Saturday, May 29, 2010

No More Squirt Guns! Pt.1

Sometimes families experience near horrendous incidents that, because they were averted, end up in laughter – not only for the moment, but also for several years thereafter!

Over the next three weeks, I want to share a story about three young, seemingly well-adjusted whippersnappers … oh, let’s call them Kathy (11), Robert (8), and Bill (5). Any resemblance to any children who might have lived in my house; currently live in my house; share DNA with me; or have any physical resemblance to me whatsoever, will be considered to be purely coincidental, irrespective of the actual and irrefutable facts of the case!

At any rate, during the early childhood years of the aforementioned whippersnappers, Kathy and Bill got along extremely well. To each other, the other could do no wrong. In fact, after a while, we, uh, I mean, their parents began to say that Kathy was a female version of Bill and Bill was a male version of Kathy. Despite the 6-year age difference, they bonded like they had been best friends for 50 years!

HOWEVER, Robert was on a slightly different mission in life. Apparently, he believed that his job was to engage Kathy and Bill in verbal disputes as often as possible, sending Kathy and/or Bill to their parents to lodge complaints. While Kathy and Bill went together like "water and water", Robert seemed to intentionally and gleefully provide the “oil” ingredient to each of them!

If we, uh, again, if their parents had a dollar for each time that Robert had sent Kathy or Bill over the deep end, they would be filthy rich today, with land holdings in over 70 countries and Swiss bank accounts in, well, I suppose that would be in Switzerland!

But, alas, the oil and water mixture did not pay off for any type of financial gain for the parents, but it certainly kept the parents hopping and sometimes entertained.

At any rate, on one glorious sunny school morning in April, as the whippersnappers were getting ready for school, Kathy and Bill decided to share a mirror to fix their hair. I, uh, I mean their dad, is not quite sure of the nature of the sequence of events that unfolded in front of the mirror, although it sounded (or so I am told!) like an “in my space” issue had developed between the two of them.

(Please come back next Saturday for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bee Stings are Funny? Pt.2

(Continued from May 15, 2010) ...... At some point, I circled back to the van, having escaped most of the bees. I had to time my entry back in to the van with the momentary absence of the bees, so that bees would not get in the van and sting my kids. With the noise of the radio and air conditioning, I assumed that my kids knew nothing about what their dad, the security rock of the family, had just endured, including several bee stings and being chased around the storage yard by the swarms of bees!

As soon as I hurriedly opened the van door to get back in, I reached for my Slurpee to numb the pain from the bee stings … ahhh, that felt good!

I then noticed that my kids were … LAUGHING!! Not the kind of mild chuckle or tee-he in which kids often engage. Oh no, all three of my kids were laughing so hard, that they could barely contain themselves. Their Slurpees were at risk of spilling, their guts were near the bursting level, and I was a little hurt that they were laughing at my predicament.

After they finally stopped laughing (it seemed like hours!), I asked them why they were laughing at the fact that their dad had been majorly stung by bees. Well, they said, they didn’t even know that I had been stung. Rather, their gut-busting laughing ensued because I was radically running around the storage yard and waving my arms at what they thought was thin air! They had assumed that I was just being funny to entertain them, an act which, admittedly, occurred on a regular basis every day at home!

Well, the pain began to subside, I managed to get the trailer hitched up, and off we went back home, whereupon they just couldn’t wait to tell mom of the hilarious hijinks of dad zigzagging all over the storage yard, while wildly flailing his arms at the thin air, then diving in to the van and grabbing his Slurpee to put on his arm.

Of course, they felt bad and they had compassion that I had actually been stung. But, many years later, whenever they retell the story, somehow the actual bee stings get minimized and dad’s seemingly zany antics get magnified and, well, the LAUGHING begins all over again!

So, how about you? Any funny or zany stories that have produced lifelong laughter that you would like to privately share with me? If so, please send them along!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bee Stings are Funny? Pt.1

As my own kids were growing up, they looked to me for strength, stability, and confidence (they still do!). As is the case with all families, the more confidence that a parent exudes in everyday life, the more secure the children feel as they go to sleep at night.

As a result of that knowledge, I always tried to be the pinnacle of security and the rock of the family, so that they would feel secure.

Well, their secure feeling and the rock of the family scenario temporarily went belly-up all in one moment, but it wasn’t without a few laughs.

On the night before we were to head to a campground for a couple of weeks, my three kids (at the time their ages were 3, 6, and 9), traveled to the storage yard to retrieve our camper. As was too often the case during our travels, on the way to the yard, we stopped and availed ourselves of Slurpees from 7-11 (little did I know that this would come in handy later!).

After we got to the yard, I backed up the van to the trailer and hopped out of the van to hook up the trailer to the hitch, a routine in which I engaged numerous times. As it was starting to get dark, as my kids were enjoying their Slurpees, and as I did not want them near the hitch in case something fell, I told them to stay in the air-conditioned van while I took care of business, normally a 2-3 minute procedure.

I went through all of the necessary steps toward securing the trailer, but the trailer would not fit over the hitch on the van. I tried to force it down and I gently tried to engage the hitch, but nothing worked. It finally hit me that something must have been up inside of the ball on the hitch, thereby preventing a secure fit.

So, again, with it getting dark, I took my bare hand and reached up inside of the ball of the hitch, unable to see what awaited me. I stuck my bare hand up and in and ..... OUCH!!!!!! …… massive pain engulfed my hand and several hundred bees began to chase me around the storage yard (at least I discovered the hitch problem.)!!

While my kids were relaxing in the cool comfort of the van with their Slurpees, I began to run around the storage yard, batting away bees, dodging bees, and trying to prevent further stinging action, while hoping that they did not notice that their dad was somewhat injured and under attack!

(Please come back next Saturday for the Final part!)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day - THANK YOU!!

Well, tomorrow is Mother’s Day, the day on which the second most telephone calls are made and the second most gifts are given in the year (Christmas is #1 every year)! So, what are 25 of the top one million things that a mother can do for her son (the son who will someday be a dad)? Well, here they are:

1) Make him feel loved, nurtured, and taken care of every single day

2) Be there when he is sick or upset and tend to his wounds

3) Make his favorite breakfast every day (with the understanding that his “favorite” will change on a routine basis)

4) Sacrifice her own needs and desires to make sure that her son’s needs and desires are met (without ever telling her son that she made sacrifices)

5) Having a complete homemade dinner ready every single night – other than the occasional pizza night

6) Ensuring that his clothes are clean for school every day

7) Completely washing, drying, and ironing his entire baseball uniform between games of a double header – in plenty of time to get him back to the field for the 2nd game

8) Shooting him a couple of extra bucks when he goes out on a date in high school even though the son never asked – she just knows

9) Somehow finding the funds – when funds are really tight – to purchase the professional drum set of his dreams – a drum set that he could then use to put himself through college, pay for gas and miscellaneous expenses, and even tuck away some cash for the future

10) Getting his drum set to the football field and unloading it by herself while her son practices with the high school band

11) Somehow finding the funds to send him to a jazz camp in Indiana, providing transportation to get him there, returning mid-week to deliver his own drums because he thought that he needed them, and then returning at week’s end to watch his concert, load the drums, and get him home

12) Making sure that he had a nice new suit for his first music gig

13) Never missing one of his endeavors, baseball, basketball, bowling, concerts, etc. - always there in the front row

14) Creating – from scratch – the perfect Santa Claus suit for his 2nd grade play

15) Being there to celebrate every single victory, both no-hitters, every hit and home run, every basket, every strike, and every musical note and still be willing to listen to him re-tell the stories of his endeavors on their way home and at home

16) When her son grows up – watching her grandchildren while her son and wife go away for the weekend – many times

17) Allowing him to get a dog when she really didn’t want one – and then also falling in love with the dog – and nurturing the dog in his final days after her son marries and moves away

18) Always telling her son that she has high aspirations for him in life and reassuring him that he will succeed as long as he works hard

19) Making him a full breakfast at 3:00 a.m. when her son gets home from a gig and is starving

20) Cooking complete dinners and delivering them to his home after he gets married, so that he and his wife will not have to cook late at night after returning home from work and night college classes

21) Always sensing when her son is under stress or duress and encouraging him to slow down and take a deep breath

22) Being supportive with her grandchildren – her son’s children – even when she might wish to give them a kick in the pants

23) Befriending her son’s wife through the years even though they did not always see eye-to-eye at the beginning stages of their relationship

24) Falling in love with her son’s new dog and becoming inseparable with the dog when they are together

25) When facing testing for her upcoming cancer surgery – telling her son to go to work and not worry .. she’ll take a cab to the hospital

O.K., with all of that unselfish motherly love bestowed upon a son, you might think that the young man might become spoiled!! Well, ..... I don’t know ..... do you think that I’m spoiled????

That’s right! Those 25 items describe my own mom, but they only scratch the surface!

To the best mother in the world – THANK YOU, MOM! If my kids someday consider me to be as great a parent as you – my life's mission will be completed. Thank you for the lessons on being a great parent!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dad/Son Learn Together - Pt. 4

(Continued from April 10, 17, and 24, 2010) ..... Well, from that moment on, even though he had never missed one of my events in the past, after missing only one concert, my dad NEVER missed another event! His renewed level of dedication and commitment kept going throughout the rest of middle school, all of high school, and even all of my college performances.

Because of the nature of college, it is not unusual for many students to not have parents in the crowd. But, without fail, my mom AND dad attended every single performance, to the point that it was noticed by other students. Although it was a tad embarrassing at times, I would not have traded it for anything!

Oh, and after I became a Band Director, guess who never missed one of my concerts? That’s right, for every one of my performances through my dad’s passing away when I was 30-years-old, my mom AND dad could be found in the audience, sometimes traveling as far as 100 miles to watch their son’s performances.

I was lucky ….. clearly, dad my understood my level of devastation at him missing my concert when I was 14-years-old and he set out on a mission to ensure that it never happened again!

I have always believed that the crucial moment at my band concert when I was 14-years-old, on a May Sunday afternoon, temperature around 78 degrees, a perfectly manicured baseball field calling for players to come and play, and my dad talking to another dad instead of watching my concert, helped to shape my views on parenting, my dedication to attending all of my kids’ performances, and my feeling of need to encourage other parents to ALWAYS attend their own kids’ performances

Yes, the knowledge that I would be attending all of my own kids’ performances began on that Sunday long ago, a day on which my own dad and I learned a very valuable parenting lesson together, one that neither one of us ever failed to remember for future endeavors!

Oh, and guess who traveled about 150 miles (round trip) the other night to watch his own child in a drama performance at his own high school? Yes, there was my child’s dad, front and center, not missing it for the world ..... or for talking to another dad about baseball!

I have said it often and I will say it again: Be sure to ALWAYS attend your child’s performances and events. It means the world to them and, by you attending and showing your love for them, they will be less inclined to search for love and security in all of the wrong places.

Keep loving your kids and be there for them at all times. You, and your kids, will be glad that you did!

Paul W. Reeves