For all my indoor cat tendencies, I do like to plant a vegetable garden each year. With summer vacation a short half day away on Tuesday, the girls will be helping me more this year.
Forget about getting a puppy or other pet to teach kids responsibility, planting a garden is a much cheaper and just as effective way to teach kids long lasting life lessons: planning, prepping, growing, waiting. Really, if I could just work in flash cards….
In the book, Outdoor Kids in an Inside World, Steve Rinella has a chapter on the lessons families can learn from gardening. Like the best advice, it doesn’t need much space:
Through our actions, we have the power to make things thrive.
Neglect is deadly.
Sort of applies to a bountiful garden or…being a good parent.
It was a harrowing trip but we made it into New York City yesterday and enjoyed the Whitney, browsing The Strand, warm bowls of ramen, and seeing Moulin Rouge on Broadway.
Okay, none of that happened. The birthday getaway weekend did not go according to plan, but the girls brought the energy, there was cake, a nap, and I stayed in my pajamas all day. A pretty good birthday nonetheless.
We are coming up on report card and conference season and this is just a reminder to myself not to get distracted. Easier said than done. Life has a way of filling any empty space with opportunities, responsibilities, competition, glitter. It can consume us.
So this is a reminder to myself: keep the main thing, the main thing. This might be different for every family or individual but for me, as a Dad, it’s not to lose sight of the main job: raising well-adjusted, self-reliant, decent, happy kids. It’s not hitting benchmarks, or a certain GPA, or college.
The main thing is for them to be healthy, have good values, and have a good sense of who they are and what they want to spend their life on.
Everything else is secondary. Nice, but not necessary.
P.S., The main main thing, of course, is to love them and to love them while we can. I don’t generally need a reminder of that.
It was Michelle’s birthday yesterday and I was thinking about time. And the lessons we can learn from kids and the lessons we can teach them.
Birthdays to the young are huge and momentous. They are anticipated and planned with all the focus and energy we wish they’d put into learning new math.
For parents, our birthdays are…maybe not as special. We’ve been through it all so many times before.
A parent’s relationship with time is different. Kids have such a limited sense of time. They can be arrogant about time just through sheer ignorance. But adults can also be too dismissive because we are just too comfortable.
Maybe we can help each other appreciate it. Not to wish away minutes in a rush to get older and not to simply let it slip from our grasp.
I had a birthday this week. And parenting didn’t stop. This is a job with no end. Moms and Dads are always on the clock. But you can’t lose yourself either. Age is not a barrier and we can’t use being a parent as an excuse. Just the opposite. My life may have gotten re-priortized but it didn’t stop when I became a Dad.
I know the girls are always watching (unless I’m talking about the benefits of flash cards). I need to keep growing, too. I won’t give up my interests but rather keep trying to teach with them. Who else is going to make me pizza and muffins in my old age?
We went to see Elf with friends (Happy Birthday, Ty!) at a rented movie theater this week. It was a great time and spoiled ever going to a theater with strangers again. It also meant that Ally had plenty of sugar after 7 p.m. Her appetite for candy and desserts has been well documented here. She was a hyper Christmas pixie by the time we made it home. Her contagious silliness infected her sister. It was time for bed but they only had mischief on their minds. Giggling, fighting, laughing. Thank god the glitter was out of reach.
It was late. I was ready to pack it in. This was definitely not time for a rumpus. I was teetering on the verge of shutting it down by parental decree (i.e., yelling) and yet…a question popped into my mind instead: who has it better?
Nobody. Nobody has it as good as your own family. It’s a mad, mad world out there right now. Hang on tight to those dear to you. Lean into that craziness. Try to enjoy it. Continue Reading
We’ve been lucky, in one sense, during this pandemic that both Michelle and I like to cook, but we hit a wall this week. Through convenience or curiosity, we gave up and just threw everything in the borrowed air fryer. It became a challenge by the end of the week.
Here’s the list of things we loaded up and answered the question: “Will it air fry?”
Chickpeas (perfect and crunchy), pickles (eh), grilled cheese (yup), apple fritters (so good), salmon and broccoli together (yes, excellent sheet pan-style dinner), arancinis (italian riceball croquettes – pretty good), chicken nuggets (duh), tofu (not bad), fries (of course), sweet potatoes (double cooked worked best), s’mores (surprisingly good), tots (made for this), burritos, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and cod.