Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Move it!

The two older mancubs went with me on my business trip a couple of weeks ago. After work, we had about an hour of daylight and decided to walk down to the beach.

Side Note: We were staying in Pismo Beach. It's February. We were at the beach. Yep, February. Ahhhh.....California!

The tide was beginning to roll in. Cade, Matthew, and I started collecting sand dollars and shells. This lasted about 5 minutes before our combined ADD caused us to drop shell collecting and start a game of tag. I was "it" and chased them along the beach. The mancubs quickly went right and into the Pacific Ocean. Regardless of the time of year or the temperature outside, the Pacific Ocean is flippin cold. I gave up chasing them and I guess I'm still "it" as I write this blog. I pretty much just stood in the water not going past my calves. I say my calves, but I wasn't quite sure because I really had no feeling below my knees. Cade went in almost to his waist. And then there was Matthew......the only dry area on him was his head! I yelled to him, "Matty, aren't you freezing cold?" In a very warm, happy, and almost nurturing tone he responds: "Dad, you can't just stand there! You'll go numb! You have to keep moving!" And then jumped up over wave so that it wouldn't go over his head.

His words hit me about as hard as the biting cold Pacific water. Of course, I started moving and quickly warmed up. I was flooded with thoughts and questions as jumped around in the ocean. Matthew had no idea that he just spoke something way more profound than how not be cold in the water. I did a quick inventory of what in my life was numb due to inactivity. Am I "moving" and active with my relationship with my wife? With the mancubs? My job? Friendships?

If you're feeling cold and numb in areas in your life.....maybe you just need to move around!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mancub Sayings from the Road: Pt 1

I've compiled a list of some of the utterances, gnomic verses, observations, silliness, etc from our Christmas Roadie to Texas:

This is part one and in no special order:

1. "Dad, it smells like fish and gravy". Cade commenting on the El Paso air.
2. "Me". Jacob's response anytime you ask him his name.
3. "Why are we running again?" Matthew in full stride after we lit some fireworks in New Mexico.
4. "I need to pee-ah". Luke's announcement about every 20 minutes on the road.
5. "Why is the moon also the name for someone's butt?" Cade's question late the first night when we stopped in AZ and stared into space.
6. "I am not happy with you, dad". Luke's phrase every time I told him "no".
7. "Why can't you and mom sleep on the sofa bed?" Matthew's question at just about every Marriott.
8. "Train fall on (insert any of the following names: Mommy, Daddy, Matthew, Cade, Luke, Meme, Big Dad, Oma, Opa, Doggie) ____________'s head?" I respond with a "no" and he giggles.....Jacob's question every time he sees a train.
9. "Dad, I believe in Santa and Rudolf and all, but not the way this show says. There's no such thing as the Abominable Snowman". Matthew's comment during the Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer television special.

I'm finding laughter is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mancub vs. Technology.....let the battle begin!

It ceases to amaze me how quickly technology changes. As soon as I make an electronics or gadget purchase something else comes out the next day to replace it. Or in the case of Apple's technology, the next generation of ipod, iphone, imac, or iwhatever is available for upgrade the day after you buy the earlier version. Regardless, I love the fact that I can keep every bit of music on my ipod and I can watch movies, downloaded to my ipod, on my 42 inch 1080i HD LCD. Yet, with all these improvements and/or upgrades over the years, a few things may always remain the same. "Like what?", you may ask. little mancubs' lack of understanding of just how important technology is. Or protecting these small technological wonders from the likes of my 2 year old and the youngest of the Lawson mancubs, Jacob.

Recently, mancub #4 decided to test the boyuantcy of my iPod by flushing it down the toilet in the guest bathroom. I know this because it was recovered and looked like something stuck in the Titanic. I felt as if part of my soul was flushed.....which is both sad and pathetic. After mastering the "sea", Jacob was ready to test the "air". What best to test flight than the remote control to the LCD? It flew, but the flight pattern was immediately interrupted by the 42 inch 1080i HD LCD. The report came to me via a cell phone conversation with mancub #3 as I was driving home. Luke was relieved that it wasn't him that destroyed my idol. I was pissed (I do not apologize for using the word because it's MUCH less offensive than the combination of obscentities I thought and spoke while driving home). Has mancub # 4 have no shame? Oh sure, he's only two, but C'MON! Can he not understand and appreciate the cost of such important innovations? Jacob had now yanked the technology dependence/obession IV right out of my arm. I thought about all the ways I could discipline him. I fantasized about sitting around the table with the family as I led a blame storming session. "Keri, aren't you supposed to be watching him?" "Hey oldermancubs.....why aren't YOU protecting the TV from #4? Don't you realize there will be no more Sponge Bob Squarepants?"

I arrived home ready to pounce. As I put the car in park, the front door busted open and Jacob came running out. Whatever was important to Jacob at the time just got bumped to second fiddle when he heard the car pull up. I could see his mouth saying, "Daaaaady." His smile stretched so far that it ran out of room on his face. I opened the car door and he extended his arms saying, "Daaaady. Daaaady. Daaaady hooome". Instantly, my anger got bumped to second fiddle. I reached down and picked him up and he hugged my neck. As he pulled away from my shoulder he looked me in the eyes and said, "My Daaaaady". There was no guilt on his part. He wasn't loving on me because he thought he was in trouble. Jacob was clueless of the importance of an iPod or TV. His priority was me. I smiled. "My Jacob", I said.

My teachable moment was a painful one. I'm not excusing Jacob's behavior. Yes, I do need to continue to teach him what's appropriate and not appropriate. However, all of this raised a deeper issue in me. Was I really mad because Jacob destroyed my iPod and LCD? Or was the love affair and obsession with my technological wonders so deep that it hurt to lose them? Tough question. If I'm honest, I think it was more of the latter. I don't feel led to throw every possession away or anything like that. I will; however, be more aware of how much importance I place on things that in the end I can live without.

And........I'll make sure my stuff is picked up off the floor ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mancub and A Crappy, Green Paper Airplane.

"Luke, don't take it. It's jacked up and we can always make you a new one."

About three months ago, I was taking the two younger mancubs to the neighborhood park and Luke insisted on bringing his paper airplane. She was a beaut......let me tell ya. Keri delicately folded a nice paper airplane made out of green construction paper right after breakfast. It was now mid-afternoon and the plane had dirt stains, a dash of orange juice, and more wrinkles than a shirt out of the dryer. It's flying days were pretty much over. Luke's death grip prevailed over my feeble attempts to persuade him to trash it. And just like that......"Crap Airlines" was joining our hike.

CAVEAT: I don't know if you are like me, but sometimes I really struggle on enjoying the journey to the destination. I like making the plans, looking at the different routes, making the decision, "guesstimating" the time, and then executing.....even if it's the 20 so steps to the mailbox. I get easily caught up in our fast paced, need to have it now, world.

Along the trail I was able to take in some of the mountain beauty that surrounded us. I was moving faster than the two younger ones and would stop so that they could catch up. Luke assisted crap airlines by holding it between his thumb and index finger. Occasionally, he would let it "soar"......and by "soar" I mean go smack into the ground. He enjoyed it and his younger brother, Jacob, seemed okay with this.

As we were in sight of the Park I saw a woman with two dogs off leash approaching us. They were puntable dogs and I wasn't worried about them tearing into my kids spleens or anything, but the woman felt that the dogs needed to be close to her. She called them back and knelt down holding them. With Crap Airlines leading the way, the mancubs went Mach 5 past me to see if a new friendship could be negotiated. The woman was nice enough to allow the boys to pet the dogs. I said hello and continued walking believing that the boys would be right behind me.

"C'mon, boys. Let the doggies continue on their hike." Wait. What was I seeing? Oh dear God, no. Luke was no longer petting the dogs.....he was showing off Crap Airlines. I was about 10 yards from this possible nightmare and closed the gap with the most awkward "run/walk" ever, hoping to intervene before she touched the disease infested plane. Her back was to me and was able to overhear the horror. Luke had just shown off Crap Airlines talent for crashing into the dirt.

Woman: Is that your airplane?
Luke: Yes. Here.

He extended the plane to her. My mind could not get the "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" to my mouth fast enough.

Woman: Really? You want me to have this?
Luke: Sure.

I don't know why the "no" never made it out of my mouth. Thank God it didn't. The woman stood up and took the plane. The dogs seemed okay without her and danced around Jacob. She put her head down. Then she turned to me. Crying. Elated, but crying. "My mother is dying. This brings back so many memories." She wiped her tears. "This really means so much to me." She looked back at Luke and said, "Thank you. I will cherish this for as long as I live." And with that, she followed her dogs down the trail.

I was waiting for Luke to make some grand speech. But he didn't. He was just being Luke. He and his brother made a dash for the park. And I was left alone with an extraordinary moment. A moment that I almost ruined.

I have no idea why the paper airplane made such an impact on this woman. Perhaps the gesture? A memory of making crafts with her mom when she was younger? I'll never know. However, I did learn that EXTRAordinary moments can come out of ordinary walks with little mancubs carrying crappy, broken airplanes. And that love-tested broken airplanes can heal broken people.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Allow myself to introduce.......myself.


Caveat #1: I do not claim to be an expert on child rearing, teaching, disciplining, feeding, safety, coaching, or even calling my mancubs by their right names. I'm a father. A father with great faults and great love for my mancubs.

Caveat #2: Mancub = Son. I have four of them ranging from 11 to almost 3. Cade, Matthew, Luke, and Jacob.

Caveat #3: I will most likely violate all forms of formal writing and grammar. I may even write in caveats. I'm fairly certain I write/type much like I speak which means I will use lots of "..........." and commas. English teachers and've just been warned. Mom, this includes you.

I don't know many writers who start off using caveats. I'm sure they exist and they probably have adult attention deficit disorder. It's important to point out that this blog is for entertainment purposes only. If it makes you laugh, cry, claim it was "better than CATS" and that you want to read it again and again and again.....then great! If you walk away with a feeling of not "getting anything out of it", then keep in mind that it's not a sermon and go re-read caveat #1. I'll do my best to write down the stories and observations that for some reason have made an impression on my life. There's no rhyme or reason, structure, or schedule to these blogs. I'm simply highlighting some of the mancubs' journey and sharing what I've learned from these "wild" creatures as they all migrate in different paces to birthday number 18.

It's a safari. It's Romper Room. It's Mancub vs. Wild. It's Braveheart meets Parenthood. It's Life Lessons from Mancubs.

Until Life Lesson #1.........Good night.