Friday, June 26, 2015

Reflections from the Road

 I am headed to the beach with my six year old and my father. Vacation therapy. 

This has become our ritual as the years pass since we lost my mother. In her death, I have found a new best friend and confidante. We are closer than we have ever been. I am still his cherished and spoiled little girl, as is my daughter. She is close with her Grandpa, and they also share a special bond. One that only they have. She is her Grandpa's girl. Just like I have always been my Daddy's girl.

As has become our tradition, my Daddy drives and I am lulled to sleep by the constant wave like twists and turns of the West Virginia Turnpike. The constant curves rock me like when I was a child, in the car with my Mommy and Daddy, and little brother headed to the beach. The beautiful and majestic mountains that I love turn into the scenic overlooks of Virginia.Virginia runs into the flatter land of North Carolina, which eventually turns into the long stretch of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hatteras, we are almost there! I always feel safe and secure when we are with him.

This was the destination of our first beach trip after we lost my mother. This will be our fourth trip with my father to this paradise. It is the place where I broke my leg, where my baby learned to swim, a place to relax, to slow down and enjoy each other, to heal, to figure out life without my mother, and to enjoy our island away from home. I have so many fond memories and pictures of this culturally rich little island. I hold it and them close to my heart.

So again, just for this week, every year, we can escape and play like children in the sand and surf, or at the pool. We can fly kites without abandon, and build the sandcastles of our dreams. My father is helping to teach my little one just like he taught me all those years ago our family's beach traditions. We are also helping to teach her the importance of family, working hard so that you can play harder,  and to always stay a kid at heart! She has also learned that we are very blessed to be able to share these beach trips with my Daddy, because not everybody gets to go to the beach every year, and life is fleeting. 

We are also blessed with a husband and father, the calibre of my Daddy, that graciously shares us every summer. To my husband, I am forever grateful for his constant understanding of our needs.

These vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina have meant so much to us all. They have allowed us all to appreciate family more in the here and now, and to let my father and daughter(and me) develop memories that will last a lifetime. Children bring such joy, and our vacations are so fun and filled with joy and love. Grandpa and his little conspirator against Mommy. 

So we are off to the land of pirates, treasure hunting, seafood, long pool mornings, longer beach afternoons, Blackbeard, Teach's Hole, 

Ocracoke Island and the ferry, the sandy beaches, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, 

the Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Ocracoke Lighthouse,

 Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, The Chicomaco Life Saving StationMuseum, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, sandcastles, kite flying, The Wright Brothers Museum,

and new and wonderful memories.

So life goes on. Life changes, but it goes on. You appreciate the here and now, and look back fondly. And every year, I look back as I take this drive with my father and daughter to our favorite beach. As I am lulled into a sleepy, dream like state by all the gentle curves, I look back on all that was, where we are now, and how far we have come. I remenisce, shed a few tears in rememberance as I reflect on life and loss, and am humbled by the man that is my father, the beautiful girl who is my daughter, and the strength I have witnessed in both of them. I am beyond blessed to have the love of these two amazing individuals, and the close bond we all share.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dear Mr Presumptuous Swim Team Dad

Dear Mr. Presumptuous Swim Team Dad,

     I have a few things that I would like to cover with you regarding my child.

     A-She is six years old and very impressionable. Swim team should be a positive experience. It is suppose to be fun! She does not need an adult, the parent of a fellow swimmer telling her," that's okay, you can work harder next time." That statement implies that she did not work her butt off this time. She was proud of herself. Who do  you think you are to tear her down? Great job! Way to go! You did it! would all be acceptable responses to cheering for or congratulating my child. Do not ever take it upon yourself again to bring your over zealous need for winning to my child's world. Fuck up your own kid. M'kay cupcake?

     B-It is her coach's responsibility and her coach's responsibility alone to 'coach' my child. Unless I decide otherwise.

     C-It is her coach's responsibility to teach her proper stroke technique, or mine. Not yours. Do not make that mistake again. Unless I, in my infinite wisdom, ask for your expert opinion. Which will never happen. Even if hell freezes over. Wow! Can you imagine that? Not even then.

     D-Never mistake my politeness as an invitation to openly denounce my child's performance in front of her teammates, the opposing team, and all of the parents, grandparents and cheerers on,and then take it upon yourself to 'coach' her publicly immediately after her race. You are a lucky man that my husband has the patience of a saint. And that I was at the ribbon writing table, writing ribbons. Single her out again, I guarantee it will not be overlooked.

      E- Never mistake this pretty face for a stupid one. I, nor my child, needs saving from our less than desirable quantity of coach to kid instructional time, by involving you, to personally single my kid out for coaching. All by yourself. Are you sensing a lot of 'I' statements in here thus far? Good, your catching on!

You are not Michael Phelps. PERIOD
 Obviously you feel the need to offer your un-solicited assistance to a vulnerable little girl who may have been doing the breast stroke a little less than perfect. I would strongly advise you to keep your opinions, techniques, and snide comments to yourself from here on out. Are we clear?

You may have been trying to make a genuine attempt to help my child, but for reasons A-E stated above, you are not qualified nor welcome. I have three words for you in three versions;

Time, place, appropriateness
Not the coach
Go Fuck Yourself

                 Pissed Off Mama Bear

***Those of you who have a six year old that plays any sport know, that criticism, at the ripe old age of six, is taken to heart. It can shape a child's love for or hatred of the entire sport.  I stated above that they are so very impressionable at this age, you have to be so very careful in what is said to children.  We need positive role models, than encourage rather than tear down. Not perfectionist, hard core parents that are no real help to the child.

 First and foremost, we always tell our daughter to have fun. We also teach her that winning is not everything. That being said, I would also like to state that at the six year old level of swimming, in our league, no marks are taken off for technique, improper stroke, flipping over during backstroke, etc. At six, they are learning. Thank goodness for my husband and I reaffirming her awesome effort, or she may have gotten down on herself and wanted to quit today.

 So why this man took it upon himself  to publicly ridicule and attempt to humiliate my child is beyond me. I am very careful not to say anything to her, to upset her delicate six year old sensibilities. What makes him think that he has that right?***