Skip Through Life (Happiness, Grandparents)

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We stopped by The Home Depot for some flooring materials this afternoon. As we headed towards checkout, I chuckled with delight at how she was skipping though a hardware store. She saw me enjoying it-

Her – “Papa told me to never stop skipping (as I grow up).”

Me – “Why do you think?”

Her – “Because he likes it.”

Me – “Why do you think he likes it?”

Her – “Because I’m happy.”

Indeed. What could give a great grandpa more delight than seeing his granddaughter expressing her happiness? And what better advice could a great grandpa give than to keep making happiness a priority as she grows up? It obviously stuck with her.

Thanks, Papa.

Because Love Won (Love, Open discussions, Sexual Preferences)

We were heading to dinner when she asked

Her – “Daddy, why do you like girls?”

Me – “What do you mean? Why do I like girls like you?”

Her – “No, big girls.”

Me – “Oh, why do I like women? Well, when you’re an adult, you have feelings for people that goes beyond just a friend.”

Her – “Is it normal?”

This question, in writing this, I realize comes from me assuring her that some of her thoughts and feelings as a seven year-old are normal. I’ll say, “It’s normal, honey.” And, it reassures her. Plus, it’s true.

Me – “Yes, it is normal.”

I thought about that answer and its implications and decided to expand on my answer.

Me – “Most men like women, but some men like men. And, most women like men, but some like other women. And, some like both.”

At that, my friend in the car sort of coughed. At 56, it was even a bit too progressive for him. Or, rather, he was just surprised that I was so matter of fact with her. But that’s how I am. I continued…

Me – “When people like the opposite sex, they’re called straight. When they like the same, they’re called gay.”

Her – “Is it legal?”

Me – “Well, it didn’t used to be, but it is now.”

Her – “Why?”

Me – “Because love won over judgment.”

Papa is Right (Love, Grandparents, Quality time)

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She had a fun afternoon at the beach with Nonna and Papa while I coached tennis. Apparently, she ran blissfully with the birds.

In the evening, we went to Chianti, an Italian restaurant, and we had a good time. In the car, on the way home, she and Nonna snuggled up in back and talked. At home, she wanted Nonna to help her get to sleep, say a prayer. They talked for a good bit.

Finally, she called me for the final snuggle. It took her a while to get to sleep. At one point, she rolled over away from me and said-

Her – “Good night world. Good night animals. Good night Da (Daddy). Good night Nonna and Papa. Good night Sandee, Jimmy, Robin. Good night everyone I know.”

Her smiling face turned back to me and she lavished me with kisses and “I love you” statements. Finally, with some meditation music, she fell asleep. I just feel so blessed to be around her; such a happy and loving spirit. She feels the love and she spreads the love.

I left her bedroom and told my Dad about her good night statements. He was quite proud.

Papa – “Don’t have to worry about that girl. She is going to be all right in life.”

My Dad has always had very good judgment. I think Papa is right.

A Time to Share (Bedtime discussions, Love, Understanding and supporting their inner world)

Tonight, I settled her for bed earlier, but she was wide awake. Rather than insist that she settle, I thought it better to help her get her energy out-

Me – “Want to wrestle?”

Her – “Sure!”

We had an epic wrestle ending with us both jumping on my bed while saying “I’m blessed, I’m loved, I’m worthy!”

Back to her bed. I listed some things to be grateful for, then…

Me – “I love your spirit.”

Her – “It’s big.”

Me – “What’s in your spirit?”

Her – “Happiness.”

Me – “What else?”

Her – “Loving.”

Me – “What else?”

She listed “loving Daddy, loving friends, being outside, nature, life, and kindness.”

After a pause

Her – “Well, I’m not really kind.”

Me – “I think you are.”

Her – “Well, I be mean to my friends.”

After correcting her english-

Me – “We all have our moments.”

We talked about kindness and how we’re all trying.

Her – “I don’t have many friends at school. I ask people if they want to activities together, but the say no they’re already doing something.”

Me – “Well, I only had a couple good friends usually in school. Maybe they are just focused already. Maybe you could approach it differently. Ask them if they’d like to do an activity in class together sometime. If they say yes, then ask them what activities they like and share what you like. Do you think you could try that?”

Her – “Yeah.”

When I had finally kissed her good night and was out of her room-

Her – “I want to do better. I want to listen better like when you ask me to pick things up. I want to make changes.”

Me – “I appreciate that you’re being thoughtful. You’re doing fine, though, honey. You’re all right. I may get upset sometimes, but you’re doing fine. You’re all right. But I appreciate it.”

I know that, fundamentally, kids want to hear from their parents that they’re doing okay and loved unconditionally.

Her – “Okay.”

Maybe I didn’t remember every word correctly in our exchanges, but it’s close. You never know what you’re going to get in these night time discussions or ‘reveals.’ It’s a very precious and important time.

First Morning Words (Love, Stability, Reassurance, New days)

This morning, she woke up around 9:30am, some four hours after me. As I greeted her, she was stirring, eyes awake. I crawled up next to her and just looked at her, trying to convey love through my eyes. She said nothing, waiting. For a while, neither did I. Finally, softly, I spoke-

Me – “I love you.”

Her lips curled into a smile that spread across her face and throughout her body. She wriggled in delight.

Me – “You’re amazing.”

She just took it in.

Me – “You know, I know I get upset here and there about this or that, but none of that matters compared to how much I love you and how amazing you are.”

She smiled again and leaned in towards me

Me – “You smell like yummy, snuggly sleep.”

Her – “You smell like “Da” (Daddy)

I guess that was a compliment.

What I do know, though, is that with each new day, the desire to be loved starts again for her. Children never tire of the reassurance.

And, thank God for new days. A new day is a new chance to be a loving, fun, stimulating, and supportive presence that brightens their days. That’s basically what they want and need to flourish… in their own time and way.

Clear Life Goals (A child’s heart, Love, Happiness, Keeping it simple, Clarity)

As we finished off the first day of the new year…

Me – “Bear, what do you want for me this year?”

Her – “I want you to have a fun year and to be happy and loving.”

Me – “Well, I want the same thing for you.”

Children are so clear that life is supposed to be fun and that happiness and kindness are the highest forms of wisdom, let alone life outcomes

Low Energy Word (Empowerment, Mindset, Power to choose, Attitude, Persistence, Problem-solving)

We were on the tennis court, and she was trying to hit a two-handed backhand. At one point, after missing a couple…

Her – “I can’t do it.”

She turned away, pouting and upset.

Me – “Oh no, don’t do that. Please don’t use that word on my court. People come here to make their dreams come true. I don’t want that word’s energy here. Take it off the court. Hurry! Get it off my court.”

Her – “I don’t know how to get it off.”

Me – “You know what to do. Just grab it out of the air and take it to the bushes.”

She did it and then got back to trying for a while. She got frustrated a while later, but at least she didn’t use the word ‘can’t.’ And… that was my point.