Friday, June 28, 2013

Best for Families:
Yours, Mine, Theirs….

We’re always focused on the family. No surprise there - FAMILY is our name after all. But this month, we are truly all about family - “Yours, Mine, and Theirs.”

For “Your” Families…This month we offer you the eagerly awaited “Best for Families” issue where we get to announce the winners of our Best for Families survey! 

During this past month, we’ve been busy tallying votes and offering sneak previews of the nominees in our weekly e-newsletters. We received over 12,000 nominations in more than 90 categories ranging from your Kids’ Favorite Foods to Best Winery. We love hearing our readers’ opinions, and we know you are all curious to see if your favorites made the list.

Our Best for Families survey is our version of that “over the back fence” neighborly conversation – extending it to thousands of moms and dads looking for that next new thing. When you check out our Best for Families’ results, you may find a new favorite restaurant or discover a party destination you didn’t even know existed.

In our “neighborhood,” the large and diverse DC metropolitan area, it takes some serious coordination to help families find the best businesses have to offer. That’s why our Best for Families July issue is both the MOST popular of our monthly issues and is stashed away for future reference. If you just can’t wait to see the winners, flip to page10. We promise not to be offended if the "Best of" pages get torn out and filed. It’s what they’re for!

For “Their” Families - we were so moved by those families in Oklahoma affected by the recent tornadoes. I’m originally from Oklahoma and still have family there. Luckily, they live just outside the area that suffered so much damage. As soon as the tornadoes had passed, my granddaughter in Oklahoma City started to talk about doing something to help the kids – so we did!

We collaborated with Fresh 94.7 FM and set to work over social media to promote the “DC Teddy Bear Drive.” In less than one week, we gathered over 7,000 stuffed critters, and with free shipping from the UPS Stores in Northern Virginia, they have all made their way to Moore. Check out our article on page 73 for the details and adorable pictures!

The DC Teddy Bear Drive made us realize how powerful we are when we pull together as a FAMILY. We had dozens of businesses and hundreds of readers/followers donate their time, locations, and BEARS! It meant so much to me as an Oklahoman to be able to send a bunch of fuzzy hugs back “home.” Those kids displaced by the tornado need a buddy to hold onto – and now they know folks as far away as DC care enough to help them in their time of need.

And finally, for “Mine” Family – the wedding planning continues. Thinking about the Best theme for this month, it really hit home that I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to make my daughter Brittany’s wedding the Best experience for her that we can. As the mother of the bride, I’m increasingly aware that the wonderful wedding moments we envision will be a direct result of what I’m doing to make them happen. Between literally making the investment in the wedding and working so closely with Brittany to bring her childhood dreams to life, I know I have to “bring it” as they say. And I’m on it – gladly.

I’m realizing at each step of the way that I can’t do it all. It’s like all things best for family – there’s a village involved. Either it’s a village of readers voting for their Best of’s, or a village of social media followers taking time to grab a teddy bear by the tail for families in need, or a village of family, friends, and vendors making a wedding day magical for my special bride.

Best is a laudable goal. Our FAMILY winners are the best kind of winners – the kind that don’t require a loser to be special. I’m so proud to be part of “Our” Families’ Bests. I’ll keep pushing to find the best in all things I do no matter how big or small my reach may be.

I’m guessing our great readers share that goal as they strive to be the Best parents they can be. We’re here for you – every month in print, every day online – sharing the information and resources you need to accomplish those best parenting moments.

Enjoy your summer - the next time we’ll meet, it’s the back to school issue!

Happy parenting!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Father of the Bride...My Father's Day Tribute

Daddy’s Girl Becomes “Mrs.”

So as I share the plans for my daughter Brittany’s wedding, I hear from lots of folks who are enjoying the process – from family and friends to all our readers taking a vicarious stroll with us through weddingland. We moms tend to have such a romantic vision of weddings and remember our wedding day as (hopefully) one of those happiest days on record.

As future mother of the bride, I can tell you planning a daughter’s wedding ranks right up there with my wedding day. It may be even better. After all, I’m not facing the life changing decisions. I’m planning a party!

I should say “we” are planning a party – my husband Doug and I. Therein lies the problem with my “party” philosophy. While both Doug and I adore Brittany’s fiancé, Daddy isn’t quite ready to hand over his baby quite yet. I feel it too, but it’s becoming clear to me that “daddy’s little girl” is a cliché for a reason.

We recently reviewed a proof for the Save the Date cards. I was going on about how cute they were, and all Doug could focus on were the words: The future Mr. & Mrs…. I thought he was going to come to tears. He wondered why we were changing her name before we had to.

That brought me to tears. So much for a quick review of some cute stationary.

Ditto for a casual movie night. A few months ago, the three of us watched “Father of the Bride” together. Doug could hardly sit through the last scenes (spoiler alert: daughter happily marries and leaves home). I cried. Brittany laughed.

That special dad - daughter bond has been such a treasure for me as I’ve watched Doug and Brittany’s relationship grow and deepen over the years. Dads have that protective thing going on, and girls want so much to please their fathers.

Doug and Brittany are so much alike. They’re both very analytical and think in black and white terms. Doug’s an Engineer – enough said there. They literally finish each other’s sentences. Doug may be willing to share her, but give her away…?

To further complicate things for my poor husband, he is the last male “Hyde” in his family. Once Brittany marries and changes her name, he’s it.

We had a strange preview of the end of the Hyde line years ago. In 1980, Doug and I took a road trip from Oklahoma City to San Francisco. We made it to the Wharf where it so happens a street named Hyde ends. To make it clear, there’s a sign that says “End Hyde.” Of course we took a picture of Doug under the sign.

Given it was the 80s, we were cell phone free and out of touch. While we were enjoying the Wharf that day, we had no idea Doug’s father had had a sudden heart attack and passed away. That End Hyde sign began putting on layers of meaning. Doug Hyde really was nearing the end of Hyde – one day.

So “one” day is imminent. Brittany will change her name, and Daddy’s not ready. Her kids won’t be Hydes. So Dad’s gonna have to deal. Thus far dealing has meant frustration, tears, and even a resistance to making progress on those wedding plans.

It’s no surprise those Save the Date cards got a big edit. We kept the cuteness and took out the reference to the new “Mr. and Mrs.” What I’ve realized however is that the Save the Date cards issue may just be the beginning.

We had to give the photographer a deposit – Doug wasn’t available. We had to commit to the venue – Doug was too busy. I took care of these tasks on my own. Grouchily. But now I realize he’s not slacking off, it’s his way of avoiding the sting of Brittany leaving.

We still have almost a year until the wedding. I may need every second of that time to bring Dad around. It’s such a profound adjustment for all of us. Doug’s at least brave enough to start dreading the hand-off months before The Day. He may be on the right path – deal with the angst before-the-fact so he can walk down the aisle with a sincere smile.

It might do me some good to ponder the mom – daughter relationship sooner rather than later for fear of being a complete mess the week of the wedding. Adding a to-do: buy a supply of waterproof mascara.

Parenthood – the joys, the tears. They start at birth and end…?

Until July – and our favorite BEST OF issue! – happy parenting.