Tag Archives: family outing

Some Perspective

I came across this op-ed piece in the New York Times this morning and thought it was a lovely read.

Hopefully it will give us soon-to-be parents perspective in the years to come.

The full text is below. Have a great weekend everyone!

The Passion of Parenting

By

I’ve been a single dad for 13 years. As with most single parents — and indeed with most parents — it hasn’t always been easy.

People sometimes say that parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love. But I believe that parenting is sometimes so tough — and exhausting — that you don’t always remember to slow down enough to love it. Sometimes the love is registered in retrospect.

We jockey to give our children the best without giving them so much that they can’t appreciate what they have. We try to encourage them without coddling them. We lavish gifts upon them while simultaneously trying to nurture grit within them.

Parents walk a thin line between oppositional forces, never knowing if we are truly getting it right, judging ourselves and being judged by others.

And we are inundated by studies and books and advice: do this or that if you want your child to succeed and not spend his or her 20s on your sofa.

I try to tune most of it out. When I feel overwhelmed, I call my mother. She always seems to know what to say. I guess that’s why they call it “mother’s wit.”

When my three children were younger, and the strain of taking care of them seemed as though it would overwhelm me, my mother would tell me what an elderly babysitter once told her when she too felt overwhelmed: “Baby, one day they’ll be able to get themselves a cup of water.”

It was a simple way of saying that children grow up and become more self-reliant and eventually they set out on their own to chart their own course. You won’t always have to wait on them hand and foot.

She told me to remember that the more people a child has who truly loves him or her, the happier that child will be. So I work hard to maintain and expand their circles of love.

She taught me that parenting was a lot like giving a hug: It’s all about love and pressure and there is no one way to do it.

She taught me that sometimes you have to make time for yourself so that you will have energy to give to your children. Allow them to have a pizza night every now and then. An occasional treat won’t hurt them, but working yourself to a frazzle will surely hurt you. Rest.

She taught me that you must allow yourself time to find stillness and so you can be moved by it. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget why we’re busy. We have so many things on our list of priorities that we lose sight of what’s really important.

And she taught me that my children are not truly mine. They don’t belong to me; they’ve simply been entrusted to me. They are a gift life gave to me, but one that I must one day give back to life. They must grow up and go away and that is as it should be.

But as the time with my children in my home draws to a close — my oldest is away at college and my twins are 16-year-old high school juniors — I’m beginning to feel the pains in my chest that all parents feel when their children move away.

I thought that this would be a celebratory time, a time when I would relish the idea of getting back to me, of working late without worry and taking last-minute weekend jaunts.

But I don’t. Letting go is hard for me to do. I must let go, but my heart feels hollow. I can’t imagine me without them.

Lately there are times that I find myself just staring at my children, that kind of look that says, “I see you, really see you, and I love you with an all-consuming love, the kind of love that envelops you and sustains me.” It’s the kind of look that invariably draws from my children a “What? What are you looking at?” They speak the words through the slightest smile, a barely registered one, the kind of smile a teenager manages when they know that they are loved, but feel that they are too old for hugs or tears.

Life gave them to me. I’m preparing myself, as best I can, to give them back to life.

 

Pier 39

Last weekend we decided to go into the city and show Nola the sea lions at Pier 39.  We often have this misconception that trekking into the city is too much with a baby.  But we were pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t bad with parking and Nola rocked it.  In fact it went so well we hope to make this a regular activity.

We parked near the Bay Bridge and walked to Pier 39, which there and back is a nice 4 mile walk.  On our way to Pier 39 we also hit up the Ferry Building.  The Ferry Building has an awesome farmer’s market on Saturday’s and inside they have the greatest shops and restaurants.  This place has this energy filled with people getting excited about food and I really love that.  The Ferry Building is probably one of my most favorite places.

Once we got to Pier 39 we got donuts from Trish’s Mini Donuts, and they were warm and delicious and melt in your mouth.  I warn you, however, that the bucket of 32 mini donuts is too much for 2 people and resulted in a not so good rest of the day for me, with food sadly I have no self control.  🙁  Regardless we had a great day and the bucket is now Nola’s favorite new toy.

nola checking out the sea lions!

nola checking out the sea lions!

my buddies!

my buddies!

trish's yummy donuts!

trish’s yummy donuts!

surfin safari

Recently our little family took a much needed weekend trip.  After doing some research I came across this place called Safari West that has wild animals and you can sleep in tents.  Now I know that many of our family and friends are campers and we think all of you are awesome, but after our last camping experience we realized we like the finer things in life and all that really means is a bed.  So when I told CJ we were camping he surprisingly seemed to be fine with it.  I’m not quite sure if it’s because he wasn’t really listening to me or just going with the flow, he’s good at both of those things :).

Since Safari West is in wine country we decided to hit up a winery beforehand.  CJ and I love love wine country and been there a handful of times.  After visiting a lot of the bigger wineries we are starting to visit smaller family owned one’s and loving them a lot!  We went to Vincent Arroyo Winery and got a private tasting and small tour of the winery.  Our tour guide was charismatic and a lot of fun to talk to and it started our little getaway on the right foot.  We also left with a delicious bottle of port.

Next we ate at a Calistoga and hit up a candy store to find chocolate to go with our Port for later that evening.  While scooping things out I saw these handmade popsicles and anything handmade I’m a sucker for these days.  They also had mini popsicles and after reading the ingredients I naively thought Nola should get one too.  It was such a mess and the popsicle was a deep purple color.  I should tell you I have a pet peeve for dirty fingers, etc. and having a baby is teaching me to let go.  Coincidentally we realized afterwards the popsicle that got all over Nola also looked like wine and being in wine country…well that made us feel a little unsettled.

IMG_1916           IMG_1917

Now CJ still wasn’t quite sure what to expect when getting to Safari West, but soon found out that our tent was far from the standard camping experience.  I was going to let him sweat it out until he saw the place :).  People, if we ever go camping this is the way to go!  It was pretty much a hotel room w/ tent walls.  They had a space heater, the most comfortable bed, along with a full bathroom, it was lovely!!  We took a family nap where we got this beautiful breeze, we could hear the animals and it really was a moment where I wanted to freeze in time.

IMG_1935

IMG_1923

IMG_1938

The next day we got to go on a guided hike around the grounds and to see more of the animals and the beautiful countryside.  Safari West also gives jeep tours, but they don’t recommend children under 4 years, so we will need to wait a bit to do that.  But if you do have kids who are older I think it would be an amazing experience.  I wish we could teletransport our nephew and niece because we know they would love it!

Overall this was an awesome short little trip and we made a lot of special memories!  Goodness I love my family so!

IMG_1961

IMG_1925

IMG_1954 IMG_1946

IMG_1930