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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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

 

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!”

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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

Encouragement · Perfecting Dysfunction

The moments in-between

France!  Toward the end of our trip, we were barely in control. Since we had all(not Ron) vowed not to cut our hair the entire 7 months, it was no surprise that it had lost the battle several weeks  before.  We hadn’t come to do the things other families do, or to send home the photos others send home.  And that was a good thing.  Because we were having too much enjoyment out of photo failures.

They missed the assignmt.Some of my favorite French moments  . . . . say fromageWhat’s ‘fromage’?fr. wall walker

Somebody once said: “when you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.”  And I get it.

I know I drive them crazy with schedules, lessons, practices, studies and all but it is how we function.  And when I say “we” I mean “me”: it’s how I function.    I have to have plans, goals, milestones, and objectives.  But we all need ‘free time’ and occasionally ‘me time’ to explore, let our minds wander, and sometimes just sit in each other’s company just waiting for the gems to pop out of their mouths, into our minds.

“What did we love most about our world trip?”  I guess I would have to say, the moments in-between.

And just when you think you cannot get it right, no matter what, the accidental Christmas Card photo appears!

great fr, family photo

Have a great weekend!

Dawn

 

Adventure with Engagement AWE · Family · Perfecting Dysfunction

Seek the Treasure

Here we go — only a couple more months and they’re back in school.  WHAT??

No one would be calloused enough to say that out loud the first week of summer vacation,  but I know at least one mom that secretly wonders ‘how long’ this 24/7 Social Director/Cook/Supplier-of-All-Needs/and Boredom-Conqueror-Job will last.

But I beg you, don’t let this summer get away without a plan.  Your family needs some time together spent more creatively than at home or at the pool.

It’s summer vacation.  Don’t fill it up with busyness, but make some plans.    I’m not talking about jumping off big – just a little dip into the strange and wonderful world of family adventure.  We call it AWE – Adventure With Engagement, because after all, everything goes off pretty smoothly in life until you add the people.  And then, it’s the wild west and you are slinging around your sassy lip and six-gun trying to control things.

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New friend in S. Africa

You don’t have to jump right into a world trip like we did, but unless you take a step toward AWE, you will look back at the summer of ’17 when you stayed stuck.  There are so many close-to-home things to do with your family to drum up AWE:

At the beach, (or near a stream, lake or river) rent a salt-water metal detector and at low tide push your way onto the shoreline. There is nothing quite as exciting as hearing the sound the detector makes when you find a treasured ‘thing-a-ma-bob.’  Better yet, seed the earth with weird little hardware to be found by young kids.  I know a lady whose favorite beach vacation activity is to plant hidden treasures for early morning seashell hunters.   She gets up at dark-thirty and “seeds the beach” with store-bought oversized conch shells.  From her front row beach chair, she sits with her morning coffee and shares the adventure with complete strangers as they find treasures.

IMG_0803Bamboo Raft Thai?

Make a family plan before the summer is over.  Hike a different path, get mud and gook under your fingernails, climb a hill or a tree because it is there, offer your family’s help to a Camp for underprivileged kids, feed the hungry, seed the beach.   Love to hear your quirky ideas.

Seek the Treasure.

Dawn

Encouragement · Faith · Perfecting Dysfunction

Puttin’ up yer dukes

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One of my friends shared something very personal with me this week:  She, like many of us,  felt God had let her down.  Unlike so many of us, she had the guts to express her disappointment and share her journey back to faith.

I get it.  When we lost Ryan, Ron and I were ready for a fight with God.   We both had a terrible time understanding how a loving God could allow such a tragedy.  It’s been 16 years, and we are no closer to understanding now than we did then.  But the stories shared by encouraging friends are building blocks to restoration. And God continues to bless this family.

My friend has come back into the fellowship of her church and the understanding that she doesn’t understand everything about God;  but, she understands a few things about God.  And one thing she knows for certain is that He has never forgotten about her.

Few of us have the courage to actually admit we get angry with God.  But honesty and  transparency is a gift to and from your friends – the TRUE friends who will never use confession against you.  My friends have helped me understand that just because I question why He allows bad stuff to happen to good people, doesn’t necessarily mean lightning is gonna come out of the sky and fry me. God respects an honest spiritual struggle.

journey.jpegThank God.  And friends!

Have a great weekend!

Dawn

 

 

Perfecting Dysfunction

Family matters.

No this isn’t a private blog just for the Hirn friends and family. It’s an observation.  A simple sentence:  Family matters.  A subject and a verb.

But there are times for every mom when running away sounds like a good option.   “Me time” some mothers call it.  But it’s difficult for mom’s to actually find “me time” ever.  One day you will take that vacation or long lunch, read that novel, and take that bubble bath.  The fact remains:    family matters.

Lately I’ve become painfully aware that my 2 teens and pre-teen boy are finding it less comfortable to have their mom close by.  And by ‘less comfortable’ I am going by the looks on their faces when I tell them that I will be in the front row cheering for their achievements, competitions and awards.  Their mom is not timid.  She has a vicious whistle that has blown eardrums from Alex City to Hong Kong.  She is an entire cheering section by herself.  But she wants to be present.  Because family matters.

Gone are the days of hand holding.

Colt Dawn london Airport.jpgAWE in Tut Tut in Thailand.jpgAnd cramming together in a tuk tuk may be beneath a teenagers level of ‘cool.’  But I still believe the family that plays together, stays together.  And we have had and still do have plenty of practice.

Family matters.  So regardless of what your kids say, as they beg you not to join them,  hang close.  And for heaven’s sake: get the uncomfortable moments in a photo or a video.  The moment of embarrassment is a lifetime of pleasure!

Dawn