Father’s Day is done

And today pretty much couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Breakfast at Tubby’s in Cotati is something my son and I do once or twice a month so it was fitting that we started there. We drove out to the coast and rented Kayaks from John at Lotus Kayaks (707 865-9604). John is a really friendly guy and has ridiculously reasonable prices for his kayak rentals. $20 bucks for the half day for singles.

The mouth of the river was actually closed at this time of the year, unusual for the Russian River. We kayaked toward the beach area and pulled our boats up onto the beach. Did some T’ai Chi in the sand and wind, and practiced for Steven’s 5th Kyu test in Aikido. We had a chance to play a little hide and seek, take in more of the beach, and then kayaked back. We paddled around the island in the river and made our way back to dock. John met us there and helped us pull up our kayaks. The people in Jenner are very friendly. I stopped briefly to talk to a couple selling tie dyed shirts and they were pleased as punch to talk.

On our way back we stopped by the touristy area in Duncan’s Mills. There are some nice stores and artist’s galleries there. In particular, the nice gentleman at Jim and Willie’s Antiques was friendly and cheerful. Willie didn’t say much. He preferred to sit on Jim’s lap and have his belly rubbed. (Willie is a bichon frise that is almost as cute as a certain Shi tzu I know named Lilikoi.) Worldy Goods is a nice store with fun fair trade oddities. We spent a bit of time there looking at the art and antiques and talked for a few minute with one of the woman at Worldly Goods. She was very sweet and helpful last year taking a special order for me and calling me when it was ready. The item was a flying pig that I bought for my mom on her birthday. Goofy? yep!

Cafe des Jemelle in Monte Rio is a great little place for lunch. Once or twice a year I throw my diabetes to the wind and have lunch there and finish it off with a deep fried banana split. They had just about the best rueban I’ve ever had and after we got to play pool in the bar while enjoying our dessert. Coming home we cranked up Third Eye Blind, Oasis, The Replacements and The Police.

Steven is a great companion to go on trips with. He is always helpful, always seems to have fun when we go places and, well just makes it so perfect to be a dad. I’m totally glad to have had this time to share with him today!

Father’s day

The eve before her daughter’s birthday, my friend Alicia commented online about how she remembered that night. How she remembers the music, the labor and the beautiful anticipation of welcoming her daughter into the world. As a man, I can’t possibly know what it’s like to go through the throes of labor. I can absolutely remember the anticipation I felt welcoming my son into this world. On the eve of his birthdays, I can the hospital, the joy and anticipation both he and his mom had. We wondered if he was going to have a huge head of hair or if he was going to be bald. (He was bald). He didn’t cry a lot. Only when he needed to be fed.

I’ve have been honored with the opportunity of being a father, offering my son love and guidance. I’ve had the supreme pleasure of watching our infant son grow to the young, respectable, funny, thoughtful boy that he is today. I remember telling his mother, that i didn’t care if he had a face only we could love, I didn’t care if he was slow to learn in school, if he couldn’t catch a ball, if he wasn’t coordinated. My only wish was that he be nice and kind. He has grown to be a nice and kind boy. He’s also very smart and handsome. I saw him excel past the other children when he took up baseball or soccer. I saw him bloom and grow when he took up Tae Kwon Do. I saw his determination when he decided that Tae Kwon Do was his main passion and he put his heart and soul into his art, dropping baseball and soccer, achieving his first degree blackbelt when he was 10 and his second degree when he was 12. I see him always helpful to his mother and respectful to me.

Father’s Day is a day when us men who have had the opportunity to be blessed with the title “father” be honored. I am honored as a dad. I am honored because of my beautiful son. The life he lives daily honors both of his parents. I in turn, honor the memory of my father by striving to be a dedicated father to my son. i am forever grateful that I had a hand in bringing my son into this world, and try everyday to be the best dad I can.

The Third Option

Every six months or so our Aikido dojo holds a beginners day. We open up the dojo for our sensei’s energy class, Yang style Tai Chi and Aikido to the public. This gives opportunity for our Sensei to talk about not just the fundamentals of Aikido, but one of the fundamental essences of the art; dealing with conflict.

We normally deal with conflict by either fight or flight. We fight back directly with the thought that if we meet force with enough force, we can overcome. We sometimes take flight thinking that if we can avoid conflict or close our eyes real tight, the conflict will eventually go away. Sometimes these techniques work. Sometimes we can meet conflict with conflict and overcome. Sometimes we can in fact avoid conflict by closing our eyes or stepping around it.

Our sensei talks about the third option. This option trains us to still maintain our integrity, be present in the face of conflict, but rather than meet conflict with force, we move off the line and allow it to go by us. We keep focus of what’s behind the conflct and try to resolve the bigger picture, not the initial strike or blow. We deal with conflict in an honest and loving manner.

I have a long way to go in my training. I am better at dealing with conflict. I can always improve though. Sometimes I rise up still and meet conflict head on. Sometimes I close my eyes and hope that conflict will simply go away. But I find that I can take the principles of Aikido off the mat and into my daily life. We measure our lives through progress, not perfection. I am appreciative and grateful that Aikido can give me tools to find progress and growth in my life.