Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The new(er) role of dad

It takes a village. We’ve all heard the expression and most of us would agree with the sentiment when it comes to raising children. What we often fail to recognize is that the dynamic of the American family is so much different than that of our parents.  When my mom and dad were raising my brother and I, my mom claims that my dad never changed a single  diaper.  Who knows if that's really true…my dad claims to "not remember", but the fact is... even if it isn't true, it isn't far off.  And I know my dad wasn't the only one. That was just the way of things at that time.

Erik with Skye & Spider
Today, however, things have change. The role of the fella in my family is a much more active member of the team on every level.  Let's face it, in today’s family with working moms and dads, and more activities than ever for our children, we all have to pull our weight. Whether that’s carpool or laundry, cooking or emptying the dishwasher (how in the world can it fill up every single day, sometimes twice???!) In order for the wheel to turn, moms and dads have learned to divide and conquer.  And while this mentality did not appear over night, and took quite a few arguments to see eye-to-eye on what it takes to keep this machine working, it’s the only it works for our family & our relationship. 

For example, if I am getting the kids dressed, Erik is packing their lunches.  When I ask for a girls’ night out, he picks a night for hockey.  And although he still asks me to text him the grocery list, he doesn't mind stopping by the store. He’s learning to embrace these tasks.  So anyone who thought that teamwork was just for sports, you missed a lesson. Teamwork is essential to a healthy, happy and thriving home life as well.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Football Sunday

Football Sunday is Family Day.

There are no words to describe how much I LOVE football Sunday.  When I think about why I love it so much, I can only bet it is because Sunday was my only day off from training growing up. It was the day when I could sleep in, be lazy, eat whatever I wanted, and spend some time with my family. And let's face it, there really was no better way to hang out and enjoy the day than to listen to the soothing sounds of Chris Collinsworth and Co. talking a little football.  Growing up in Roseville, CA., I was of course a 49ers girl. The local community college, Sierra College, was only about two miles from my front door, and it was the home of the Niners’ training camp every year during my youth. I LOVED it.  There was nothing funnier to me than watching those big linemen trying to squeeze into the giant inner tubes to float around in the swimming pool. Then see them smash people in the fall.

My husband Erik grew up much the same way, spending Sunday’s watching his favorite team with his family during his time away from the slopes. And he grew up in Hamburg, NY. So to put it mildly, he’s a huge Buffalo Bills fan. I lived in NYC for 10 years, and while it wasn’t upstate New York, I did become quite familiar with all the northeast team. So when we join our lives to become a family, I took Erik and his Bills, “for better or worse”.

Which brings me back to Sundays. To me, and to a lot of families across the country, Sunday has always been about relaxed plans and being with family. That's what football is to me. It brings people together in a very uncomplicated and carefree way. Now that we have a family of our own, we gather around the TV together and cheer as a unit. Last Sunday was the first of many where the entire house was cheering, "Go Bills!" and then later, “Go Niners”! Representing both the AFC & the NFC.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our first gymnastics meet

I don't know what I expected, but up to this point in my life, the only gymnastics that I had witnessed at a meet was at the Olympic level.  Which basically means I saw lots of stress, pressure and tears along with big skills accompanied by big smiles when the scores were good.  So, when my daughter decided to join TEAM gymnastics, I was a bit nervous about what we were getting ourselves into.

Then came the first gymnastics meet.  I tried my best to slick her hair back.  She was very sweet, almost like the mommy, telling me that "I did such a good job".  But then we get to the gym and the girls REALLY have their hair tight and braided and we both immediately knew my styling was not gonna cut the mustard.  From the moment she walked into the team room, she was embraced and loved and encouraged.  I left her at that point, with her coaches and teammates,  and sat out in the crowd to watch and take pictures…attempting to document every single moment.

The girls were adorable.  And I honestly don't where they get the courage to do this stuff in front of everyone.  In swimming, I had my cap and goggles on with my head down.  I was in my own little safe bubble.  I had tears in my eyes watching these 6-year-olds run down for their vault with such determination as each jumped, landed, and turned to beam a smile at the judges.

And the JUDGES.  They were amazing.  They were encouraging the kids every step of the way simply with their attitude.  One vault judge would thank the girls after every turn.  At the end, almost everyone got a ribbon. But it wasn't just a trophy or a medal, it was a ribbon for participating and having the courage to compete which made them feel amazing.  After it was all over, Skye said to me with the biggest smile, "I can't believe I got 9th!!!"

I think she just might be hooked and I don't blame her at all.