Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rock Stars and Airplanes

This blog may be slightly random today. But sometimes you have to go where the wind blows you. It was my cute Dad's birthday on Sunday and I took a selfie of us on a hike and I had a little laugh at his fantastic hair. These days he wears it high and wild. Some of my favorite comments about my Dad's hair include but are not limited to the following:

1) He looks famous - like Keith Richards. But better.

2) Oh - your Rod Stewart's daughter.

3) I think I know why he had a stroke - it's his hair!

He wears this style well and when I look back at the days before his big hair, the flatter version of Dad's do - although nice and appropriate - it is simply disappointing and not nearly as fun. His 'Keith Richards' style got me to thinking about the fact that I even know who Keith Richards is. And Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Roger Daltry, Robert Plant, Eddie Van Halen. Some of the greats. At my kiddo's mountain bike race the other day they were playing, "Just Beat It." I found myself dancing the choreography from Michael Jackson's video and singing the lyrics (with gusto of course). The fellow announcing saw me and gave me the thumb's up and commented that he needed to educate 'the youth' on some of the classic stuff - noting that they most likely didn't know who MJ was (and he was right).

My love of music - particularly rock n' roll came from my mother. She loved her rock n'roll. In fact, when she was in seventh grade, she left her Led Zepplin record album in the hot car and it melted. She was so devastated, she held a funeral for it (and there were others in attendance of course) and buried it in the gully by her junior high school. (Now that is a true appreciation for the classics). She was always blasting it in the car as she shuttled us around (Don Henley - All She Wants to Do Is Dance - "This song was written about me kids!"). She even gave us lessons on the names of the band members and some of their background (often tragic) stories. Funny enough, without even realizing it - I am doing the same thing with my kids. Even funnier still is that I am educating my kids on her generation's music along with my '80's hair band music. Music has played a pivotal role in the evolution of society and quite simply, where would we be without it (Umm, The Beatles anyone?)! Music can bring you out of funk when you are feeling down, energize you for a run, calm an upset spirit and make everybody laugh (this would be when my sweet, tone-deaf husband tries to sing along to Lady Gaga) - what would we do without music? But this isn't where I am going with this post...

Here's the kicker - your kids will pick-up on, learn and be interested in what you are interested in. So choose wisely what you invest yourself in! My older boy has developed a fascination with World War II history from my own passion for that slice of time. I have heard him recite to others stories I have told him. He also will run in from outside to alert me of any military plane or helicopter flying over knowing how much I love aircraft. He also takes a stab at what type of aircraft it is trying to impress me, knowing that I know the answer (that isn't an F-16 it's an F-22 - you can tell from the canted tail and the jet intakes). This is why boys often grow-up and into the profession of their father. Hunting, fishing, fixing cars, reading, camping, traveling - this is all passed down through generations of passionate parents.

Your daily example and interests have a further-reaching impact than you realize. The words you speak, your energy, your enthusiasm (or lack there-of), your habits - all shape those little bodies that cling to you and hang on everything you do and say. And literally - hang on you. Have you noticed that no matter how big of a house you have, you can't escape them - they find you and then they won't go away. Not even in the bathroom is your privacy sacred. No, no, I know this firsthand - I have homework assignments, letters and even food to be un-wrapped slipped under that too-big-of-a-crack under the door. I laughed heartily one morning when a packet of string cheese came scooting under the door to land at my feet. Sigh.

So, here's to Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix, P-51 Mustangs and Chinooks, brownie bites and hikes in the woods with your mini-me's!

And, like grandfather like grandson - the only difference is Preston wakes up with his hair fantastically awesome. My dad has to fuss and finesse to get his rock star look.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Keep Close to Your Kiddo's

I went in for a mammogram yesterday (yuck) and while I was sitting in the waiting room, I read a brief article on Daymond John (do you ever watch Shark Tank?); it was pretty fascinating. I deducted a few things from the relatively short article:

- Talent and determination can be taught, but it is definitely an inherent blessing

- The strength of the relationship with your family is monumental in shaping the decisions you make

- Imagination is something to always be cultivated

Now, he didn't actually say one darn thing about imagination, but I personally believe that it is a big piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle. You have to have vision. And then of course that talent and determination will help that vision come to fruition. Mark Cuban said one night in the shark tank: "Everyone tells you how they are going to be special, but few do the work to get there. Do the work." It's the doing that allows the creation. But the quote from this article with Daymond John that stuck out to me the most was this:

"When the crack cocaine epidemic hit, it changed the neighborhood." Many of his friends were pulled into drugs and crime, but, "I had a great relationship with my mom," he says. "I couldn't let her down."

I've had a therapist tell me time and again that the transfer of values from parents to kids doesn't happen if there isn't a strong relationship built on love, trust and respect. I was astounded that Daymond John avoided the drug mess in his neighborhood - where I'm sure he had a smattering of friends fall to prey to - because he couldn't let his mom down. It made me wonder and reflect on my relationship with my kids and if by no other conviction or moral belief they personally had, they would avoid something messy because they couldn't let me down.

I keep trying to think of what other pearl of wisdom I have to share at this point, but the truth is, I'm feeling my way through this maze of bringing up happy, healthy kids just as much as the next mom. I do try to always take inventory of various situations that arise in a day's time and see where I was strong and where I was weak so that when the opportunity comes again, I can handle it better. I want my kids to have that same take - life isn't about being perfect, it's about practice, progress. And even if I do take a few steps back, there is always going to be tomorrow, or the next hour, or a next time. Always.

Here's a great thought - take your kiddo's out on a one-on-one date each month, on the day of their birthday. So, if they were born on the 3rd, you go on a date with them on the 3rd of each month. And then one night a week, have a family night where you play games, go to a movie, go for a hike, or even do a service project. Those memories will knot you closer together and last a life time. Even the bad ones - those are the ones we tend to laugh at most. Employ and enjoy.