Tag Archives: Family

Mother To Our Children


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The Cinnamon Girl is a mother to a blended family. I brought two, she brought one. That was ten years ago and I can say having been closer to the situation than anyone, that all three of our children have known The Cinnamon Girl as a mom.

What would a kid want in a mom if they could design her from scratch? Here is what I think:

I think they would want a mom who supports them in all that they do, who lets them know how special they are. I think they would want a mother who encourages them. The Cinnamon Girl has seen our children through freshman football and trumpet playing and softball tryouts and student council and job searches, college searches and homework assignments. And everything in between.

I think they would want a mom with a terrific sense of humor. The Cinnamon Girl does not only know how to laugh, she knows how to make our kids laugh.

I think they would want a mom with shoulders on which to cry. Each of them has had reason to turn to her in sorrow. Each felt better for doing so. The Cinnamon Girl makes the small hurts go away, the big hurts small and the impossible hurts easier to manage.

I think they would want a mom who is smart. I have seen it, time-and-again, seen The Cinnamon Girl give our children wise and wonderful advice. She gives them knowing advice. She gives them the advice they need. And she does not do this unless they ask her to do it.

I think they would want a mother who has their backs. Um, yeah. The Cinnamon Girl Has. Our. Kids’. Backs. Of that, there is no doubt. Do not cross a mother who is a lawyer. Do not do it.

I think they would want a mother who does not take the small stuff too seriously and who knows that the big stuff is not always as serious as it seems at first glance. The Cinnamon Girl has been so wonderful with our kids in these sorts of situations – the kinds that arise when you are a mom. They cannot be avoided. The Cinnamon Girl does not avoid them, she handles them with grace and confidence.

I think they would want a mom who loves them. If my children doubt this about The Cinnamon Girl, they have not been paying attention.

Happy Mother’s Day, my love.

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Mother, Mothers, Mothers Day, The Cinnamon Girl

20 Memories… 20 for HJ jr.


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It’s HJ jr’s 20th birthday today.

Twentieth.

He’s 20.

20-years-old.

To say this is difficult for me to believe is something of an understatement. See, I remember when he moved into his teenage years and now he’s moving out of them.

I remember when he had a collection of sticks and toy guns…

when he tried to remember every piece of chocolate cake he’d ever eaten…

when he walked proudly across the graduation stage…

when he had a walk down a certain path and dropped his cell phone…

when he and I would sit at the dining room table and work though algebra problems…

when he has hugged me…

when he was named outstanding junior of the year…

when we went to see any number of movies that no one else in the family wanted to see (I still didn’t enjoy Elysium)…

when he almost slipped, once, and said something more than “good night” to me…

when he showed me at each-and-every stage of his life that he was the master and I was the learner by telling me about string theory or the Russian economy or any one of a number of things he knew more about than I did……

when he hugs that stupid dog we have (he loves that dog)…

when he texts The Cinnamon Girl … I am glad to be in touch even when he’s away at school…

when I think about his incredible dedication to what he wants…

when consider all the teachers at the school he transferred from lamenting that he was leaving … “he’s the kind of kid we need at this school” they said. They were right…

when I watch him in conversation with “adults” and see how he handles himself with poise and confidence

when he makes his quirky jokes; he’s just so damn funny…

when I get a glimpse into how he views the world…

when I remember the serious talks we’ve had and the difficult ones I recall what a privilege it is to be in his life…

… when he does something silly (keys in the refrigerator, anyone?)…

… when he, in his own inimitable way, lets his family know how much they really mean to him.

Happy birthday, bonus son. Happiest of birthdays.

I am forever honored to be a part of your life and forever proud of you.

 

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Filed under Birthday, Family, HJ jr, Holidays

I Will Be Her Valentine If She’ll Continue to Have Me…


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This Valentines Day, I count myself lucky that The Cinnamon Girl hasn’t come to her senses, that she still wants me as her Valentine and that she still loves me as she has for these many years.

I have the best Valentine in the world.

I am reminded of this quote from Much Ado About Nothing: “They say the lady is fair: ’tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous: ’tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me:by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly.”

She is fair, wise and virtuous, and what I have lucked into is very special.

It’s special to be married to your best friend.

It’s special to feel romance hasn’t faded in the years you’ve been together.

It’s special to know that the person you most want to spend time with also wants to most spend time with you.

It’s special to know that someone knows you better than you know yourself.

It’s special to be in love like this.

My Valentine is The Cinnamon Girl. She’ll be my Valentine for as long as she’ll have me.

She is strong. Intelligent. Insightful. Loving. Sexy.

She is everything I have ever wanted in a partner and she is so much more than I deserve.

Happy Valentines Day, my Cinnamon Girl.

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Happy Birth”Day” – Sous Chef at 18


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Sous Chef turns 18 today.

18.

She is the last of the brood to reach “adulthood” but, in a great many ways, seems more adult than her brothers, her step mother or me.

Composed, compassionate and cute, Sous Chef has been, for The Cinnamon Girl and me, an almost perfect daughter. I don’t use that term careless or without consideration. As the youngest of 3 kids packed together in rapid succession, Sous Chef was the last to leave for college and The Cinnamon Girl and I had the amazing opportunity last year to spend Sous Chef’s senior year with her. Here’s what I learned:

  • Sous Chef is one of the hardest working people I know.
  • Sous Chef is quick, witty and funny.
  • Sous Chef is one of the smartest kids I’ve known (and I’ve known plenty.)
  • Sous Chef is beautiful in every way that term applies.
  • Sous Chef is consideration and kind.
  • Sous Chef is one of the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given.

Here’s another truth of Sous Chef – she is someone I’d like to have as a friend. We’re stuck with family, to be sure, but I would choose Sous Chef as someone to spend time in any circumstance.

 

I know she’s destined for great things as an adult.

I miss her now that she’s at school.

I love her, deeply.

Happy 18th, Sous Chef!

She got the pun in the title of this post even if you didn’t!

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Milestones and Mom – Happy Birthday 2016, Mater


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My mother, the Mater, celebrates her birthday today. It’s a milestone birthday for her which commensurately means it’s a milestone for me, my sisters, our spouses and our kids. We are blessed and we are lucky to have such a mother and grandmother – one who cares about us, prays for us, loves us and accepts us always for who we are.

This is a milestone birthday for Mom and it occurs to me that, for me and for my sisters, Mom has been a part of each and every milestone of our lives. Obviously, she was there in all the benchmarks of our childhoods and adolescences – our school days, our graduations, our marriages, our children’s births. But Mom continues to be central to our lives. She remains one of the first people I will consult when I am at a crossroads. She is someone with whom I still share the events that serve as signposts through this life. She is a confidant. She is a trusted adviser.

Mom raised my sisters and I and, late in that process, went back to work and to school. She worked hard – a characteristic we all emulate. She studied hard – a characteristic I wish I had emulated more. She became expert in her field, a leading voice. She became a writer. She became a leader. She’s touched so many lives.

Reflective and smart. Witty. Loving and graceful. Compassionate and caring. Mom is an example I can point my daughter Sous Chef to and say “if you’re like this, you’re doing something right.” I can point my sons HJ jr and Stretch to and say “look for women in your life who are like this.” She is strong. She is centered. She is wonderful.

She is my mom. How lucky am I?

Her birthday is a milestone. That’s appropriate as she is a milestone in so many people’s lives.

Happy birthday, Mom. As much as you love us, we love you.

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Off to College (3 in 5 Daze) Part III: Stretch


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Day Five! The Cinnamon Girl and I bid farewell to all 3 kids as they head off to college (Sous Chef and HJ jr have already departed… and then there was 1) I love how small the world is and know that we’ll all be able to remain in contact far more easily and more closely than I was in contact with my family when I went off to school more than a few years back.

Still, it will be strange to have no kids in the house… strange and sad? Strange and wonderful? Strange and… we don’t know. It’s just a new chapter for us all.

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Stretch and I got HJ jr all set at Colorado State University following our St. Louis trek to drop off Sous Chef. I am 1832 miles into this journey which, today, comes to an end without too much travel on our end. We put Stretch on a plane to Spokane, WA (so he has another 1093 miles to go!).

 

Stretch is heading into his junior year at Gonzaga University and he’s truly begun to fill in the outlines of the man he’s going to become. Poised and confident, he’s ready for this year and for all the challenges and joys it will bring.

The Cinnamon Girl and I are most excited to know that we will be spending a week with him in Spokane this spring and will look forward to whatever trips home he makes between now and then.

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From this…

Matthew Christmas 2015

… to this in the blink of an eye.

… plans to give you hope and a future.

– Jeremiah 29.11

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Filed under College, Family, Fathers and Sons, Stretch

Off to College (3 in 5 Daze) Part II: HJ jr


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We are three days into the five, and The Cinnamon Girl and I bid farewell to all 3 kids as they head off to college (Sous Chef down, two to go!) I love how small the world is and know that we’ll all be able to remain in contact far more easily and more closely than I was in contact with my family when I went off to school more than a few years back.

Still, it will be strange to have no kids in the house… strange and sad? Strange and wonderful? Strange and… we don’t know. It’s just a new chapter for us all.

What we do know is that, following a trip to St. Louis to get Sous Chef situated in her new city, the next port-of-call is Fort Collins, CO. Stretch and I drive back from St. Louis and meet HJ jr at Colorado State University to move him in for his sophomore year.

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After a summer in which he held, at various points, three separate jobs, moving from position-to-position until he found one that worked for him (Amazon of all places), he’s ready to take on this year, ready to have a new roommate and ready to roll.

It’s nice to have him close to home. I know we’ll see him for a weekend now-and-again.

Indy

From this…

2015-08-20 12.28.16

… to this in the blink of an eye.

… plans to prosper you and not to harm you…

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Filed under College, Family, Fathers and Sons, HJ jr