Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Hero

Today I was pulling out of the parking lot of a Mommy/Me store- basically a boutique that specializes in breast feeding pumps/equipment and natural baby products; and I saw a car pull up. The license plate was a veterans plate and I watched a grandfather step out of the car and into the Mommy boutique. I'm pretty sure he was there to visit the lovely grandmother that serviced me from behind the cash register. It was pretty stinking cute to see grandpa walk into the Mommy boutique store. But in that moment, my own father flashed into my turtle brain. You see, my father is a Vietnam Veteran and I can totally see him going inside this store to visit my mom or pick up any gadget that I might send him to retrieve.

I realized how incredibly fortunate I was to call John Koprowski my father. Let me tell you a little bit about him and what makes him an almost extinct sort of gentelman in this culture. First of all, he served in Vietnam and still today, serves with the VVA convention. He fights for the rights of soldiers and their families. I respect any man that puts his life to the side to protect our country. Secondly, he serves my mom. Even though he is 75 years old and comes from a pretty old-fashioned and traditional upbringing- he doesn't follow suit to the old school rules. You know, the men who 'don't do dishes, don't do diapers, and don't do tampon runs to the store.' Nope, that's not John. He washes dishes, he changes diapers, and he'd gladly go purchase whatever I asked him to buy at the store. Even today, he serves mom and travels with her, as she chases her dreams with sewing and arts/crafts. He even learned to sew after they married so that he could assist her in  her private business. This is a hard core Marine -Master Sergent- that we are talking about people! And yet he's one  of the most gentle persons I've encountered in life. Thirdly, he is not my biological father. The man had a choice! He met my mom when I was a bratty 5th grader with huge attitude. I had no room for 'another father' and yet he stole my heart. Many mornings before high school, he'd sneak up to me, hand me a 20$ bill and say "don't tell mom- use this for some fun food at lunch". Fourthly, he is a man that will unashamedly cry. Seeing a man of this stature cry will bring any hard nosed toughy pants to their knees. He's got a sensitive center and will weep when necessary. Last characteristic that separates him from most men in this culture- he loves his family more than himself. Most men will say that they love their family more than their own self but where do they spend their time and money? My father spends him time with mom and money on his family.

I've met alot of great fathers out there. But I'm usually put off by their limitations that they put on their family. They're awful busy with their own hobbies and treat their wives like crap! Sorry, but the sign of a true gentleman is watching how he treats his bride. Does he speak with gentleness to her? Does he travel to places she wants to visit? Does he celebrate her often without it having to be her bday or some special occasion? Does he allow her to share her opinion without demoralizing her? Does he put her feelings first? Is he truly her best friend? My parents are the best of friends. They are not perfect people and haven't always gotten the whole 'parenting' thing down well but I will always admire their relationship with one another. I'm blessed cause I married a man that has a heart like my dad. He serves me too! I love my dad and my husband. I hope our sons inherit this great Koprowski/Alexander  heritage!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Active Can Be Good!

It's official, school has begun and 3 Alexanders are out there in the world blazing their own trails and I'm at home preparing the 4th little one to blaze his own trail one day.  Instead of beginning Kindergarten, our little 5 year old soul of highspeed energy is completing 1 more year of quasi play/learn mode. Next year it get's serious! Watching Lincoln stand in line yesterday as I waited anxiously to sign him out and head home, I was reminded how definitely special and energetic our 3rd child is. He was just born that way- I swear to it! There he stood, or wiggled, with his navy blue leisure suit blazer, Cars Movie back pack and crazy long, messy hair. He kept turning around and tickling the boy behind  him. The preschool assistant, standing at the top of the line with hand on hip, eyebrows raised, and foot tapping.

I was torn inside. He was gently reminded by his teacher to stand in line, like everyone else. To be quiet, like everyone else. To hold a bubble in his mouth, like everyone else. To be like everyone conform. Yes, there is a part of every mom that wants her child to be 'good'........ like everyone else and obey the rules. But, then there is me......totally rogue! I say, be yourself, a little different.......and yet still respect your authority. But seriously, who wants to put an imaginary bubble in one's mouth?! I don't. I want to blow bubbles that pop and land everywhere. I want to shout at the top of my lungs......."Let's Play!" Being quiet, being boring, being in line, being present and not seen...........ehhhh!

It really made me think. I wasn't focused necessarily on Lincoln wiggling in line but about his future ahead of him......his huge personality.......the boy that God is going to grow into a man one day. What do I want from him? I want him to be Lincoln- the boisterous, joyful, courageous, and creative kid that hugs everyone before he leaves school, kisses his teacher's hands and repeats the silly parts of whatever story he heard that day.........Like "miss me, miss me, now you gotta kiss me". He chanted this outloud as we left preschool. I chanted with him......why not!?

I used to teach and loved having all the super 'active' boys in my class. Then I gave birth to one......and I wasn't so sure how I felt about 'active' boys. Other parents would come up to me when he was  a toddler and say things like "wow, he sure is a busy boy! You poor thing!" They had the tone of dread and the expression of  "so glad he's yours and not mine". I finally stopped being embarrassed and I stopped trying to stifle his beautiful personality. He wasn't yelling at me in public or demanding  his way. He was yelling with excitement over the amazing dessert he had for lunch or demanding that we play hide and seek one more time so he could find me. I can handle these things.

If you have a super 'active' child......try and embrace the joy that bubbles below and above the surface. When they are asleep, go in and stare at their beautiful faces........while you can. Linc is too busy during the daytime for me to do this. Look around their room and see the star wars guys they left standing in battle with Iron Man and Buzz Lightyear. Look at the pile of stuffed animals that surround your little man or woman. I am constantly reminded of how much I love being a mom and how much I love my busy kids. Linc keeps me on my toes and brings pure delight to my old soul. I love him.