Yesterday was a boat move and lunch day! The boat due to the rough nature of winter on boats sits on land all winter long. We wander down to Shady Side Maryland where the boat is wintered and then head to our new Marina. We had spent the last two years at Annapolis Landing, just outside of Annapolis Maryland. This year we were heading a little future south. In part to have a less crowded boating experience, in part to try something new. When we got to the marina, the boat wasn’t quite ready, so we headed out for lunch. There are several restaurants around the area of Shady Side. Some of them are right on the water and offer wonderful food and views.
We had talked for a long time about going to Pirates Cove in the town of Galesville Maryland. My Yelp Review is here. There was a projected storm expected for the mid-afternoon. We were hoping we would get the boat, and not have to wait until Saturday or Sunday to move the boat. It is not wise to move a boat during a storm unless you have to. Luckily we were able to move the boat right after lunch! My wife drove the car from Shady Side to the new Marina. I took the boat across the inlet. It was interesting that I was going about three miles to get from the storage location to the new Marina. It was more than 24 miles by car. The advantage of being able to go as the crow flies.
It was nice to be back on the water again. I felt free for the 25 minutes it took me to cross the inlet and wander around the new Marina a bit (I wasn’t quite sure where our new slip was). It was a brisk day (around 68 for a high), and by the time I had made it across the inlet, the wind had begun to pick up. In fact, as I pulled into the slip, the wind was pushing us around a lot. We got all set, tied the boat up and headed to the car. By the time we got to the main road, it had started to rain. It managed to rain all the way home. But the second line of storms that had been predicted didn’t come. We ended up making it home after getting to ride through a fairly nasty thunderstorm.
It is a lot easier to forgive a child when they transgress. Why? Because we are invested in their success. I have a theory about that. The level of investment we have is directly related to the connection we feel. If someone feels disconnected, they will last out. Now, when the disconnection is a child, we help them move forward. We reach out to them and try to align them with a more effective way to resolve the issue. It comes to mind one of my favorite quotes. I don’t recall where I read it. It may have come from my father or my grandfathers. It may have come from my mother (she loves the My Pen Rai of Thailand or Turkey Buzzard depending on your intent when speaking to her!)
Don’t be the rock. Don’t be the ripple, Be instead the quiet of before and after. Yes, there is a sound when the rock hits the surface of the water. There is a sound when the ripples strike the shore of the lake, river, pond or ocean. The quiet is what you disturbed when you fling the rock. The quiet is what the rock disturbs as it displaces water and pushes away from where it was, to where it will now be. That is what we teach children. To understand that in throwing that rock, you break the surface of the water. In breaking the surface of the water, you, the rock thrower own what comes next. That is the lesson we pass to children about their impact on the world.
I see this on the internet now. The anonymous reality of the internet becoming the water. The internet represents that pond, river, creek or Ocean that we fling rocks into. Posts, comments they are the rocks we throw. Some of them landing, gently into the water and produce no sound, ripples. Those are the comments, the posts that we cherish. Each of us seeks the equilibrium of the rock settling gently into the water and leaving no ripples behind. It is within us, that natural response to the world. To seek the quiet of the forest and the pond undistributed. To gently touch the surface and find forever, the quiet of the unmoved water. Then to hear forever, the sound of gentle water. No ripples, no rocks, simply quiet.
The Baltimore Boat Show, we didn’t go this year, it was a busy time of year this year. Plus, it wasn’t that cool the first time we went. It is fun to see a convention center filled with no water, but lots of boats. Boating is an activity that my wife and our daughter love, but the twins don’t really like boating that much. It’s funny because my parents and my wife’s parents love boating. I guess the apple fell and rolled far away from the tree in the case of the twins. They, the twins, used actually to throw temper tantrums about going on the boat. We’ve been trying to help them understand that going to yelling right away diminishes your voice overall. It slowly is seeping into their understanding.
When you are young, every affront seems to be the worst one ever. My grandfather used to tell me when I was younger, to pick the hill you want to die on. Not that I was going to stop living, but rather you can’t fight every battle. You have to be careful and make sure that you can walk away from some battles. Every battle fought for the twins was a hill. It took me a long time to understand what my grandfather meant. Initially, I thought he meant I don’t fight battles. I knew I couldn’t do that. But eventually, having it repeated to me many times, I realized the reality of the gem I was given. It isn’t about walking away from all battles. That won’t help anyone.
It is about making sure that the battle (hill) you pick, is the one. I worked and work with the twins about fighting two-front wars. There is sadly no divide and conquer in our family. My wife and I may disagree about things, but that is handled offline. As far as the twins were concerned, we were a unified front. We choose to fight some battles where the twins couldn’t see or hear them. Again, it is ok to fight a battle. Just make sure that is the battle you need to fight! I got the chance many years after learning the lesson o thank my grandfather. He over the years taught me many lessons. The hill I choose was only one of many that he imparted. Luckily I was able to show him that I did, in fact, learn one lesson!
The pictures today are from my mother’s house. It is a family event in December 2017 (Christmas). We had a party at our house and then drove to Indiana. We stayed at a hotel because we took Dylan and Raven with us. All the dogs, mom’s and ours, get along pretty well. Mom has a dog door and a huge backyard. The dogs love to go out and run around like crazy people. They are however older now. They don’t run now, as long as they used to when they were younger. The large poodle is Napoleon. Mom has three poodles and a Scotty. The Scotty, Nelson, was my father’s dog. He and Nelson used to play in dad’s office for hours. Fetch was Nelson’s favorite game. He would scamper across the floor.
Then grabbing the stuffed animal, he would run back to dad and start over. I suspect Nelson misses my dad. I wonder, based on movies like “A Dog’s Purpose” as well as many others, what do dogs think when their person is gone. It is something I have wondered about for years. I remember MacGregor, our Collie when I was 8 or 9 years old. Mac loved my father more than anything on earth. He was very sick, and the vet came to our house. The vet told my mother that Mac wouldn’t make it through that night. My father was a trip out of town. The vet came to the house on Thursday and said Mac wouldn’t make it until Friday. My dad wasn’t going to be home until Monday.
Mac didn’t move for three days. He didn’t die, but he didn’t move. Sunday morning when my father got home, Mac, as he had done since the first day he joined our family, struggled to his feet and walked to greet my dad. He died that night. I cried for hours. I remember taking his body with my father to dispose of him. I cried the entire time. My dad said “Don’t cry, Mac wouldn’t have wanted you to be sad. Remember all the fun things.” I tried, I was sad for many days after that, but I did remember and do remember so many of the happy things. Mac was a grand dog. He was collie like Lassie. He loved my father more than anything on this earth. That’s why I wonder what Nelson thinks now that his dad is gone.
When the twins were little one of the things that were added to family lore was something one of the twins did, frequently. They would add the phrase “I don’t mean to offend, but” The first part was an attempt to convey information. The but was the dangling danger sign. For a time both twins did that, but after a year of gently convincing them that this was offense, they stopped. You can’t offend and then justify it. It is a hard lesson to learn. One of the things I tried to teach the twins is that it is ok to offend people accidentally. It happens all the time. Two people speak, one person doesn’t have the same set of ears as the other person, and they hear things differently. They can be offended by the phrases used.
There were a million excuses the twins came up with over the years. I didn’t mean that was my favorite. As they, the twins got older they were able to see the impact of the words. Words are the best, and the worst thing humanity has created. Language in and of itself is a confusing web of intent, sarcasm, meaning, and duplicity. Words that mean things to children don’t have the same meaning as adults. Adults have hard conversations, sometimes in front of the kids. The twins would hear those conversations and try to participate as children do. We would, sometimes gently, sometimes not gently push them out of the conversation. That probably wasn’t optimal, but it was right.
Now the phrase, I don’t mean to offend but, is in the family lexicon. We all know that when you start a sentence with that, what comes after that is offensive or painful. The most important thing that we were able to teach the twins, and our daughter, is to own that. It is ok to say hard things to people. But own the hurt feelings that result. After we convinced the twins not to use that phrase they began the justification phase. That is a much more difficult situation. Everyone has a justification for what they say. Everyone has the right to speak. But no one has the right to injure. If someone attacks you, and you perceive that it an attack the next step is not to launch a counter-attack. You have to ask was there intent to harm. If the first person meant no intent, they will own the original attack and apologize. If there intent, they will justify their actions. At that point, defend yourself. But as we taught the twins, if you initiate, or you defend yourself own what comes next!
When we left Indiana in 2011, we decided to lease a house for a year or two to find out where we wanted to live. The company we picked to lease form was a horrible mistake. But the time we spent in the part of Gaithersburg MD, called The Kentland’s was wonderful. It gave us a chance to experience this part of the world and figure out what worked for us. Maryland was a huge transition for everyone in the family. It wasn’t one that we entered lightly; we talked about moving for more than four months before we made the final decision. It wasn’t a condemnation of Indiana. Our family is there, and we love the state it was more than we needed to do something different.
The first transition for all of us was learning to deal with traffic. The company that I was working to put us up in a Residence Inn for the first week and a half. Fran was happy; she got people food at breakfast every single day. In Fran’s world, breakfast sausage was the best! Our house was going to be ready on the 15th of the month, August 2011, Until that point, we hung out in the hotel, and my wife and the kids tried to adjust to a new world. My wife was taking an internship working for a hospice (where she still works) in the Gaithersburg, MD area. Being a work, a day person again was a tough transition for my wife. She had been a stay at home (occasional) part-time outside of the house employee for nearly 15 years by then.
For me, it was an interesting change. In part because I wasn’t a direct consultant anymore. In part because the job was a blast. Over the years I have been blessed with many good managers. I had two, and things were moving along! Learning the ins and outs of traffic meant learning how to avoid some places at certain times of the day! I grew up, asking directions. People in Indiana would say that it is 30 miles, figure 35 minutes to get there. Suddenly I was in a world where people said where are you going? When are you going? Why when I would ask. Well, it is 10 miles to where you are hoping. If you leave, now it is a 20-minute drive. If you leave at 5 pm, it is a 2-hour drive. You learn to change when you drive, quickly!!!!
Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder. First, who is this they speak of? They are always them, are they ever us? IF they are us, then why not the US say beautify is in the eye of the beholder? Plus in the eye is such a funny thing. Does that mean that the person gets poked in the eye by an image? My father loved taking pictures. He was proud of every picture he took. He was, however, also a perfectionist. Most of the pictures he took over the 50years he took pictures were never shared with anyone other than my mother. From time to time he would share pictures with the rest of us. But my mother’s father, my grandfather was different.
My sister and I used to race to look at the old photo albums. We sat for hours watching the old home movies. Some of Grandpa’s video was taken as early at 1948. My mother always laughs about the old moving pictures. She said, “your grandfather used to make us go in and out of the backdoor of the house over and over.” First, my grandparents swapped what was traditionally the front and rear doors of the house my grandfather and great grandfather built. The front door was actually on the side of the house that faced the driveway. The driveway, however, was never really used for cars. Mostly that was so that people could easily back their boats down to the lake.
That side door was the front door. The back door was where traditionally you would see a front door. We also were never allowed to use the actual front door of the house. Grandma did not like having that door opened. It opened into the living room of the house. My grandmothers favorite part of the house, her chair was there, and her window. A giant bay window that looked out over Lake Ripley. Grandma was often there, watching Jeopardy. I remember watching Jeopardy with Grandam. By the time I was 15 most of the family wouldn’t play me in trivia games. But Grandma kicked my butt in Jeopardy. I remember the smile on her face when I finally was consistently faster than she was in the game.
It is an adage, like father like son. Although it is interesting my father and both traveled. Dad traveled to countries that were beginning to develop. He wandered many nations helping them build their science education systems. I traveled to nations that were more developed and helped them implement more diverse and structured IT systems. We both traveled. I didn’t however, go to some of the places dad did. Africa and in particular South Africa was a trip dad got to take, that well I am jealous of. We are wandering through the last pictures dad took. They come from the memory cards he had in a drawer. I don’t know if he ever looked at these.
He would, back then take a memory card insert in the camera and shoot until it was full. Then he would buy a new memory card. He placed the full ones in a box on the right side of his desk. I don’t know if he looked at them. I do know he stored them. I found 23 memory cards ranging n size from 2 gigs to 16 gigs. All of them except two were full of pictures. One of was of files from Dad’s computer. There were a few pictures on his computer as well. I know, having told dad many times that the memory cards were risky (they last from 10-12 years max) he didn’t listen. But, I also know in fairness I didn’t always listen to my parents, so I guess turnabout is fair.
I suspect that happens with all parents and children. I know it has happened as well with my children. I know, but they don’t have the opportunity. In order to hear, you have to want to listen. I do truly understand that because I did it to my parents. I do, at times get caught up in that moment where it is a little harder to accept. As a parent, there are many hard jobs. The hardest one is letting your children fail. It comes within us to protect our children. Failure is painful, but sometimes we have to let our children fail. They, the child, need to learn the reality of the world. A failure is an option. Life is not a box of chocolates; it is, in fact, a box that can have candy or can be full of poisonous snakes.
If you celebrate, Happy Good Friday, this is the last of the Easter posts for this year; I am doing my father’s pictures on the weekends so, we end with this one. Interesting, in that now today we have pictures of the kids a little older. There is also pictures of Gwen towards the end of the collection. She was older by then 13 or 14 years old. She would make it, two more years. I miss Gwen sometimes. She was stubborn, used to chase and herd the kids in the back yard and she was a family member. Our daughter went through the no pictures in the holy compound era. She first went through the make faces when pictures were taken phase, and convinced her cousins to do that as well.A
Then it was the don’t take my picture phase. There are several pictures in that phase in the collection today. You can, with the last picture of our daughter see the same face my wife makes when I take her picture. Honestly, this is one of the last Easter celebrations we had, by the time of these pictures (2009) or 10 years ago now, the twins were 11 and no longer believed in a traveling bunny that broke into people’s houses to leave things behind. They were tired of my best dad joke about Gwen and Fran. (we are hunting bunnies tonight) Uttered in my best Gwen voice the eve of Easter. I guess even the very best dad joke ever gets old when you’ve heard it 11 years in a row.
(the kids used to gasp when Gwen would tell them she was hunting bunnies on Easter Eve). Why doesn’t Easter have an Eve, by the way,? It was more fun to hide the candy when the kids were older. We could get a lot more creative. We still had the one rule though, high enough that Gwen and Fran couldn’t get involved in the searching. They did, but more to direct in hopes of receiving a cut of the goods. Fran loved Peeps. Peeps are Marshmallow covered with hard sprinkles in the shape of little bunnies or little chicks. My wife bought them (peeps) every single year. Not one of the kids liked Peeps. But Fran did, more than anything. Gwen would eat them, but for Fran, the Candy choices were Peeps, Candy Corn and Candy Corn pumpkins (we never could figure out why she loved Candy corn so much).
Wandering Easter, probably one or two more times this week. One of the holiday traditions that my daughter and I cherished was the star wait. Christmas and Easter the two big holidays where things were hidden or delivered. Christmas, the presents under the tree. Easter with the eggs and candy hidden on the main level of the house. The Lab (Fran) slept upstairs, and the Easter Bunny stayed away from labs. Mostly because I think Fran would have enjoyed eating the Easter Bunny, Gwen used to follow us around as we hid the eggs and candy, forcing us to hide them a little higher than Gwen could safely reach. But as the morning arrived, the kids would wait at the top of the stairs for us to release them.
There were several times (starting once they, the twins were no longer in cribs) that our daughter had to restrain Twins on the stairs. Over the years we collected iterations of this picture. We recreated it this year for Christmas. I do miss the days of these pictures sometimes. Back in that day, we had a three-level house (funny, we’ve had three level houses since back when we lived in Cincinnati). In the case, in Greenwood, the Master bedroom was on the main level, and the kids were at the top level of the house. When we first moved in my wife had the entire house kids proofed. We had to; the twins early on were quite active.
It wasn’t easy for our daughter, but she was great with the Twins — all that effort is feeding them when they were little paid off. The three would come down the stairs and go into the kitchen. The kitchen was also on the main level of the house. They would see their baskets, and then off searching for eggs and candy. We were careful to only put out a certain number of eggs. That way we could count them, and make sure we had them when the searching was done. The next thing was taking the candy away, so it wasn’t eaten in a 2 hour period. Overall the experience was always interesting. We did usually find missed candy that had been hidden far too well for a month or so after the holiday.