Darling, You Can Do Hard Things

The bedroom door was closed. As I approached, prepared to gently knock as I opened the door, I could hear her sobbing. It was my little girl, Andie. My 7 year old heroine was not having a good morning. She told me that she was upset because she was going to miss Amanda and I, as she was going to be away for the next week. Earlier in the morning, Amanda had to console her because she was having difficulty making up her bed. Yesterday, Andie had a bout of tears because her breakfast biscuit was too hot, and she was afraid that she would not have time to eat it before camp. None of these things were true. Andie was not upset about made beds, missing family, or hot biscuits. The tears coming out of my little girls eyes are tears of determination, combined with a bit of fear, as well as the anxiety that comes with trying something new. I hate to see my daughter cry, everyone does. But at the end of the day, I would not trade the character traits that are associated with her tears for anything in this world.

Andie Kate attends summer camp at the YMCA. A couple of times per week the campers have “swim day” where they get to play on the slides and in the pool at the local Y. Each camper must take a swim test so that the counselors may assign them a color based on their mastery of swimming. Green, yellow, and red are the colors, and I think the system sounds great. Andie is just learning to swim and received a “red” on her swimming test. It sounded like she panicked and was afraid to jump in the water when it came time to be reviewed (I feel as if most of us know what it’s like to be afraid to jump into something new and different). With the “red” score she received, she must stay in about 1′ of water while wearing a life vest, the duration of swim day. Well lemme tell you, she is none too happy about this set of circumstances.

I need you to know that I love this little girl. I love this little girl, not only because she is my little girl, but because I have so much respect for her. She is an excellent teacher who leads by example. She is encouraging, uplifting, and has the best attitude for just enjoying life and “taking it all in stride”. Another thing I love about Andie is this, she is ANDIE. She doesn’t need or ask permission to be who she is. She has her reasons for doing or wanting certain things, and feels little need to justify her reasoning. She is really a piece of work. She is pretty and polite, and very,very sweet, but inside there is that fire. What I appreciate most about her internal fire is that she feels the need to keep it stoked, solely for herself. When Andie decides she wants to do something, she doesn’t bring the world into it. She squares her shoulders, she lowers her head, and she gets to work. It’s a quality that comes with it some tears of frustration, some tears of fear, and misplaced emotions… but it also brings results and fulfillment. I’m so excited to watch her grow up.

As we left the house and headed off to camp this morning, Andie was still reeling, emotionally. We talked it out, and she decided to tell me that her desire to re-take the swim test is what had her bent outta shape. My 10 year old son Grayson, and I tried to throw out some positives and get a laugh, but she was pretty upset and fixated on the swim test. We talked about her potential and the heights that she could soar. I discussed with her how I have watched her tirelessly practice at her art, or skip-jump, or round-off. We discussed the picture, which was hung in her room just last night that reads, “Darling, You Can Do Hard Things.” As I did my best to nurture her condition, I threw out an option that I immediately felt guilty for suggesting, but her reaction to it, I will never forget. I said,

“Baby, you don’t have to take the test if it scares you that bad.”

My little girls head snapped upward toward me, while her hair shifted across her face. She looked equally confused as she did angry. Her eyes immediately dried and her brow furrowed with equal parts frustration, surprise, and disappointment that I would even lay this option on the table. She was insulted. What she said was,

“No way. If I don’t take the test, then I have to stand there, in like hardly any water, wearing a life vest… and that’s not gonna happen.”

But that is not what I heard. What I gathered from the look on her face and the tone in her voice said to me,

“Daddy, what you got doo-doo for your brains? I ain’t fixin to let this get the better of me. Now, it sucks that I am so afraid of this, but it’s not gonna stop me from trying. Nothing stops me from trying when I want something. Don’t give me the option to sit out of the sport of life, when you know I’m a competitor.”

I have had a smile plastered to my face all morning at just the thought of my little girls determination. I have so much to learn, and she has so much to teach me. I am not sure if she will go through with re-taking the swim test, and I’m not sure that they will allow her to, but I do know that what she has inside her will be nurtured and encouraged. To see a young girl who was so filled with fear, yet so willing to go through with her goal, is something that I feel fortunate to be a part of. It reminds me that fear is part of the gig. If there is no fear, there is no fun. I don’t want to stand ankle high in life’s kiddie pool, wearing a life vest to ensure that I’m 100% safe. There are ladders to climb, slides to go down, and deep blue waters available to refresh my soul. I have spent my morning thinking about what dreams and goals I am scoring “green”, and which ones am I suppressing to “yellow”, or even “red”. I want to know what that thing is that just popped into your head, how quickly you are going to stuff and have us both pretend that it’s not there, or when you are going to spit it out, take a step forward, and go down the water slide. I hope everyone has a good day, a nice weekend, and an overall fruitful life.

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Happy Birthday Dad

An open letter to my father on his birthday…

It has almost been 35 years since I have known you. A father is said to be the first man in a daughter’s life, the first man to show her what love is. He is her superhero, her king. I’m thankful that you made me learn from teaching me how to walk to teaching me how to deal with life, you have always taught me how to stand on my feet. You not only protected me but also taught me how to defend myself when you’re not around.

You have always been there whenever I needed you or even when I don’t. You always stood beside me, smiling proudly and making me feel good about myself. You were always there as a father, as a best friend with whom I can confide almost everything- my fears, my mistakes, my successes, my failures and you always listened and guided me while dancing in my joys and being a pillar of support in my hard times.

I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me as you’ve guided and loved me through my life. From the very beginning you taught me the importance of family, trust and love. You’ve taught me to value myself and to value others. You have taught me again and again to never give up and to follow my dreams. When I used to be sick or scared you would stay with me and pray with me. You taught me to laugh and to use my imagination. You shared your stories and always let me make up my own mind. You have helped me to become who I am today through all the love and faith you have provided and all the amazing lessons you have taught.

You made every birthday and holiday perfect and special, just by bringing the family together.

Dad, you will always be my best friend, my greatest mentor, my motivation and my deepest roots. Your perpetual belief in my limitless potential empowers me every single day.

On your birthday, Dad, I give you my word that I will fearlessly chase my dreams. I will never give up and I will never back out from what I believe in. I will do the right things for the right reasons with my treasure of determination. Today because of you, I have become the role model in my son’s eyes who believes that his mother can fix any problem in life.

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Memories of a Loved One Are Something That Can Be Treasured and Replayed in Your Mind at Will

Emotional energy can bring about a powerful ability to release comfort and ease. Recollections of friends and relatives, if done in a healthy way, can be a peaceful release and powerful flow of reminiscent energy to draw comfort to yourself, during the bleak or sadder times in life. Or, to invoke a memory, or a fleeting moment of pleasure, even if only in your mind; do it for your own selfish pleasure; allow yourself to connect to your more spiritual memories and apply your intellect to remember the lessons or words that gave you happiness in your heart or inner peace in your soul, when you seek it the most.

Relatives and friends are a unique thread, by our emotional connection to them, or in our current life, shared joy and life experiences. I connect more, to my relatives, that were in my environment, as a child, the most. YOU can recognize us, by our bright-red foreheads that we get, when we are feeling flush,or by rosy, red cheeks, that we display when we are feeling feverish or ill. And most of all, by the little sounds and quips, that we utter, or when we repeat something extremely funny that my dad said or did.

When my dad was alive and well, I enjoyed listening to him, telling me jokes, always feeding my mind with wise antidotes and talking about adventures. Dad was a real joker,and would not let a conversation go by without getting you to chuckle and release such loud bursts of laughter that you always had to cover your mouth, with both hands, fearing that your bursts of laughter would bring stares and unwanted attention. In his presence, I really felt loved and treasured. I chuckled and humbly agreed and really do miss being in my dad’s company…

Dad always spoke candidly and honestly to me, that’s probably what I miss the most, the love, honesty and humor of my father. If dad gave you a gleaming look in his eye, you knew that extended laughter would soon ensue.

One day we were out driving on a very busy highway, in route to the airport. When he spoke about the car driving in front of him on the 405 Freeway in California, rush hour after 5:00 P.M on a weekday, you knew that a tale, or comical joke was soon forthcoming. DAD just made me laugh so hard I had to contain my stomach muscles securing a hearty belly laugh, driving in L.A (Los Angeles) traffic, of course, is so bad,infuriating that something comical would usually transpire, we had to make a lane change, because the driver ahead was placing us in danger, I knew my dad would react to the stress, until we got the opportunity to switch to another lane. A man going 35 on the fast lane,was tying up the already congested traffic, during the busy rush hour, so dad would do a much calculated, methodical, yet quick lane change, and get in front of this slow driver and start driving 10 miles per hour.( Not at all what I expected him to do), I said dad, “that was terrible,” and dad said,” I know, but there are bad drivers like that – that don’t belong on the busy freeway, or anywhere, and sometimes ya just gotta laugh about life, and make a stressful situation fun!” “Gotta let things Go,” Hurt no one, and laugh at silly things that are outta your control!”

That’s what I miss the most in my life, having a really cool dad! LOVE YOU DAD.. He would never laugh at me when I presented him with my hand-written songs and poetry. Everyone has a friend or relative that they resonate with on a higher level of spiritual intellect and understanding. There are so many opportunities to share your truth and powerful, energy exchange if you take the time to discover the people that surround you, or are open, and willing to allow yourself to get to know them better.

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