Tuesday, May 27

Summer Bike Rides

Our big objective for the summer is to get Froggy proficient in really riding her bike.

 Our first adventure was almost our last.  It was a one mile ride up to the library.  Froggy was insistent she could not make it up the hill.  She turned around and headed home.  At the bottom of the hill, she asked how far we were.  I told her we were about 2/3s.  She got determined, turned her bike around and conquered that hill. 
Today, at her request, we tried a much harder 2 mile ride up to the ice cream store.  She had to walk about half a block up the last bit of one hill and pause to rest on two other hills but she did it.  And more importantly she did it of her own desire and without any whining or complaining at all.  My heart just about burst with pride.

Thursday, May 22

a budding photographer

We met a friend for what I thought was a casual playdate at the park.  It turned into a fantastic nature hike.  Froggy decided early in the walk that she wanted to take pictures with my phone
 We saw a blue heron not that you can tell from this picture.
 And aren't the white flowers pretty.  Anyone know what it is?
 And this is the fern her friend wants for her yard
 pretty yellow flower
 Mama and baby ducks
 And the absolutely neatest tree stump ever.  Current theory is that there was a knot in the tree at this point.
And a blue jay for M's bird book.

Wednesday, May 21

My father

My father and I have never had a good relationship for a variety of reasons.  Start with the fact that he really wanted a son and I was the third of four girls.  I was also a fat kid with less social graces than his collegues who have preferred.  I think he tried in the beginning but gave up eventually when he found nothing worth his time in me.

By thirteen, I knew he didn't like me as much as my siblings.  At fifteen, I was told flat out I was asking to visit too often and so I never asked again without need. Sixteen was the last year I received any acknowledgement of my birthday and that was several months late and only after I cried to one of my sisters about the lack of acknowledgement.  Before I was married at 22, I had stopped being invited to the family winter celebration including my sister's birthday celebration.

When Abba and I decided that we were going to make a life together, he asked to meet my father and I acquiesced  to his wishes.  We had dinner as a family with my sister and my niece.  I had a wonderful time with my niece and hold that evening as a glorious moment in time even though my father barely spoke to either me or Abba.

When Froggy was born, I sent him an announcement and received no response at all.  My sisters claim it was because he did not get it.  However they told him of her birth and still he did not say or do anything.

When my mom passed, he sent flowers to her house addressed to only three of his four daughters.  If that does not say you have been disowned, what does?  My sisters claim his wife sent and he does not even know.   I say if they really even believed that they could have told him and he could have corrected the situation.

My sisters still claim it is my fault that the relationship between me and my father is "strained".  For several years, my sisters, the oldest in particular, prodded me to reach out to him and try to mend fences.  Despite all my enlargements and reiterations of the history, she insisted. "He would be so happy." she says.  "It is not right to keep him from his grandchild" "Froggy deserves to know her Grandpa"  "He has changed.  Look how great he is with B."

So finally I gave in and tried.  Why?  Did I really believe her that it would be different? Not in the slightest.  I have accepted long ago that he wants nothing to do with me.  I have no idea why I in particular am not worthy of even being acknowledge as kin. But I accept that it is true.  I agreed because I want my sisters to acknowledge that too.  I still hope that some day my sisters will see I am not to blame for the "strained" relationship they see.

So last year I reached out to him.  And I received this reply
 It is a pleasant surprise to hear from you. I would be interested in seeing you and [Froggy].  I rethink our last visit occasionally and it never does make any sense to me. Iwould like to keep in touch and if I get up to your area or you come to Fl. perhaps we can see each other.

To me that is a blow off kind of response but my sister was oh so so happy.  I sent back another response saying that would be nice and giving him the link to this blog.

Fast forward in time to this year.  There has been no response from him to my last email.  He is coming up for a visit.  He made no attempt to contact me at all.  He knows we are going to be in the same space at the same time and has still not had any contact at all.  We were supposed to be going out to dinner with everyone on Saturday as well as Sunday and then suddenly that was "too complicated to arrange" and we were uninvited.

I am writing this here now so that hopefully at the end of this weekend when I have been perfect and bitten my tongue against all the hurt and sadness so that I can share in this special moment of my niece's life maybe then my sisters will acknowledge the truth. 

On Sunday at the big celebratory, his wife, when asked quietly if everything was good for her she commented loudly that she was as from from me as possible so it was as good as could be. 

On Monday, we were uninvited from spending time with the family because it was his last day. 

Monday, May 5

Goodbye Dinosaurs

The Smithsonian Natural History Muesum closed its Dinosaur exhibit at the end of April.  Knowing it was coming, we went to say goodbye. 
We went with another family that was way more prepared than.  The mom made a neat scavenger hunt for the girls.  They completed it in record time. But then spent forever showing us all the things they found.
We also got to visit a Touch-Me Station and talk with the docent about the fossils.

This was Froggy's Favorite of the entire day
Whereas my favorite was watching the paleontologists at work
There was a disagreement of facts between the girls, so Froggy used the sign to win.
Once we finished with the dinosaurs, we went to the insect exhibit and saw all the creepy crawlers
including this black widow spider.