My Dailah Leagh is 8!

My Dailah Leagh is 8!

 

 

 

On Saturday my baby girl turned 8-years-old. If you have any kids or nieces and nephews I don’t need to tell you how quickly time flies when children are involved. For me I don’t see my aging every day-it hits me every once in awhile when I see a few more wrinkles in the mirror or it takes me a little longer to recover from a late night or hard workout. For my kids, though, it seems every morning when they wake groggy eyed and puffy I’m taken aback with just how much they’ve grown in the 8 hours we’ve been sleeping.

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Dailah especially. I think part of it has to be that when she was born prematurely I spent every waking moment watching her, memorizing every little thing. It startles the senses to watch the birthmark that started no bigger than the eraser of a pencil become the size of a quarter as her skin stretches to hold in her growing body.

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For her birthday she wanted only her best friend to stay the night. Even though that friend got a little homesick and wasn’t able to stay, Dailah rolled with it-asking instead to sleep on the floor of my room (Zach and I don’t really let our kids in our room. They don’t get to play there, they don’t sleep there-nothing. Being parents to 5 kids means we have to carve out sanctuary wherever we can-it works for us.) She’s pretty great at going with the flow, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how grateful I am for that.

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Hard to put into words how different life became 8 years ago when this firecracker came into our lives. She’s equal parts free spirit and loyal companion.

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If there’s a baby around she wants to be holding him/her. Very few things frustrate her more than when babies grow too old to be carried on her hip constantly.

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I’ve learned so much from her about delighting in the every day. About embracing and celebrating the smallest things: tater tot day at camp, catching frogs and sparklers for instance.

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I admit to feeling the most pressure in raising her. I see her constantly watching me. Dailah thinks the sun rises and sets with Zach, it’s true, but she’s learning the most from me. How to be a woman, how to express your feelingsĀ when friends let you down, how to care and nurture a marriage. Dailah is relentless in her pursuit of information, I love that about her.

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It is not easy being the only girl in the family. More often than not if she wants to play with someone she has to do whatever it is they are doing. Once in awhile she can talk them into doing something she wants to be doing-usually that’s a jumping contest off the dock. Dailah usually wins when they account for style and animation.

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Happy birthday my strong baby girl. May you continue to show the world exactly who you are. Love you.

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#2-She who knows how to safely maneuver a boat-wins

#2-She who knows how to safely maneuver a boat-wins

I actually have a really big project I want to do right now (rip up carpet and put down laminate flooring. Perhaps demolish a wall.) but someone-cough, Zach, cough-is doubting my ability to finish such a task. It seems I’ll have to convince him I’m serious about this whole year of Tesi thing before I start on major home improvement makeovers. Lame. šŸ˜‰

I’ve mentioned it before here but I was basically raised on a boat. My parents have pictures of me as a wee infant riding in the footwell of my parent’s ski boat. Some of my earliest memories are eating cold meat sandwiches in the blazing heat of summer after we convinced my dad to finally stop skiing long enough to allow his 3 children to eat and/or jump in and out of the boat as much as we wanted. I also gained the nickname “chipmeisty” on the boat due to my love of and allegiance to anything fried and salty (that still exists, by the way. I have no control when it comes to trans fats and fried potatoes. Bless.)

Anyone who knows Zach, particularly in the professional arena, can attest to his strict adherence to the “safety first” policy. For those who know him best in the private arena, it can get kind of annoying. šŸ™‚ That said, he had asked me to take the Michigan boater safety course and subsequent exam before driving the boat. Though I reminded him I was basically raised on a boat, he was unwavering in his allegiance to safety. For months I’ve felt a little put off by it, also a little lazy about it. 3 hours of online work? Plus it’s always just been easier to let him drive the boat while I tanned dutifully next to him. Recently he’s reminded me that, had I passed the exam, I could’ve taken the boat out with the kids while he was working. It’s the year of Tesi so it was time.

I just sent this picture to Zach with the caption, “Safety first bitches!!!!”

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So if you need me for the remainder of the summer/early fall I will be here. Because even though the theme for this year could be “taking the bull by the horns” in this case I’m doing that by taking the wheel with an approved PFD.

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#1-Learn to hang frames

As I said in my original post-this one I’m a little embarrassed about. There has been a small pile of picture frames, thread portraits and even a random piece of wood that fell off our wall left for Zach for far longer than I care to admit. It’s summer which means Zach works extra long hours, often not getting home for good until I’m deep into my REM cycle. It has always just felt wrong (though I admit it’s been done) to leave a list for him on the fridge of things that need fixed and hung for when he gets home at night.

Let me just say had I known I’d be able to accomplish this first small task of mine barefoot, in a swimsuit cover up and while drinking beer I maybe wouldn’t have waited so long to give it a go. Full disclosure, it was all the measuring and the math that got me nervous. And Zach’s OCD. He tells me everyone wants their stuff perfectly hung so that each room the items are hung at the same height and feature the same width between them. (He’s lying, right?!?!? That can’t be true.) Either way, I totally nailed it.

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I’ve gotten some really great ideas so far from you all. Stuff you are doing in your life or stuff you want to do. I’m going to definitely take on some of them! Keep me posted if you have any more ideas.

I sent my friend this picture with the caption, “Well into my year of Tesi.”

Her response, “Only you would start the year of Tesi in July.”

And it’s true. But the reality is I’m not promised January. I might only have a few days or weeks to teach all of my kids (with special thought of Dailah) that you’re never too young or old to learn new tricks. And to quit running from things that scare you. Of course the kids were all curious to see their mom with a hammer when dad was standing right there so I explained my year or learning new things.

Yesterday Dailah was invited to her friend’s house across the lake. Normally she would ask one of her brothers to row her over but yesterday she said good bye and I looked out to see her rowing herself.

A year that goes beyond DIY

Last week the tire on my minivan that had been slowly leaking for a week or so finally got tired of my constant refilling and popped. Fortunately, just off the interstate wasĀ a tire shop. Unfortunately, the tire shop was chock full of the single reason we women hate going to auto shops-garden variety male chauvinists who earn an A+ for patronizing.

After a good 10 minutes of him lying to me (we don’t have air to fill your tire, it will be 1.5 hours for us to change into your spare, etc) I stormed walked off and, with the help of my 5 children, put my spare on. I left with a quick, “Just so you know, I go through about 6 tires a year, big mistake-big. Thanks for nothing asshole.” In my head it came out like a stronger version of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman but the way my face was distorted in anger and my breath constricted it probably came out a little less mentally stable.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about other areas in my life that I’ve willingly given away my own agency. There are many perks to our culture’s specialization. We outsource everything from getting our oil changed to meal prep-we’ve talked ourselves into allowing “the experts” in each field to do for us what just the generation (or maybe 2 generations) ahead of us did themselves.Ā In a lot of ways this is great-it allows people more time to work on their areas of expertise as well. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s not at least a bit detrimental to our health as a society as well. Simply put, for those of us who love The Walking Dead, most of us will die in hours should the zombie apocalypse happen. šŸ˜‰

For me though, it was hard toĀ coalesceĀ the feminist in me who wanted to throw the man in the auto place on his back and tell him to go to hell (namaste as well, obviously) and the woman whose first instinct was to call her husband as if he-being 2 hours away-could make this all go away. How am I the woman who has no problem taking her 5 kids on solo road trips all of the time and also the woman who cried one dark, dark night after Zach had been gone for a week becauseĀ I couldn’t get the wine bottle open?

I’ve decided that for the next year I’m going to start taking back a bit of my own agency. This isn’t about DIY-though I love the idea of that movement as well. This isn’t about craft projects or hobbies, I want this to be more about survival, home ownership-adulthood. It’s also not about things typically categorized as “male” or categorized as “female”. I have ideas on my list that could fall on both sides of that.

I have small things on my list (hang picture frames-don’t judge, I just always have Zach do it) but I also have big things (change the oil in my car, spend a full day/night on my own outside). I don’t know if you are like me at all but my nature is that if it scares me-don’t do it. If I won’t be immediately great at it-perhaps IĀ just wasn’t meant to do it in the first place. My heart knows none of that is true but my head often easily wins and I’m just kind of tiredĀ of allowing it so quickly.

Here’s what I want from you-what are your ideas? Male or female what are the things that you wish you knew how to do or maybe are embarrassed that you always have someone do for you? While in Iowa this week I told a few of my good friends about this idea of mine and each one (male and female) was excited about it. They gave me some really great ideas as well. It helped me in numerous ways but perhaps most of all in knowing I’m not alone. Not alone in being a smart woman who is left befuddled at the mere sight of tangled TV cords but also not alone in wanting it all to change.

Obviously I will bring you along with me. If I know myself at all I know there will be loads ofĀ foul ups but also little and small victories-both celebrated equally and unnecessarily I’m sure.

So tell me, what should be on my list? What would be on your list? Email me tesileagh@gmail.com, no ideas are bad ideas. I’m excited and nervous but mostly excited. Also scared.

Let’s do it.