Tag Archives: Daughters

A Gentle Reminder

I recently witnessed a mom with her newborn.  It was feeding time.  Mom was ready with the bottle and within a minute her baby was content and eating.

Slowly but surely, the bottle was drained, and the effort seemed to exhaust the new baby.  She lay on her mom’s lap with a little dribble of milk around her mouth.

The neat freak in me said, “Hey, it’s time to wipe that kid’s mouth,” and my next move would have been to reach for a wipe.

This mom had the same idea but wasn’t in a hurry.  She remained still and put the empty bottle away.  She moved with a grace and fluidity that didn’t disturb her nearly-sleeping baby.

She then grabbed the edge of a soft towel and delicately wiped the milk.  She purposely took her time and continued to move with smoothness and grace.

The gentleness was amazing.  Her focus was complete.  The moment was silent.  This mother’s love and caring approach were there for anyone to see.  She took the time to be gentle and her reward was a moment of grace for her baby and herself.

When was the last time you purposely chose gentle as your first response?  To anything?

It’s easy for our lives to become a series of tasks, goals, deadlines, rules, disruptions and shiny objects that are anything but gentle.

Only our conscious choice to be gentle will make it happen.  Our desire to experience moments of grace and peace will bring them to us.

We control the gentleness we give to those around us…and to ourselves.

I, for one, am glad I got to see my daughter being so gentle with her new daughter.

It was a gentle reminder that I will not soon forget.

One Syllable Words

The assignment:  Describe the most dramatic moment in your life.  Easy.  But, there were two rules:

1) You have 15 minutes.

2) Only use one-syllable words.

That’s a little tougher.

Here was my entry:

“The rate is gone!”

“Turn her!”

“Code blue!” yelled the nurse.

All of the white coats on the floor were there fast.  Jan’s eyes showed her fear.  I was no help.  I froze and watched in awe.

One nurse pushed some drug in her arm.  One nurse held her hand.  Two docs barked new plans and the group worked their plan.

“Crash cart!” yelled one doc.

“We must go in.  The child may be lost!”

This was our first child.  We had been there for a day and a half, and now this.  What did it all mean?  Would our child make it out to see the world?

They ran down the hall on her bed with wheels.  There I stood.  The clock read five. The mess showed what was left from my child’s fight for life.  Where did they go?  I did not know so I stood there in the dark for at least three ticks of the clock.

“Sir, your wife is fine,” the nurse said.  She had found me and showed me to the room.  “Your child is fine.  Come in and see.  Would you like to hold her?”

Our girl was born!  From out of the dark, the world turned bright for us all that day.

***

Twenty-five years later, yet it seems like only a few minutes have passed.  Julianne made her dramatic entrance, and our lives have never been the same.

Happy (slightly early) Birthday, Julianne!

 

Father-Daughter Dances

JulandJenWeddingPhoto

Call me biased since I have two daughters, but, the Father-Daughter dance is a great wedding tradition. It’s the “first chance” for Dad to dance with his daughter now that she’s married.

I’ve seen some solid dancing in Father-Daughter dances, but more often than not, they’re a bit slow. An opportunity for the father and daughter to have a nice chat about the events of the day while casually dancing around for a few minutes.

For Julianne’s wedding, a couple years ago, we unleashed a surprise. We interrupted the regularly-scheduled dance with some unusual songs and choreography:

http://youtu.be/9wP00Fozwjk

The Circle of Trust for this surprise was five or six people, including Julianne and me. We worked out the songs, the timing, and the choreography a few weeks before her wedding. We enlisted Mike, a tech-savvy member of the Circle, to cut together the songs. We had all the pieces…except for rehearsal time. There are tons of details in any wedding, and the last couple weeks before the wedding are filled with them. Finding secret rehearsal time was a big challenge, but also half of the fun.

I remember our last rehearsal, at about 6am on Julianne’s wedding day. Everyone was sleeping when we made our final run-through (we had about 15 guests sleeping all over the house). There we were, dancing “quietly” in a crowded bedroom, making sure we knew all the moves and song changes.

I didn’t get much time to think about our dance for the rest of the day, until moments before we took the floor. As we started our dance, I wondered if I’d remember all the moves. Looking back, I have a better memory of our rehearsals than I do of our performance.

Fast-forward two years (just a week ago), and it’s time for Jennifer’s wedding. As soon as her engagement to Luke was official, we started talking about what we should do for the Father-Daughter dance. We could do something similar to Julianne’s, but that had already been done. We needed to take things up a notch. The perfect solution: a flash mob!

The logistics of a flash mob are a lot different than a secret set of dance steps shared by two people. We’d need to pick the songs, edit them, come up with choreography, recruit the members of the mob, train everyone on the dance steps, and rehearse as a group (would a group rehearsal even be feasible?) before the wedding. How would the mob assemble, how would they disperse?

The Circle of Trust would be huge! We had a group of about thirty-forty people in the Circle. Fortunately, the internet is perfect for communicating with such a big group.

Here’s the two flash mob training videos that we uploaded to YouTube about five days before the wedding (one for instructions, and the other a “live” demonstration):

Flash Mob Instruction Video: http://youtu.be/e-ZWXzvScAo

Flash Mob Demonstration Video: http://youtu.be/2cdLW_1LXEE

As the big day approached, we didn’t get an opportunity to rehearse. I did review the demonstration video a couple times. Our last chance for an actual rehearsal came the night before the wedding, at about 10:30pm. Five or six of us stepped outside into a grassy area and started up the song on Jennifer’s phone. We worked through the steps in one pass, and declared ourselves ready for the big dance.

With such a large Circle of Trust, greetings just before the wedding were filled with whispered questions about everyone’s readiness for the dance. “Did you get links to the videos?” “Did you rehearse?” “Are you going to rehearse just before the reception starts?” We were as ready as we could be.

Here’s the final product: http://youtu.be/3G89QiP8Qus

As you can see, our Circle grew into a Community of dancers. At least ten percent of the folks who jumped onto the dance floor had no idea this was a “planned” flash mob. They were just excited to join in the dancing. They didn’t know about the choreography, or the plans for dispersing at appointed times in the song. It didn’t matter. It added to the spontaneous energy and excitement of the dance/mob. I’m sure little Clyde was wondering what the heck was going on as everyone left the dance floor.

I remember looking up and seeing Jennifer’s smiling face, surrounded by friends and family who had joined our flash mob. It was awesome, and then it was over as quickly as it began.

Life’s journey is finite, but the memories and connections you can make on that journey are infinite.

Do you wanna dance?! Yeah!!