As winter finally arrives and the temperatures, ironically, warm up, we were blessed with a rather large and beautiful snowfall. As much as I am not a lover of winter, I figured it out a few years ago. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em. I embraced winter as best as I knew how. I dress warm, wear my hat and scarves, snow pants, boots, whatever it takes to make being outside bearable. I also fell in love with our Farmhouse during the winter months. You would think that living in a 130+ year old home that winter would be cold and drafty. Well, some parts are, but mostly it is just beautiful. Every morning we have gorgeous sunrises over the fields and every night the sun sets over the forest across the road. Some days, with enough snow, we can’t even get out our driveway. But when a gorgeous dumping of snow arrives like this morning and coats the trees and house with snow, it is just gorgeous. And the silence of it all is magical, reminds us of why we decided to move our family out of suburbia to the country, even if it is only ten minutes away. Forget the winter blues, put on your best gear and take it outside. Fall in love with winter again. Find a magical place, like the farmhouse, to go and hang out.
Raising children is hard enough on the best of days. As they grow up and start to get a mind of their own (what they can think for themselves now??) the arguing starts. Although I don’t remember arguing with my parents as much as my children argue with me, it seems it is the sign of the times. I am sure I did, but I also knew that when my parents said ‘no’ or ‘go clean your room’ we seemed to just do it. Because they were the parents.
When asked ‘why’ when the answer is no, I often have used the good old fashioned, ‘because I said so’. This was old when I was a kid, so I am feeling like it is old now too. Or I was until I attended the Dad2.0 conference in Washington D.C in February. I was there as wing woman with Julia Rosien and Restonic Mattress ,who was one of the sponsors. On the second full day of the conference Michael Strahan was there doing a Q&A that mostly talked about healthy living and waking up happy. One of the questions asked by the audience was, “How to you get your kids to stop eating junk food?” Michael’s response has stayed with me since February and has changed the way I answer my own kids when they don’t want to do something or I just say ‘no’.
Michael’s response was “Just say no.” and then, very animatedly “Because you are the Parent”!! Brilliant! Why should we even be questioning this? Have we come so far into a different world that we have grown up with that our own kids feel they have a choice in each and every thing?
I will be the first to admit that sometimes just letting them do whatever, eat whatever, wear whatever for the sake of not arguing seems like the easier way out. But since I have tacked on, “Because I am the Parent!” when my children as ‘why’ or ‘why not’ my life has become increasingly easier. They have nothing to say to that because it is true. It ends the argument right there. They may still ask for clarification on why I said no, but I don’t always give them more than that. I shouldn’t have to because…. wait for it…. I am the Parent!
My cousin passed away recently and so unexpectedly that it leaves just a wee little hole in my heart. We had not seen each other in person in many years, however, we had some great phone calls. Some on purpose some accidentally dialed.
Way back when, he lived with us, I think I was around 10 or 11, but I remember him staying with us and it was like we had a brother for a while amist all us girls. I would like to say he was here for a year, but it may have only been 6 months. For some reason I related to him in ways that I did not with others. He was a straight shooter, no fuss, no bs, if he disagreed with something he let you know or called you out on it. He was a gifted man with a generous heart.
Not long after he lived with us, he left the East to work in the forestry industry in West. Not an easy life to live in a remote town, but he did it and did it successfully, only returning to the East a handful of times over the years. It is there that he married an amazing woman and created a family. A family to be proud of.
Last week he would have turned 54, to me that is just too young to say goodbye. He left behind four wonderful children, who will miss him dearly but will carry him with them where ever they go. My heart goes out to my younger cousins who must go on without their Dad. He may not have done things the way others would have but that just wasn’t his way. He was the guy who danced to a different tune. He would give you the shirt off his back if you said you needed it, even if it was his only shirt. His laugh was contagious and his smile will forever be ingrained in my mind.
You will be missed. Until We Meet Again.
Two of my favorite images I have of him (both scanned from film prints taken 25-30 years ago).
1984 Rehoboth Beach, Delaware