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Father's Day

There's a lot of love here

If the best gift a father can receive is to see his child(ren) happy, then I got a Lexus-in-the-driveway-type gift this weekend (the eggs benedict breakfast and blueberry scones, lovingly prepared by Dinka and Veronika, were just the bow on top). I saw more smiles and heard more laughter in two days than anyone could reasonably expect in a month. These are the kinds of weekends that make the longest work-weeks possible, the kind that keep me up as I'm trying to get to sleep, smiling and remembering Veronika's face when she came running to me after getting off the amusement park motorcycles or watching a smile creep across Ivan's face as he recognized my voice and found my face in the morning. I feel so lucky just to be a part of these people's lives and they want to thank me? Please.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. I wish you all the happiness and inspiration that I felt this weekend. If you find yourself inexplicably moving mountains tomorrow, you'll know that this wish came true.

June 18, 2006

Great Expectations

The degree to which my weekends are successful is based largely on two factors: 1) my willingness to accept the reality of my situation in the moment, and 2) how malleable I am when faced with these facts. In the past couple of weeks, I have learned the hard way that there are certain insurmountable obstacles that one should not challenge: mastitis, Mother Nature, the will of a toddler (in some situations!), the hunger of a baby, the impossibility of smoking baby back ribs with anything less than a smoker, etc. I have two choices when faced with such situations: forge ahead with a scary determination to accomplish my agenda (I will fly this kite!), only to inevitably fall apart upon failure; or, adapt, make the best of the situation and salvage what free time I have left with my family. The choice sounds simple, right? Well, it is much easier to recognize this when mourning a lousy weekend after the fact than in the heat of the moment. It's not a matter of lowering expectations but of recognizing the motivation for those expectations and being willing to get there another way.

Yesterday I was walking out to my car to go to work, in the rain, carrying my computer, my lunch, a bottle of water, a mug of orange juice, a cinnamon roll, a CD and my keys. You all can see the disaster coming, but I was too worried about getting things done and could not. I dropped the juice not once but twice, which rocketed me into my morning commute in a rage. Eventually I cooled down enough to realize how stupid it was to needlessly carry so much. It's the same with weekends and day-to-day life. Every once in a while (usually prompted by frustration, unfortunately) I need to stop and ask myself why I'm carrying so many things that will only make me unhappy. And things get dropped, like time with my family, and I take it out on them, like that stainless steel mug of orange juice that flew in a tremendous arc across the parking lot yesterday morning.

So this weekend I press reset once again, bring what's important close to me, drop everything else and see how far I can make it.

June 03, 2006