This is one of the most beautiful blog posts I’ve ever read. I completely admit that I never expected to read something so meaningful from a Dad. If you don’t follow this dad’s blog, you should. This post made me cry over my morning coffee, and made me feel more validated in five minutes, than I have in the last 10 years.
I have been following Shannon Kaiser on social media for a year now…I am envious of her and her ability to love all aspects of her life. She radiates positivity and gratitude. I’ve often wondered how the heck she does it, even though I read her books and articles, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and of course facebook.
Today she shared her secret “Happiness Sauce”…it’s crazy simple and something I am bound and determined to incorporate into my life in 2015. Check out her video, it’s short, sweet, and to the point! My word for this year is “Finish”, what’s yours?
The house is quiet and it’s the weekend, so I’m cruising fb and some blogs while enjoying my morning coffee. There seems to be a common “Santa Thread” this year. The one that refers to anything and everything about stockings and reindeer and the big guy (Santa) getting all the credit instead of the parents who do all the work. I also love how much more seriously moms take this job than dads…because you know, we women can’t do anything without giving 110%!
So here’s my Santa story…and the birth of a new tradition.
I was raised with the simple belief that Santa is magical. After all, how could one man make and deliver toys to every kid, all over the world if he wasn’t? Santa visited my mom’s house and left things in stockings up until three years ago (I should probably mention, I’m 39…don’t judge…you’d still let your mom stuff your stocking too if you could!). The tradition had always been we spent Christmas Eve with my moms side of the family and Christmas day with my dads side of the family (no, their not divorced, as a matter of fact, they will be celebrating 42 years next month). It always just seemed to make sense to spend the night on Christmas Eve, because let’s face it, my mom is an amazing cook and as a mom, nothing beats a hot meal…especially one you don’t have to cook and my mom makes the most amazing Christmas breakfasts!
When my daughter was born, I become Santa. When she turned three, she asked why Santa hadn’t put anything in Grammie and Papa’s stockings! They were really good and Santa must have forgot them! So then I became Santa for everyone…Grammie, Papa, T (that’s how my daughter said Auntie), Sammy (the dog…and of course he had a stocking), her and of course myself. My mom…knowing that money was tight (I was a single mom until my daughter turned 10), suggested we all play Santa, this way no one had to spend too much. My sister even got in on the deal and it was even better, because each stocking was gifted by THREE Santa’s!
I raised my daughter with the same belief that my mom raised us with. Santa is magic and if you don’t believe…you don’t receive. That simple. Santa. Is. Magic. This negates any type of conversation you have to have with your kids because the answer to any and all Santa related questions is “Santa is magic”.
So, last year…2013…my daughter learned the truth. While shopping with her at a store, I came across a great deal on these cups my kids had been wanting. My daughter was busy looking at things so I slipped them in the cart under some clothes and kept shopping. When we got to the register, I distracted her with something (to be honest, I don’t remember what) so she wouldn’t see the cups. When we got home, I volunteered to bring in all the bags from our shopping trip. My daughter has carried in enough bags to know this never happens so she took advantage of it and ran into the house without looking over her shoulder. Smart kid.
Christmas Eve, we tucked all four kids into bed and gave them their goodnight kisses and went downstairs to “watch TV”. After waiting the required hour for everyone to get out of bed for a drink of water, use the bathroom and talk to their brother/sister, their bedrooms fell quiet…time for operation Santa. We stuffed stockings. In our house, Santa doesn’t get the credit for all the cool things we bust our asses for all year long. He leaves small gifts and trinkets that are NEVER wrapped. Let’s face it…Santa is really busy! My husband and I collapsed into bed after cleaning up all the Target, Wal-Mart, and Five Below bags, making sure there was no visible evidence of Santa’s visit…other than the stuffed stockings, cookie crumbs and an empty milk cup.
At the crack of dawn, we heard them rise…they ran to each others rooms waking each other up, and ran down the stairs to get their stockings. Squeals of joy and laughter could be heard…until my daughter got to the cup. While my other three children continued going through their goodies, I heard the footsteps…or should I say the stomping of very angry 13 year coming down the hallway. My 13 year old daughter came marching into our bedroom…straight up to my side of the bed and sobbed “HOW COULD YOU!” Now, I’ve been preparing for this for a while because let’s face it…kids blab to each other about Santa not being “real” at a pretty early age. The only reason the illusion had lasted so long for my daughter was because Santa doesn’t wrap presents, put them under the tree, or spend lots of money. That’s mom and dad’s job!
I pulled back the covers and told her to lower her voice and hop in bed to cuddle with me. She very reluctantly got in and laid there…with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
“You lied to me mom! You said Santa is real!”
“Honey, what have I always said about Santa?”
“He’s magic, but you lied, because he’s not real, YOU’RE SANTA!”
“No, that’s not what I’m talking about…how have I told you Santa is able to deliver gifts to kids all over the world in one night?”
“Magic, but I guess that’s not real either!”
“Magic is real…but only if you believe in it. What have I always said about Santa and who he really is?”
“The spirit of Christmas.”
“Exactly. Anyone who believes in magic and the spirit of Christmas has a Santa in their heart!”
“Wait…So does that mean I’m Santa too?”
“YES!” (at this point my husband was snickering so hard to himself he had to cover it up by “coughing”).
I won’t bore you with the rest of the conversation or all the details, but suffice it to say, my daughter has created a new tradition in our home because of this. I am still playing the role of Santa, but because she is young and doesn’t have kids, she has decided she is one of Santa’s elves.
This year, Santa and her secret elf did the stocking shopping. It was an awesome opportunity and I embraced it and held on for dear life. My 14 year old actually wanted to spend time with me!!!! We found just the right stocking stuffers for her and her sister, as well as the boys. She took into consideration things like not giving her and her sister candy with caramel because of their braces…and the fact they aren’t “little kids” anymore. My teens got cool pens they’d been wanting, and new neon lacrosse socks…you know, Things that mom and dad would never buy!
This year when the kids…well, teens and one tween got up (they all conspired and set their alarms for 5:45 am), it was one of the best Christmas mornings ever. Santa’s elf had scored with the stocking stuffers and made all four of the kids happy. There was awe, laughter, candy wrappers and happy kids throughout the house. Our new tradition was a huge success and I look forward to it already next year.
Enjoy your kids…and the time you have with them because you are raising them to be amazing people!
Hi all! I am extremely lucky to have been introduced to a 10-year-old Australian blogger who, for the sake of her privacy, goes by Fluro Zebra or FZ. Although she is dealing with difficult circumstances, I have no doubt that her positivity and desire to help others will work wonders for her recovery process. Check out FZ’s biography below:
A LITTLE INFO ABOUT THE FLURO ZEBRAThe Fluro Zebra, otherwise known as FZ, is a 10-year-old Australian girl who is living with chronic pain. At nine years old, FZ injured her left foot, which resulted in a nervous system dysfunction and has caused her to live in pain, every moment of every day since. Unable to walk or to withstand any normal stimuli touching her foot (even so much as a gentle breath would cause her screaming pain), FZ was formally diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and has had…
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WOW! These are great points!
1. You ascribe intent.
Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.
Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.
2. You’re the star of your own movie.
It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.
You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.
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So today I decided to test the magical ring I bought from EndorphinWarrior.com by going on a bicycle ride with daughter #2. Magical ring? Let me explain.
I am a morbidly obese mother of four. In my mind, I am still 135 pounds and unstoppable. In reality, by body is in ruins. I have chronic pain and crepitation in many of my joints and more “Mom stripes” (aka; stretch marks) than a pack of zebra on the Serengeti. I have come to realize a lot of things recently. One of which is that just because I buy something doesn’t mean it’s going to magically start working. I have purchased many “weight loss” items over the last 20 years. Diet pills, memberships to gyms and weight loss groups, books, DVD’s, exercise equipment, food, shoes, clothes, etc. It took 20 years for my epiphany. I actually have to USE these items or they don’t work! They are simply tools in my shop. I actually have to pick them up and use them in order for them to do their job.
Like so many other people, I was moved to tears and inspired by the Arthur Boorman video that went viral ( http://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448 ). Here was someone who was ready to lay down and wait for death, but instead found a means to survive. We had things in common. Both of us are veterans. Both of us were/are overweight. Both of us were/are depressed. Both of us struggled with injuries. Both of us are every day people. He struggled. He faltered. He fell…but he got back up. He fought for himself. If he could do it, so could I!. I went to the DDPyoga.com website and bought the Max Pack. I could not wait for it to arrive! I was going to be the next miracle! I would be skinny and lean and awesome again!
The DVD’s arrived…I ran into my bedroom and opened the box, because I was too embarrassed to let my family know that I had purchased a weight loss/workout DVD (This would mean there were people in my home who knew about it and would hold me accountable). I looked at the DVD’s and poster like a kid on Christmas morning. I would start my life changing metamorphosis tomorrow! I hid the poster and DVD’s under some clothes on my dresser so no one would see them.
Here we are…almost nine months later, and the DVD’s are still in their package…on my dresser. They haven’t performed their miracle yet…but that’s my fault. So…how does this all tie into the magical ring? I’m glad you asked.
As I said before, I went on EndorphinWarrior.com and ordered a ring for myself. It says PERSEVERE. I bought it in the largest size they carry which is a 10.0 it fits on the middle finger of my right hand. I put this magical ring on this morning, and nothing happened…no miracle.
Daughter #2 has cheer camp this week and due to my DH’s possible work schedule, she will not have a ride to get there. I had to come up with an alternate solution to this problem because I’ve already paid for cheer camp and it is one of the things that daughter #2 has her heart set on doing this summer. This is because tryouts are just around the corner for our city’s competitive cheer team. So, since daughter #2 is almost 14 years old…I figure it’s probably time I let her spread her wings a little. We live in a decent enough city and I found a route she can take that will allow her to be on sidewalks the entire time. I know, I know…a 13 year old and I’m making her ride her bike on the sidewalk? I like her! I want to keep her safe!
Anyway, in order for me not to have a panic attack, I figured it’d be a good idea to make the trip with her today. This way she could practice getting there and back and also practice locking up her bike for the first time. So, my DH got our bicycles down and off we went.
Now…I know I’m out of shape, but this is bicycling! I’m not having to run or walk, so my back won’t hurt. This is a good thing! Um, yeah. What I failed to remember is that my body would still have to do the actual work of moving the bike! I was good for the first five minutes…then the burning started in my Sartorius and Vastus Medialis (sorry had to put my college education to use! LOL! Ok, the muscles on the inside of my knee that run from the inside of my knee to the outside of my hip and along the inside of my thighs). OMG!!!! How could this be happening I asked myself. “DUH! LACTIC ACID IS BUILDING UP IN YOUR MUSCLES BECAUSE YOU NEVER USE THEM!” screamed my brain.
We made it to the park district building…with my thighs screaming in protest. As fast as I could, I hopped off my bicycle, put down the kick stand and collapsed onto the retaining wall bricks next to the bicycle rack. I started vigorously rubbing my thighs and flexing my feet in the hopes of deterring the charley horse cramps that were sure to follow. Daughter #2 asked if I was okay and after panting out a “Yep, just fine!” a little too overenthusiastically she gave me a weird look and put her bicycle in the rack.
I taught her how to lock it up from the retaining wall, and after she did, she was ready to go back home. I, on the other hand…was not. I was still panting…and hurting and conjuring up my inevitable failure of completing my ride home. I convinced daughter #2 to “practice” locking and unlocking her bike for about five minutes to buy myself some time. Finally she said “Quit stalling mom! I want to see if I can find my way home!”. I conceded defeat, and dragged myself up and realized I had sat on gum. My daughter started laughing, and I proceeded to try and reach around my body to remove the offensive blob of white gum on my brand new, black shorts.
After pulling off as much as possible and my daughter catching her breath from laughing so hard that she was doubled over, I begrudgingly climbed onto my bicycle. Ten minutes later, we were halfway home I was done. My mind was fraught with excuses on why I could and should stop. I was in pain. It was HARD! My legs were burning. My breathing was labored. I was sweating! My hands and arms hurt from the weight I was putting on them (did I mention I have tendonitis in my right elbow and a ganglion cyst on in inside of my left wrist?).
As I looked down at my hands…I saw the ring. The magical ring. It made me do something I didn’t think I could or didn’t want to do. It reminded me to PERSEVERE! With every pedal turn of the bicycle, I realized I was that much closer to home. I couldn’t give up…I’d been doing that to myself for years. If I could just make it the last few blocks. When I made it up the last hill, it was just a matter of not stopping. No more hills I reminded myself…almost there. We turned the corner and I could see our house. “Pedal” I told myself. “Just keep pedaling”. It’s not a race I reminded myself. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t have the will power to start again, so I PERSEVERED! I didn’t stop pedaling until I was a block from home. I coasted the rest of the way with my legs on fire as they rested.
I pulled into my driveway with daughter #2 waiting for me. “Nice job Mom! You did it!” she said then held her hands up for a high five. In that moment I realized I had done it. I actually had made it! I didn’t quit on myself or let myself give up! She was proud of me, but more importantly I was proud of me!
Now…here I sit…painfully I might add…and realize that I just rode my bicycle for 1.57 miles…each way. Holy shit! I just rode my bike for 3.14 miles! The best part is I didn’t die! I did it!
I looked down at that ring again and realized that a simple piece of metal, gave me the strength I needed to do what I though was impossible. That ring is magic…it reminded me not to give up…not to quit…to persevere.