The title is self explanatory and we are woooooooohoooooooooooo.
This is not the first time I think about this, however it is becoming more relevant as we are “conditioning” someone else to see the world as we perceive it. Today CG sees the world as mom and I understand it, through our lens, based on our past experience, the way we were taught and maybe even the way others want us to see it. I believe this is a very limited and distorted version of what the real world is, but it’s all I know, I can’t teach something I lack of.
I don’t want to be like those parents who are always lecturing their kids, giving them marching orders and forcing on them their narrowed way of thinking; nevertheless, I am not sure that I want to be my kids “friend” either. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to, if I can keep a clear line between friendship and parenthood. As a friend I would encourage them to skydive, as a parent I would show them pictures and stay down watching others doing it.
I’m sure there is only one way to figure this out, move forward, learn and try again. I wonder how many people take formal parenting training or if those even work, but I will sign up for it if things don’t go well in the first few years – maybe the fact that I’m writing this blog is a clear indication I need immediate counseling – we’ll see.
Since we are on the first month of the year still, I’m totally allowed to write about this topic. It is almost impossible to think about New Year’s resolutions when you are eating, drinking or relaxing over the holidays. Actually, I will officially propose that we move all the New Year’s resolutions process to the beginning of each new year and stay focused on closing the previous year at full speed.
Now that we are reaching the end of January I started thinking about my own 2016 resolutions. For starters, I have ditched all those related to eating healthier, excercising more or saving money. Those have never worked for me, are completely unappealing and provide no short term rewards, actually these come with more frustration than anything else. These require a three year plan at least, something that doesn’t qualify for a “year resolution” in my humble opinion. I am not planning on being a better father, brother, son, worker or anything like that either, these require introspection and a continuous improvement process, these are not a point in time commitment.
After some back and forth, I decided that my 2016 resolutions should be simple and achievable. I am fully aware that by publishing my resolutions on this blog the Internet will be reminding me about them as well, so I will make it short and sweet:
1) Finish at least two half-marathons
2) Read six books not directly related to my job
3) Start learning a new language
This is it, straightforward resolutions with measurable goals. I don’t want to be healthier or slimmer, I want to complete two races. I don’t want to be smarter, I want to read six books. And I am tired of moving a personal interest to learn a new language, so here we go.
Once I click publish there is no go back, so let it be.
On your mark, get set…GO!!!
1) Two half marathons
San Francisco Rock and Roll Half-Marathon, completed on April 3rd
San Jose Rock and Roll Half-Marathon, completed on October 2nd
Big Sur Half-Marathon, completed on November 13th
2) Six books
“Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. Finished on February 27th, very recommendable.
“What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis. Finished on May 14th, interesting.
“Marissa Mayer and the fight to save Yahoo!” by Nicholas Carlson. Finished on November 30th, an excellent tale that ended with the acquisition of Yahoo! In 2016.
“El coronel no tiene quien le escriba” by Gabriel García Márquez. Finished on December 27th, a lot of introspection needed after reading it.
“Crónica de una muerte anunciada” by Gabriel García Márquez. Finished on December 30th, awesome.
“Super freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner. Finished on December 31st, lies, damn lies & statstics, worth reading.
3) New language
Started learning French early in the year, stopped and never went back to it. Doesn’t matter why, this goal was not met. More on this on my next post.
“$140 esta bien de precio, no?”, “El cambio que me den, te lo doy, ahora sí de verdad”, “Tú nunca tienes dinero para nada”. If you haven’t seen the latest Star Wars movie The Force Awakens, you won’t understand this analogy, but when parents hear these things from their kids is like when Ben Solo (a.k.a. Kylo Ren) said “Thank you” to Han Solo the last time they saw each other. What Han’s reaction was? like any other father who loves his son…drums roll please…watch the movie.
For my English speaking readers, here is the translation of those three sentences I heard over the holidays from kids in a store full of toys to their ashtonished parents: “$140 is a good price, isn’t it?”, “the change I get, I will give it back to you, this time for sure”, “you never have money for anything”.
This made me think about my childhood and myself now as a father. In my childhood I didn’t understand the value of money, the huge effort my parents went through to provide for the family and give me everything I had or how painful it was for them to hear me spitting things like the ones I heard these holidays out of my mouth. I had everything I asked for, no matter what it was I got it, within reason but I got it. The newest bike in the block, the latest game console, the school trip to NASA, the school I wanted and the list goes on and on. After some time I learned how those things happened, I realized how stupid and selfish I was and that those mean words you throw at your parents cannot be taken back.
I’m still not the best son I could be, still working on it, I just hope my teachers, leaders and coaches in life – my parents – see some progress. I am thankful to them and also to all the people that have contributed to making me happy without my knowledge. THANK YOU, you know who I’m talking to.
Now is time for me to provide and educate. Not sure when or how I’m going to start these conversations with CG, nonetheless my goal is clear, I don’t want her be mean (or ignorant) like those kids, to make the same mistakes I made and then regret about it. I just need to rely on my own experience, the education my parents gave me and a partner with great values to help me raise an awesome kid.
After an amazing time off, we returned home to a new reality, a reality where CG cries calling papa or mama. Yikes.
It may seem like no big deal, however this is showing how she is growing, becoming more aware of her surroundings and getting smarter at getting our attention. She knows that calling mama or papa has an effect, and we need to be careful that it doesn’t mean she is taking control over the situation.
This reminds me of all those YouTube videos where babies just cry in the presence of their parents, or quietly follow them throwing temper tantrums when they know dad and mom are watching. CG has done this kind of things too, but adding mama or papa to it brings it to a new level, it makes me feel responsible for some wrong doing.
Maybe this is Maslow’s hierarchy in full swing, maybe she is moving from her physiological needs to her love and belonging needs. I don’t want to be a shrink or analyze my daughter’s behavior so deeply, just saying that something should explain these recent changes.
As she says, “bye bye” to those days when crying was clearly for a physiological need relatively easy to identify and address. Now, we need to welcome this new phase in our lives where figuring out her needs is more complicated, the good news, some of this sends me a clear message of “I love you, I need you” papa. I love you too CG.
Sadly our holidays and well deserved vacations have come to an end, yet there is no better way to say goodbye than celebrating with the three 👑👑👑 Wise men.
For some reason my father has taken this tradition to his heart, by now everybody knows that around January 5th he and my mom will throw a party to write a wish letter and send it up to the Wise men in a well inflated helium balloon.
This requires some preparation, preparation for a party of more than 100 people that joined us this year, most of which are family members, friends, neighbors, friends of our neighbors and everybody that has heard about it. Some of them were even asking about it before the date was confirmed.
All starts by getting the right size of balloons, #20 I think, not less not more. Getting the helium tank for 300 balloons just in case we have an overflow of requests to the Wise men, paper for the wish letters and a little cord to tie each letter to their respective balloon. 30 Abuelita chocolate bars, 24 liters of milk, 3 Roscas de Reyes, pastor tacos for 100+ people, drinks, tables, chairs, etc.
One or two hours before the guests arrive, inflating the balloons is a task my dad owns, nobody else, except for me when he is distracted. One balloon at a time, until the whole living room ceiling is full of them, doesn’t matter how many or how much time it takes he is in charge. Attaching the little cord to each balloon can be done by anybody else, his staff obviously, this time it was assigned to CG’s mom and me.
VaLu is normally in charge of mixing the Abuelita bars with the milk to make us a delicious hot chocolate, same deal as with the balloons, my dad and VaLu are in charge and everybody else is an observer. In this ocasion the observers noted that half of the kitchen wall had chocolate on it before VaLu realized it. Probably she was so focused on the quality that she didn’t pay attention to the messy kitchen she was creating – it was fun though.
As guests came in, my mom kept working on the final details, where to put the food, drinks, chairs for the elders, etc. Aligning all activities for the night, diner first, then making sure that everybody has paper and pen for their wish letter, balloons throwing at the count of three and finally Rocas de Reyes with hot chocolate – like a well coordinated concert.
Kids of all ages and adults of all sorts of life come together this special night, all get to write a letter, all get to dream, all get to ask for anything they can imagine as all of it will come true.
In some parts of the world people organize parades with the Wise men, in my world my wise man and woman organize a party that makes us come and dream together, a celebration that everybody is waiting for and that for the first time CG enjoyed as she wrote her wish letter, released her balloon to the sky and said bye bye as it was flying away.
This is our tradition of the Wise men, I want to thank mom and dad for keeping it alive and making it so personal, I love it and I’m not the only one.
PS. I wish CG gets the four things she asked for. 👍🏼