Friday, September 28, 2012

Lets get ready to rumble!

Last Sunday we sat down at dinner for a great meal of lasagna.  My wife makes very good lasagna, and the girls were eating it up.  Even Baylor Grace, who only eats fruit (or any candy I sneak her).  Things were going well until a very personal, important, issue came up.  After some back and forth between Brooke and I, the discussion became a heated argument.  The issue or point of the argument is private, and I wish for it to remain that way.  Who is to blame, who was wrong, doesn't matter either.  When you get to that point in front of your children, you both are to blame.  Brooke and I almost never fight, so this was something that took the girls by surprise.  I vividly remember watching them during the "discussion" and it was like they were watching a tennis match.  Their heads were going back and forth.  It got to the point where dinner wasn't going to continue, at least for Brooke and I.  Unfortunately, the argument did.  Neither one of us would back down.  Brooke needed to get out of the house and get away from me.  So she grabs the baby and storms out.  However, I knew she would not go far for three reasons: 1) she didn't have shoes on 2) the baby was dressed in nothing but a diaper 3) my truck was blocking her way out.  It sort of took the wind out of her sails.  So, I gathered some things and took off.  I would get out of the house and give her space.

This was devastating for the girls to see Daddy leave.  They didn't/don't realize that sometimes you just need to blow off some steam and go away.  I drove around for a long time.  I even tried to go see a movie.  The first song that came on my radio was this song:

I honestly believe that it was God sending me a message.  I couldn't help but think of the look on their faces when I left, all 5 were crying.  At that point it didn't matter if I was right, it didn't matter if I felt totally screwed.  A Pyrrhic victory is no victory at all, when its your family involved.  It didn't take long before I was back home giving Brooke a hug.  Kenny was right in the song above, that is the good stuff.

The girls were super happy to see their Daddy in the morning.  It was like nothing had happened but we all knew it had.  On Monday we went to Chilies for dinner.  All the proceeds that night went to St. Jude.  Talk about putting things in perspective.  I was looking forward to dinner all day, because I really wanted to send the girls a message.  The first thing I said to them was that I loved their mother more than anything.  I followed it up with telling them how much I loved them.  Most importantly, they never had to worry about us leaving, and that sometimes we need to just get away for a bit.  Reagan said,  "yeah but you were really mad."  I was, and I told them I was.  When all was said and done, I wanted them to know that its okay if your parents get into a fight now and then.  What is more important is for them to see their parents make up too.  Just as the girls occasionally fight with each other yet still love each other, sometimes that happens with Mom and Dad too.

Honestly I feel like things are different with the girls.  They seem to be much more appreciative of me, excited to be around me, and loving on me.  Especially, Caroline.  She was the most devastated with me leaving, and has not left my side since. That's sort of funny because she is BFF with Brooke.  It also makes sense because she is as emotional as I am.  You would think a girl wouldn't like it when her father calls her "Junior."  It totally fits with her.  

Its not all that bad for kids to see their parents occasionally fight,  but its very important for them to see them make up too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A blog about a binky

I got home a little early today.  I knew I was going to be on a long conference call, and if I didn't take it in the car, I wouldn't get home until super late.  When I got home, the house was empty and silent.  It was nice to come home to the peace, even if I'd normally prefer all the hugs that I get when I get home.  The 5 girls were at Caroline's swim practice, and it was going to be after 6 before they got home.  Ultimately, it was good that I was here because the groceries were getting delivered, and this allowed me to be here to receive them.  I wanted to make sure to put all the groceries away, and I even contemplated cleaning the house a bit.  Not surprisingly, the house was already pretty clean.  Outside of a few toys in the playroom, you couldn't tell anyone had been here all day.  I then thought maybe I could just order what we were going to have for dinner so that it could be delivered before the girls got back.  That way Brooke wouldn't have to worry about cooking dinner after swim practice.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time.  With nothing else to do, I just sort of sat there in the kitchen and turned on some good music. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right?  As I was decompressing from the day, I looked up and saw the above picture.

Let me explain what you're looking at.  This bench is nothing short of an antique.  We got it from some very wealthy friends in Louisville who were going to throw it out.  It has followed us from Louisville, to Lexington, to Chicago, through three different houses.  It really has been a great addition to our house.  They couldn't even remember how old it was in 2003 when they gave it to us.  It's a great place to sit and talk about the day.  It is a great place to put on your shoes before you go out to tackle the day.  It's even a great place to snuggle with one of your little girls.  However, due to its current placement in our kitchen, and due to its perfect height, it has become a table for Hadley Blaine.  Normally throughout the day Hadley puts anything she wants to come back to on this bench.  Most of the time its her drink, maybe a toy, or even some food.  Today when I got home, after everything settled down, and I was relishing the basic silence (minus my good music), I saw this binky on the bench.  This isn't just A binky, it is THE binky.  For some reason this is Hadley's favorite binky.  Make no mistake about it, she has close to 20 binkies strategically placed all over the house.  Regardless, this is her favorite.  Seeing this binky brought a flood of emotions over me.  Three of the four girls have used binkies.  You scroll back through Facebook and can see each of them in pictures seemingly hiding behind binkies.  If not for their dimples, you probably wouldn't know they were smiling.  To me it brings a comforting feeling because I know how each of the girls would settle down any time they got their binky.  That's all you want as a parent, for your kids to feel safe.  When they are young, all it takes is their binky.  I guess we wish it was always that easy.  It also brought a hint of sadness.  It won't be long before the "binky fairy" makes her visit.  When the binky fairy comes, she takes the binkies for other kids who need them around the world.  In return, she always leaves a few gifts for the girl who sacrificed her binkies.  It is pretty much a cold turkey quit.  In full disclosure, it is normally harder on me than the particular girl.  I never think they are ready.  I always believe it is too soon.  As a result, I fear they will end up being a stripper.  I can see her now on the pole..."its because you took my binky away too soon, Daddy."  I know that this day (the visit from the binky fairy, not the stripper part) isn't too far off.  It means she is growing up and getting bigger.  But mostly, it brought me happiness.  I can see Hadley babbling about something as she walks around the kitchen.  I see her looking up and noticing that the girls were getting their shoes on to leave.  In a hurry, I see her placing the binky right on her bench knowing that it would be there for her as soon as she returns.  That makes me feel good, for a lot of reasons.

Sometimes, something so simple, can mean so much more.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A beacon of beauty

Tonight Brooke and I watched a special on 9-11.  I am sure that in the next 48 hours, that tragic day will dominate the headlines.  I will never forget that day, and the subsequent days, as long as I live.  I keep thinking about how ugly that day was.  I wonder how someone could think that what happened that day would please their God?  There is so much that 11 years later I still question.  Is there any beauty left out there?

I am confident that there is.  Every time I get down, or every time I get sad, I think of one thing....and one thing first.  This thought is a trigger for me to remind me of all the great things that we have in our lives to be thankful for.    Whenever I need a pick me up, I think of my beautiful, sweet, Caroline.  The great thing about Caroline is that she has no idea how beautiful she is.  Honestly, she doesn't care.  She sees the good in everything.  She is the first to give you a hug and tell you that she loves you.  She always looks for the silver lining.  Most of the time, she IS the silver lining.

Today I took her on a date.  Just her and I.  She is so incredibly patient with her mother and I.  Everyone else seemingly gets all the attention and she is okay with that.  She is happy with the leftover scraps.  But today she was so excited because it was just her and I.  I took her to her favorite restaurant, "Red Robbins."  We ate and ate and ate.  I told her I wanted to go to Best Buy afterwards to get my birthday present.  She was excited about that too, as long as I got something for me that "we both agreed on."  She talked and talked and talked, and when she wasn't talking, she just sat there and smiled out me.  She could not have been happier.  She was thrilled with just a simple meal.  

She is very black and white and follows all the rules.  Every time I toot or burp, she says "Daddy, wheres your manners?"  She makes sure that any of her sisters (or random people) who are doing wrong are told so.  Even Hadley doesn't catch a break.  According to Caroline, Hadley must follow all the rules too.  For my birthday she said a hug and a kiss was my birthday present, she "didn't have a chance to go buy me anything."  Caroline is always a walking Facebook status.  There is no telling what is going to come out of that mouth and it is inevitably hilarious.   The best thing about Caroline's personality is the joy that she finds in everything.  Every gift she gets is the greatest gift ever.  Every movie she sees is her favorite.  Every adventure she goes on is the best one ever.  She is an eternal optimist.  She loves Star Wards and Jack Sparrow.  Doesn't care much for sports but if she can sit on the couch with me, she will watch just about anything.  Caroline has never met a stranger and makes friends in every situation.  Things come much easier for Reagan than Caroline but it never seems to get her down.  However, you should see Caroline dance at one of our nightly dance parties.  Caroline has some serious, scary good, dance moves.  She has great rhythm.   Not only is my world better with Caroline in it, I think everyone's around her is too.     

And then you have her outside. She was a very bald baby with big ears.  It was difficult to ever see her face, because she always had her thumb in her mouth.  She has a crooked eye when she doesn't wear her glasses and a part time eye patch when she does.  She is short, thin, and fragile looking.  Individually it doesn't work, but together it is beautiful.  My father always said that Julia Roberts individually didn't work.  Her lips? Too thin.  Her nose? Too long.  Despite all that, when you look at the total Julia Roberts picture she is beautiful.  I think the same thing can be said for Caroline.  She is even prettier now with her big girl glasses.  I get it, I'm biased.  She is my kid and I am supposed to think that.  But you know what? I am damned lucky to be her father.  

I worry about Caroline because this world can be tough on a girl like her.  I suspect she will get run over time and time again. But youre never really judged by how many times you get knocked down, its how many times you get up.  She always gets up.  We can learn a lot from her.  I hope that this mean and ugly world does not change her, because she is what is right with this world.  She can make this place better simply by being her.  When I am down and out, when I need a happy place, it is Caroline.  She is so beautiful inside and out, and she doesn't even know it.  

So this song is for Caroline.  It makes me think of her every time I hear it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A very moving song...

This made me think of Patrick, the little boy in TN we lost a while back.