Friday, September 4, 2015

You make the call... I did!

My normal route to work is pretty standard- turn on the main road, turn, turn, highway, exit, turn, turn, highway...etc... 

This morning was different. I needed to pick something up at a local store. A quick in and out... That is always the plan, that is the way I shop! Those that know me, know I hate shopping. That is Rich's thing. I was totally successful. Less than 3 minutes! I actually thought I was breaking some sort of record, when a voice called out to me. (oh, no... I am doing so well- was really my first thought). I turned to look. Standing there was a woman/girl a little taller than me, and a little bigger than me... my sisters would tell you- I could still "take her" if it came down to it, but that was beside the point. It is 6:20 am and for once I was ahead of schedule! 

In this day in age, it has become a norm for people to come up to people and ask for "spare change" for all sorts of reasons and everyone has a story. So people, unfortunately, have become numb to others needs, and look (or run) the other way. I made the call, I turned around...

I already had my excuses lined up (as usual)... I never carry cash, and I don't have any change, I'm sorry... But before I could speak, she cut me off... She said she wasn't looking for money, she just wanted to go home, and then her tears flowed. She said she lived where I was headed. (DAMN... I don't have an excuse for that one... she doesn't know where I am going, I could lie).  Then she said how she got "here" in the first place... trusted a friend... That friend had betrayed her further and his buddy was talking smack about having too much fun with her... She got out. But in an area she knew nothing about, and now had no way of getting back.  

I instantly saw my two girls. I saw them talking to a complete stranger and it scared me. I was scared to think who would help and what would happen. I saw a girl in front of me with nothing but a cell phone that was dead... I made the call... 

Plugging her address into my GPS it was within minutes of my office, a little out of my way, but close enough. I prayed traffic would stay on my side. It did.

The trip over seemed fast. She spoke about work and school, was grateful to not have either today. And was worried about facing her mom. Again my thoughts turned to my girls, and even my son. I told her how important it was to talk to her mom and let her know what happened. And for me, it was going to be important to talk to my kids... make sure they knew that regardless of time... we would always take the call. I don't ever want my kids standing in a parking lot asking strangers for help, only to have them ignored, fearing for their safety.

As we arrived at her house, she thanked me several times, and then said... "oh, my Mom"... To which, I responded, "she's probably worried about you. Let her know you got home safe.- There are still good people out there." To which she smiled, and said- "Thanks for turning around!"

Yeah... I made the right call!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Say it like it is

My mom used to get on me for being a little too blunt at times. When I was little I very matter of factly asked a woman (much to my mothers horror) "are you pregnant or are you just fat?" the woman answered... She wasn't pregnant... And I didn't let it go (of coarse not) "is your husband fat too?" (nothing like a pre- schooler reminding you of your current health situation at a grocery store to help you make purchasing decisions). Well, she paused and she actually chuckled, meanwhile my mother had now become one with the shopping cart in hopes she would not become a causality in one of my latest outburst. As the woman started to answer, (of course my mother was apologising, the woman declared that yes in fact he was. (Gee surprise- not). To which (of coarse- you didn't think it ended there) - I declared "neat- match- match!" I was such a straight forward call it like it is kid!

Now some people would have scooped up their kid and never let that conversation blossom into the diabetic revelation that it did. But the great thing about my Mom is she always let me see things through- barring blowing up the house.
 I am sure, without a doubt, she learned that from her Dad. Grandpa Sam never let me blow up the garage or destroy the basement, but he let me make mistakes. Then he'd calmly walk me through the resolution. Dropping a set of wrenches once, while helping him work on a car became a lesson on measurements. They all had to go back, in order. He didn't raise his voice, he just looked down and said... "Well, I didn't think you needed to know where all the wrenches went, but now is as good time as any." While putting them away he would remark at what a fine job I was doing. His little whistle and shuffle back to his work station or the car are some of my favorite sounds. He'd comment on the importance of certain things and tell me how to get out of others....
Yep, saying it like it is is something you learn. But you also learn when to hold your tongue, how to be patient, and how to be caring. One of my hopes in life is that I am passing on that calm to my kids. His patients and ability to say it like it is without harming of others (maybe I am still working on that). Teaching moments are all around us and I hope I capture them with the sheer awesomeness my Grandpa did!

I miss you every day Grandpa- just saying it like it is!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Timeless Parenting

As each year passes, I find myself thinking back to the beginning. Rolling up to the field and trying to convince Elizabeth to stay in her stroller. That was a losing discussion from the beginning. She was off to the races right from the start. She always has been.

Now, over 10 seasons later, and many trips to the Doctor and ER with all of the kids, the one thing I do know is I wouldn't miss a single moment for anything!

I still get excited with each crack of the bat, every play, every awesome feet they accomplish. And while I am the first to help bring them back down to earth and remind them Nike isn't knocking at our door signing any deals (yet), I am definitely their biggest fan!

Being a parent is a timeless act.

I know how delighted I still get when something I do makes me swell with pride, and yet the first think I want to do is share it with my parents (who live several states away). My parents have never shied away from congratulations in fear of creating "big egos". They also weren't afraid of knocking us down a peg or two. We grew up, and they have never stopped being parents... Timeless!

Nothing felt better than hugging my daughter last night and telling her how proud I am of her. Not just because in 5 games in two days she had 2 in the park home runs, and 3 RBI's (yeah I can brag a little- it's my blog!) But I am proud of who she is, as a teammate, as a person, as my daughter. If they had lost every game, she would have gotten the same hug!

I hope years from know she'll look back on these years and not remember the trophies or awards she received (those are great too), but remember all the people that were around her. The friends that hugged her in the dugout (or pounded her head when she scored). The high-fives she got from coaches and their non-stop encouragement. The times her Dad coached her and worked long hours with her to help her grow or was her umpire and set her straight. The times she spent with other trainers working hard to get better. And lastly, the fence... when she looked through the fence what she always saw...
It's awesome being her mom. It's awesome being a mom to three great kids!!!

I love watching them grow and can't wait to see what life will continue to bring them.