Day 121 – Beautiful wreckage

Another semester is ending, so yeah, I’m probably feeling extra sentimental. Students have been dropping in to check in as the year wraps up. Some are sharing exciting news–they’re graduating this weekend, going onto grad school, starting new jobs, taking a break from the studying to go on much-needed vacations. Others are facing uncertainty–grades aren’t where they need to be, financial aid is in jeopardy, family issues are making things complicated. I love that they feel comfortable coming in to my office, sharing their news, asking for advice, just wanting to touch base one more time before they scatter for the summer.

You know, when I look back on the whole of my own college days, it was the best time of my life.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. My life is pretty great now. I’ve got an awesome husband, two fantastic kiddos, a sweet hound dog, a loving family, an incredible group of friends, and a job that I absolutely love going to every day. But not one bit of this would be possible without the time I spent in college, without the connections I made, the lessons I learned, and the foundation I built there.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I soared higher than I ever thought possible. And I crashed, burned, tried to get up, stumbled, fell back down, and had pick up the pieces and build something brand new there too.

And you know what? It was all worth it. Every. Beautiful. Painful. Moment.

And the best part of it is that it led me here, to this place, where I get to spend my days working with college students, helping them navigate this crazy transition, helping them begin to understand that our mistakes don’t define us–they give us perspective. I get to help them learn that failure is not a dirty word as long as you own it and learn from it and use it to make better choices tomorrow. I get to be the person I needed (the person I found) when I was young and scared and confused and looking for someone to walk with me on my journey.

So don’t be afraid of the wreckage. It’s an important part of the story too.

Henry’s Jet-Set Baptism

I’ve come to believe that life is really about connection. All the working and the saving and the spending and the running from place to place on this little blue-green planet doesn’t matter, not really. The only thing that really matters is connecting with people, loving others, and being loved in return. I still have several close friends from childhood and my middle and high school days, but it wasn’t until those years in New York, until I had been completely broken down and began to build myself back up, that I learned how to open my heart and really let anyone in.

I was just 17 when I arrived to Concordia with just two suitcases and a backpack, both excited and anxious to begin this brand new chapter. I spent the next nine years in New York, and they were some of the best (and the worst) years of my life. I lost myself, and found myself on those crowded city streets. I fell in love there. I learned to love myself there. In so many ways, New York made me whole. And little did I know that the people I would meet there would forever change the course of my life.

I first set foot on the Concordia College New York campus for the first time in the spring of 1998. I was in the final stretch of narrowing down my college choices, and Mom and I decided to fly to New York to visit two schools I’d been accepted to–Sarah Lawrence College and Concordia. At that point, Sarah Lawrence was at the top of my list by mere reputation. I’d spent months poring over the admission materials I’d received, and marveling at how beautiful the campus was, and how much fun it would be to live in an old mansion that had been converted into a residence hall instead of a traditional dorm. For a writer like me, it was something of a dream school. I imagined myself ignited with a creative muse the moment I set foot on campus, and yet I found my heart sinking as Mom and I followed our tour guide, listening as she waxed poetically about the history of the grounds and the old stone buildings. I couldn’t imagine myself sitting in any of the lecture halls or casually strolling across the campus between classes or eating in the dining hall. Somehow, I just didn’t fit.

Just 2.5 miles away, on the other side of the little village of Bronxville, Concordia shone like a beacon. As our taxi driver pulled into the circle drive in front of Feth Hall, I was hit with a feeling of deja vu so strong I had to close my eyes for a moment to stop the world from spinning. We hadn’t even attended the Open House and I already knew I’d come home.

Mom and I spent the night on campus in a room in the lower level of Romoser Hall. With most of the students away on Spring Break, the campus was eerily quiet. We took a cab into the heart of Bronxville and ate dinner in at a little restaurant called Underhill Crossing, marveling at the enormous homes and the quaint main street that looked like something straight out of a movie.

The next morning, we made our way to Schoenfeld Hall where dozens of other prospective students and families were gathering for the Open House. We were greeted immediately by John Bahr, the Dean of Students, and Tom Weede, the Dean of Admissions. I spent a good half-hour talking to Dr. Mandana Nakhai in front of the English Department’s table, entranced by her exotic accent and the fact that she had not only read the portfolio of writing I’d submitted with my application, but that she actually seemed genuinely excited to have me join Concordia’s English program.

Mom and I returned home with our heads spinning, and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d left a very large piece of myself behind. Six months later, I was back. I left everyone and everything I’d ever known to start my new life in New York.

It was the best decision I ever made.

Stevie and I like to tease each other about the way we first met and how long it took us to actually start dating. These days, it’s getting hard to remember what my life was like without him in it. One of the few things that we have ever really disagreed on are the details of our bizarre courtship. We became friends almost instantly since we hung out with the same social circles, yet it took more than five years for us to actually start dating. My mom likes to remind me of the phone conversation just before Christmas break my freshman year, when I told her that I’d met the nicest guy, Steven Romano, and how if he asked me to marry him tomorrow, I’d say yes.

It all reads a bit like a cheap TV sitcom script. Whenever Stevie was single, I was dating someone. When I was single, Stevie was in a relationship. We just couldn’t seem to get the timing right.

There is a photo of me in the yearbook (or rather, a photo of the back of my head), as I turned all the way around in my seat to watch Stevie harass Josh Reiker, a fellow freshman, who was seated behind me in the crowd. I think that photo accurately sums up the five years I knew Stevie before we officially started dating–we were always right there, dancing around each other and having a blast, but we were just a few too many steps apart.

Looking back, I can see that it all happened exactly as it was supposed to. Both of us had a lot of growing up and a lot of healing to do before we could actually be a good fit for one another. We had those five years to stroll around campus discussing everything from movies and music to philosophy and religion. We had five years to have dinner together with our group of friends, five years to spend together at parties and campus events. We had five years to see each other at our best and our worst, to celebrate each other’s highs and offer support during our lows.

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Shortly after I graduated in May 2003, Steven finally asked what I thought about us officially dating. My response was the same as everyone else’s when we announced that were were finally a couple:

“Well, it’s about damn time.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Stevie and I left New York in July 2007. We were young (and probably stupid) and looking for a little adventure to start our married life together. We always said we could move anywhere as long as we were near family, and that basically gave us four options–New York, Nebraska, Colorado, and Arizona.

When I was offered a teaching job in Arizona, we thought it might be fun to try something new for awhile, so we packed all of our worldly belongings in a POD and set off on a roadtrip to our new desert home. The Arizona Experiment (as we call it now) lasted just three-and-a-half years. And while a life in the desert wasn’t necessarily a great fit for us, it made us homeowners, dog owners, and parents. And we even got lucky enough to make some really great friends along the way.

In December 2010, Stevie was offered a job at the University of Nebraska and we packed up again (this time with a whole lot more stuff), and transitioned to a new life in Lincoln, where we have been ever since.

It has been eight years since we left, and not a day goes by that we don’t desperately miss New York. For both of us, it still feels like home. And who knows, maybe we’ll even find ourselves settling back East one day permanently. But until then, we will have to settle for whirlwind vacations to visit our family and friends–trips that are too infrequent and rushed and always leave us feeling a strange mix of happy and homesick.

After losing Steven’s mom, Diane, in 2012, and then losing our dear friend John Bahr this August, Stevie and I decided that getting back to visit New York just once every year or two just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Come hell or high water, even if it meant stretching our budget to the max, we are determined to find ways to reconnect with our loved ones out East more often.

We’d been discussing a jet-set baptism for Henry since before he was even born. Back in 2010, we had a “destination baptism” for Cadence in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where our good friend Money (aka Pastor Scott Geminn) had been called to serve at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Ater Money was called to serve as Associate Pastor at Village Lutheran Church, directly across the street from the Concordia campus, Steven and I joked that if we had another baby, it would be awesome to have Money baptize the child back at Concordia.

After Henry was born, our first thought was to wait until the summer of 2016 to have him baptized, when I would be traveling to New Jersey for work, and then stay for a vacation and have the little guy christened. But somehow, losing John hit us both harder than we expected. Stevie came home from work one day and asked me what I thought about trying to get to New York for a visit and a baptism before Christmas. I still had a few weeks left on my maternity leave, so we looked at the calendar, called Money to see what he thought and if he had time in his schedule, and I reached out to Concordia’s President, Viji George, to see if it might be possible for us to have Henry baptized in the chapel.

Almost immediately, everything began falling into place, and we took that as a very clear sign that we were supposed to make this trip. We reached out to Chris Foerth and Betty Geiling to ask if they would be Henry’s godparents. And then, in just a week’s time, we booked the chapel, designed/printed/sent out the invitations, booked Burke’s Bar & Restaurant for the after-party, bought plane tickets, and set the wheels in motion for what would be our very first trip as a family of four.

It all seemed just a little surreal, and before we knew it, we were waking up to catch a sunrise flight out of Omaha to bring our children back to the place where it all began…

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Cadence has traveled so much, she’s an old pro when it comes to airplanes, but I have to admit, we were a little nervous about flying with a 9-week-old. Our sweet little Henry was an absolute angel on the plane, sleeping through half the flight, then waking up cheerful and smiling at all the folks seated around us. He fussed for just a few minutes when we began our descent into La Guardia, then fell back asleep before we even landed.

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We arrived to typical fall weather–warm, humid, and rainy. Cadence had high hopes of being able to swim in Pop-Pop’s pool, and our determined little girl even donned her bathing suit and hopped right in as soon as we arrived. She lasted a full two minutes before she finally gave into the cold and admitted defeat, giving us strict instructions that our next visit needed to take place in the summer when it would definitely be warm enough to swim.

We spent the next two days soaking up quality time with Pop-Pop, Keith, John, Michele, TJ, and Tyler, and gorging ourselves on all the NY pizza, egg bagels, and deli sandwiches we could find.

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My parents flew in Thursday night and Stevie picked them up at the airport, and then the six of us were up early Friday morning to head to Westchester.

Stevie, Cadence, Henry, and I dropped our things off at the hotel (Dude, they built a Hyatt in the parking lot of the Cross County Mall!), and then we headed to Concordia to try and catch up with as many people as we could. We dropped in the Admssion Office to visit with Evie Cea nd Tina Osso and Jen Jules. We headed over to the library to harass Gary Gollenberg and Aaron Meyer. We caught up with Amy Heath and Ken Fick and Neil Tarangioli in the lower level of Feth.

We walked around our old campus with our children in the cold and drizzling rain, and everything just felt right with the world. Once again, it felt like we had come home.

We took a short dinner break with my parents and then they settled in for a relaxing evening at the hotel while Stevie and the kiddos and I headed over to Money and Becca’s house to hang out and spend some much needed time with some of our favorite people in the world.

Looking around the room at one point in the evening, I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t all just a beautiful dream.

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Baptism day dawned cool and clear. Hurricane Joaquin, which had been threatening to put a serious damper on our trip, finally made a sharp turn and began to head out to sea. We got a chance to sleep in a bit and have a little breakfast before it was time to check out of the hotel and head to the campus.

Shortly before 1:00, our guests started trickling in. Cadence set herself up in the lobby as the official greeter, welcoming family and friends and culling all the children away to play before the service began. Stevie and I were so afraid that most people might not be able to make it to the  baptism on such short notice, but with the exception of just one or two, almost everyone we invited was able to join  us. We hugged and kissed family we had not seen in years, and marveled at how many of our friends walked through the doors to fill the chapel.

Looking around that room at all the beautiful, smiling faces of the people we love most in the world, I was afraid my heart just might burst.

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After the the ceremony and dozens of photos, we all headed to Burke’s to relax, eat, and enjoy each other’s company. I don’t know how many times I stopped to look around the room and smile as my heart swelled with joy within my chest. And yet, with the joy came a pang of sadness, knowing how much Diane would have loved being there in that room with us and welcoming her youngest grandchild to the world, the sweet little boy we named Henry in honor of Diane’s Uncle Henny whom we all loved and miss so dearly.

Yet even if they couldn’t physically be there in that room, there is not a doubt in our minds that they are with us every day.

All too soon, the party was over and our guests began to say their goodbyes, and all I kept thinking as I hugged everyone was that I wished there was a way I could press pause and make those moments together last forever.


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Stevie and I woke Sunday feeling like we’d been run over by a truck. All the prepping and the planning and the running around and squeezing every last moment of our time together with our friends and family had taken quite a toll. Both our bodies and our hearts were hurting. We spent the rest of our trip close to home, soaking up as much time together with the family as we could and missing everyone we’d already said goodbye to.

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And then, as quickly as it began, it was over. Time to head back home (and back to reality). We arrived early at the airport and made it through La Guardia’s security in record time. We settled in at the gate with our snacks and a new deck of cards to help pass the time. We watched the sun sink below the city skyline as we waited to board.

The plane was half-empty and Henry was already asleep as we found our seats and settled in for the flight home.

As the plane lifted into the air, we craned our necks to see the lights of the city sparkling in the darkness below us. I still remembered the first time I ever marveled at those city lights. It seemed like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. I hugged my sleeping baby to my chest and smiled across the aisle at Stevie and Cadence thinking that this weekend proved once again that I just might be the luckiest girl in the whole world.

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Last Chance to Vote!

Okay, so I know I already posted soliciting votes for Electra, but the voting ends tomorrow (the 27th) and we are neck and neck with the fuzzy terriers!

Aaaarrrrggghhh! The terriers cannot win!

Really, I’m not much of a competitive person by nature. Sure, I enjoy a good challenge, but really I’m much too easygoing and far more interested in having fun than pounding my opponent into the ground.

This Cutest Pet Contest has got me all fired up though, and I’ll tell you why…

It’s not really about the terriers. Well, not the terriers in the contest anyway. Really, I have nothing against them. I do have something against this terrier, however…

That, my friends, is the Devil incarnate (otherwise known as Indiana). Indy belongs to our friend Foerth, and if you’d like to read up on either one of them to get a little of the back story (and a few laughs), here are a few links…

I Have Seen the Devil and His Name is Indiana

But…I Looked It Up Online

Antiquing

Go Fish

A Fistful of Condiments

For those of you who don’t know the story, our buddy Foerth moved out to Arizona about a year after Steven and I moved there. He got a teaching job, and needed a place to stay while he got settled and found his own place, so he moved in with us.

Unfortunately, Indiana moved in with him.

Now, I’ll admit, I was actually sort of excited that there was going to be a dog in the house. I thought maybe having Indy around would soften Steven’s resolve against us having a dog of our own. Honestly, looking back, I don’t know how I ever talked Steven into actually adopting Electra after having Devil Dog around.

When we first brought Electra home, all she wanted to do is what she does best…sniff the yard and sleep on the couch…

But, every time she tried to settle in, Indy the Asshole was there to pester her, nipping her cheeks and ears, yipping at her with his shrill doggy voice. After almost a week of almost constant torture, Electra finally fought back and put Indy in his place…

But even a good ass-kickin’ didn’t stop Indy from constantly seeking opportunities to nip and chase and pounce. And if that wasn’t enough, Indy made a point to destroy all of Electra’s toys, chew up books on our bookshelves and my jumpdrive with all of my notes, handouts, and students’ papers on it, and just routinely make a nuisance of himself.

Hell, we couldn’t even take a cute picture of Electra without Evil Indy lurking in the background…

Seriously, that dog is not normal.

So, you see, it’s not about Electra losing the Cutest Pet Contest, and it’s not even about winning, it’s about not getting beat by a couple of fuzzy terriers that resemble Devil Dog. I’m sure those pups are sweet, and I know their owner loves them. And hell, I know she wants to win the contest because she’s gone out and solicited over 150 votes for her little doggies. But here’s the deal, folks…

ELECTRA MUST NOT LOSE TO THESE TERRIERS.

End of story. Let her lose to any other mutt in the contest. Hell, let her lose to any of the cats. I don’t care. Just don’t let her lose to the terriers that look like Indy the Evil.

So, I’m begging you, click on the photo below, log into Facebook, and cast your vote by “Liking” Electra’s photo. And better yet, share it with all of your Facebook friends so they can vote too. Right now, Electra and the fuzzy terriers are tied, and you know they’re going to be pulling out all stops to win before the contest ends in a few hours. So, let’s go people. Show this sweet ol’ hound dog some love! Click the photo and vote Electra! 🙂

Excavation 2012 – Day #28 – School’s Out For Summer

I don’t know that I ever fit completely into any of the high school cliques. I played a few sports, played drums in the band, took a few Honors classes and earned above average grades, wrote for the newspaper, rounded out my schedule with art and photography classes, and was inducted into both the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society, all while holding down part-time jobs as a cashier at the local Hinky Dinky supermarket and an assistant teacher at Bethel’s Tutoring Tots Preschool. I hung out with the kids that partied, but never partied myself. I spent my freshman and sophomore years in a long-term relationship and my junior and senior years running from relationships. I guess you could say I was something of a contradiction.

But, if I was really going to be classified, you could say I was a bit of a nerd. Yeah, I admit it, and I’m proud. I’ve always been a bookworm, and if I could have it my way, I would spend the rest of my life as a student. I love school and, with the exception of math classes, I love learning. I love sitting in class, listening to lectures, reading books and taking notes. I love having debates and philosophical conversations. I love hearing other people’s points of view and asking questions to learn more. Truth be told, I tend to go a little stir crazy when I haven’t attended a class in awhile.

Yeah, I know I’m weird. Don’t judge me.

Unfortunately, my addiction to all things knowledge-related has significantly increased the amount of clutter in my life. I have file cabinet drawers full of notes and writings and class assignments from high school and, until the math book purge earlier this week, I have been schlepping around every book and textbook I ever used in college. For every story or article or assignment I write, I have at least 5-10 drafts tucked away in a folder.

Here is just a small sampling from my Concordia College New York years…

Tucked away in these binders is every syllabus, every page of notes, every quiz, every exam, and every writing assignment for every class I took in my four years as an undergraduate.

What can I say? It’s a sickness.

I’ve got research papers…

And pages of notes…

A syllabus for every class…

And even quizzes.

I know. I’m crazy. But even with my recent commitment to decluttering my life, I still can’t bring myself to get rid of any of it. I figure as long as it is all organized in binders that can be neatly placed on a shelf in my office, it’s not really clutter. Hell, I’ve even pulled out some of my old notes and assignments to help me in grad school and planning a few of the courses I ended up teaching. So, until the weight of my old schoolwork falls off the shelf and buries me beneath a mountain of paper, or begins to cause structural damage to my home, I’m not giving it up.

365 Project – Day 309 – What I’m Doing Instead of Working on my NaNoWriMo Novel

I’ve never denied being a bit of a procrastinator. It drives overly anal and organized people like my dear husband crazy, but honestly, I can’t help it any more than I can help the fact that my eyes are grayish-greenish-blue or that I sometimes walk and talk in my sleep. Somehow, it’s hard-coded in my DNA. So, instead of trying to fight it, I have embraced this very laidback, relaxed pace and found that, if I just go with it and find my own groove, I can usually cross the finish line right on or even ahead of schedule with some pretty outstanding results.

Case in point, my poetry explication paper for Dr. Nakhai’s English 102 class my 2nd semester of college. Poetry has never been one of my favorites. I appreciate it, and even have a list of favorite poets whose works I can recite from memory, but on a whole, poetry is definitely in the bottom half of my list of favorite things to read and analyze. So, when the class was given an assignment to choose a poem or a poet to analyze and write a 5-page paper, I waited until the last minute, partly out of some sense of rebellion, and party because I had no idea what I wanted to write about.

I chose my poem immediately–The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats–but instead of getting started on my essay right away like the rest of my classmates, I waited until the night before, and then sat down around midnight to write my first draft.

You might call me stupid, or arrogant, or even believe I must have some sort of death wish, because if you’ve ever met Dr. Nakhai or had her butcher one of your essays with her green pen, you know that sitting down to write a paper just a few short hours before class is like purposely dressing up in Lady Gaga’s famous meat dress and throwing yourself into a cage with a pack of ravenous wolves. Sadly, some students never even make it through the Add/Drop period. Their loss, I say, because it’s hard to improve yourself and get better at anything without taking some criticism along the way. Sure it can hurt, and it can bruise your mighty ego, but if you accept it and learn from it, you can make sure that you never make the same mistake again.

The thing about my procrastination though, is that it is not really procrastination. To the untrained eye, it may look like I’m putting something off, like I’m pushing it to the side and ignoring it or even forgetting about it. Instead, what you see as my apparently loafing or dilly-dallying is actually a very finely tuned method of brainstorming or prewriting. I’m working, even when it looks like I’m doing anything but working.

See, I’m a girl who needs to let things marinate. I’m a girl who likes to think, who likes to observe, who likes to sit back and watch the ideas form and come together. Pictures and phrases build in my mind, and I begin to see the shape piece I am going to sit down and write. Like a movie, it plays in my head in flashes of movement and words and sound. Instead of getting an assignment and sitting down immediately and trying to force words out of my empty mind, I wait until the strange brew has had ample time to simmer and cook, and just when it is all ready to boil over, I grab my pen and let the words flow as if my hand is nothing more than the vessel needed to transport them from my mind to the paper. And instead of sweating and fretting and tearing my hair out to finish, I simply release my ideas and let them spill onto the page. And when the process is that painless and organic, the results often speak for themselves.

That little poetry paper? I got an A+ on the rough draft, and Dr. Nakhai doesn’t give A+’s.

And yet, there is a fine line between actively marinating my writing projects and downright avoiding them. And right now, I have to admit, I’ve been avoiding my Nanowrimo novel.

Six days into the challenge, and I’ve barely even begun.

Perhaps it was a little overzealous to even take on the challenge this year. Between photo sessions, building my photography website, keeping up with this 365 Project challenge, chasing my crazy 22-month-old around all day, trying to close on a house this month, spending time with my husband, finishing up writing projects for clients, cooking meals, cleaning house (or, at least keeping it from becoming a biohazard), and the million and one other random things that pop up and distract me during the day, there is just not a whole lot of time left over to devote to the challenge.

Yet, I haven’t given up because, like all of my other writing, the idea for this Nanowrimo novel is in there, swirling around, gathering strength and momentum, and slowly, slowly taking shape. Right now, I’ve got a few pages, a rough outline, some notes scattered here and there, and for someone like me, that just might be enough. I’ve just got to let it simmer a little longer.

So tell me are you more of a sit-down-and-get-it-done-right-away kind of person, or a procrastinator like me? Does your method generally work? Or has it ever backfired?

365 Project – Day 261 – Who’s Afraid of Darth Vader?

Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is arguably one of the biggest Star Wars fans out there. He likes to say that he is a couple of steps below the crazies. I mean, he has never dressed up like one of the characters to go to any of the conventions. He didn’t try to name our child after any of the characters (though we did call her “Boba” for the first three months of my pregnancy before we knew the sex or had a name picked out). Hell, he didn’t even bring a replica lightsaber along to the movie theater when Episodes 1, 2 and 3 were released.

He did, however, buy tickets and stand in line to get a good seat at the midnight showings, and then take the entire day off work the next day so he could see the movies five times in a row.

In. A. Row.

In all, Steven saw The Phantom Menace 11 times in the theater. If you’re doing the math, that amounts to roughly $250 in tickets and movie theater snacks. George Lucas, if you’re reading this, Steven still says it was worth it, and you’re welcome.

Steven also owns a wide variety of Star Wars toys, comic books, magazines, books, t-shirts, a replica Boba Fett mask, a Star Wars monopoly game, video games, posters, and even a life-size R2-D2 cooler that he won as a raffle prize in college. All he had to do was buy dinner for half of the students on the Concordia College – New York campus in order to claim their raffle tickets and stack the odds in his favor.

Yeah, some days the line between my husband and those crazy Star Wars fanatics is a little blurry, but that has always been part of his charm.

Long before our daughter was born, Steven dreamed of the day that he could pass along his love of Star Wars to his children. He practiced with his nephews T.J. and Tyler, watching the movies with them at Gamma and Pop-Pop’s house when they boys were babies. At this point, Cadence has yet to officially sit down to watch any of the films with her Daddy. He has been waiting for the new Blu-ray discs, wanting to make sure that Cadence is able to experience the 6-part series in all its glory. With the Blu-ray release finally in sight and our daughter hitting a point in her toddlerhood where she is actually interested in sitting down and watching movies (though still not for extremely long stretches of time), Steven is getting pretty anxious for their Daddy-Daughter Movie Date.

But Houston, we have a problem.

A big problem.

Tonight as we were finishing up dinner, we turned on the season premier of How I Met Your Mother. During one of the commercial breaks, we stopped to watch what was probably the best commercial from the last Superbowl–this spot for the Volkswagon Passat…

Of course, my Star Wars-loving husband thought this was one of the best commercials he had ever seen, and most of our friends and family who saw it joked that the child in the commercial could very well be Steven’s child. We laughed and actually thought so to0, right up until tonight when the commercial came on and Cadence took one look at the miniature Darth Vader, gasped, turned red and started sobbing uncontrollably.

Steven and I started at each other for a minute, completely shocked by our daughter’s reaction. Cadence looked back at the screen, screamed, sobbed even louder, and started trying to climb and claw her way out of her high chair and into my lap. It took both Steven and I to hold her still long enough to get her released from the chair, and by the time I gathered her up into my arms she was sweating and crying and shaking with fear.

I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. Our little girl who laughs at crazy thunder and lightning storms and wants to go out and stand in the rain to watch the show, our little girl who loved watching Gremlins, Falling Skies, and The Walking Dead with her Daddy and I, making scary monster growling noises whenever she sees a zombie or a monster or an alien on TV is suddenly afraid of a little kid dressed as Darth Vader in a car commercial.

Go figure.

Long after the commercial ended, Cadence kept her face buried in my chest, turning her head ever so slightly to steal a glance at the TV as if to make sure the scary guy was gone. Steven and I just looked at each other, completely bewildered. I half-expected Steven to begin questioning Cadence’s paternity, but he just shook his head and admitted that Darth Vader can be a pretty scary guy.

And now, since it seems our fearless child is apparently afraid of Darth Vader, we’re thinking that perhaps her introduction to the Star Wars universe is going to be delayed for just a bit longer. After all, her Daddy wants his favorite movies to make a good first impression.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to my dear Star Wars-obsessed husband and his daughter who is not quite ready to for the Force. But you know what they say…the best things come to those who wait.