Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Boys

Did I mention my boys?
I may have mentioned, or maybe not, but I have two grown (for the most part) boys. My first son came into my life when I was 30 years old, and I was ready to have a child. Many of my friends started earlier, some as early as nineteen years old. A father at nineteen, I can't imagine. So, I waited until I knew I was ready, 30 was my magic year.

June 12th 1986.

My first son's name is Sean Garrett S. (S. being, of course, the family name) and he was perfect. Every inch and every pound of that baby was just perfect, a beautiful child like no other. Now, since then, I have come to know that every parent feels that way, but at that moment, as I stared down at his tiny hands and beautiful eyes, my heart melted. I would never be the same man again, I was better, much better. As if this little man had removed a curtain from my eyes, everything became clearer, cleaner, pure and new again. I saw everything as if for the first time, as if I was a newborn, with my mind intact yet renewed, re energized.

Dec. 11th 1988

Two years and six months later, wow, another boy Tyler Lee S., another gem, just as beautiful as the first. Everyone told me "the second is different, you'll be over all that excitement". They were wrong, I was blown away, totally lost in this new child, I was sold, I loved every move he made, perfect. I was the father now, of two beautiful boys, and I was going to be the perfect Dad. I felt like the only one, as if everyone else just had kids, I had these two wonderful gems.

I realized soon that all parents thought their children were perfect, and at about that time, mine showed they weren't as perfect as I thought. Now don't get me wrong, they were still great, but I was seeing how real this parenting thing was going to be. They fought with each other, they broke things (most things), they got sick (I have stories that will make you cry) and they required so much of my time that I had almost no life outside of parenting (I gave up golf completely).

I made it through those early years, only to find that my boys were growing into desirable hunks to the girls in school, and at the soccer field (I coached them both). It was time for the talk, yes that talk, and I was ready. I had prepared for this moment for years, I was going to have well informed boys, they would know what they needed to know when the time came. At the last moment, I remembered, I have a client who is a child psychologist, she writes books about raising kids. I called her, just for some moral support, to confirm my ideas. Just a formality. Well, that's what I thought anyway, she said I should wait 4 - 5 more years, in her opinion 7 was just to early for this discussion. I was shocked! I had everything planned out, and now, now I had to wait until they were older.
Fast forward three years, my son Sean is invited to go into the boys restroom by a sixth grade girl. It seems she wanted to, well, (let's keep this a "pg" rating here) do something for him. He came home asking questions, now it was time. The same father who was so prepared, just a few years ago, was a blubbering idiot now. I stammered, fumbled for words and had no idea why. Finally he asks me "Dad, whats a bl*w J*b". It was here, the time to "man up" or "dad up" I guess. I did it, I told him everything I could possibly share with him, without once freaking out. I went into relationships and sex. I talked about love and I talked about lust, he was informed.

He wanted to know what made a girl a girlfriend, what he needed to know to be a boyfriend. What I told him may have shaped the man he has become, I felt it, I meant it and I saw it go deep into his mind, into his heart. I told my son " when you accept a girl as your girlfriend (wife or lovers included here), you take a small piece of her heart. It's only yours to hold, for as long as she is your girlfriend. When you, or she decides to move on, find another boy or girlfriend, you have to give it back. You have to give it back in as good or better condition, with as much or more love than it had when it was loaned to you".

Now I had this conversation with both boys, and yes they both are wonderful loving young men, who love deeply and are not afraid of giving. I have watched closely as they have grown, as they matured into the men they have become. I believe in those words, in the idea that two people commit to one another. I know things change, that people change. Not every relationship is forever, few are. Let's just try to "give it back" in the same or better condition. Return the person, that you shared so much with, to the "whole" person or a better person, for having come into your life, for having shared their heart with you. Love goes on, even when the "in love" part seems to be gone. Let's love stronger, let's show love, give love without fear.

I am a proud father, a proud friend of those two men, I shared my feelings with them, my "heart" with them, and it became theirs, they felt it, knew it was so. I watch them, I know who they are and what they are, and I love what I see, not perfect anymore, but good boys,no.... good men.

Sometimes the gift you give your children, is the best gift you can give yourself too, words of wisdom, words that will impact their lives and yours. That may have been the greatest gift I have ever given and received. Yeah, my boys are good men. I hope they live long happy lives and love well.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Eye of the Beholder

   Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What, exactly does that mean? Well, to start with, who is the beholder? Let's assume it's you, for the sake of this blog. So, beholder, what is beauty to you? Is it a field of flowers? A stream running through a mountain crevasse? A 57 Chevy in Candy Apple Red? Anything that you think is beautiful, anything at all. Just let your mind go...imagine.

   Now, let's turn to the human form. A manly form, muscles and broad shoulders? Slender hips and a great smile? Healthy, toned and tanned? Sexy, sweet and well dressed? I think we can all agree on at least one of those, right? How about women? Close your eyes, imagine... 5' 10"? long legs? Slender hips, perfect make-up... I can see her now... 115 lbs.? Oh yes... ribs and skin, no muscle tone at all... finger down her throat, laxatives in her system? The perfect model!

   What? Not the finger down the throat? Not the laxatives? Does this reality make you uncomfortable? So, how do you think the girl feels? The one who requires this extreme, just to "make the grade"? The one who hears, constantly... your putting on a few pounds, your looking "chunky", or "are you pregnant"? Simple comments, sometimes innocent, sometimes hateful... always without compassion or caring. Strange huh? We are just coming around to the idea of muscular, healthy, strong spirited women. Women who work their bodies and eat well? Women who have REAL confidence. Confidence that comes from knowing that you can take care of yourself.

   While some men may be intimidated by this, even angered by this blog. Are those the men you want your daughter to be with? Those men, who want to control, dictate to and demean women... in an effort to make themselves seem bigger, better or stronger? The men who will tell her (or you) what to do, how to act and what and where to work? Hold you back to prevent her/you surpassing their careers? I doubt that's your goal, but is it your future? Do you have the strength to take control? Be who you can be? Go where YOUR life allows you to go?

   It's time... time to set the stage for the future, for women AND their mates. It's time to expect your man to accept you as a partner, equal in life. Not bully, not dictate, not expect dinner on the table, but plan life AND meals... together. Not judge your weight, your size or your style, but encourage each other to ALWAYS be the best that you can be. Together, as a team, with common goals and dreams. Can you see it? Can you do it? Will you accept less?

   I want this for my own children. Not just the girls... all my children, boys and girls. I want my sons to love, like I do, with their hearts first. Let the eye see the person, not the "body",  let the heart give freely, and welcome love in return. I want them to inspire, to motivate and drive their partner with kindness and encouragement, not threats and ultimatums. I want them to love and be loved.

  I want my daughters to feel confidant, loved and appreciated. I want them to encourage, and motivate their partners too... it's a team effort and both need motivation and encouragement. I want them to be happy. Is that so bad? Is it so unimaginable? Yet it is so rare, so unlikely... so unexpected.

   So where do we start? How do we change this mindset? Can we change nature? Is it nature that men try to dominate women? Is it society? We can change that... right? I don't have all the answers, but I do see all the problems. I see that women try to live up to unrealistic expectations? I see men who are out of shape, yet demand that their woman lose weight and wear makeup. I see women compete with girls, trying to look younger, sexier and skinnier... to "keep up".

   How do we change it? Where do we begin? I started by letting my wife know that I love her. That I love HER, not her weight, her breasts, her butt... not her hair, her cooking, her smile... just her. The woman behind the face, the body and the smile. The woman I met and fell in love with. The woman I will help to become the best partner she can be, the person she wants to be and the happiest person I can help her to be. I am the beholder, and she is beautiful.

   If we can all do that, we can change anything. Most importantly, we can be happy, together with someone we love! Let's start there! Who knows, we may start a new trend... let's hope.

L. Randy Smithhart
Human, Man, Husband, Father, Employer, Friend, Mentor, student of life and love...always.