Respecting Change

Solution 1 2 or 3 Choice Showing Strategy Options Decisions Or SolvingOver the years – as the girls have gotten older I’ve tried to enable them to make more decisions.  Sometimes those decisions are minor (what’s for lunch) and sometimes they are bigger (picking out a dress for a party).  As they’ve gotten older I’ve worked hard to support their decisions – even when I disagreed.   In that I hope they’ve learned about respecting change.

When the girls were younger – in a lot of ways life was simpler.  I would pick the meal, pick the clothes or the bed time.  As they’ve gotten older and become young women – those decisions have been ceded and sometimes with some effort I’ve been respecting change.

Heading into Thanksgiving week is always a mixed bag for me.  Thanksgiving is actually one of the holidays I like.  But it runs head long into the week when Risa passed.  From there we jump into the holidays, and then the long days of winter.

The change cycle though seems to keep moving.  And rather than fighting it, I think I’ve realized respecting change is just as important as realizing it’s out there.

So, 14.0 has given up softball after more than eight years to focus on tennis.  Her decision to make.  I respect that.

So, 16.5 declares her independence with authority.  Her prerogative as teen for sure – and I respect that.

Respecting change is probably a healthy approach – but certainly not an easy plan to carry out.  Day-to-day, with my eyes wide open I try to learn something new from my girls and day-to-day they make decisions – and I try to respect them.

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Back In the Dad Business

back in business againIt certainly didn’t take long to go from mostly carefree near 50-year-old with kids away at camp to being back in the dad business.  It really took just a couple of hours before the chauffeur’s hat was out and juggling of plans was on – and the initial toll was a night’s sleep.

The girls came home from what both have called their best summer ever at camp.  15.0 had her trip to the Pacific Northwest and 12.5 had her trip to Washington DC (she returns to the nation’s capitol in the fall with school).  15.0 also completed her lifeguard certification at camp while 12.5 matched a camp record for bulls-eyes on the archery field (who knew)?

There were tons of stories as we sat down for pizza (as we usually do) after they got off the bus – and lots to share.  The girls had their adventures, I had mine Saturday doing the Long Island Tough Mudder.  We got home and they saw some of the changes in the house and went about unpacking the stuff they brought on the bus.

Then came the shout down the stairs:

“Padre,” 15.0 called out.  “Can you take me to my friend’s house?”

And so it goes.  About two hours later came the text, “Is it OK if we go to another friend’s house?”  Now the second friend wasn’t out with the gang because she’s battling a strep throat.  So I shared how I thought it would be a bad idea.  I was over ruled.

While 15.0 was out, I got an email from the head soccer coach of the girls program at the high school.  She now has training workout Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  Along with that she has a mandatory meeting for Camp Good Grief volunteers on Wednesday evening.

In the meantime, 12.5 has plans with one of her best friend’s today, softball practice on Thursday evening and both have dress shopping for 12.5’s bat mitzvah on Friday and Saturday.

A stark reminder the carefree summer days are over.  I can understand why sleep was so hard to come across last night.  And my sore legs are a stark reminder of the physical challenge of the Tough Mudder Saturday.  The signs are up, the lights are on – I’m back in the dad business, again.

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Rights of Passage

Rite of PassageIn some very different ways this weekend we crossed through some rights of passage in the house – and I would say came out on the other side mostly OK.

First, 11.5 became the first of the two to go to a Sweet 16 party.  In this case it was the older sister of one of her best friend’s.  So Friday night, off we went to a place so I could drop her at the event.  She’ll be getting onto the bar/bat mitzvah circuit by the end of this year so not a bid deal – plus her sister did a great job prepping me for this over the last 18 months with bar and bat mitzvah’s all over the place.

In a right of passage passing within the right of passage, this was the first time (at least the first I can recall) where one daughter went into the closet of the other to pull clothing.  They are getting a little closer in size, so hopefully this will work.

But we weren’t done with that.  For 13.5 there is a semi-formal this June as she and her friends leave the friendly confines of middle school and head for high school.  Admittedly, I am still a little fuzzy on the details of this (I appear to be the only parent in town lost on this one) she does need a dress.

Initially, I told her we could go grab dinner and do some dress shopping while 11.5 was at the sweet 16.  As good as I have become at handling these things I get at 13+ dress shopping with dad is not a highlight of a weekend.

So, I agreed to take two additional 13-year-olds to the mall.  So me and a trio of 13-year-olds.  Clearly, shopping with dad would not have worked, so in the next right of passage the was crossed, off went the girls seeking out dresses, bras, body butter and whatever else they could find.

This is the first time I’ve turned either of my girls loose at the mall.  A little protective yeah.  But we do what we are comfortable with.  Sure enough, 40 minutes into my nice restful sitting outside the Apple Store I got the text – she found the dress.  So off to Charlotte Rouse where I dropped the card (after making her try the outfit on for me).

As the girls grow up – the right’s of passage get a little greater and a little bolder.  This is where all my theory on teaching right and wrong comes into play.  Time to find out if I did my part right – as the next right of passage awaits.

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The Devil In The Details

Devil in the DetailsIt’s three weeks until 12.5 turns 13 and has her Bat Mitzvah.  I know it’s a time for her to be excited, nervous and probably a little worried.  For me, it’s a time to be excited, nervous and a little worried.  I know she’ll do a great job and I know everyone will have a lot of fun at the party-but getting it planned is a huge task, and the devil is in the details.

We have the big stuff done.  Dresses are in.  Shoes are purchased.  Place picked out.  Speech (hers) done.  Invites out and responses back.  Now comes the nitty-gritty.


We have to do the table seatings.  Come up with the center pieces. We need to get gifts for the tutor, rabbi and cantor.  A bunch of things like that just need to get done.

Oh yeah, I have girls.  We have hair and nails to worry about as well.

Not to mention working with the DJ on the flow of the event, the photographer on the pictures I want to make sure get captured, picking out the menu and the linens (somehow it matters what color the napkin is that is on a table-cloth that is also color coordinated).

The first step though is knowing the list.  Got that covered.  Next up-picking off the devilish details one at a time.

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Ready Or Not….

It’s reality check Sunday here.  Sitting out in the near future (excuse or enjoy the metaphor) like a giant Matzah ball is 11.5’s Bat Mitzvah.  We know the date, we’ve known it for more than a couple of months.  Still today was the official “kick-off” meeting at the temple for parents with children getting Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2013.

And so the clock officially starts to tick.

Ready or not.  We’ll have to pull a list together and figure out where to have the party (11.5 wants the full-on event, as of now 9.0 is thinking a nice get away).  While 11.5 learns the prayers, Torah and Haftarah portions, we’ll also have to figure out flowers, invitations, party favors, party entertainment, dresses, shoes and I am sure a myriad of other stuff.

Some of it I am probably pretty qualified to help out with.  I’m pretty sure I can help 11.5 with her speech and her Mitzvah project.  I am reasonably sure on the actual party planning and finding the right entertainment package.

Flowers and dresses-well that’s going to be a problem.

Seating arrangements? There are still people who remind me how unhappy they were about seating at my wedding.

Then there is the other issue that I have to sort out-how to invoke Risa but not make it the focus of the event.

Ready or not, here we go.

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