Tag Archives: daughters

25 Days of Giving Day Two: Say Thank You

Standard

Thank you. Why are two of the simplest words in the English language sometimes so hard to say?

When I was a senior in high school, I applied to two colleges. The first was the school I was destined to attend. The second? An afterthought, just in case the world’s largest sink hole, triggered by a flying unicorn tethered to an alien spacecraft piloted by Tom Cruise, happened to swallow my first choice whole.

Image via ewrewd.files.wordpress.com

That didn’t happen. Instead I was wait-listed, which for me, was the equivalent of being tethered to an alien spacecraft piloted by Tom Cruise. After getting the news, I became completely unmoored and sullen, sequestering myself in my closet with Erasure’s Oh L’Amour pounding through the headphones of my Sony Mega Bass Sports Walkman over, and over, and over.

After about a week of intense suffering, understood only by Sting via his howling lyrics on King of Pain (which was also in heavy rotation on the cassette player in my car), my dad told me to shower, put on some clean clothes, and pull out my 1/2 inch curling iron…it was time for a father-daughter road trip.

Somehow, we ended up at Miami University that day, and before I knew what was happening, I found myself face-to-face with the Dean of Admissions, better known as The Dream Crusher. I sat, immobilized by fear, as Dad listed virtues I didn’t even know I had in his pitch to get me a spot in the incoming freshman class. This wonderful man, who had never, not once in my eighteen years of life, raised his voice against me was raising it for me, to the roof.

If you asked, Dad would tell you what he did was no big deal, and that he really just wanted to create some space between himself and my constant feed of synthesizer-heavy, sappy songs. But I disagree. I think what he did was extraordinary. He stood up for me at a time in life when I didn’t know how to stand up for myself and taught me that when you want something to change, the first thing you do is ask. Huge lessons on a short road trip that got me into the school of my dreams and altered the course of my life. For that?

Thank you Dad.

Untitled-25

My Dad

If you can, make today’s thank you a little special. Think about something you’ve left unsettled, listen to the voice inside your head that never sleeps (I have about twelve), and dig a little deeper under the surface of obvious. Thank you. Two simple words that, the more you say, the easier they are to pronounce.

***

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent scheduled programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, impress, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.

 

Is That Your Daughter’s Bra Hanging From A Tree?

Standard

Because it’s not my daughter’s bra. Or at least, not yet.

This is your daughter’s bra and there’s nothing you can do about it. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

I took my girls to the mountains last week for some didn’t-get-around-to-doing-all-the-cool-things-I-promised-you-this-summer-and-sort-of-need-to-fit-it-all-into-one-day family fun. Well, family – two + two, because my husband had to work, my son was already back at school, and each of my daughters decided that bringing a friend would be a much better option than hanging out with me.

That used to be me on the left side of the picture, but my daughter’s friends know the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song ever written, are much more supportive of her attraction to anything dramatic, and never make her empty the dishwasher. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

As the trip drew closer, I watched my self-declared, starring role in their lives casually deflate with the slow hiss of a forgotten balloon, to the point that the character I’ve played for the past ten years and know by heart dwindled to nothing more than a cameo appearance. I was a ride up the mountain, someone to hold discarded clothing (not lingerie), and a human ATM.

The minute we hit the resort parking lot (well not really “we”, the kids paired off in twos as I struggled behind the weight of a broken cooler and enough outerwear to float Mariah Carey safely through the streets of Aspen), they were off without a second glance my way. Determined not to be ditched, I jog-limped behind, scrambling to keep up as they raced from the human maze to a zip line, then over the bungee tramps and up the lift so they could fly back down the alpine slide.

Mariah Carey sometimes gets scuba gear and snow gear confused. Image via telepix.com.

Thanks to my newly acquired, D-list status in their lives, I had a chairlift all to myself, and that’s when I drifted over a piece of material placed so far from its intended purpose that I was momentarily stunned. Feeling a little confused, it took my mind a few seconds to catch up with my eyes… “What’s a bra doing in a tree? How did it get there? Why would someone throw away something so….oh yeah, never mind.”

As I gazed down, the future reached back up and hit me with a stiff sucker punch to the gut. For me, that Victoria’s Secret 34C (give or take a cup) was a physical manifestation of one thing. Fear.

Gisele is not my daughter. Image via fashionlogie.com

As happy as I am that they’re now back in school (be honest, you’re happy your kids are gone too), it’s because I know that when they leave in the morning they’ll come home again. Today, I’m still allowed to enter their rooms unannounced, pack their lunch, braid hair, and read them their favorite bedtime stories. I’m close enough to be counted on as a mother, and not yet so far away that we can’t be friends.

Notice the veins popping out of my hand. Nothing says “You’ll Always Be My Daughter” like a death grip. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

But they’re growing up and moving beyond me in ways both insignificant and profound. I feel it as acutely as a shift in the wind or the distant smell of burning leaves that signals a change of season. I’m now chasing the girls who used to cling to my side. Our family trips to the mountains already look a little different than they used to due to a newly revolving cast of characters; like a funhouse mirror that looks back at you with a reflection that’s familiar and different at the same time. And forget about leading. Before I know it, I won’t even be able to follow them. They’ll be heading in their own direction without a map, hair flying in the wind, with besties and boyfriends by their sides.

I spawned something from the other side of the funhouse mirror. Image via The Church of Scientology.

And that’s how a bra ends up in a tree. I mean, that’s how your daughter’s bra ends up in a tree. Not mine. There’s no way I’m giving a jewel-encrusted key to some lifeguard from the beach who’s all “I love you and you’re so beautiful and you look just like Selena Gomez and I play guitar plus my dad has a boat, and I’m pretty sure he knows Justin Bieber and all that, and so yeah, like do you wanna take a ride up the mountain at night to check out the awesome view or something?”

It’s the “or something” that plasticizes my inner organs, rendering me completely unable to move.

Saving lives and deflowering your daughter, one bottle of baby oil at a time. Image via dontletyourdaughterwearabikini.com.

As long as they live in my house, my daughters’ lingerie will come from the sale rack at Sears. For now and maybe forever, I’m keeping my cash in my pocket and my eyes wide open. Call it a survival instinct, sixth sense, whatever you want. Any way you look at it, you’ll be surprised what you can see from so far behind.

That’s Essa, flying away from me on the alpine slide of life. Image via Stacie Chadwick