The Bike Ride

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I rode my bike home from work twice last week. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for several years, but was afraid to try. The route home includes driving alongside very busy traffic and crossing two freeway ramps. But I (finally) conquered my fears and did it!

While riding, I couldn’t help but see how riding a bike home was analogous to life: there are choices you make that send you off (literally) on a different path. Every bit of the way, you make choices:

  • smile or don’t smile at those you encounter;
  • appreciate nature (or don’t);
  • follow the rules/laws (or take dangerous risks);
  • breathe and enjoy the journey OR stress and rush to get to your destination

All journeys (literal and figurative) share a common theme: It’s beneficial to look ahead and do a little planning (to be prepared), but most pleasant and constructive to be fully present.

It is rarely helpful to look back.

 

 

 

 

Dear Ms.K., Thank You for Giving My Daughter Detention

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Dear Ms. K.,

I want to thank you for giving my daughter detention today. Per our previous email, you informed me that she has been late to your class every day for several days. This baffled me, as I drop her off an hour early and you are her first class of the day. After several warnings, you emailed me to let me know that should she be late again, she would get detention. I assured you she would not repeat that mistake.

But of course, I cannot guarantee the actions of anyone besides myself.

After confronting her, she hurriedly assured me she learned her lesson. She explained that she gets hungry and her friend meets her to bring her food. Her friend is not always so quick.

Oh, are we blaming our friend?

No, no. It’s not her fault. Mom, it won’t happen again!

I try to give my daughter freedom within strict guidelines. A  “C” in a class at any time means her cell phone gets confiscated until the grade goes up. How she operates within her hours and activities is up to her.

When I remind her to make time for breakfast in the mornings and to pack a snack, I am met with heavy sighs. She is too busy styling her hair and applying makeup to worry about breakfast.

So it happened again today. She didn’t eat breakfast. She got hungry and met her friend. She was late to your class. And, as you promised, she will now have to serve detention – one hour after school tomorrow.

In the car, she was shaken. She’s never had this kind of consequence from a teacher before.

“It’s my fault. I got hungry. I didn’t pack any snacks or eat breakfast. It’s my responsibility. I will pack food the night before.”

I wanted to lecture  her and reinforce the lesson. I wanted to voice my dismay and disappointment. Instead, I said, “I am very proud of you for taking responsibility for this and not blaming anyone.”

Thank you, Ms. K., for doing the right thing. You are helping my daughter develop character and responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of Pastries and Pity

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Ava’s doughnut, minus the tax.

Willey and I teach our girls life lessons. Here are a few examples:

  1. Beware of insecure people. They lack self-love and thus, have no love to  give to you.
  2. Cheap shoes are never worth the savings.
  3. Cheap razors, however, are a wise choice. They are disposable for a reason.

And a biggie:

Taxes are painful and  unavoidable. I illustrate this lesson kinesthetically using doughnuts. Here’s how it goes:

Ava gets her doughnut. She wordlessly hands it to me.

“Tax,” I proclaim, as I take a big bite.

I hand it back to her.

She eats the rest.

As in life, taxes are especially bitter when taken out of your bonus check.

To drive this home, Willey will take tax out of their steak dinners or fancy pasta dishes when we go out. If hangry, the girls are driven nearly to tears.

Hey, it’s for their own good.

“Tough love,” I think they call it.

What’s on the Menu?

I’m asked how the girls are taking the impending surgery. Here are their words:

June 12, 2010

-My mom is having surgery on Tuesday. I’m a little bit frightend but mommy said she would be alright. So, Ava and I have made a little menu for my mom with all different food and drinks when she’s in her bed. Her friends and our relletivs are coming over and helping us. I’m going to miss mommy. But when she’s up and around were going to play lots of board games and do math puzzles .My mom has done so much for me in the past that I’m not going to realy be used to all these people being with me.

Josie 🙂

June 12, 2010

My mom is having surgery on Tuesday.

I gave her my zu zu pet  so she could  press the nose  and it would make a noise so we could come running to her. We made a menu for her so she could pick what food she wanted. If  needed anything  more she would tell us.  There was coffee on the menu.  Diet coke, water, and  many other things. I feel a little scared because my mom is having surgery. But my mom is always brave.  I will have quit violin for a  little while.  But till my mom gets better we have to go back to violin.

Ava

I am grateful for the amazing outpouring of love, support and encouragement I am receiving from friends and family near and far, and from complete strangers I have met online via friends. It makes me want to be a better person.

I’m asked,”What do you think you are supposed to learn here?” Although I believe everything happens for a reason, I don’t think I have led a life of unhealthy habits I need to ameliorate, nor have I sustained any toxic relationships. I don’t think this is a wake up call, because there is no place in my life where I need to realign my actions to suit my goals. I do, however, feel a renewed sense of appreciation for people in general, for the importance of health and responsibility. I always considered myself to be a strong person, but  I’m having my mom sew a giant “S” on a blue nylon shirt after my recovery. Willey is making the cape.

On Friday, I had a 9am appointment with my plastic surgeon and a “check engine” light came on in my car.  My first thought was, “On top of everything….my classes, and my surgery … my car now?”  I was in Scottsdale and wondered if it was safe to drive. I completed my appointment (they took the “before” pictures and had me sign papers acknowledging all the risks of surgery, including infection, asymmetry, the need for more surgery, etc.).  Suddenly, I felt as if I was  being challenged. Someone or something was testing me to see when I would break. I will not break!

So I go home, find a mechanic with great reviews online, pack Josie’s swimsuit and towel, go to the mechanic, learn I have to go to a different mechanic sometime next week (it’s probably the o2 sensor), pick up the girls from summer school, drop Josie off to her playdate, have a date with Ava at the mall, go home, make dinner, get ready to go out with some friends and chat with the husband before I leave.  I had a wonderful evening talking and laughing with a group of strong, beautiful women.

I’m ready.


“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”  John Lennon