Cherishing Memories

Take a trip down memory lane with me as I shares cherished memories and lessons learned with my daughter.

8/1/20235 min read

Take a trip down memory lane. The Santa Fe Dam park show above has always played a role in my life, even before Raevan came along. It is an important site in LA for managing flood waters, but in my life, it is the place I typically practice emergency landings as it is under the practice area for EMT. In the photo above, I remember the geese were pretty aggressive. They love to be fed. Raevan didn't know what to think, but she was brave too.

It was always fun to show her as much of the world around her as I could. At the time I was training AI for a special NASA program. The neural network learned (as in almost any paradigm) from training with positive and negative examples. Using a similar approach to learning with Raevan, I was able to teach her to communicate very early in life. She could use rudimentary sign language at 4 months of age to indicate she was hungry, thirsty, or wanted more of something like play or food. She always had a great imagination, even from an early age. She pretended very early on as we sit an played with toys only in her imagination at our little home in Monrovia.

The same lake at Santa Fe dam park 12 years later!

We enjoyed a picnic, they have paddle boats and group bikes too. All great fun with my kids. It seems a little smaller as they grow up and we can all walk around it easily.

Time has a remarkable way of transforming everything around us, yet places like this park remain steadfast, unmoving. Despite the ever-changing nature of the world, my heart will forever be connected to my beloved daughter, Raevan. No matter where life may take her, whether near or far, my unconditional love will always remain by her side. Our bond transcends physical distance and time itself. As the years go by and new chapters unfold, my love for Raevan remains a constant, an eternal flame that will forever guide and hopefully protect her. Regardless of the paths she may choose or the places she may find herself, my heart will always be her anchor. I pray she finds in it solace, strength, and an unbreakable connection that nothing can sever.

A fun interview with Raevan on set talking about what she is doing and a little of what she learned from Tom.

So many more memories!

When Raevan first saw the little babydoll in this photo, she thought it was real! She knew it was a gift for her birthday to her, but her reaction was as if we had given her too much responsibility. She cherished it, she was afraid to drop it, she almost seemed so concerned she wanted to give it back. As she began to realize it wasn’t real, which took a little time, she still loved it, but the shock and probably a mental image of “what were you thinking?” wore off. I hoped it would be helpful for her to play with a realistic doll ahead of the birth of her brother.

Raevan always loved music and could feel a beat in her body. Banging on anything in the house and playing with drumsticks was almost a passion for her. Often on the weekends, we would take a little time to go by the Guitar Center and play with the instruments. She was a big fan of the drums. She liked them all and impressed those in the store with her ability to actually maintain a beat. I think she also made the store manager a little nervous. It was a great phase of fun with Raevan. Eventually, we did buy the family a piano at Guitar Center and that continued to help her learn music. Much later she asked for a guitar, she was very interested in that too. I purchased her a nice one with some purple hues. Before that, she had a small acoustic that she would play with and strum. I had to restore it a few years ago from a little to much aggressive play, but it still works and is entertaining more kids that keep learning.

What a memory! I was mowing the lawn, actually finishing up with a string trimmer, when I came across a small bunny. It froze and was obviously scared. I turned off and sat down the tool, and to my surprise I was able to chase it down and catch it. When Raevan saw it she was so excited. Like all kids, she loved baby animals. There is another story about some kittens, but is it a little sad, anyway she wanted to keep this bunny as a pet. I told her we could keep it for a day and then release it. She tried feeding it grass in the box we kept it in, but it needed to get back to the wild. That made her a little sad, but the happiness from the day of keeping it was very sweet.

This next photo is a bit low quality, but it relates a fun day when I took Raevan to a daddy daughter dance. She seemed so excited! I remember her riding on my feet as we danced together. The light was poor and phone cameras were not what they are now, but I’m so glad to have this and so many other great memories with her.

As Raevan grew up, we went from Monrovia to Sand Springs and then I started consulting for a company in CA that had licensed one of my patents from OSU. While in CA, Raevan started acting. I could put thousands of photos from her many plays, movies, TV shows, commercials, music videos, or auditions but this one is a good representation. In this case she was staring in a theater version of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Her co-stars always loved her. Her extended family loved to come out and see her perform too, of course the audience was also impressed. She was easily able to transfer herself to seem as though what she was acting was real. She has a great talent for imagination and courage as well as tenacity. Looking forward to what she will do with this next!

Not too long ago, we took a horse ride in Zion national park—at least it seems recently. It was a bit hot that day, so getting in the water was very refreshing for us and the horses. We ended up hiking up the narrows, which I highly recommend. The entire park is a beautiful place. We first showed up at night and the stars were amazing. From there it was one breathtaking view after another. New experiences are always fun, and I love sharing them with her.

Okay, so who cannot find a happy moment at Disneyland? This was technically at the California Adventure Park. Having micky in the background makes the photo special too. We tried to get a lot of rides in that day. They all seem to blur together, but watching her have fun and enjoy being a kid is worth the ticket. I’d like to go back with them and try the new Star Wars sections.

I could go on and on, but this last one is from a day Raevan went surfing with me in Mexico. We had a great lunch down there too. The water was nice and warm. We did some kayaking later too. I’d love to go back!