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.

 

  

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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Categories 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.

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!

lessons from baseball

A lot of my posts incorporate how grateful I am for my parents. That’s because I think unconditional love is the best gift we can give or receive. A lot of people aren’t as lucky as I am – to have incredibly loving and engaged parents, who continue to provide the guidance and support I need to grow and succeed. This winter I had an opportunity to volunteer at an event with the Diamondbacks that my company sponsored. It was a great experience that resulted in a unique Hanukkah present for my dad. I gave him the letter below with his gift:

I have a present for you, Dad, and it’s not a book or workout clothes this time. I’ve decided to think outside the box and give you a baseball signed by six players on the Diamondbacks. I know that for a baseball and autograph aficionado like you, this isn’t anything too exciting. But – your clever daughter has incorporated a lot of symbolism into this gift that I’ll now explain.

You’ve taught me a lot of lessons in life, probably more than you’ll ever know. Oddly enough, a lot of them relate to baseball. This is probably because I was raised in a house where the Red Sox were considered to be a higher power, and Fenway was the most holy place we visited. I know that as a girl, I never quite understood all the rules and nuances of the game like Dan did, but you always did your best to include me, answer my questions and let me play. I’ll always remember playing catch with you in the front yard, and how excited you were during the one season of softball I was coerced into. I know my first black eye was a proud moment for you (it’s ok). These wonderful experiences are poignant memories that I’ll always treasure. Lesson # 1 – The best things in life aren’t things and don’t cost money. They’re experiences.

As a child, I was pretty extremely shy. We’re all relieved I finally overcame this, aren’t we? I was also a passionate animal lover. These two factors combined into a challenge when I desperately wanted to walk the neighbor’s dog, but was too terrified to ask them for permission. You would ardently refuse to ask them for me, pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I whined and cried but would always give in and ask them. Today, I credit part of my assertiveness to this rite of passage. The lesson has carried into adult life too, with your guidance on “asking for the job” at every interview. Lesson # 2 – Be confident. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

Fortunately for you, I was always a hard worker and excelled in school. I loved learning and gaining exposure to new things. I feel so fortunate that as a child, you and mom constantly took us to museums, enrolled us in classes and took us on educational trips. You guys encouraged me to seize every opportunity that crossed my path. This instilled a constant curiosity in me that is still as strong as ever. It’s helped me engage in all kinds of things I never thought I would be able to do. Lesson # 3 – Try new things. Never stop learning.

Every year during Hanukkah, you would remind Dan and me to write our relatives thank you notes. We moaned and groaned about it, and often tried to get by with quick, messy notes. You always put your foot down and made us create quality thank you’s and mail them promptly. You reapplied this knowledge when I graduated college and started going to job interviews. Every interview was followed up with a hand written thank you note. If you recall, I landed a lot of job offers 🙂 To this day, I probably write more thank you notes than anyone I know (except you) and really understand how much people appreciate this. Lesson # 4 – Write thank you notes. People notice.

Sometimes, it’s ok to break the rules and have an adventure. Case in point: when the MLB Rookie of the Year is at a press conference three miles from your daughter’s house, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell her to pretend to be a reporter and sneak in and meet him. I’ll never forget getting your call telling me that Dustin Pedroia was in my zip code. I sped down to the stadium and found a way to wait for him outside the building exit. I won’t pretend it was a smooth operation, in fact, I was pretty awkward about the whole thing, and definitely scared the crap out of him, but I got a photo with him that made it all worthwhile. Lesson # 5 – Even when there are a million reasons you shouldn’t attempt something, sometimes there’s nothing to lose by trying. Don’t think about it, just do it.

You may be wondering how I got this signed ball I’ve given you, and how this is all connected. Truth is, it’s actually the result of a combination of the lessons above. I was recently invited to Chase Field for a work-sponsored volunteer event. We were given strict orders NOT to ask any players for autographs. Nevertheless, I still decided to pack a baseball and Sharpie in my purse. You never know. Sure enough, as the event was winding down, I was able to dart onto the field, meet several players and get their signatures. I was afraid they’d say no, but decided to try. I knew that even if it didn’t work out, it would be a funny story (Lesson # 1). I knew to be confident and act like there was nothing wrong with what I was doing (Lesson # 2). This was a new feat for me, but I figured it was something everyone should attempt at one point in life (Lesson # 3). I was paranoid that the players would tell me no, or that security would take me off the field, but still decided to go for it (Lesson # 5). I even wrote a thank you note to my coworker who organized the event (Lesson # 4). So, in conclusion, it’s a true sign of good parenting when your 27 year old daughter still follows all your rules. Thank you, I love you.

Categories dad