I always give the Artist all the credit around Father's Day because he is still down in the trenches, but I should take the time to tell you how grateful I am all you've done for me, even if you aren't on the parenting front lines anymore.
I am grateful that you never told me I was better at something than I was. Stung a few times, but in the end, I could trust every word out of your mouth. If you said, "well done", I could take it to heart, no question asked.
I am grateful that you treated me like a person and not a little kid. You told me how you felt about everything in your own words. I always felt like you were trusting me to be mature and understand complex ideas. It helped me grow into a more articulate and thoughtful adult.
I am grateful that you read the boring books. I would walk into your room and see you with another history book and roll my eyes and walk back out. If you happened to have an astronomy or science book in your lap I would look at the pictures and then move on. But you taught to me to keep teaching myself, even when no one was looking. I'm reading a biography of John Adams right now and loving it. Maybe some day my girls will roll their eyes at me.
I am grateful that I got to live with someone so naturally optimistic. I have never met anyone who had such a natural faith and hope in the future. You kept your childlike enthusiasm through life. I've never seen any situation get the best of you.
I am grateful that you are so humble. Everyone I know has an ego. Except you. You have never tried to impress anyone. You have never worried if someone didn't like you. If the King of Spain asked you where you'd like to eat you'd say, "Golden Corral!" If you were a millionaire you would drive the same car and love it just as much. You have no need for anything ostentatious or showy. You are yourself, at all times and all places.
Thanks for laughing when the golf ball dented your new car. Thanks for laughing when they drove your new car through a glass door. Thanks for being so sweet when I rear-ended a new car. (Wow- you have bad luck with new cars!)
Thanks for being a dad who I can call with any question any time. (remember when I called at 9:30 that night and said, "Hi, dad. Why did they shoot Bobby Kennedy?" and you launched into every theory without pausing?)
Yesterday I truly and honestly went after my children with a dish towel screeching, "Out of my kitchen. Scat!"
It was the most Italian moment of my life.
I can't balance the grocery shopping with the laundry with piano lessons and princess camp.
*ahem* Yes there is such thing as princess camp. And yes the Dancer is attending. Aren't you glad I give you so many reasons to mock me?
Anyhoo- I just try to pick it all up at once until I collapse and go into hibernation mode. (Pretend mommy isn't here and I can't hear you. Better yet, pretend you can't talk at all. Then wake me up on Thursday.)
But I do aspire to balance. I start with small things.
One laundry basket in each hand, for instance.
And then I try it out on my home decor. Because we have strong industrial leanings over here I'm always looking for a way to make steel and machinery feel a little homier.
My favorite way to balance industrial pieces is with natural pieces like plants, rocks, fur or wood.
So for the first time ever I present our newly designed living room. This is my attempt at design balance. I will work on inner balance soon. That one's a lot harder.
But I am going to do a real enactment for you, which is totally breaking new blogging ground for me. That's fancy, right?
So, in case I haven't laughed with you about it yet, I present the
Dancer's Date with the Garage Door.
You'll laugh, you'll cry (not really), you'll wonder what exactly goes on at Tapper's house.
It's a wild ride.
It all begins on a normal Monday morning. I have errands to run with the Dancer. I tell her to hop into the car and then I hit the garage door opener and turn around to grab my purse.
Two seconds later I hear a scream.
In a nanosecond my brain starts processing the sound.
(I never said she was a good actress)
Too loud, too protracted, too panicked.
Not quite pain. Maybe it's a bug scream (the tiniest gnats get those around here). But it's still going on.
Bee? Wasp? I run as fast as I can to the garage and I am completely befuddled to see my child hanging from the ceiling.
I lose one more nanosecond trying to process the sight and then rush to her and get there just as she looses her grip and falls to the garage floor. Luckily I dampen the crash.
(Because no children were harmed during this re-enactment and I do not own a cable suspension system, just pretend the Artist is not there.)
So the way it all plays out is this: The Dancer had the toddler urge to grab onto that fun moving door. While doing so she is unexpectedly hoisted into the air. She begins screaming, increasing her pitch and intensity, until she is suspended from the ceiling, at which time she falls into her mother's very surprised arms.
Summer is back, which means that I make an effort to rise from my bed, lace up my shoes and go running.
And by running I mean jogging and walking.
We all have our many and varied reasons.
I can tell you right now it is not to "feel the burn" or experience "weakness leaving my body" in the form of pain.
It is not because it "feels so good" or I "just couldn't live without it."
I can totally live without kicking myself down the sidewalk.
I do it for two reasons really.
1. I get to run away from home. Literally.
When the girls are screaming (when are they not?) and fighting (ditto) and I feel like my head is going to swell and pop like a balloon on a hot day, I lace up my shoes, say I feel really out of shape, and run away.
Jog away. Walk. Whatever.
You know what I mean.
And I can keep running until I can't hear the screams or the fights and my head slowly starts deflating until I feel like I will survive to see the next day.
And instead of getting upset at me for abandoning him in the middle of a toddler wrestling smack down, the Artist cheers me on.
Which brings me to my second reason.
2. I am trying to look good for my handsome husband.
This is purely psychological because no matter how long I exercise I never look any different. I don't lose weight. I don't gain it. I have come to terms with this.
But he disagrees. He thinks I look better when I am out there killing myself.
People believe what they want to believe.
But I am going to run with it and let him think that every time I come home sweaty and de-stressed that I am lookin' like some hot stuff.
If you squint.
Yesterday I left the house in the middle of one of the Dancer's tirades. The Cowgirl wanted to come with me so we took a leisurely walk instead of a jog. When I came home I was greeted a few blocks from my home by this: A girl who knows that flowers and chocolates really do fix most female problems.
Guess what happens when seven girls and one boy take a pontoon out for five hours on a 100 degree summer day? No, just guess. Yes, a whole lot of fun. (that's a given) No, I'm not talking about the girl who lost her drawers when the tube went flipping. (Oh good heavens- I will never stop laughing over that one) I'm talking about the Sunburn! And the aching muscles. (we all just had to learn how to kneeboard) So today three adults, three teenagers and two little girls looked like we were rehearsing for geriatric school when we hobbled into church. Eased ourselves into the pews. Shifted slowly. Jumped when the Dancer (who wore less sunscreen than all of us and still walked away without even getting a tiny bit pink) tried to climb onto our laps. Lots of wincing. Lots of slow movements. Lots of smiles when we spontaneously remembered one teenager surfacing holding her bathing bottoms and laughing as hard as we were. (This is a PG post and a PG vacation. No one saw anything. But her predicament left me gasping for air) You know, I always complain that my daughters are shaving years off my life. Yesterday, I think one of my favorite girls put a solid year back on. Thanks for the laughs, Gorgeous. So tomorrow when I can sit here without making a full array of noises (ooohhh. ouch. yikes. yowee Batman...) I will fill in with pictures of our great Branson adventure. I'm going to go get a little high on Aloe first. Good times.
Cheers from the lovely land of the Ozarks. I woke up in Branson with seven of my favorite people this morning and we are heading out to Silver Dollar City in about an hour (if we can get the teenagers out of bed). So even though I am away from home, I am officially back. At nine o'clock last night in the corner of a Walmart parking lot in Springfield Mo, the Artist did some fine finageling and bought the nice laptop I am writing on now. I am almost positive it was entirely legal. Mostly. So I am back. But I have to go. Ironic, huh?