A matter of months 

When you’re pregnant or have an infant, everyone you encounter will undoubtably ask you some version of the same two questions:

“How far along are you?”

Or,

“How old is she now?”

These are great questions; ones that any mom or mom-to-be is thrilled to answer. They bring to light a funny question though: when do our weeks and months become less significant? 

Most of us over the age of three track our age in years, and as we grow older, there are fewer occasions to measure time any other way. 

When pregnant, it’s hard not to obsess over weekly changes (“What fruit is it now??”), and with a baby, a week often reveals new skills or a jump in physical growth. While obviously this pace of development slows with age, why does the value of our time seemingly decrease as well?

My dad turned 68 years young today, and to celebrate, he shared a photo with the family that perfectly depicts his youthful zeal. He posed in the same position I put my daughter in each month, sitting on the floor, wearing a sign that shows his age in months (816, to be exact). This was, quite simply, hilarious. And a perfect reminder that while age may be just a number, it’s an important one to celebrate at any juncture. 

Today I’m blessed to be 382 months old, and thankful for every milestone, large or small.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love all 816 months of you. Thanks for never failing to embrace an opportunity to teach us not to take ourselves too seriously.

 

  

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To be thankful

Thanksgiving begs for sappy gratitude posts, and I’m in no position to resist.

Family. We became a family of three this year and it’s been a heck of a ride. My highest highs, my lowest lows and everything in between. Babies bring you such an overwhelming sense of purpose and connection. They make you feel whole, and they make you discover the real meaning of love. I am thankful for the blessing of a happy and healthy baby, for access to top medical care for both of us, for the way the experience has challenged me and for how it has brought me closer to my husband. I’m thankful to have parents who support us and delight in being grandparents. I’m thankful for my brother who is a driving force in my life and sometimes the only person who can get in my head to help me sort things through.

Marriage. We’re past the 3.5 year mark since our wedding and are close to hitting eight years as a couple. We’ve grown up together and continue to grow in ways I appreciate and never anticipated. Jim, you are my better half and my grounding force in life. You are what makes me wake up happy each day and go to sleep feeling safe. I’m thankful for the love and balance you bring to my life, the wonderful father you’ve become and for your never-faltering integrity and kindness. There are lots of ups and downs on this ride but I wouldn’t want it to be with anyone else.

Work. I am thankful to work in a dynamic environment with people who truly have become a second family. It is a rarity to be able to say that, and to have had their support when I became a mom was invaluable. There are lots of frustrating moments and hard weeks, but I’m privileged to learn from all different kinds of people and to be pushed at every turn.

My body. Have you ever pondered how insane the human body is? Straight-up magic. I’ve always marveled at what my body is capable of and love pushing myself physically. The past year this awareness soared as I not only carried a baby (STILL blows my mind that people make other people), but also learned the value of functional fitness and training. I’m thankful for my health and what my body provides.

Friends. Friends are family, no way around it; life would be an incomplete puzzle without them. I’m thankful to have so many incredible, loving, hilarious and inspiring friends who show up when it matters most.

Stillness. It’s fleeting to have moments of stillness and quiet these days, so I’m especially thankful when they occur. Introverts rely on alone time to recharge and I’m no exception.

Dogs. My dogs have taken the inevitable backseat following baby’s arrival, but they’re as loving and loyal as ever. They’re loud and messy and wonderful.

Writing. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to think and share on this blog, for all the support and encouragement. And for the opportunity to truth-tell and help others feel ok.

I think beyond anything I could list here, I’m just thankful for the life I’ve been given and the places it has taken me. The people I’ve met. The challenges I’ve overcome. The love I’ve experienced and the losses I’ve learned from. I’m thankful for how it all weaves together.

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On Father’s Day:

Here’s to you, Dad: a man who was never afraid to play dolls, change diapers and give piggyback rides.

5953_10102563077593851_360854990_nHere’s to a dad who isn’t afraid to show emotion. You have a giant heart and you’ve always let me know that I’m loved. What a gift.

The image below is my absolute favorite photo of you, taken the first time you saw me on my wedding day. I will never, ever forget this moment; even looking at it now brings me to (happy) tears. It’s a perfectly captured second in time that speaks to our entire relationship.

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D0146If I can make you proud and be half of the person you are, I’ve succeeded.

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D0863I treasure all the adventures and experiences we’ve shared, and feel infinitely lucky to call you my dad.

DSC00088Thank you for everything you’ve always done, and continue to do, to keep me happy, healthy and inspired. I love you.

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Posted in dad

Since Last Thanksgiving (part 3)

Time for the 2012 installment of Thanksgiving reflections. Here’s what went down in 2011 and 2010.

Since last Thanksgiving I…

Went to Vegas twice, Denver twice, Chicago, Boston, Sedona, Flagstaff and San Francisco.

Had an adult spring break in Lake Havasu.

Celebrated my first wedding anniversary.

Entered the last year of my twenties.

Saw my favorite band perform in three different cities.

Watched a lot of friends get engaged, married and pregnant.

Discovered that I like deviled eggs.

Was published on The Daily Muse, Betty Confidential, Forbes, Forbes Woman, Forbes Tech, Yahoo! Shine and the Today Show websites.

Watched all five seasons of Big Love and all five seasons of Mad Men.

Saw our next-door neighbor’s house burn down, and then be rebuilt.

Presented at a career event at ASU.

Donated plasma and platelets for the first time.

Met Steve Forbes.

Joined a soccer team.

Celebrated a year of being matched with my little sis.

Fell more in love with my husband.

Continued realizing how lucky I am to have my parents as my parents.

Focused more on how good life really is.

pretty damn good

I’m good at a lot of things. And at the top of the list is admitting when I’m at the end of my rope. Ready to throw the towel in. Nearing a cliff.

Friday was one of those days. Nothing went wrong, but everything felt challenging, demeaning or annoying. The frustrating things overpowered the wonderful ones and my patience joined the endangered species list.

But I suppose it’s days like this that build character, by pushing us forward, even when we’d rather have a tantrum.

It’s also on this kind of day that you can be completely turned around by another person’s positivity or circumstances.

In the midst of my pity party, I got an email from my dad that included the excerpt below. This was the perfect reminder that despite the small bumps in the road, life is friggin’ great. Beyond great. It’s incredible, and it’s a privilege to be along for the ride.

“As the world spins further and further out of control, I’ve been reminding myself to pause – at least once every day – to focus and reflect for a minute or two on the now. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, life right now is pretty damn good for me and I believe for you too…”

I love when reminders come at the perfect moment.

magic time capsule

Have you ever considered what the absolute coolest thing would be to receive in the mail? I mean, I’m pretty excited with anything that isn’t a bill or junk mail, and wedding invitations are nice, but I had no idea what I was in store for yesterday when a nondescript envelope arrived from my aunt.

She sent me two CDs, with no explanation, labeled with the name of our family. I figured they were discs of old photos, and told myself I’d look through them over the weekend. But tonight, something prompted me to throw them into the computer, and the surprise was unbelievable.

My crafty aunt took tons of old video footage of she and my dad as babies and children — that I had no idea even existed — and converted it into DVDs. There are hours of footage, ranging from my dad as a newborn to him as a teenager, and I can’t quite explain how surreal this is. I was given a literal time capsule…it’s like my own magic DeLorean.

I’ve been sitting here all evening, fixated on grainy footage of my family in the 1940s through the 1960s. I’ve watched my grandparents as a joyful young couple, just after WWII ended. I saw my dad learning to walk and taking early rides on a tricycle. I saw my great grandparents, and so many family birthdays, graduations and vacations.

It is somewhat insane that I can sit and watch my dad and aunt, grandparents, and great grandparents celebrating around the same dining room table in the same house I spent countless days in as a child.

There’s one scene of my grandmother sitting with a gaggle of girlfriends in lounge chairs at the pool, goofing off, likely in their late twenties. This might as well be me and my friends, albeit 60 some-odd years later. And the footage of my dad and his dad (my grandfather) goofing off and manning the grill together is eerily similar to watching my brother interact with my dad now.

The whole thing makes me realize how short life is, how sweet life is, and that while everything changes, it actually all kind of stays the same.

This was such an unexpected and special experience. I now feel compelled to start taking way more family videos, and doing a better job of documenting family events.

This experience also made me realize that we often form identities around people based on when we meet them — it’s kind of silly. Logically, we know that they had lives before they entered ours, but it’s hard to really envision them in previous worlds. Fortunately, videos help.

Thank you Aunt Patti!