Rockstar, Big Dreams & Having Fun (a letter to my 2 year old Ellie)

I remember when I was about 5-6…

…I had a birthday party and got the best gift ever: a giant police car…with lights, a siren AND a walkie-talkie on it. It was loud, obstructive and awesome, just like me. Everyone loved it. I played with it until I went to bed, imagining a life as Sgt. Chase on the Montreal streets, taking out the law breakers, refusing bribes and always getting home in time for supper. It was a great dream. It was the best toy ever.

The next morning I woke up and ran out of bed earlier than normal, with a heightened expectation to play with my awesome toy. Yet it wasn’t where I left it. I looked through our whole house and couldn’t find it. I asked Mom and Dad and they said they moved it but I’ll see it later. I was deeply upset until about 5 seconds later when I was distracted by something else (I was 5-6…try to get a kid to pay attention for that long.). But every so often, even as I got older, I would wonder about my police car and dream of being a Sgt. I would imagine being in my room, no lights on but the blue and red of my car, its siren on 10 while calling into the station.

Years later, Mom and Dad told me they got rid of the car on the night of my birthday after I went to bed and put it in storage, later called the garbage. They saw the lights, heard the siren and saw the walkie and thought, “Nope. This toy’s gotta go!” No more Sgt. dreams. No car. I still dream of that car.

This past weekend, Ellie turned two. And during her small birthday celebration, she got a microphone set that comes with its own stand, mini stage AND buttons for claps and applause (from dinky small jazz club claps to Bieberific one). It’s a narcissist’s dream I tell ya. And from the moment she turned it on, Ellie “Twinkle Twinkle’d” all day, performing original songs as well as well-known favorites as per request. Oh yeah, there’s NO volume button on it. So it’s loud and echo-y all  the time. She even REALLY rocked out at one point, knocking things over mid-song (Click on the link to see her in action)! It was fun. And as I watched her mumble, fumble and bumble her way to entertain everyone around her, I vowed to never put it in storage or complain when it’s really loud and annoying. I realized that as her dad, I need to let her dream and catch her when she misses the star she was trying to catch.

Dear Ellie,

You’re a musical kid. It’s easy to see it. You sing on pitch, you have rhythm, you know how to hold(and pretend to strum) a guitar AND play drums. And you love a crowd. You love to make people laugh and to show off. You get that from me. Sorry:)

You may grow up to be a rockstar, kiddo, on stages with all the light and fame to go with it. If you do, stay humble. Everything you have is a gift.

Remember what you told me when I asked you where Jesus is…in your heart. Shine bright & give your all. I’ll be with you every step of the way. And let me say, that doesn’t have to be what you wanna do. Whatever you do (pending it’s legalities) I will be proud of. I know you’ll help and affect many…it’s all over you.

Yet there will be days when you don’t feel that support from people around you, or days  you feel like you’re not good enough. Those days are unavoidable, sweetie. But on those days, I’ll pull out that kiddy mic you got when you were two and you can sing “twinkle twinkle, little star” all day and night till the confidence comes back. And I’ll sit like I did on your two-year old birthday, with a huge smile that says, “that is MY kid! MY KID.”

I’ll always be your number one fan. You’ll always be famous to me.

Never stop dreaming, Eliana.

Da-ddy

Turning Two: A Letter to The Kid (Ellie)

Dear Ellie,

Can you believe it? You’re turning TWO! I still remember pulling up to the hospital with your mom and leaving her in the car in a nervous haste (That’s an epic fail blog waiting to be written). 12 hours we waited for you cause you decided to be backwards. Then out you came, skinny, blue-eyed (now a perfect green/brown mix), tiny, beautiful. You and I slept a lot on the couch watching The Score cause you liked to be up late and I love sports scores on reruns. Then you started to grow, bigger and bigger…till right now, on the cusp of two. Here’s what you’ve taught me in 24 short/long months:

  • …There is nothing more enjoyable than listening to music with you in the car or anywhere. You love what I love: The Black Keys, Radiohead, Janelle Monae, Brooke Fraser, Arcade Fire, Fred Hammond, Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and more! You’re gonna be a musical kid…really cool.
  • …Dora is annoying. Yet the other day you said “arriba” to me…so I guess it’s worth watching.
  • …You don’t mind playing by yourself. You love people but you love alone time to with your books and toys. You’re a perfect mix of Becca and I.
  • …When I ask you where Jesus is, you always say ‘in my heart, da-ddy’. It’s a good reminder for me too, kid.
  • …I have to work on my bad habits, like not being messy, because what you see, you will do
  • …Sometimes you just gotta play in the snow and I just gotta join you. Same with jumping in puddles.
  • …There will be foods that you don’t like. That’d being said, I can’t laugh at the table when you say, “I no like it….” It’s sets a bad example.
  • …You’re a leader and not a follower.
  • …You’ve taught me to appreciate tractors. I notice them everywhere now and remember where they are so I can tell you. Same with trains and GO Buses.
  • …You’ll be able to stand up for yourself. I don’t have to worry AS much as I did.
  • …That you can handle day care…I cried on your first day. NO, WAIT…I cried on our visit BEFORE your first day…but you’ve been a champ, kid.
  • …Sometimes juice is better than water but you can’t always have what you want.
  • …That you’d rather walk than be picked up. From the moment you learned to walk, you wanted to be a big kid. Don’t grow too fast.
  • …However, every so often, you want to be picked up and cuddled. I lived for those moments =)
  • …Potty training is HARD. You won’t keep still =)
  • …You are a SOUND sleeper. You get that from your mom too.
  • …You are beautiful and you will be a stunner, as you get older. I have already dug the graves for the boys who will attempt to date you.
  • …You love to laugh…and love to sing…and talk alot…just like your old man.
  • …There are days where you know something is wrong and you simply say “I love you”. And I know you know what you’re doing.
  • …remembering names is important. You remember people and you can see their joy. Little things make a big difference. And trust me, I’ve forgotten names before.
  • …Running naked  around the house is only cute for you.
  • …You’ve taught me to say “I love you” a lot more.
  • …Your “NO” is a powerful tool. Mine is too.
  • …No one will be able to say, “again”, or “COME…ON” without causing me to laugh. I’ll always hear you saying it =)

Eliana Dorothy, you are my greatest mark on this earth. I know you can’t read this, but everyday you teach me something new. I adore you and think about you all the time. I am a better man of God, husband, father, friend and pastor because I want to make you proud. I’m still full of mistakes but I’m learning and you’re a big part of that! This, and so much more, is what you’ve done in me in two years. Your impact on my life is huge. Thanks for letting me be your dad.

Not that you really had a choice but still…

Love you bubba,

Da-ddy


Mistaken Identity & A Cover Up – The Epic Fail Blog Returns!

Ever thought you saw someone in a mall that you knew. You recognize a jacket, a certain swag and you think,

 “Oh look! It’s ____________!”

And out of jovial exuberance and desired connection, you call out _____________’s name, only to have someone else that’s not your friend (along with the entire mall) turn around with a weird, “Who are YOU?!?!” face. embarrassment is nigh. You turn red, if your skin pigmentation allows for it, bury your face and walk away.

You’ve been there, right? Right? Of course.

Now…imagine doing that in front of the person. Yes, calling them by the wrong name in front of them. Especially if you KNOW them. Done that too? Well, please read this next story from the ever adventure that is my life.

Last week I drove up to my old college to do some visiting and attend a few seminars. Many of my old professors still teach there so it was great to see them and to give a report on where I’m at in my life. It was also good to see some newer students, grinding out papers, community and their own legacy. So I’m there and I see someone whom I’ve known for some time who’ s now a part-time prof at the school (this guy’s smart…really.) and we get to talking about the school and we’re both up to. Here’s how the conversation goes:

ACT 1

Chris: Hey Gerald*! Great seeing you here! You a teacher here this year?

Gerald: Yup, just part-time doing church history, really enjoying it.

ACT 2: SMALL TALK…then this:

C: Dude, you just got married a bit ago, eh? How’s that treating you?

G: Oh it’s great, man I really like-

C: So how is Gayle*

(At this point, Gerald’s face grimaces while still maintaining full eye-contact with me. His face says, “That’s not my wife’s name, Chris. You’ve mistaken me for another Gerald that you know who is married to Gayle. I’m married to Susan*. You know this, man…you should. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you…you know what, I’m just gonna go with it…”)

G: Oh she’s good. We’re really growing closer together (Or something like that.  I stopped fully listening because at this point, I’ve realized his face and deducted that I’m an idiot and that he’s married to SUSAN and NOT GAYLE! I’ve also realized that he is NOT going to correct this major error. Now it’s awkward…)

C:…oh man, that’s awesome. So glad to hear that…

ACT 3: SMALL TALK ABOUT AGINCOURT, WHERE I WORK

G:…great, okay well good seeing you, Chris.

And SCENE.

So there you have it. I fully called his WIFE by the wrong name in front of him. His WIFE. And he KNEW it. And I KNEW that HE KNEW. And we both…said…nothing.

In the land of mistaken identities and cover-ups, I suck

(For the first time ever, the names* in this post have been changed for privacy. However! Bonus points if you can figure out who I’m talking about…)

Ellie, Dora, Diego & Kissing Cousins

My daughter is pretty observant. She gets that from her mom. She learns by watching.

Becca and I really want her to learn well from us in multiple areas of life, one in particular being affection. We often say ‘I love you’ ‘I love you too’ and ‘I miss you’ to one another and now Ellie has the habit of saying it as well to us, her bear, her bunny and friends. It really is the cutest thing. Becca and I also give each other hugs and small kisses too, simply because we fancy each other AND because we want Ellie to see that it’s normal for mommy and daddy to be that way.

Funny tidbit: The other day when we were being lovingly affectionate (and thinking that Ellie was busy in the living room) we heard a small voice say ‘what doin GUYS?!? (said exactly like this!)’. This leads into the following story…

Last night (Sunday) right after Resonate (APC’s Post-High Ministries to 18 to 24 year olds), I checked my phone and Becca had sent me a twitter message. Here’s what it said:

No more kissing in front of The Kid (Ellie’s nickname). She made Dora and Diego kiss in the bathtub. She said ‘mommy daddy kiss’.

I laughed out loud and shared the message with our group, who laughed as well while each proclaiming “Aren’t they cousins??!?” When I got home, Becca explained Ellie’s ‘play‘ in detail (from saying hello to hugging to…) and it made me laugh, cringe, worry, laugh and marvel at her smarts. Kids know so much and my job as a dad is to help our little Eliana grow and learn and know even at this age. I’m glad that I have that responsibility. I’m also glad that if she’s gonna learn anything, it’s not from TV or from a friend, but from Becca and I. What a job! What a calling!

I also have the responsibility to let her know that cousins don’t do what she was…um…getting them to do…

That’ll be fun =)

sigh…High school as a dad is going to be a blast (insert sarcasm here).

At least she said “mommy daddy kiss”, though…that’s pretty cool, if you ask me!