Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Will You Be My Daddy Tonight?

While I gather pictures and posts for the Camp No Limits Blog Post and want to let you in on a little secret. Please don't judge. I don't need advice and I don't even need your comments.  Here is goes....

We snuggle with our kids before bed. We lay down with them often... and sometimes we fall asleep right then and there. While we were at camp Max said the most incredible thing:

"Mommy, will you be my daddy tonight?"

I had laid down with him after a long and hot day at camp. The kids and I were exhausted from all the activities. We snuggled in the first night in our little cabin and Max whispered this as he wrapped his arms around my arm (as if I were his stuffy he was sleeping with). He fell promptly asleep as I lay awake and thought about this statement.

You see my husband Michael is not normal. Our family is not a normal family. Michael is a true co-parent if not a more primary one.  He is incredibly dedicated and hugely present. When Michael commits to something he really stays loyal. He has worked at his job for over 11 years! He wakes up every morning and gets ready for work, kisses the kids and leaves, sometimes before we are awake if it is summer time.  He gets home at approximately the same time every night. He rarely (if ever) stays late. Instead he gets home to sometimes relieve a babysitter or to relieve me as I run off to see a student or go for a run. I typically work evenings and Michael is the primary parent.

Michael goes from work to dad seemingly effortlessly and without complaint.

What makes this so profoundly beautiful to me is that I don't see an equal. I could be wrong, I'm not in the homes of many people. When I was a child my 'dad' or father figure could never replace the arms of my mother. I feel blessed and lucky that my kids love their daddy as much as they do.

Just so it is in print here is a list of the things that make Michael so very special.

-He is an fabulous cook. If it weren't for Michael we would eat bean burritos and salad every night
-He arranges food on our plates as if we got it in a restaurant (wipes of the sides of the plate so that they are sauce free, stacks veggies in cute pyramids, freshly grated pepper or parmesan, you get the idea)
-He starts family inside jokes so that only the four us know the secret code
-He still listens to bad 80s music
-He fixes our computer effortlessly
-He knows how much I need to exercise and run and allows me that freedom
-He loves the aquarium
-He prefers Mexico over Hawaii
-He flosses everyday
-He is skeptical about 'quick fixes'
-He waited an incredibly long time to get a flat screen tv
-He cleans the house up every night
-He does the laundry
-He gets excited about small things like "Tide Pods" for the laundry
-He always makes sure there is window cleaning fluid in our cars
-He drives the second car- a volvo wagon from 1988 and rarely complains
-I have never mowed the lawn
-He loves us unconditionally and "Dads" better than anyone I know (did you catch that I turned 'dad' into a verb. I know, right?!)

I love you Michael, thanks for all you do for us.

Friday, July 19, 2013

It makes me embarrassed

It makes me embarrassed. This is what my little girl said to me today when we noticed the obvious stares that were coming from about five elementary day-campers. We both noticed and Madeleine put her hands on her hips and stared back. She then put up her hands as if to say, 'what?!'.
I asked her if her bothered her or made her feel bad when kids stared. She said no, it just makes me embarrassed.

God, can you imagine going through life embarrassed about the way you look or some aspect of yourself? Sure, we all think that we may look not so good some days; maybe a bad hair day, a little bloated, extra acne etc.  But my daughter feels this on most days. Particularly in novel situations.

This week we are headed to camp. We had so many generous donations that it made it possible for Max, Madeleine and me to go to Idaho. The kids are really excited about this. I wonder if it is because they get to run around a very safe little island in the middle of Coeur D'Alene. Perhaps it is all the activities: swimming, slip n slides, wheelchair basketball, s'mores around the camp fire....?
My hunch is that Madeleine can be herself and not embarrassed. She won't get weird looks and ugly stares. She will have many questions asked about her leg but they will be out of camaraderie ("what happened to your leg?" or "can you wiggle the bottom?") and not because they think it is 'creepy', 'weird' or 'gross'.

Thank you friends for your support, financial donations and friendships.

Lots of Love,
Niki, Max and Madeleine

Sunday, July 7, 2013

...Introducing the FIFTH Leggie!

This past week Madeleine met her fifth leggie. This one is special because it is her first that has a more 'mechanical' feel to it. The 'ankle pipe' is exposed making it look more like a prosthesis.  I would be lying if I said that Michael and I weren't a little hesitant. She always gets so many looks and comments anyway and this new sight would evoke more stares.
Clearly Mad likes it just fine.