July 31, 2012

My Daughter, Disregarding My Feelings

WARNING: The following post contains more information than you want.

Last night, after derby practice, Sara and I brought the cranky, tired bundles of cute who live in our house home and attempted to put them to sleep.  After Brynn was down, Sara lay on the couch with Harper while I washed off the glorious stench of exertion and public humiliation that is the act of wearing sleeveless shirts and flailing about on skates in front of an audience.

Upon completion of my shower, I emerged clean, pleasant smelling and in my underwear.  I sat down on the couch next to my lovely wife and eldest daughter and the following conversation occurred:

Harper: Daddy? Undermeese? (Still haven't figured out how to say "pants")
Me: Yes, baby.  I took a shower and now I'm ready for bed.
H: You have no shirt on?
Me: No, baby.  I'm not wearing a shirt.
H: You put shirt on now?
Me: No, I'm going to bed soon so I'm not putting a shirt on.
H: You put shirt on now.  (no longer a question)
Me: Alright. I'll get a shirt in a bit.
H: Go! Get shirt!

Everyone's a critic!  I can't say she was wrong...

July 23, 2012

My Daughters, With No Body Issues (Yet)

I have many issues, not the least of which is a terrible body image, stemming from the terrible image made by my body.

Part of it is the fact that I like salads, provided they can easily mistaken for bacon cheeseburgers or nacho platters.  When given the choice of chicken or fish, I almost always choose cheesecake.

Another part of it is the fact that Robin Williams and I are descended from the same gorilla.  For both of us, when we take our shirts off, no one can tell.

I believe that people can be beautiful regardless of how big or small they all.  A fit woman can be a horrible person and that will make her ugly, while an obese woman can carry herself well, be confident and happy, and be the most beautiful person in the world.  Part of this is knowing what you should and should not wear for your body type.

As a direct result of the information I have relayed here, I don't take my shirt off.  Ever.  I am usually tempted to shower with it on!

Nine months out of the year, this works out well for me.  I had to give up my membership to the Polar Bear Club but I didn't mind that too much.

During the summer, however, I live, skirting the razor edge of my psyche between my desire to cool myself in the many bodies of water that spring up like wild mushrooms, and my desire not to spend the night in prison for inflicting my pasty, fur covered torso on legions of innocent children.

Protip: Do not do a Google image search for "pale hairy man" while at work.
This is something I REALLY need to get over so that I can go swimming with my girls.  I want to teach them to swim and to love the water.  So far, they are doing well but Sara can only hold both of them in the pool for so long.

Perhaps, I will continue to invest in kiddie pools...

Although, maybe not!  Maybe I can just fill up the cooler with water...

In any event, it got me thinking about how much we miss out on with our children, and how much they miss, as a result of the crazy issues (mental, physical, dietary, religious, etc.) of the parents.

Oh well.  Back to my regularly scheduled cringing at the messes made by my own kids.

Sweet Jesus!  That had better be chocolate!

July 18, 2012

My Daughters, Getting Their Chicken Elsewhere

I firmly feel that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want.

If you believe that the world was created in 7 days and that the omnipotent creator of the universe allowed his only son to be sacrificed to redeem the sins of humanity, good for you.

If you believe that a pantheon of gods and goddesses directly oversee many aspects of life on earth, such as seasons, tides, weather, the harvest and death, more power to you!
Dear Gods, were They hot!
If you believe that the universe was sneezed out of the nostril of a giant space goat, I suppose that's just as valid as any other theory.  I'll come back to this.

Chick-fil-A is a restaurant where Sara and I take the kids when we don't want to cook, don't have any left-overs and don't feel like cleaning up.  As far as fast food goes, it's the only place we go and there are several reasons for this, beyond the fact that McDonald's is disgusting.

The stores themselves are very family friendly, offering healthier choices in kids meals, such as apple sauce and white milk.  Most of them have play places to keep children amused and, during the summers, several of the stores have people making balloon animals and doing face painting for children and very short adults.

This company has done many good things that are in line with conservative Christian dogma.  While they are against abortions, they waged a vigorous campaign in favor of supporting adoption.
The company itself run the WinShape Foundation, which runs 11 homes spread throughout the Southeast United States that serve as foster homes for children who are "victims of circumstance and need a secure family environment."

If one were to boil down the teachings of Jesus to a simple idea, it would be to love and support everyone, especially those less fortunate.  This aspect of the WinShape Foundation appears to be a wonderful example of people inspired by the teachings of Christ to do good in the world.  Chick-fil-A should be applauded for this.

Today, I read an article that states that the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist web site that his company supports families as long as they are "the biblical definition of the family unit."  This, in spite of the fact that the only "family" picture I could find on their site seems to be a single mother with her son.

Ignoring the idea that, in spite of what Mitt Romney says, companies are not people and cannot support anything, (only the people who run the companies can support things) I find this statement upsetting.

The rest of the WinShape Foundation time is spent on "enrichment retreats to refuel healthy marriages as well as counselling to help strengthen troubled marriages" and offering camps and courses to local young people to teach them the ways of Christ.

I won't go into the fact that Jesus never mentions homosexuality at all in the New Testament, or any of the contradicting rules that lie therein (oops).  If Dan Cathy believes that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry, that allowing such would be shaking our fist at God and "inviting His judgement," then he is more than welcome to hold those beliefs.

If he wishes his company to stand for those values, then he may certainly take it in that direction.

I, however, will not be coming along for the ride.  Neither will my children.

As a parent, I feel a major part of my job is to teach my children about the world, how to survive in it, and how to help others survive.  I know that there is hatred and bigotry in the world.  I know that intolerance exists and will always rear it's ugly head.

Many parents wish to shelter their children from the unpleasantness in the world.  They don't want them to know suffering, or teasing, or hate, or fear.  I think this is foolish and short-sighted.  Rather than shelter my daughters from the awful things in the world, I hope to teach them that such things do exists, and how to cope.

No matter how a person lives their life, they will disliked, ridiculed, teased, taunted and abused.  It is up to us to decide how we deal with adversity.  Will we cower in the corner, shouting anger at the world that mistreated us, or will we stand up for ourselves and live the lives we want to live?

Intolerance makes me sad!

I want my children to know that there are people who are made uncomfortable by, dislike, or even outright hate people who are different than they are.  This is simply a fact of life and everyone is entitled to their own opinions and prejudices.

Because of this, I will also be teaching my children that we do not have to support those who make decisions based on fear and anger.  If Chick-fil-A wishes to oppose gay marriage as a corporate stand, they are allowed to do so.

I will not, however, use my money to support a company that makes decisions based on hatred, bigotry and intolerance.  There are simply too many other places to spend my money.

While I strongly disagree with their stance, I will not scold them for having it.  I will simply make the statement that they have lost me and my family as customers.

Continuing to support their business would be sending the wrong message to my children, whom I wish to grow up as tolerant and loving individuals.

July 16, 2012

My Daughters, Derby Orphans

Quick!  Read this post before I go under again!  This Stay At Home Dad thing has me a bit out of sorts.

Up to this point, every time I've sat down to right a post, one of three things has happened.
1)  The girls have woken up screaming about how badly they wish me to make them a snack from food items that we don't have.

2) Their quiet play has made me suspicious and I have gone off to find that they have redecorated my front porch with handfuls of birdseed flung about in a manner that would put Jackson Pollack to shame.
We call this piece "Paternal Anuerism!"  It's an installation!

3)  I found a show of mild interest on Netflix or Hulu.

This past Friday was the premier bout for Westco Derby, the roller derby league that Sara joined and I am helping out with.  We were expecting about 200 people to be in attendance to watch how the ladies have progressed over six months of practicing.

It was closer to 700.  We had people in folding chairs, on the bleachers, and sitting on the floor to watch the girls race around and best each other in speed and blocking.  The event was even filmed and will be aired on a local cable channel!  At practice yesterday, we had nine new women who wanted to skate with us and two new men who wanted to ref.

When we began this thing in February, I wasn't sure where it was going to go, but I was very pleased that Sara was a part of it.  Since then, I've become involved as well, helping out wherever I can, manning the booth at the local arts festival, skating with the girls at practice and learning to become a referee.
My wife can kick your wife's butt!  Yes, that's a mohawk!

I adore the people who are involved in it and they seem to like me too, which I find bizarre.

Perhaps it's just my chronic low self-esteem talking, but I find it very odd that I now have a few circles of friends who genuinely like me for who I am.

The bottleneck of my involvement with the league has been, as it is with everything not related to children, children!  We've done what we can to get them involved too.

I am not losing sight of the fact that this is Sara's thing.  I am so proud of her for the progress that she has made in her skating and how much she loves it and the people.  For the most part, we are able to find sitters so that we can both go to practice, but when we can't, I take the kids.  It's much more important that she be there than I.  I recognize and accept that fact.  I don't want to change it and I certainly won't take it from her, no matter what.

But I'll admit that I don't like it.

I love skating, even though I'm about as graceful on wheels as you would imagine I would be.  I'm getting better, but I'm not anything close to good.

I love the group of people involved.  I they are a very positive and supportive group and I know it rubs off on me.  I know that after I've spent time with them, there is a little more sunshine in the world and colors seem a little more vivid.  Having this be something that I share with Sara has brought us closer together and made us stronger as a couple.

This is where I get into how crazy I actually am.

Intellectually, I know that I need to be happy with myself and accept me for who I am not be dependent on others for my happiness.  I'm not someone different when I'm with the derby people.  I'm just a version of myself that I like more.  It could be that, since I do like them so much, I'm on better behavior, not starting fights about religion or politics, and not making fun of anyone's lineage.  I don't feel like I'm putting in any effort to that effect, but it could be that I'm trying to impress them.

It could be that the positive vibes that they exude are so strong that I am much more willing to shrug off the things that I don't like, or would prefer not to think about.

Whatever it is, it's something I need to identify and hold onto with both hands because I need to push away my dark clouds.  No one can do it for me.

School starts again in a few weeks and I may be able to go back to more regular posts then.  As much I would love this blog to be a daily, or semi-weekly, I don't want it to simply be a chronicle of my daily life.

I do promise that I will soon write a more comprehensive post about being a Stay-At-Home-Dad.  This one went a bit off the rails on that front.
My excuses have bored her to sleep.



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