Greetings friends and family,
On Friday we will no longer have young children in our house. As near as I can tell, this term young children refers to kids between the age of 3-5. The stage in between toddler and kid. Easton and Layla turn six this coming Friday. Kendra and I are excited for them to be six and shocked that we have kids this old. Families who have 4 or 10 kids go through each stage of life a few times along with the blessings and challenges that come with them. For us, we get one shot. This is it for us. I fully realize the magnitude of what that means. I make the most of every opportunity because we only get to experience this once.
If you were able to go to Disneyland for a week, but you knew this was the only time you would ever go there, I'm certain it wouldn't be difficult to get your mind right about treasuring every moment. However, if you live next to Disneyland and go there every month, then your mind would be much less engaged. That's the way Kendra and I are with the twins.
Layla's nail-biting habit is kicked. Hopefully for good. I've been baiting her with the promise I will paint her nails when she lets them grow. Instead of saying, "stop biting your nails" I say, "when you let them grow, I'll paint them whatever colors you like." It's a subtle difference, but focusing on the good and right and positive always leads to longer lasting and better results than pointing out bad behavior.
She held up her end of the bargain. Every few days she fans her fingers out in front of my face and waits for me to notice her nails growing. For the first few weeks she continued to bite them, but would still look for my words of affirmation. I obliged and congratulated her on letting them grow. Then she started to believe she could have finger nails that were long enough to paint. From there it was just a matter of a few weeks before her nails were long enough to paint.
We headed to the master bath where nail polish is kept. I stood her up on the bathroom counter and she selected the colors of her choice.
It's amazing what kids can do when they are properly guided. Now we just need to figure out how to get her to stop peeing in her pullups at night. One thing at a time...
Her passion for figure skating is growing. We went an hour before lessons to take advantage of the free rink time. I asked if she wanted me to join her on the ice. She said, "no thanks, Dad. I made friends and they'll want to skate with me."
Well... ok. i can handle rejection from a five-year-old. I expected to fall behind friends as a priority, but not this soon! She went out on the ice and met some new girls. They are really good skaters. Layla learned more in 30 minutes of trying to keep up with a group of girls playing follow the leader than she had in the previous 3 group lessons. I was a little concerned she might get frustrated because of her lack of speed and technique to keep up, but she did great. Her will power and strength were enough to keep up. She's having the time of her life out there.
I took the twins for a hike on South Mountain one evening. The weather is perfect and I don't want to miss these chances to build up their trail legs. The two of them were behind me for a short few moments. I pointed the camera at them, but Layla was already sprinting ahead because she likes to lead so much. Easton is getting tougher all the time. We hiked for over an hour and his attitude about it was super. Towards the end we passed a group of hikers and one guy said, "how's it going" as a standard friendly greeting. Easton said, "My legs are pooped out!" They all laughed with us as Easton smiled knowing he made a funny.
The altitude of this trip wasn't very high, but we still had a few places to overlook the city and get a Godly view of it.
We don't have a dog. I don't want a dog. However, the twins have always loved being around animals. This is why we went over to our friend's house. They have a new Razor's Edge pit bull puppy. The twins pet him, were licked in the face with puppy breath, and gave him treats for shaking hands. Then we went home to our wonderful dog hair-free home. It's the best of both worlds. I'm planning to wait until the twins are 8 before getting a dog, but they keep asking regularly.
Other fathers told me the normal amount of time a parent holds off getting a pet from the time kids want it is 3 years. That timer is coming up quickly.
Layla's bedtime routine always includes a song. Every few days she requests Clark Richard's song, "Red Robin". I only sing the first two verses and then shut it off. I do this because the last verse is tough for me to make it through without crying. This week she's been asking to hear the whole song so I obliged with predictable results. The first two verses I get through fine, but this last one hits me in the chest too hard for me to sing all the way through. I have enough vocal control to explain that I cry because I love her so much and I'm happy to have her as my daughter.
If time could only give me
A moment to reflect
To smile on all that has been
to treasure what is left
Though I won’t always be here
This you surely know
That I’ll quietly spot you
Anywhere you go
And when we are apart remember it is not the end
You know enough to know we’ll meet again
I’ll be waiting by the gate
Standing just inside
Til I know you’ve made it home all right
til I know you’ve made it home all right
Tears slide down to the end of my nose as I lean over her. She wipes them off with her blankie and says, "I know you will always be here for me. I don't ever want to move away or get married." That is music to my ears! although, I'm sure that tune will change in time. I assure her as often as possible that I will always be here for her and will never leave her.
Crying doesn't always equal vulnerability, but I know too many guys who avoid both and miss out on these moments. The word "stoic" will never be used by Easton or Layla to describe me. That's refreshing and a measure of my success as a father.
And now for some boring stuff about Kendra and I... We are one month away from leading a two-day conference at church. This will be the biggest event and opportunity either of us have ever had in the church world. we are writing a reference manual / workbook, developing the speaking points, delivering the messages, and coordinating the event. This normally would take 15 people or so to pull it off, but because this is the first time for our church to go through it, Kendra and I took on the entire burden from start to finish.
i'm really proud of what we've accomplished so far and can't wait to see what comes from this in the future. The next 4 weeks are going to be nutty. crazy. chaotic. maybe even maddening at times. It's just a short season though and we can do anything for a few weeks.
Just keep swimming...
See you soon!