Actually, I had no intention of sharing my Father's Day. Not because I didn't want to, but because the idea never occurred to me. But I've decided it's been one of my favorites... as a daughter.
I thought a lot about my Dad this year. I thought about how he feels about being a Dad, about the Dad his Father was. I thought about my childhood, his childhood and everything in between. I thought about the time when I won't have a Father, or he might not have a daughter, because that day will come.
These words have always echoed in my heart...
"Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good."
I have become a bit morbid lately. Death is on my mind like living life is, because when we accept that one day this will all end... then you live more intentionally, more passionately and you have those conversations that you always meant to have, but never got around to.
So I called my Dad the night before Father's day and invited him out to breakfast. Just the two of us. I wanted to be completely present with him. I wanted to have more than a surface conversation.
Then later I visited my Grandpa's grave. It's the first time I've been since he's passed. I went out of respect to my Father. I told the boys stories about Grandpa and they picked nearby flowers (weeds) and mushrooms and placed them on his grave.
I cried for my Dad.
So breakfast rolled around and we sat across from each other. I gave him his gift first. I told him I remembered how he always wanted a huge fish tank, but that I couldn't exactly afford one and this will have to do.
He pulled out a child like painting of a fish under the ocean, the movie Nemo (my Dad loves all movies), and last but not least, a very old photograph of his father hanging telephone lines.
“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” ― Ellen Goodman
I'm going through a phase.
The one where you get rid of a bunch of shit.
Toys, clothes, things... we either love it or need it or it goes. We need this right now. If we're going to homeschool, if I'm going to be healthy, if we're going to be happy- we need this.
When I find myself thinking how I want something, I redirect my thoughts to the things I already have. I chose gratefulness and remind myself that things do not bring me happiness. Such a contrast from the typical American mindset.
It's liberating. The actual letting go part and the mindfulness of choosing experiences over materialism.
But we are struggling with a different type of materialism and that's the fast food, eating out materialism. It's expensive and unhealthy. Thinking about doing a 30 day challenge. I bet I could do it.
“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.”
For whatever reason, death is surrounding our family. Circling us. We have another funeral Monday.
While cleaning I looked up at my 100 year old photograph. The one I bought two summer's ago because it reminded me of Mr. Bentley's photo that he's in twice.
It caught me off guard, and when someone asks about it, I think of you. Your kindness. Your gentleness. The way you made everyone feel like somebody. I think of the last time I saw you and it makes me cry.
I am so happy a new life is growing in my sister. Sweet baby, Aria, you are hope for us all. The reminder that tomorrow is a new day. That the world goes on. That death and life are both very much a part of our lives, and we need to accept death as we accept life.
It is a fact, we will all die one day. I am so happy that my last memory of you is of nothing but kindness and love.
Thinking of you today with a bit of a heavy heart. I know you are happy and at peace, it always came so naturally to you, Olivia
It is chilling to find out the news from an actual person who was effected by the killings today. The video only had two comments at the time and currently a little over 300 views.
Bashar al-Assad dropped a bomb on his own people today, on a school, killing 25 children. I only know this because I saw the comments on Obama's facebook page where people near the attacks are trying to get the word out. I had to translate it to understand, and I saw a video of the children who died. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzyLAj1_MGU)
It is real, and just a week or so ago he used two chemical attacks on his own people. He's doing it to anyone who speaks out against the govt. or who is for reform. Not to mention Syria's presidential election is scheduled for June 3rd.
If the two chlorine attacks are confirmed, then he will have broke the deal brokered by Russia last fall. The agreement halted threats of U.S. military action after Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack in August that killed over 1,400 people.
"There should be no yelling in the home unless, there is a fire."
-David O. Mckay
I remember when I was newly pregnant holding a book in a discount store and thinking to myself "I'm going to be that parent."
You know, the one that doesn't YELL.
The book was called, "Scream Free Parenting."
I read the book from top to bottom and was excited to take on the challenge.
Then I had Jack, and as he slowly got older, I slowly began to yell.
I remember someone telling me, "sometimes you just need to yell."
At the time I brushed her off.
Years later I agreed.
And now I'm pretty solid in the idea that you don't need to yell.
"Words that soak into your ears are whispered -not yelled." -unknown
Even now, I'm picturing a teacher in grade school who would make a hand signal above her head when she wanted us to be quiet. Slowly the room would become quiet as each kid caught on, while I was usually the last one talking... and then I'd notice. No yelling involved. A room full of 15-20 kids quieted without yelling, pretty profound huh? Did it take patience? Oh I'm sure, but after accomplishing her goal I bet it felt so good on the inside.
I remember when I put the book in our garage sale and another mom bought it.
I thought to myself, "good luck" and was happy to see it go.
I'm going through another season in my life. A season where my children yell, and I wish they didn't. A season where I sometimes yell at Joel and I don't like it. A season where I sometimes yell over cries and arguing when it would be better if I just stepped into the middle and took control with my presence and soft voice.
Don't get me wrong I'm not a compulsive yeller. I actually think our house is pretty peaceful, but when my boys fight, when I'm frustrated and I'm tired, I raise my voice, and I don't like that part of me.
I want to be better.
I want to have a more peaceful home, one where my presence is felt, not heard.
It didn't hurt that I read this today when googling "how to stop yelling."
"Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." -Rumi
I think it's a realistic goal, and a good one to strive for.
No yelling for a year.
I sat across from my new friend sipping ginger tea in her kitchen.
Her words came out slowly and sometimes almost in a whisper, and I felt my shoulders relax. I took a deep breath, and somehow her peaceful energy that she let off changed the whole energy in the room.
I didn't know it at the time, but she's a much better listener than I am.
Fast forward a week.
I pulled an old book I use to love off the shelf and put in our bathroom. Anything I want to read occasionally or I'd like Joel to pick up- I put in the bathroom.
Today I read the two page section called "Become a Better Listener." And although I know I've read it before, I didn't see the truth in it like I do today.
"In some ways, the way we fail to listen is symbolic of the way we live. We often treat communication
as if it were a race. It's almost like our goal is to have no time gaps between the conclusion of the sentence of the person we are speaking with and the beginning of our own." -Richard Carlson, Ph. D.
I'm an introvert, and talking to a new friend can be very draining, but not with her. She was slow and thoughtful with her words, something I admired and appreciated. I noticed how it made our conversation deeper in moments and pressure-free.
"Slowing down your responses and becoming a better listener aids you in becoming a more peaceful person. It takes pressure off of you. If you think about it, you'll notice that it takes en enormous amount of energy and is very stressful to be sitting at the edge of your seat trying to guess what the person in front of you (or on the telephone) is going to say so that you can fire back your response. But as you wait for the people you are communicating with to finish, as you simply listen more intently to what is being said, you'll notice that the pressure you feel is off. You'll immediately feel more relaxed, and so will the people you are talking to." -Richard Carlson, Ph. D.
So glad I stumbled onto those two pages :)
Are you a good listener?