This American holiday greets us on a beautiful day in Barcelona and fills me with thoughts of great gratitude. I am so grateful to my own father and how his love of adventure, travel and museums enriched my life and helped make me who I am. He always included his family, each of us four kids in his never ending dreams and explorations. We did a lot of traveling and moving, often living large on little with the focus on what is important in life, so you can see the apple does not fall far from the tree, as we have all become travelers in our own right. Is it in the genes or experiential?
"A child looks up at the stars and wonders. Great fathers put a child on his shoulders and helps them to grab a star."
As an older parent, I thought long and hard about what I wanted for my child. I had many years as a single, so did lots of reading and thinking about how I wanted to do family. Finding the best possible father for my child was very important to me.
Probably because I had my own father wound. My father is truly a great man, but we never managed to have the kind of relationship either of us wanted.Perhaps we are too much alike. We've always loved each other from a distance.
I wanted something different for my own child. I wanted to change the "distant dad" paradigm that is so strong in our culture. I wanted a dad that was involved even in the conscious conception, all through the pregnancy, from the moment of birth and in a deep, hands on way through out childhood as an equal parenting partner in an attachment parenting way.
It is not an easy thing to do in our culture, but I knew I had found the right man to do it with. We thought we would get pregnant right away, but fate helped us out because the 9 year delay helped us bond as a couple and refine what we wanted even more.
We like how Sweden and Scandinavian countries support families by allowing them time off when children are small ( and other times). They've learned that helps their societies, but it's different in the U.S. where people are lucky if they get a week or two off a year and even days off to care for a sick child are frowned upon.
When DaVinci took 8 weeks off at our child's birth so that we might bond as a family and avoid missing the most sacred time in his life, the birth of his first and only child, they seemed stunned at work, even though most of it was unpaid leave. Most women having babies in powerful positions in Silicon Valley did not take that kind of time off, let a lone a man. Long hours were standard operating procedure.
Having that time together to bond was an important turning point in our lives and had a strong impact on our lifestyle today. It was one of the major seeds that propelled us towards greater freedom. There was a stark difference when he went back to work that impacted all of us and we started changing our lives from that moment on to recreate all that good that we discovered in those "babymoon" days.
"Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater
developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time
for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home
begins the disruption of peace of the world." Mother
At our age perspective, we saw no point in having a child, unless we both could have quality and QUANTITY of time with our child. Life is short and we did not want to miss that time. When you near 50, it becomes really clear that time is the greatest luxury in life.
I love it that DaVinci and Mozart have so much time together. It always makes me smile and even weep sometimes in deep gratitude for it is a long held dream being completed. I know how good it is for both of them and how rare it is in this world as most fathers and their children must spend so many hours apart.
"An involved father figure reads to his child, takes outings with his
child, is interested in his child's education, and takes a role equal
to the mother's in managing his child." Children with this type of dad
were more likely to get good grades in school, she found.
I have a huge collection of pictures of them together exploring the world. Yes, I'm right there with them too and in many ways Mozart is a mama's girl and has always been. We regularly sing a duo of "cool girls" that she made up for our "girls club" and Dad plays his part in appreciating and teasing back sometimes too. But they share a special bond that I love to capture on film. The reality and the images completes something inside of me. Loving dad, innocent child, exploring world together.
DaVinci and I are very different and I adore the fact that she gets to experience life from two very different perspectives with the same core values. Just watch either one of us cook and you would see what I mean,(yet we can also cook together with great ease.)
Walking to school in Andalusia, Spain
I'm proud that in my life whenever I had a choice between love or money I chose love. It's not that I don't love the joys and luxuries that money can buy, but I just can not live in a world without love or freedom. I have found that I am willing to do what it takes to get what I need and sometimes that involves sacrifice. I am very grateful that I have found a beloved husband and life partner that is also willing to risk and sacrifice for values that we both believe in.It was a lot of work and risk in creating and preparing for this lifestyle.
We could never take this world journey without DaVinci. We each play an important role and I want to take this opportunity to salute him for all that he has sacrificed, for all that he shares. He is not one to write on the blog, nor is he one to toot his own horn (which I sometimes am).
Like my dad, he is one of the hardest working and most gentle hearted men, I have ever met. Thankfully, his personality is more like my generous mother's, so more compatible with mine than my dad's was. My dream later in life was to find a good man and have a happy family together and I'm so grateful that I found that in and with DaVinci. In today world, it is not easy to find someone who will make an ideal life partner and great father, or at least it was not for me.
My husband is a man of great integrity with a quiet zen like personality and brings a calm, protection and grounding into our lives as Mozart and I are much more wild "live wires". He is the Felix to my Oscar (Odd Couple) and does a lot to help keep order and teach order to Mozart (since it is not my strong point). He does all the driving and he is not a man who likes to drive. He gets most of the hard heavy work like lifting boxes, carrying bricks up and down stairs ( for book closets in our winter abode) or carrying groceries up stairs. If we only carry one heavy bag while touring, he carries it.
He teaches Mozart math, music, art, sports and helps with her Spanish homework. He makes us laugh with his quick wit. He is good at board games, very athletic, fit and Mozart's favorite wrestling partner. He has a fun, playful part and is a team player who always "over delivers" no matter what he does. He is a very solid guy with endless energy and we can always count on him. He gives a lot and is naturally nurturing, but also knows how to take care of himself, so that he can give from a full cup. We have been married for 18 years and I still learn from his exampleship every day and so appreciate who he is.
This is my tribute and thanks to DaVinci and all the wonderful Dad's out there.Thank you so much for all that you do. Thank you for being a great husband and a great dad. Thank you to my father and step father for all that they have given.Yea to the best of the "male polarity" and Y chromosome traits!
Happy Father's Day to all the traveling dad's out there! We won't be sending any Hallmark cards, but we are glad to have a good excuse to focus on gratitude and appreciation. We'll be giving lots of hugs and kisses. How are you spending this Father's Day?