Your Best and Hope

do your best and hopeGenerally, I try to keep things positive and keep it in perspective.  It would be easy to lament the things I’m either missing or have been without in life.  But I don’t think that serves me well – instead (and I use this metaphor a lot) I look in the mirror in the morning and hope the guy looking back knows you do your best and hope for the right outcome.

Admittedly, it sounds a little overly thought out – but a friend’s Facebook post recently got me thinking about not only my life my the lives of my kids.  Without sharing more than she may want in this forum – she’s a 9/11 widow and her daughter – who was a new-born on that day in 2001 recently went found her father’s name at the memorial in NYC.  My friend posted the text exchange she had with her daughter including a picture of the name.

Do your best and hope is probably standard thinking for any parent – or at least I would hope that it is.  But in the case of an only parent where you play two roles but can only be one person it has a different feel.

I grew up without a father.  He passed when I was in kindergarten.  I don’t think I missed out on anything in life – but I admit I didn’t have a blueprint to be a father.  This is when your best and hope has to work.

My kids are growing up without a mother.  What will their future as parents be? Was my best good enough? I hope so.

In my house, my kids have a closeness I never had with my brothers.  I’m not sure that’s just a function of girls and boys.  I’m not sure its a function of parenting.  Even when my older brother lived with us for a year, I still never felt that bond that I can see in my girls.

Back then I told my kids we were opening our house because that’s what you do for family – it was the best we could do at the time.  You do your best and hope.

So as we embark on the next school year with all kinds of firsts – 17.5 will drive to school, graduate in June, apply to college while 15.0 will move into honors English and advanced art classes – is my best enough?

It’s what I can offer.  Everyday I tell the guy in the mirror – just do your best and hope.

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The Realization

As the long Memorial Day weekend wrapped up, we did something not uncommon for us.  A backyard BBQ with friends and neighbors.  But tonight, more than at any other point the realization struck all the parents-our kids are getting big.

In the crowd along with 11.5 and 9.5 were our original neighbors who have two girls 9 and 7.  Our long time neighbors who have two boys 12 and 14 and the boy from across the street who is 10.  By and large at least pieces of this crew have gathered every Memorial Day since we’ve lived here, 8 years now.

Tonight though, the assortment of kids and ages showed they are quickly become young men and women-no longer kids.  More independent, making their own decisions, playing together with their own conflict resolution.

So yeah, as my sore knee throbbed at me the other parents and I did notice we were actually able to have conversations without needing to interject or interact with the kids as much.

I will admit, a part of me misses that.  (I’ll also admit given my knee today I could not have taken part in the lacrosse game that was taking place).

But a larger part of me was proud of the children we’ve raised. There is a lot of Risa in my kids and even a little bit of me and they are doing OK.

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