Everything Changes

As your whole world shifts, it is easy to get lost in the newness being both frightened and excited by the transition from childhood to adult.  While everything may be changing and you may feel slightly adrift fear not, the moorings that have always anchored you, the pillars that provided safety and guidance, will never leave you.

Regardless of your age or station, these pillars in your life will always be there to provide you strength, guidance, friendship and love.  While they will not always be with you physically, their influence will be unending.  While growth will sometimes be painful and you’ll yearn for your childhood, look forward and look upward.  Understand that with every discomfort or every failure comes an opportunity to learn, to grow and succeed.  Don’t be afraid to fail!  Be more afraid of not trying.

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Throughout your life, you’ll find yourself feeling adrift for different reasons and different transitions.  At each of these points, you will always think back on the guidance and love that was given by family and friends that became family.  In many cases, you’ll reach back out to these pillars for advice and that’s okay.

 

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The Last Mooring

Tomorrow we will untether the last of your moorings as you graduates high school.   I’m still in a state of belief that this day has come, after all, it seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital.  The point was driven home tonight as I drove to the rink with his younger brothers to watch you play a beer league hockey game.  You are now everybody’s favorite player because of your youth and because you can drive dad home post-game.

The process of letting you go and become independent doesn’t start tomorrow at high school graduation; it started way before you even set foot in high school.  I remember being struck by this fact when you started preschool.  When we dropped you off for your first day, it was tempting to walk in with you and get you situated, but on your grandma’s advice we didn’t.  You walked in to class confidently and got yourself squared away.  I won’t lie, there was a little pain mixed in with the joy of seeing you gain independence.  We parents like to feel needed.  This was the first time we as parents had unmoored one of his moorings.

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With each passing year, each new stage, trust was gained and with it more independence. More moorings were released.  While graduation tomorrow represents the culmination of this journey, even though the moorings are no longer tied to our dock, we will always be here to guide, advise, listen to music with, play hockey with and love you.

Carpe Diem

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future. For some reason, we like ruminating over what has happened and what may happen.  This presents a number of problems of course.  When you focus on your past, you really never move forward.   Regardless of what has happened in the past, its best to live and learn.   I truly wish there was an easy answer for how to do this, but there really isn’t.

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In the moments unoccupied by thoughts of our past, we worry about our future.  What will happen in your career?  How will your bills get paid? How will your kids do in school?  A myriad of questions and worries that can eat away at you if you let it.  I know I’ve certainly had many sleepless nights worrying about what may be.  Silly, I know, yet I can’t stop.

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Here’s the problem.  As we descend into the madness these preoccupations can bring, we miss out on life.  The reminder of this usually comes as a harsh sad reality via regrets after the loss of someone we love.  I recently lost a dear friend, an excruciatingly painful experience, who taught me and many others about life.  The lesson was about living a life of no regrets.  A lesson about living a life full of love, loved ones, and experiences no matter what cards you are dealt.   Life isn’t always puppies and unicorns.  Although I would love it to be that way.  Instead of descending into the madness, grab life by the horns, carpe diem and #LiveLikeDebbie.

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The Notorious P.I.G.

We  adopted our second dog two years ago after our boys somehow convinced us that Maya would be lonely once hockey season ended and our billet Zach left.  We already had our hands full with the three boys on three different hockey teams, a relatively new company we were building and our Maya.  We told them they were crazy….  Unfortunately, neither Luke nor I had expected that the most powerful argument in favor of a new Lorbach dog would be the sweet face of a puppy.  How does one counter that very powerful argument?

Much like her sister Maya, Athena has a heart of gold and nothing but love for her family.  Both our dogs are rescues that we adopted as young puppies from Broward County Humane Society and Rescue Adoption.  Maya ruled the roost for almost six years by herself, when Athena was brought home.  Athena especially loved her big sister when we brought her home, while big sis Maya was really hoping the new obnoxious puppy would leave.  Thanks to twelve weeks of puppy kindergarten together, the girls bonded and have gotten along very well ever since.

Athena prefers her meals as an endless buffet.  We gave her the nickname the Notorious P.I.G because she’s oinks like a pig after she eats and drinks and walks around like a boss.  Her personality is as large as her appetite and her heart.  She loves to run with Jake and I, even in the Florida heat, as often as possible.  I always look and feel miserable when I run.  I don’t run gracefully and it is truly a struggle.  When the Piggy runs with though, she runs with a smile.  She’s always happy.  How she could possibly be happy while running 5 miles in the South Florida heat?  I don’t know…

She’s the Notorious P.I.G. because she eats like pig, smiles non-stop and loves unconditionally and all with a larger than life personality.  What are you notorious for?

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Laugh Out Loud Funny

So far 2017, has been a real S#$t show for me and those I love.   When I saw today’s prompt was farce, I thought a moment about writing something serious about how history repeated is a farce, but that would be a bit boring and depressing.   Tonight I chose a different, lighter path.  A path that examines the farce as a sub-genre of comedy.  What I love most about comedy is how laughter positively impacts our lives.

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When life gives us lemons, it is easy to make lemonade or even a lemon drop shot, but sometimes instead of drinking the lemonade, we need to laugh.  Laugh at ourselves, laugh at a joke, or laugh at a movie.  Which brings us to the farce.  A farce is a sub genre of comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus likely improbably.  Not surprisingly as I pursued this line of thought, Monty Python stuck in my mind.  Who does farcical comedy better than them?

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I remember the first time I ever saw Life of Brian in all of its glory.  I died laughing for days.  Who thinks of this stuff?  The movie is provocative, hilariously funny and sometimes offensive.  Interesting fact of this movie is that George Harrison created a movie production company to make Life of Brian after the original production company had pulled out.  Life of Brian was a fantastic reminder that sometimes it’s okay to not take life too seriously.

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The first time my son watched Monty Python’s Holy Grail, he fell off the couch laughing as the “horrible beast,” a rabbit, attacked a member of their party.   The comedy of Monty Python is pure genius, however, I know British comedy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  There are plenty of great American farce movies to keep you laughing for years like The Producers, National Lampoons European Vacation, and Old School.  When life gets tough, remember to always look on the bright side of life and be a little silly.  Life’s too short to always be serious!

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Daily Prompt: Farce

Sitting on the Edge of the Precipice

Every day, at every stage of our life, we have a choice. Do we settle for the status quo or worse for mediocrity? Or do we strive for greatness? Often we choose to simply exist. Day in and day out we follow the same monotonous routine as the day before. Choosing to exist in relative comfort instead of pushing ourselves to greatness.
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It is on that precipice, where most sit in relative safety for most of their lives. Instead of choosing growth and opportunity, we balk at the risk that jumping of the precipice represents. Afraid to fail, we sit and we stall. The fear of failure can be paralyzing, however, even the worst situation could end up being the opportunity of a lifetime. We have to accept that failure is necessary for both growth and success.
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It’s not always the fear of failure that drives us to maintain the status quo. Sometimes it is us accepting that being good is good enough, but I would submit to you, in the immortal words of Jim Collins that “good is the enemy of great.” Accepting “being good” is choosing to settle for what will ultimately become mediocrity. Akin to the great sports quote “hard work beats talent; when talent doesn’t work,” these words charge us to not accept good as adequate. Instead we should always strive to be better. We should strive to be great. In order to be great, we need to say goodbye to what is comfortable and jump off the precipice and fly.

quote-it-s-only-on-the-brink-that-people-find-the-will-to-change-only-at-the-precipice-do-john-cleese-62-19-09Daily prompt: Precipice

Mother’s Day Part Deux

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Hockey moms enjoy a somewhat sensationalized reputation as being some of the craziest moms in sports and that’s not too far from the truth.  In my humble opinion, we’re a good kind of crazy.  Who else but a hockey parent would get up at 4:20 am to drive from Clearwater to Ellenton for a tournament game?

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The level of dedication it takes to have a kid in travel hockey, is unbelievable.  During the boys’ hockey season, hockey is all we know and all we do.  Devoted to their family and to the sport, hockey moms can log hundreds of miles (at least in Florida) driving from rink to rink in a single day.   One weekend a couple of years ago, I logged 700 miles of driving for hockey.   To see my boys play the game they love with their friends never gets old.  Mastercard’s tagline sums it up perfectly: it’s priceless.

To be clear, we hockey moms know how to have a good time.  In addition to knowing the proximity of Dunkin/Starbucks to every rink, we also know where to find the closest Total Wine.  We love watching our kids play and seeing them develop over the years, but we really enjoy the good times we share with our fellow hockey moms and hockey dads.  Over the years, the fellow hockey moms and dads, who started off as our friends have become a part of our family.

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I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of moms at the rink. These women are incredible.  They balance life, work, family and hockey and do it with grace, intelligence and beauty.  Hockey moms are a tight sorority of sisterhood that is closer knit than any outsider could possible imagine.  As crazy as we are, the rivalry ends when the teams leave the ice and there is a hockey mom or family in need.  Regardless of what team or organization our kids play for, when there is a hockey mom or family in need, the hockey family will take care of them.  Hockey moms don’t let another hockey mom walk a difficult road alone. We are at each other’s side to the very end.

I posted an article on my Facebook page the other day about the benefits of travel sports of kids.   The article is absolutely on point, but it didn’t even address the ancillary benefit of travel sports and that is the relationships the parents build.  I never imagined when my kids started playing hockey, how much I would benefit from the travel hockey experience.  When Luke’s mom got sick or when Luke had a run in with the SUV, our hockey family had our back.  The hockey community is incredibly close knit and I could not be prouder to be a hockey mom or more grateful for all of the incredible women hockey has brought into my life.

Mother’s Day part 1

Writer’s block hit me as I tried to write this post.  How does one adequately express the significance and difficulty of this Mother’s Day in the context of Jacob’s forthcoming graduation and the many losses that have occurred over the past several months?  I’m not sure it is possible, but I’ll try.

Motherhood is at once both a supreme gift and a supreme burden.  Before you jump all over me for the word burden, let me explain.  As my mom so wisely warned me when I was pregnant with Jake, there is no bigger emotional investment than   having a child.   Yep, she was right about that and pretty much everything else.  Every up and down our children experience is felt deeply in our heart and soul.  The highs are magnificent, but the lows are devastating.   Even worse as our children experience the lows, sometimes we have to step back, guide them and allow them to figure it out.  It is excruciatingly painful but if we always save them from themselves, they’ll have difficulty as an adult working through problems.

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I would love to say that I’m always super fantastic at this, but I’m not.  I’m still working on it.  Motherhood is really all about OJT (on the job training) as we would say at work.  Yeah, there are books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting or Raising Boys.  However, these guidebooks left a lot of information out.  They didn’t warn me that my youngest would pull his pet beetle out of his pocket during the intermission of Jacob’s choir concert or that they may try to make a lizard habitat out of the buffet table’s drawer.  Yeah, the books left out a lot.  I am fortunate to have an amazing mother, who I think did a great job raising me and my brothers.  She’s always available if I need her advice or just to talk. My grandmothers and great grandmothers were also served as strong examples for me as well.

I understand fully that to be able to call my mom on mother’s day is a luxury.  Mother’s Day for many is reminder of a painful loss and for some it is the exclamation point to their recent loss.  For us it is a reminder of the loss of my mother-in-law Sandy (pictured below with the Mayor.)  Six years later, we miss her immensely.  Today pray for those that have lost their mother, particularly those whose loss is recent, and for those mothers that have experienced the loss of their child.   This Mother’s Day celebrate your mother, spend time with her, appreciate her and spoil her as it is a gift to be able to share this day with her.

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The Last Day of School

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It all started on a cool Tuesday morning in September in Blaine, MN in 2004 when we sent Jacob off to his first day of kindergarten.  His first year of school was fabulous and he made a lot of friends.  At our first parent/teacher conference, his teacher recounted to us how he was sat next to the twins from China.  The thought was that since he was such a chatterbox, he’d help them pick up the English language quickly.  I’m pretty sure their new words revolved around things like hockey, Halo, Buzz Lightyear and Star Wars, but hey at least it was a start.

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I remember being as equally emotionally wrecked sending him on that bus that day to kindergarten as I was on Friday.   Except this time instead of getting on a big yellow bus, he was (gulp) driving himself to school.  Almost 13 years later, his journey through school ended in Boca Raton a far cry from where it started (Blaine, MN.)

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Meanwhile, his little brothers have two more weeks of school…. Two weeks of radio silence at home during the day, now that’s quite the graduation present.  Throughout the years, Jake’s always been persistent, goal driven and kind.  While I’m broken up that this stage of his life is over, I cannot wait to see what he achieves next.

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The First of Many Lasts….

I fondly remember tracking the milestones when my kids were little.  The first time they slept through the night, their first bottle, their first words, the first time they crawled and the first time they walked.  I particularly remember being so anxious for all of Jacob’s first and not being able to wait until he could walk.  Of course by the time Goalielocks and the Mayor were born, I knew we’d be better off the longer they were immobile.

With every new milestone hit, we’d always be looking forward to the next one like wondering after the first bottle when he would enjoy his first taste of carrots or squash.  I never understood how quickly these milestones would pass us by and wish I had enjoyed them as they came and not been in such a hurry to hit the next milestone. As Jacob grew, I began to understand that our children are much like a gift that keeps on giving as we unwrap a new layer with each stage of their childhood.  Like an onion with many layers, each year a bit of the onion is peeled back revealing its gift.  As an aside, I’m not sure I would characterize the puberty stage as a gift, but that’s a whole different post.

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I remember once they started daycare, my hubby and I were anxious to get them into school and out of daycare.  Not realizing that the costs from daycare would be reallocated to things like travel hockey, tennis or tutoring.   It is easy to look forward from elementary to middle school, who wants to pay for aftercare in perpetuity – not me.  Of course you have to accept all the nonsense that comes with middle school and puberty, but at least the aftercare bill will be done and it seemed like a reasonable trade off.  I’m currently rethinking that logic.

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Tonight started what will be the first of many lasts.  His last high school choir concert.  He was never a singer and not really into music and then he mistakenly got choir as an elective his freshmen year at OHS.  What started off as a clerical error ended up being a transformative moment in his life.  A love of all things music quickly followed leading him to the discovery of new music, like Nirvana, Green Day, the Beatles, Jonny Cash, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin and the Travelling Wilburys.   This new and incredible passion for all things music was born and accordingly he acquired guitars, a keyboard, a ukulele, and a harmonica.

I relished the boys’ firsts undoubtedly, but I don’t think I understood that they would eventually come to an end.  I mean I knew they’d grow up, but whiskey tango foxtrot, it wasn’t supposed to come this soon.  I wasn’t supposed to blink and have a high school senior.   I’m struggling to grasp that we’ve progressed from a world of firsts to a world of lasts this month.  The last choir concert, the last report card, the last day of school, the last choir banquet, the last awards ceremony and the last day of elementary for the Lorbach boys.  WTF – seriously – WTF I’m not ready for this at all…  Meanwhile, my boys are totally ready and I couldn’t be prouder.

This song’s for you Jake In My Life