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June 17 - 8:45 a.m.

Awaiting laundry drying so I can throw another load in before I leave the house.

I am going to take a nice walk to fix a repaired bike at the Bike Shop in town. I have two bikes as they were here for Katerina and Soren who used them for transportaion during summer. I rode to the town next to ours where they biked to the dentist for annual check up and cleaning once for my appointment and suddenly grasped the reality of "That intersection is scary! There is no shoulder!"

We had bikes, I had work so I just encouraged them to wait it out until no cars. Indeed that IS A LONG wait which I think my Irish Heritage led me to believe was a little exageratted in the eyes of a 13 or 14 year old child.

I apologized after I took the ride! Told them I REALLY was guilty of not listeing to my children and believing it wasn't THAT bad.

It was a lesson in how we as parents need to be congnizent of our own ability or lack thereof of listening to our children and not infusing our own perceptions and judgdments on THEIR experiences. I hate when anyone does that to ME! There is nothing worse than someone invalidating your experience! Its the craziest kind of control and delusion for anyone to do that to another.

I remember being in the receiving end of that and thinking "I was there! Just LISTEN"

A friend recently told me with conviction the Bike trail I take regularly ends at a point it doesn't. It USED To apparently. I didn't argue despite the fact of biking it and walking it and KNOWING from my expreience otherwise. They were not listening. I have learned you can't FORCE one to listen or FORCE anyone to understand your experience so best just let it go. It is a trait however that made me a little wary of my friend. I mean if I see that OFTEN I may be less inclined to chose to spend as much time as with those who ARE able to listen.

Listening is SUCH a critical skill in trust and relationship building as it VALIDATES your belief in the WORTH Of the OTHER to be AT LEAST as high as one's worth in their self. It validates a mutual respect.

It is graduation time. This is what I came on to write about ( or re-write as this was drafted in a form yesterday before I lost it!)

Happy Graduation

To all those grads I wish for you that you leave school at this transition you move on in life with skills including self discipline, respect for self and others, wisdom and belief in self, motivation and above all kindness. I really love that one line from a Jewel song "In the end, only kindness matters."

As I told my girls over stellar A report cards, and tried to convine the one who had a B which made her fearful of condemnation of Father who expects Straight A+ : I am VERY PROUD of you, but most of all as all the comments on here from teachers are about how helpful and kind and particpatory in your class community you are. That to me is the most IMPORTANT thing- that you are happy and those around you are happy. Nurturing that kindness of yourself and others will contribute to that much more than how smart you are. The truth is I DON'T CARE how smart you are, I DON'T CARE how accomplished and intellegent and successful one is- I want YOU TO be HAPPY and a joy to be around. I want to be around people who are HAPPY and joyfully embrace their day whatever they do- whether it is dishwashing, a retail job or a doctor. It really is not as important as being HAPPY. You are SO SMART that you can choose to develop skill and knowledge and be successful at WHATEVER you want to do. That is a wonderful gift not everyone has so I am overjoyed to see you APPRECHITE That gift and nurture it and use it and have kindness when you share it joyfully with others.

And a B is NOTHING To be ashamed if if you have done your best.

I am a solid B- Always have been and am not in the least ashamed of that. I am as successful and happy as any A+.

They have all sorts of sayings about those letters. Here is my silly personality Haiku: As can be anal Bs I believe have balance Cs are communicators So I pose " Which would YOU rather B?" Just my silly promoting of those who are NOT Type A but a little more laid back- since I am one of course! Its been said Cs make CEOs so I have heard as they have the skills of dynamic leadership and organizational behavior not getting mired in detail the more task oriented get caught up in. In other words- The world needs us all. All characterizations fitting someone into a cateogry are just silly and none are truly a circle the person ever really fits exactly in. There are sqaure pegs along the way who wittle their edges and sneak in despite their very self and do fine. Don't believe there is ever ANYTHING you can't do with enough time, practice and dediction and commitment.

I said to one daughter recently after a great hit at a game- Do you remember how HARD this was once? How you were just honestly rather TERRIBLE at the very first as you learned? WE praised each thing you did well and you kept practicing and didn't give up. Just look at you now!! ITs AMAZING to watch her- especially as her older sibling is truly a NATURAL and she wanted to be like her so played the same game and as they got older and had choices she continued. ( One had a bad at bad, Dad reports he said "It's OK you don't have to play anymore if you don't want to." He meant THAT GAME as she was so upset to which she replied "Good I don't want to play EVER. I hate this"

And she did. She was not good, but more importantly she did not ENJOY it! The other girl who was just hilariously like Froggy from the wonderful children's series in Froggy Plays Soccer ( where it shows all the little kids resoond to "BAll ready" and " Froggy was tying his show... Froggy was picking dandelions... Froggy was picking his nose"

I LOVED that book so much as that was my little Froggy on the field just a few years ago. She just hit a ball 180 feet at the Hitathon this season and couldn't have been more proud. My other thought which came on Father's Day along with we need all kinds of people was not mine but rather listening to the talk at church on Sunday when the gift of Fathers was being extolled. It was asked "Who had the father who EXPECTED Straight As" I laughed and said Not me, but I can releate as my daughters certainly do! The reverend then went on that that is the role of Fathers that is SO IMPORTANT! Fathers focus on accomplishement and successin the world,and with a father that does so a child grows up with that vision, expectation of self and desire for approval of father that DOES motivate and fuel participation in the greater community and world. Fathers teach kids how to engage and be involved in community OR They set a different example and there is less of the engagement and involvemt but it STARTS with the attitude toward achievement and success in school by being pushed which FATHERS generally do expecting the good report of ALL As. Nothing less is expected. IT was a wonderful talk I was happy to hear as there a number of points to help apprechiate not only the difference of mothers who are often emotional nurturers but also a fathers role which is different! Of course with the apprechiation of those parents who have to learn to fulfill BOTH roles and needs of their children.

Fifth Grade Graduation for my Froggy(Raitlin) was last week where she won some Academic awards ( Spelling Bee winner with her name on the plaque being the one most proud of and got to announce the class gift to the school). High School Graduation Soren is this week so I look forward to that.

My family were planning on a trip for that, but as there are so many of them and there are limited tickets and I planned a trop TO THEM- they nixed the travel idea. They will all see Soren in another 6 weeks and we will belatedly celebrate then with them just weeks before he goes off to college. My parents are getting older and travel is hard on them.

Katerina and Soren's lovely grandmother died this May after struggles with Diabetes and Lupis for years and successfully battling Cancer a couple of years ago. She made it through Chemo and did well and frankly it was wonderful to see her peaceful easy demeanor thes past couple of years after facing that. Somehow it changed her and I like to think that people's time to pass on come when they are at a state of peace in this world. I believe she truly was more at peace in the past couple of years than I observed before.

She had taken time to nutrure herself and do what she loved. She was a beautiful person and a lovely writer and over the last dozen years in her retirement from being a music teacher in the city school for something like 30 years- She nurtuerd her own creative writing. She then taught creative writing. She nurtured her love of art in photography and two of my favorite gifts are lovely photos she framed and gave to me, after my marriage ended but a mutual respect and friendship continued.

She was a special lady that touched many people- many of whom were students.

It was her compromised immune system, the Lupis which made it her time as she could not fight off an infection so she died as a host to these other organisms. Somhow I think she would like that thought, that as she passes on into what we all hope and believe is a new life-to see her own Mother and Father again and our Creator that the cycle of life and her supporting other life has not ended but continued in different form.

She had greater energy.

And energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is always with us as her spirit will be.

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