We don’t give ourselves enough credit. We should be our own heroes. I grew up in a time when we were discouraged from talking about ourselves, especially as a girl, and not to get too full of ourselves. It’s a whole new way of doing things nowadays. Kids are praised for everything, constantly. Is it too much? Do they grow up thinking they are perfect? Some do, in my opinion.

How do we learn to give more credit to ourselves (the boomers) and raise kids/grandkids who aren’t full of themselves. It’s a definite challenge with the kids. On one hand, they are at all to stand in a gym full of people at the age of six and sing solo, or speak, or act. They need to be prepared though, for the days they’re told no, when things don’t go their ways, and when someone else beats them out of a trophy, or someone else gets a job/promotion/or something else they want more than anything.

Sometimes, I’m glad I didn’t lead a charmed life, and had some of the life disappointments I had. I knew things would not always turn out the way I willed them to do. I also could handle it. I hope kids learn to do that. I hope it wouldn’t immediately throw them into feeling so badly about themselves and their abilities that they may hurt themselves or worse. And I hope their parents can “take it” too. A parent putting pressure and guilt on a child can have devastating consequences on that child.

People who do the simple, everyday, acts of kindness are sometimes bigger heroes than those who run into danger to rescue us from fires and crazies. The people who work everyday to support their families during these times are quiet heroes. I think of my dad when I think of those people. He was always a steady, familiar force while we had him. After we found out about his many medals from the military (two Bronze Stars, from WWII and Korea), His status rose further in our eyes.

When we do what we are supposed to do, instead of simply doing what we want, we should be our own heroes. I’m serious! Saying “NO” to ourselves is brave. It’s how we’ll progress and how our lives will change. Others are not the only ones we should say “NO” to; sometimes, we need to say it to ourselves.

Case in point? I have finally finished taking ornaments off the tree and have them ready to put on the storage shelves. I put it off from last week. I found the couch too comfy. I found the new books I read over the weekend too good. I was not my own hero. I will be when this is all stowed, because I’ll be in much better shape than I was a year ago. Last year, things were haphazardly put away, and now they’re not. It’s all orderly. I’m proud of that small victory.

We practice detachment from the excuses we’ve made previously, and we begin to make way for new habits, new hobbies, new people. And discipline we haven’t had before. We might have weird feelings while we lose the bad habit, the procrastinating gene of our makeup, but in the end, it will feel like normal when we stick to it. We will have a surer sense of mission, purpose, and fulfillment. Great things will happen. Try it. See you tomorrow!

Fathers and Daughters

I am so fortunate to have had a good Dad. He was of the generation who provided for their family and left the disciplining to Mom. Because Dad worked nights, Mom bore most of the work with the house and kids. She ran a tight ship and I did not want to cross her. She could clear a room just by her presence. We spent a lot of time outside playing, on the front porch reading, or in the back yard, playing jacks or marbles. We had to be quiet because Dad slept from about 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. If we woke him up, there would be hell to pay.

So, yes, Mom took the role of bad guy. She knew it. She sometimes commented she was bad guy, so we wouldn’t be mad at our dad. We didn’t hear, “Wait until your Father gets home.” Mom dealt out quick punishments and we didn’t challenge her. Her word was law.

Dad’s weekends were Sunday night and Monday nights. He would enjoy a couple of beers with Mom over the evenings. Sometimes, we’d go visit his friend Tom and his family. People would drop over a lot. WE didn’t have the company, we were the company, usually. Dad was always a perfect gentleman to women. He was the perfect example of how men should behave. Back then, if a woman put a cigarette to her lips, a gentleman would whip out his Zippo, light it quickly, and she would accept the light. You have probably seen it in movies if you never witnessed it in person.

There was never an official talk from Dad about life. It was always an example he gave. Everything from “Don’t ever volunteer for anything, they’ll never let you rest,” to “If you don’t know what’s going on, keep your mouth shut and your ears open.” Good advice. It even works now. A two-time bronze star recipient, he never talked about the wars he fought. He was exceptionally good at first aid. Of course; he was in medical in the Army. What he must have seen. Sometimes, he had a far away look on his face, where you could see he wasn’t quite with us. He would refocus on what was going on in the present. I often wondered where those moments took him.

There is no good thing about cancer. The only thing close to good is you get to spend time saying good-bye. I was fortunate to have my own time with him every day during lunch. I left my job, only six blocks away, and spent nearly an hour with him. We talked about everything we never discussed before. My kids, he told me they were going to be good people, don’t give up. He knew my job frustration as I tried to climb the corporate ladder without a college degree. He told me to keep doing what I’m doing, working, going to school, I will get there. I did. He was gone before I made it, but I know he witnessed it. I got to tell him goodbye. The last day, he said, “I just can’t fight this anymore.” I covered him up, took his glasses, and whispered, “You just do what you have to do, Dad. I love you, and we’ll help Mom out.” I kissed his forehead and he closed his eyes.

Later that afternoon, Mom called us and we went to the hospital. He died within a couple hours. He was in a coma, his lung had collapsed. The Doc said he could reinflate it, but it wouldn’t buy him any time. I told him what Dad just said to me a couple hours earlier, and after a minute or so, my brothers and Mom agreed to just let him go. He wasn’t in pain with the meds, so we just sat and listened. When you hear those breaths getting further apart, you anticipate at any moment there will not be another one. Until there is. Finally, they stop. A beautiful feeling descended upon the room. I’m not sure if anyone else felt it, but I did.

Dad was cheated out of enjoying retirement. He didn’t see his grandkids grow up. He didn’t see his adult children achieve. I think he would have enjoyed surfing the Internet. I’m lucky to be a woman who had a Dad like this. So many didn’t. For those who didn’t, they are suspicious of any male authority figure. I’m not. Dad gave us a secure home. Some people lacked that. Alcoholism among men was widespread during those years. I never had to walk to the neighborhood bar and beg my dad for money, or to come home. Some kids I know had to do that. How sad.

I love how Dad’s are so interactive with their kids in these times. I see so many good Dad’s, and I tell them so. I love it’s not just Mom’s job anymore. This is a change for the good. It benefits the kids, as long as the kid relationship with the parents isn’t more important than the parent to parent relationship. Things can get off track then. Beware of that. Then the kids rule the home where the parents are supposed to.

I’ll never forget my father’s hands. When he was sleeping in the hospital, I would hold his hand. They weren’t as warm and strong as they once were. I remembered walking down the street next to him, and he would hold my hand. I felt so safe with him. Always. He took me to the doctor, too. He didn’t get angry if I cried. He told me stories about taking care of people in the Army. He distracted me, so I wasn’t afraid. He got me. Those hands were miracle workers. They fixed cars and people. They remodeled the house. They worked on the presses at the local paper. They painstakingly built WWII model airplanes. What good memories.

Thank you so much for reading today, and taking a walk into my memories of Dad. I’m so proud to have been his daughter. He would have loved the Babe. They have similar qualities, all good. How lucky I am! Today is more of the same, learning Kid Lit stuff. Wish it was more exciting, but it has to be done. Going to lunch with my eldest today, so that will be a nice break in the work. Have a beautiful day. Be Safe. Be Courteous. Be Kind. Be Respectful. We all need it! See you tomorrow!