Tag Archives: change

The Kindergarten Blues

I can’t believe this is really happening. How did 4 years go by so fast???

I am sitting at my daughter’s “Welcome to Kindergarten” meeting for parents, which is being held 8 months before school officially starts. They begin by showing one of those sentimental school videos, where the kids frolic on the playground, set to sappy elevator music. Normally, those types of videos would make me snicker, but this one is different. This time, all I can do is picture my baby girl as one of those frolicing children. Thank heavens I am in the back row, because it is all I can do to keep the waterworks from flowing.

A little while later, they are talking about doing lockdown drills with the children. Apparently by law, they have to do so many a year. Just in case, you know, someone marches into the school with a gun. Oh great, and up until now, by biggest worry was bullies on the playground.

Oh, how I adore this little school. It is the first school I ever taught at, and years later, I ended up living in a house where I could literally see it from my kitchen window every day. My daughter has been playing here since she was old enough to walk. Many hours have been spent here already, splashing in mud puddles, going down slides, picking apples and berries from the trees. So as I leave the meeting and head out for the short walk home, I am trying very hard to push down the feeling that this school is suddenly the enemy. That it is in some way stealing my daughter away from me.

Luckily I come to my senses – after my very short, yet seemingly endless walk – and realize that it is not actually school that is the enemy, but life itself. Going to school is only the first step in a never-ending staircase that will see her growing up, and growing away from me. At least when she’s in school, I can look out and see her from our kitchen window. Life, however, will take her on journeys much further away, where I am not always within walking distance.

Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Life

To my beautiful little girl,

I hope I am lucky enough to watch you grow up. I hope we get to experience all the highs and lows of life together, to soak up every experience possible.

Sometimes, though, life changes suddenly, and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Or we get so busy with day-to-day tasks that we forget to really talk and connect the way that we should.

So just in case I forget, or am not able to tell you later on, here are some things I want you to know as you navigate your way through life:

You alone are enough. You don’t need anyone or anything else to complete you.

Falling in love is one of the best – and worst – experiences in life. Don’t try to fight it or analyze it to death. You love who you love, whether it’s right or wrong. Just enjoy the journey and don’t worry about the destination.

Normal is boring. Different is colorful, vibrant, and a crazy fun ride. So be different, be unique, be weird. Let your freak flag fly. You will never, ever regret it – trust me.

“Normal is boring. Different is colorful, vibrant, and a crazy fun ride…”

Family is everything. Go and do what you need to do in life, but never lose touch with your family of origin. And never get so busy that you neglect to create a second chosen family for yourself – whether that means a husband and children, or a family of good friends.

To be successful in all areas of life, you need to be hard-working, fun, and kind. If you really pay attention, you will notice that the best people in life possess all three traits.

Money DOES buy happiness. Most people say the opposite is true, but if you are broke and in debt up to your eyeballs, you will be miserable. You don’t have to be rich to be happy, but you do need to make enough so that you can pay all your bills, put a little away, and still have room to treat yourself from time to time.

Do what you love, whether you get paid for it or not. A hobby may turn into a career, or it may not. Just find something that makes you sparkle inside, and find ways to fit it into your life as much as possible.

“Just find something that makes you sparkle inside, and find ways to fit it into your life…”

Live a life of no regrets. If you are not sure if you should do something, stop and ask yourself this question: If I don’t do this, will I regret it on my deathbed? If the answer is yes, then go for it.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to change. Change is vital and necessary in life to keep growing and moving forward. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage this, and remove people from your life who don’t.

Everyone is someone’s child. Therefore, everyone is the center of someone’s universe, and every life matters. Treat every person equally, and with dignity and respect. But also demand that others treat you the same in return.

Because you are the center of my universe, and always will be.

Life Lessons From a Dog

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
-John Lennon

“Are you sure it’s a dog? It looks like a giant rat.”

At the age of 37, the breeder handed me my very first dog. All 1.5 pounds of him.

We named him Bandit because he kept stealing and hiding things – mostly slippers. A Yorkipoo, he looked like a Yorkshire Terrier but with curly, soft, brownish-grey Poodle hair.

Completely Clueless

To say Bandit rocked my world is an understatement. Having never owned a dog before, I was completely clueless. Poor Bandit was my first test subject, and I made so many mistakes.

“Socialization,” I kept reading, was necessary for puppies, to expose them to the larger world. So I set out to expose Bandit to as much life and variety as I could.

We took him on trips, got him out and about as much as possible. I even took him through a car wash, which I think traumatized him for life.

However, in my quest to socialize him, I overlooked a few things. Most importantly, the fact that he got carsick – every single car trip was a disaster. Plus, he was a very anxious dog, and craved routine and familiarity – not adventure and long car trips.

Big Changes

Funny thing about dogs though – in my many hair-brained attempts to expose him to life and all its complexities, he was actually changing me more than I was changing him.

The changes were slow and subtle. I knew something was up when out for a morning run, I thought “I really should be cutting my runs down so I can spend more time with Bandit before work.”  Then I started worrying that I wasn’t bonding enough with him. Before I knew it, I was head over heels, crazy in love with my new pint-sized fur baby.

Then came the real shocker – my fur baby got me thinking about having a real baby. Not that I didn’t want children necessarily – I had just never been in a hurry, had always taken a wait-and-see approach. I was hardly the maternal type – or so I thought. I craved independence, freedom, my own space. Or did I?

Apparently not, because two years later, I had not one, but three babies – two fur, one real.

Animal Love

I am not sure what would have happened if Bandit hadn’t come into my life. He seemed to take everything I thought I understood about myself and flip it completely upside down and inside out. I was never a huge fan of animals until he came along, but he showed me the amazing bond that can happen between humans and animals, and the depth of my ability to love and care for others.

All these big lessons from such a tiny little dog. But as the saying goes, “good things come in small packages.” Or in my case, with small fur babies.