Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I Decorate the Cakes...

Our Son's 1st Birthday is tomorrow!
Me: I know! Crazy eh!
Wife: We gotta make him a cake!
Me: Sure! You bake it, I'll ice it!
Wife: What? No. I'll bake it and decorate it!
Me: Do you even know how to make icing?
Wife: Oh its not hard.
Me: Look, I make icing all the time and eat it for a snack. Let me do something.
Wife: Nope! I have to do it! I'm the mother, it is my job! And you are just a man.
Me: Alright.

... the next day ...

Me: Hey! I'm home from work! Happy Birthday little man!
Wife: Oh great you're home! The cake JUST came out of the oven!
Me: Great! Well, just let it cool, and then you can put the icing on it.
Wife: Let it cool?! You don't have to let it cool. Thats just silly.
Me: Really? Cuz my Mom always made me wait for the cake to cool before icing it.
Wife: Well I am NOT your Mother!
Me: Okay. Do you need help making the icing?
Wife: Nope, already got it done... I'll just start spreading it on here...

... a few moments pass ...

Wife: Why is the icing sliding off?! Its melting! Why is the icing melting?!
Me: Is the cake too hot?
Wife: I don't know! But look! Its UGLY! I've RUINED our sons first birthday!
Me: You didn't ruin his birthday... look, we can fix the icing.
Wife: NO! No we CAN'T! Its ruined! All that hard work, the baking and planning, and now its RUINED!
Me: I'm telling ya, we can fix this... here, let me make some more icing.
Wife: His first memory of me is going to be me RUINING his birthday! He is going to HATE me! I've ruined his LIFE!
Me: Look, I've got some nice icing here, and the cake is cool... I'll just put on a new layer.
Wife: Oh just throw it out! He's going to need therapy! OH NO! What have I done?!
Me: There! Look! Good as new. I just added a new layer of icing, which hid the melted icing, and it looks great!
Wife: Oh, hey... that dose look nice.
Me: See, we didn't ruin our child's birthday! He is not going to need therapy... well... at least, not for this. :-)

Oh Mothers! Why you girls so hard on yourselves? Its crazy! I mean, if a Dad managed to get even 1 thing right during the course of a day, we would be SO proud of ourselves and buying T-Shirts that say "Worlds Best Dad!" and Coffee mugs with "#1 DAD!" on them!
I think so often as parents, we set such high expectations for ourselves and then condemn us to the "bad parent" bin when we falter even the smallest thing.
High standards are good.
Being a good parent is important.
But being super-human, well, that's just crazy.

Seeing my wifes reaction to the cake, some 11 years ago, really opened my eyes to how much pressure we as parents are under - and it also helped me realize that WE are the ones who put the vast majority of that pressure on us.

Sometimes, it's important to look at our little children, then look at the cake with the melting icing, and hopefully be able to realize what truly is important in that situation...

... and other times (this is one reason why I love my wife), you might need to take your eyes off your little one, look up, and see what needs doing as a parent (and Father in my case), and do it.

Regardless of what others might think...
... or say, we do what needs to be done as parents.

And if we falter, we should be helping to pick each other up.

Not judging.
Or "correcting".
Or even helping sometimes.
Definitely not comparing...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Mothers Day! Random Cuteness! And Pretty Bows!

What can I say, I'm a little behind in my blogging...

So, to all you Moms out there, and Moms in Waiting (MIW), HAPPY Mothers Day!
And a special Happy Mothers Day to all of those who are spending their 1st Mothers Day with thier little bundle of joy (and sleepless nights, and bundle of stress, anxiety, self doubt, confusion, exhaustion, etc) snuggled safely in their arms! The waiting is over! To those Moms still waiting, it's coming! It is coming.

Okay, so that takes care of the Mothers Day stuff, here are some pictures of the kids getting their Mothers Day gifts ready!

And, since the kids are SO cute, here are some random pictures of cuteness!

And lastly, yet staggeringly high on the cuteness scale, the girls got a bunch of bows from DebZ ( who makes these AMAZING Bows which actually work on little asian orphanage haircuts! If you don't understand why thats a good thing, you WILL once you get your little china girl home... unless you got a boy... and then, well, if you still want the bows, who am I to judge? I'm pretty sure my Mom dressed me in dressed the first 2 years of my life anyway... wait what? We weren't talking about me! Gah! Cute BOWS! CUTE BOWS!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why do we try...

... to explain everything.

There just seems to be something about our human nature that wants to explain everything, or rationalize it, categorize it, label it, stick it in a box, ship it off to Sibera. Or maybe it is just a guy thing. I'm not sure.

But everything has to have a reason.

And every reason should be a good thing.

If something bad happens, we sit there and try with all our might to make it make sense.
To come up with a reason why bad things happen.
We sit there when someone has lost a loved one, and we say "it will make them stronger"
We sit there when someone is struggling in a marriage, and we say "it will be OK in the end, as long as so-and-so is happy"
We sit there when someone is sick, when someone is hurting, lonely, scared, abandoned and try to fit this horrible situation in a box and label that box as "good" in some crazy way.

But it isn't.

There is only one person who can make all things work together for good... and it probably ain't you, and I know well and certain that it ain't me.

So why then? Why do we spend all our time and efforts trying to explain these bad things away... or make sense of them?

When something good happens, do we feel this need to stick it in a box and label it as "bad"? No. Of course not! We would call that crazy. Its obviously good, why would we call it bad?!

Are we so weak and fearful that any admittance that something "bad" has happened will paralyze us with fear and stop our growth as a person?

Heck, bad things happen. It sucks. It REALLY sucks sometimes.

But isn't it just as damaging to trivialize the bad things that happen in life?
To assume that we can look at a situation like "abandonment" and assume to fix it, or explain it, or at least come up with a reason for it? Just breath deep. Come to terms with the fact that we/you/I do NOT* know everything... and that is OK. In fact, that can be wonderful. I like being able to give up trying to know everything and just rest in the arms of someone who dose know.

It is very idealistic, and far too simplistic, for someone to say "oh, your daughter was abandoned so that you could be together!".

Oh heck no! Or at least, today, I'm in the "heck no" frame of mind. I do not think it was every in anyone's "good plan" to have any child abandoned. Now, what happens - happens. Because that happened, yes, we got to adopt our daughter. That is true. But us being together should not be THE reason she was abandoned.

I will (hopefully) never be so arrogant as to assume that my daughter HAD to be abandoned, or SHOULD have been abandoned, or its a "good thing" that she was adopted, JUST so we could be together.

Could you imagine hearing that as a teenager? Your young parents are tragically killed in a car crash, and some stranger comes in, and takes you home saying "Isn't it wonderful that I'm able to take you home!". I'm sure as a teenager your answer would be "HECK NO! My parents were just killed in a car crash! That SUCKS you moron!".


Sorry. I think I'm done now.

Anyone want to guess what someone asked me recently?

Anyway, I don't know everything. There are things my daughter is going to have to wrestle through in life, things which she may very well want an answer for. Things which I will not be able to answer.
Things which I pray I have the wisdom not to trivialize, categorize, summarize, or even over analyze - but simply be willing to walk along side her, hold her close, lift her head, protect her dreams, and gently love her hurting heart. I hope when that time comes, she will be OK with not knowing the answers to everything as well. I figure, I hope, I pray... that so long as she knows the answer to WHO loves her, and WHY she is loved, the other questions won't seem so important...
... and then, maybe, with the grace of God, she will stop looking for the answers to those questions, and learn to rest in the one who really loves her.

* == except my wife, who apparently really DOSE know everything.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oh Good, a Distraction!

Answering Machine: Hey, you've reached Adrian Berzenji, leave a message... *BEeWWweEEEEP*
Wife: Hi, its me. I need to talk to you.
Impending Doom: mmuwahhahahahahahahaAAaaaaa!!!

... a little while later ...

Wife: Hello?
Me: Hey, you called.
Wife: Um yea.
Me: What's up?
Wife: Well, I know this isn't the best time for this, considering the car repairs last paycheck, and my last minute flight out to Calgary...
Me: What did you break?
Wife: ... the stove blew up.
Me: Define, "blew up" please?
Wife: Well, I was just cooking the pizza for the kids lunch, and I hear this sparking crackling sound.
Me: Thats not good, but that dosn't really qualify for blowing up...
Wife: And then I started looking around trying to figure out where it came from.
Me: Un-huh.
Wife: And then there was a big BANG, and then smoke started pouring out from the back of the oven!
Me: Thats not good. So, Ping needs a new oven?
Wife: I need a new oven.
Me: Why! That one is fine.
Wife: It blew up!
Me: I can fix it.
Wife: Like the door?
Me: Which door?
Wife: The oven door. The one that won't stay shut.
Me: I DID fix that. I put a chair up against the door and our beautiful daughter sits in the chair holding the door closed until the food is done cooking.
Wife: How is that FIXED?
Me: How is that NOT fixed?! The door is shut, the food cooks.
Wife: You are such a moron.
Me: Our daughter thinks it a great game.
Wife: Boy, you make ONE bad decision in life...

On the PLUS side, we are getting a new oven, hopefully with a door which works.
On the DOWN side, we have no money to pay for said oven.
On the PLUS side, the coffee is cheap at work.
On the DOWN side, I'm at work.
On the PLUS side, the oven has distracted us from the normal chaos of the children.
On the DOWN side, the children, now unattended, have just car-jacked someone and are running guns to Mexico.
On the PLUS side, the gun-running money can help pay for the new Oven!

Anyway, its nice to have "normal" issues for a change... not always having to deal with "Typical" adoption stuff is a nice change of pace... you know... if you consider chaos and unfortunate events "normal". :-)