday to her a few times, and still I get no hints. I get asked for nothing of financial value from her. No, she asked me to make her a lunch tomorrow of nothing but junk food. She wants donuts, cookies, pop, the works; just as long as it’s not healthy. She insists it’s only for one meal out of one day, and for that one day she’s going to be the star of the lunchroom.

When her oldest sister turned five years-old, I took her sister to Branson, MO and Silver Dollar City (just the two of us). For years now, she has reminded me that I took a vacation with her older sister, and not with her. She has come to realize that her dad is by no means a wealthy man, and has not only accepted it, but tries to live in a more humble manner because of it. She knows I have three other children, and she has trained herself to be more wary of my finances than I am sometimes.

For example, if we go out to eat, she almost always orders last. She listens to what everyone else has ordered, and then almost always orders something way cheaper than everyone else. If her sister orders an overpriced drink, she asks for a kid’s meal that comes with a drink usually, or she asks for water. Every time we discuss where to eat, I can hear her have a discussion with her oldest sibling on where it will be cheaper for dad.

I’m not poor, mind you. Like I said, I’m also not wealthy. This child of mine has taught me more about believing in myself than just about anybody I’ve ever met. She’s taught me to love my surroundings and be grateful for everything that I have. She believes that one day, the grass on our side of the fence will be greener, and I hope know that she is absolutely correct.

She’s beautiful from the bottom of her tippy toes all the way up to her lightly freckled, bright, blue-eyed face. Her inner beauty is truly a work of art, it really is. I’ll never be able to fully communicate just how much she means to me, but I hope she realizes what a vital role she plays in my life. She is just one of four, and they are all four very special to me in their own unique ways. Her sense of selflessness is one of her best traits, and she probably doesn’t even realize it yet.

photo (8)She is a comedian, no doubt, and she loves to be the center of attention. She is definitely in the top two for the backseat dancing awards in my family. The kid simply puts a smile on my face every time I see her face. She loves me more than I could have ever hoped she would, and I appreciate her more than she ever thought she could be appreciated. I hope she continues to shine bright wherever she decides to go with her life.

Today at the park, while her older sister and her friend played, she and I took a walk around the trail. Near the end of the trail she made us stop, pick a dandelion, and make a wish as we blew them into the wind. She then crossed them on top of one another, and placed them back intertwined together back into a hole in the ground. She placed grass on top of them, and it was probably the most sincere I’ve ever wished on a dandelion.

I won’t state what my wish was, because I believe that might break the “dandelion-wishing code of honor,” but I do know that my wish was very heart-felt.

I hope she knows, I want her to laugh more. I want her to give people second chances. I want her to learn to be patient with others. I hope she knows every day won’t be a good hair day, but some of them will be. I want her to be trustworthy, and I want her to be open-minded to other people and their ways of thinking. I want her to think for herself, and be the amazing person I know she is capable of being. I want her to find her purpose in life, and use her talents to bring it to fruition. I want her to appreciate the little things, but be willing to work for the bigger things. I want her to be happy beyond her wildest imagination. I want her to respect others, and I want her to earn other’s respect. A good reputation, a happy home, and a happy, trustworthy personality are all very good things in this life to have.

Everything you may ever want in this world, may not come to life, but plenty of it will if you just work hard, play hard, and enjoy the best things in life. After all, they really are free.

Posted in Family, fatherhood, Inspirational, Kids, learning new things, memories, mommyhood, moving on, responsibility, school, teaching, Uncategorized

I Saw the Most Beautiful Smile Last Night…


I saw the most beautiful smile last night. No really, I did. Its curves made her cheekbones ball up into little spheres right below her sparkling brown eyes. Her whole face lit up, and you could just “see” the happiness overflowing out of her.

You see, last night was Kindergarten Roundup. Although it was my third one attending(fourth if you include mine), it was her first. She was anxious, nervous, excited, happy, and who knows what other emotions she was feeling.

photo (4)

We sat on the front row for the initial presentation, and then it was off to tour the school. We stepped into one classroom, then off to the next. We looked at the desks, the chairs, the engaging posters on the walls. We looked at the games, the laptops, the massive amount of crayons the children get to use. We noticed her school mascot is a Wildcat, which also used to be my mascot when I was in elementary school.

My ex-wife and I admired the creative spelling children use as we walked through the halls and recognized just how much potential this place carries inside of it each and every day. I imagined kids from every walk of life roaming the halls, checking out books from the library, standing in lines, learning new rules. A set schedule, boundaries, discipline, a caring support group is what every child needs and deserves.

Sometimes we think as parents we can do it all. Heck, some parents DO it all. That is not the route that we are taking, but I admire those that do. We are entrusting our children to a collective group of people to nurture, teach, and care for our kids while we ourselves tend to our daily duties, be it work, play, or a little of both.

Letting go of our children into the big scary world of public schooling, does not mean we are not doing our part. Getting a little help is sometimes all that we need to restore peace and order to our very own lives. That help can come from numerous places, from different people, and from various circumstances.

I’m at such a different place right now emotionally than where I was five years and seven years ago. I am so done going through the motions of being a parent. Now, I am enjoying each and every single moment of it. There are plenty of bad moments to go with the good. However, teachable moments are everywhere around us. Take those moments and learn from them, and you and your children will be better for it.

I am so freaking excited for my daughter starting school this summer. Although she isn’t technically a Kindergartner until August, she is being allowed to start summer school in June. She is already brilliant, talented, and an extremely fast learner, so I know we have nothing to worry about. Over these past few years of getting to know her, I know that this is a huge deal to her.

I can’t wait to do it again next year with my youngest daughter, so maybe I’ll have a chance to see that beautiful smile once again.

Posted in confessions, coping mechanisms, dad, Family, fatherhood, Inspirational, Kids, learning new things, memories, Relationships, responsibility, The Meaning of Life, Uncategorized

The Worry Rock


photo“Dad, I forgot to bring something with me. I got you something yesterday.”

Walking through the mall together with my fifth grader, she goes on to tell me that she saw the counselor at her school the day before. The counselor gave her something to give me.

She said she had set the appointment up for the week before, but she was sick on that day. Without trying to be too nosy, I asked what she talked about. She didn’t go into too many details.

I know she’s going through a tough transition period right now. She’s moving to a new house next month with her mom. More than likely, she will be switching schools. She informed me today, that she feels as if she only has a couple of “real” friends. One of them is possibly moving away also.

She has such a hard time being a younger sister, that sometimes I think she forgets that she’s a big sister too. photo (1) We all have strengths, we all have weaknesses. One of her biggest weaknesses is the same as her older sister’s (getting along with the other sibling).

Sisterly Love
Sisterly Love

I wish I could explain, in terms she would understand it, that life is what you make of it. You cannot control everything around you, but you can make the best of certain situations, even if you can’t control each individual situation.

I am PROUD of my children. In almost every aspect of their lives, they have taught me something new about them I didn’t know existed. They are kind. They are loving. They venture to places I never knew existed when I was their age, and in some cases, even at the age I am now.

Behind their beautiful smiles, are even more beautiful spirits. So when my daughter told me tonight she went to the counselor yesterday, I was confused. They usually come to me to talk. I definitely don’t have all the answers to everything, but it’s nice to know they see me as an option usually.

She told me the counselor said she is too little to be worrying about such big things. From what I took from it, one of the “big things” is ME. She told me her counselor gave her a rock. It’s called a worry rock, and she’s supposed to carry it with her and put all her worries in it. When asked if there was anyone else that could benefit from such a thing, she told her “My dad could.” So she got me a worry rock, too.

Needless to say, we went back to her house to pick it up tonight. You know why? Because she’s right. I really could use it.

This past Saturday, she asked for some alone time, just her and I. As we looked at books together at the book store she did something I will never forget. She stopped walking next to me, got in front of me, and wrapped her tiny arms around my waist. As she nestled her face against my chest she looked up and told me she loved me. She told me that although I don’t have to, that I spoil her and her sisters. She said something like “You don’t hardly have anything, but you give us everything.” She had tears in her eyes when she said it, the hug was real, and the tears in my eyes I fought back were very real also.

I love the person she is becoming. I love her honesty. I love her innocence. I love her thoughtfulness. I love her beautiful blue eyes almost as much as I love my new worry rock. photo (2)