Encouragement · Family · Parenting

Infertility!(part 1)

I’ll go out on a limb here and bring up the subject of infertility. It’s such a private issue for those couples desperate to conceive their own child and it is seldom discussed in public. But it impacts more people than you can count and runs the gamut from A – C:

A- ‘No hope’   

B- ‘Slim chance’

C- ‘50/50’

infertility.jpg

It can really mess with your head.

For some couples, it can lead to pain, heartache, and spending more cash than you ever imagined. It breaks individuals, it breaks relationships and it breaks the bank.

Not to mention how unsexy it is?

images

Those of you who have experienced infertility know exactly what I’m talking about. You learned it the hard way.  

So when Ron and I wanted to start a family, it wasn’t quick and easy. When we didn’t conceive after a year of trying, we were baffled.

How could this be? We both worked out daily, we ate healthily and were not overweight, and, unlike some unsuspecting high school girls, we WANTED to get pregnant.

Which is strange in itself because for most of my life, I did not want kids. Maybe my body was getting back at me for saying that.

Hirns romance

Or, do you think it might be God?

dawn

(Part 2 coming…)

#ryanshines#infertility

Perfecting Dysfunction · wounded healer · wounded Mother

Taking a bullet for your child

I swore that I would take a bullet for my sons.

But when it came down to it, I ducked. I knew I would take that bullet, but when it comes down to it our instinct is to save ourselves. That’s very hard for me to admit because I don’t want to be like that.

img_2039.jpg

I fully expected not to leave the fire without my babies in my arms. If I’m not responsible for my children, who is?

When you think about it, Life is a series of choices. And the choices are ours. Yours may not be as dramatic as mine but you have to admit every day and every night we are bombarded with choices.

choices ladislav-babienko-703701-unsplash

It’s why some of us can’t sleep.

There are things that happen to us in life that are not our choice. Like Ryan dying in the fire, or somebody ‘gets’ cancer. They didn’t choose it.

IMG_4667

 

But that’s when we learn the deepest truth about choices. It doesn’t matter nearly enough what happens to us as what we do with ‘what happens to us.’

dawn

Encouragement · Hope · Parenting · wounded Mother

An Attitude of Gratitude

If I have to choose my favorite of the  ‘7 things I learned from my son,” (previous post) it would be the first one,  “Appreciate Life.” Or, another way to say it is ‘living an attitude of Gratitude.’

img_2024.jpg

 

When Ryan died, I came to a real crossroads in my way of understanding life. The first road I traveled was: “the accident as highway robbery.” There was nothing ‘right’ about it. It was wrong, wrong, wrong. Ryan was stolen from us.

Ryan
Ryan

 

Quite a few years later, I stumbled onto the second road. It was a whole new way of understanding loss. The fact that we had one day with Ryan was a gift because the truth is we didn’t deserve even a day with Ryan.

You get what I’m saying?  That every day we spent with him was a little miracle for our family. Think about it, we had 2567 days with him.

IMG_5585
Xmas 2000

How can that be wrong?

To look at something this horrendous thru the lense of gratitude is life-changing. It would have been easier to be cynical (nothing ever really works out the way you want it) but I am not.

Here’s an idea: why don’t you put on your gratitude glasses and look at your life? It can change the way you see the worst of the worst.

I’m living proof.

Dawn

 

Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family travel · Perfecting Dysfunction

1000 Words or Less

Every family trip photograph deserves a comment.  “In 1000 words or less, tell us about this photo.”    A 2-D shot doesn’t begin to tell the story of what’s being said while that photo is being captured. And unless you use descriptions, you cannot see the whole story.  Our videographer’s photo of Tyler and Trenton in the Roman Forum tell the story of how sick the boys got of being photographed.  This was allowable contempt, because the guys are mostly so respectful.

forum boys

Traveling through the marble and bronze antiquities of Rome,  gave us entirely new ways of looking at things, thanks to the boys’ reactions.

The photo below shows Romulus and Remus, twin brothers given credit for the beginnings of Rome, who were supposedly abandoned by their father by the Tiber River around 750 BC.   It is said female wolf raised the boys.  Romulus killed Remus in a family squabble so the city was named for him:  Rome, not Reme.

romulus remusThankfully the boys kept their comments on Romulus/Remus statue to themselves.  But their ‘eye rolls’ and stifled giggles were unforgettable.

funnt sculptureWhen somebody offered to take my photo in front of the Vatican sculpture of the priest Laocoön and His Sons being killed by sea serpents, I overheard this comment: “This is a church.  Why don’t they put some clothes on those things?”

And no matter how Ron and I tried to educate them with interesting facts about Michaelangelo’s 17-foot marble sculpture of David, we still fielded the kid’s hysterical one-liners.

Forum parkThe 1000-words or less photo capture Colton utilizing his keen business skills as he came up with the money-making Roman Forum idea: “Make this grassy area into a Jolly Jump Inflatable Playground for kids to enjoy while the parents walk around looking at the really old stuff.”

Whoever said ‘children should be seen and not heard’ was WRONG!!

Every photo deserves a comment.  1000 words or less.  Or more.  Your choice!

Dawn

 

Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family travel · Parenting

The Almafi Acci-dent

My dad can bench press 350.

Nuh, uh!!

Uh Huh!!!

My dad can rip the top off a camper without losing his cool.

. . . . . you win.

When a parent commits to 180 full-time days with your kids touring the world, you open yourself to 5K resolution.  Intense scrutiny.   Errors.  All amplified!  You’re watching your kids every moment; but even scarier, they are watching you!

Ron, the boys, a videographer and I were traveling in a 25’ rental camper, down the very narrow Almafi Coast road. Our camper was sucking wind going uphill and we were  carefully governing our weight going downhill, causing a traffic problem.

IMG_7617

The Italian’s drive small, fast cars for a reason.  They are not known for their patience, nor do they bridal their passions.  We were getting the benefit of horns, hand gestures and passionate verbal assaults. Ron considerately would pull over from time to time, and let the cars behind zoom by before he headed out again.   But this is very difficult on  the Almafi Coast highway which is exactly 2-lanes wide with no shoulders or pull-offs.

IMG_7621

In order to let some very colorful Italians by, Ron pulled off and in haste failed to see the large restaurant awning just above us.  Ripping metal is a sound you never forget.

IMG_6754

 Tyler looked up at what used to be the camper skylight and ceiling and now was clear sky and said: “Oh no. . . dad’s not going to like this.”

skylight

Where there once was an awning and a skylight

Stepping out of the camper to assess the damage, Ron faced an angry restaurant owner screaming in his face and the Almafi Coast Fire Department and Police asking questions.  One lane had closed which allowed the travelers more time to do their drive-by smirk.  And there stood my husband, under the scrutiny of strangers and the watchful eyes of his three boys and wife, in total control and composure as he watched the awning being extracted from the top of his rental camper.

restaurant

The roadside restaurant after the Hirn Family visit!

men after accidentSilence after humiliation is salve for the soul.

Ron showed us all his interpretation of true strength.  Nothing you can say to your kids will teach them more than your example.

I like the quote by Dave Willis:  “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.”

Double-check your behavior.  Your kids are!

Dawn

Family · Parenting

Mothers vs. Motherboards

Motherboards, made up of silicon components, are the main circuit control boards within a computer.

Mothers are made of flesh and blood, patience and love for the purpose of control within her family.   (Silicone components are optional.)   

Simply said, a computer’s motherboard connects all its other parts together.

A mother connects all of the family parts together.

Everything that makes a computer work:  CPU, RAM, hard disk etc.,  are processed through the motherboard.

Everything that makes a family work:  schedules, dirty clothes and diarrhea, homework and healthcare,  food and fun, social directing and safety,  taxi service and transport,  are processed through the mother.  

A motherboard turns a pile of components into a computer.  It cannot adapt to change without reprogramming.

A mother turns a pile of components into a family.  She adapts to changes, no reprogramming necessary.

You can’t hug a motherboard.  A motherboard doesn’t laugh, cry, cheer you on, correct you when you mess up.   But on the plus side,  a motherboard doesn’t get eye-rolls and ‘lip’ when she routes one of her components in an undesirable direction.

road school 2

road schoolStrict road school schedules.

A mother is usually softer and more attractive than a motherboard.  She can change her appearance but her heart keeps the link between her and her components strong.

colt-dawn-london-airport
Dawn & Colton -London

A motherboard is built for absolute control.  A mother knows she will never be completely in control of another human being; but, she leads  by example and gives it her best as only she knows how.  She has been given an internal power beyond technology:  Love.

And love is more powerful than any computer that has ever been or will be built.

Takes the byte out!

Dawn

Parenting · Perfecting Dysfunction

Camera

One of the greatest reasons to travel with your kids is the time you get to spend knowing them.  One of the worst reasons to travel with your kids is the time you get to spend knowing them!   For the good and the bad of it, there is an adventure in finding out what is on your kid’s mind.  And one thing for sure:  teenagers rarely tell you what you don’t want to hear.

There is a subtle way around information gathering — and I’m not talking about dogging your teens on SnapChat, Instagram or Twitter.  Give them a camera. When we traveled the world, I created a ‘road’ school class of photo journaling. Each boy had to take some pictures every day, post their “favorite” to their Tumbler account each night, and write 3 full sentences or a paragraph describing the photo(age length). It was a challenge but worth while. Here’s what we discovered:

Tyler has a good eye for photography.  Even in dense smog he pulled out a great Taj Mahal photo. And he patiently waited for evening light to grab one more photo. (The key to being a good photographer is patience!)

Ty's mom 2Despite how my sign language, hugs, and rough attempt to speak to everyone seemed to drive my sons crazy, down deep they didn’t actually mind it at all.

Parenting lesson #1:  “Teach a good lesson even if you don’t talk.”  We all became better huggers after this world trip!  Take THAT to the diplomatic table!

Food prep in other countries will bring home a touch of reality to any American kitchen.  Trenton’s photos of this kitchen in India, spoke volumes about his heart. We hoped this photo would be a gentle reminder each time he or either of his brothers opened our refrigerator at home to say: “We have nothing to eat in this house!”

100_3418

This is a shot Colton took but that’s another…

upside downAnd finally one of my personal favorites which pretty much explained how each of us felt from time-to-time on our trip. Of course, you can pretty much correct anything in Photoshop if you know the problem.

And you can pretty much correct anything in the training ground of hands-on parenting,  if you are willing to see the problem!  If you don’t have a clue where to start, give your kid a camera!

You will discover a whole other side to your child’s vision of his world.

Dawn