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Lazy Sunday

image992864667.jpgIt’s nice to get away from televisions, Gameboys, and computers at least once a week and hang out at the park. This week we went over to Hammock Park. It’s a big piece of land north of downtown, filled with lots of trees and trails.

It’s not fancy, but that’s the point.

Right here.


Schools are training grounds for many things, both intended and not. Count immune systems under the not category. I suppose it’s a good thing the kids will have a robust immune system, but getting hit by the friendly fire gets old sometimes.

The kids had the sniffles last week and Cheryl had them this weekend, so the surgery on her neck has been postponed.

More updates to come.


Growing up

Beth doesn’t look forward to school. She’s not afraid of the subjects or the work. She’s one of many of children who go to school afraid of the other kids.

I was one of those kids. I’ve been thinking about my school days a lot lately, with all the messages I’ve received about a high school reunion coming up this year. The small minded, vengeful little prick in me would like to reply, “go fuck yourselves and your reunion.” But that wouldn’t be entirely fair. I’m sure a lot of those folks turned out to be decent people – many probably better than me.

Beth and I talk about it sometimes after school – how one of the things we learn growing up, going to school, and being around others, is how to interact -how to get along. I want to believe people aren’t all bad, so I suggest some have a harder time than others learning and understanding how much our words can hurt. On the flip side, some of us are faced with an unfortunate choice. How do we respond? Do we fight back with our own harsh words or deeds? Do we try to give some benefit of doubt, not knowing if these bullies are motivated by their own pain? Do we try to find some middle ground, standing up for ourselves while avoiding the temptation to retaliate?

Sometimes these talks don’t go very well. I feel it’s important never to lie, exagerate, or make promises I can’t keep with my kids. I’ve told her I didn’t have the answers when I was in school, that I never quite found the middle road. However, I tell her we’ll always try to be there for her, by backing her up in school, and lending an understanding ear at home. But I understand it doesn’t feel very reasurring now. I try to remind her that not everyone in her life has been a bully, and she’s bound to find it more true as time passes.

Although I beleive those words are true, they feel a little empty leaving my mouth, and I can see they don’t always help much.

Well, something happened this morning. Beth was going through her backpack, getting ready for school, and found a folded piece of paper she didn’t put there. She didn’t risk reading it. She handed to Cheryl instead. Cheryl glanced at it, then read it aloud:

“Beth, don’t let others make you feel bad, you’re special just like you are.”

She handed it back to a surprised, smiling Beth. There were three sets of initials signing the note.

Beth left for school today with renewed enthusiasm.

Never underestimate the power of your words.

My kid

Beth got straight As on her report card again. It might seem routine to some, but it never gets old to me.

She takes a lot of crap from some people, more than she should have to. But she’s a fighter in her own way, and this is where it shows.

Good job kid.

A better kind of blue

I’m happy to report the blue post is still on the back-burner. The weekend was just too good. Well, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t even very good. But you know what? Every day doesn’t have to be great. They can’t, not for me anyway. I grade days on a curve. Folks cringe when I say I’m ok, but that’s the meat of my curve. What’s wrong with ok? I’ll bet there are lot of folks who would give their left pinkie (assuming they’re right handed) for an ok day. So my weekend wasn’t great? Good is more than ok in my book.

It was one of those weekends where the blue skies complimented my mood, rather than mocking me. Beth got a ton of homework done (Imperial, not metric) without complaint. Adam muddled through extended periods without his best friend (Beth), with some help from Cheryl – who incidentally is getting pretty good at Lego Batman on the Wii. (Although she can’t play very long due to her injuries.) I got in a good hike to one of the nearby parks with the kids, and the weather was fantastic.

We were walking home yesterday afternoon and a deep blue, late afternoon eastern sky was staring back at me. The beginnings of a slight chill put a bounce in my step, born equally from ugency and thrill.

There wasn’t anything exceptional about it. It was just good, and that was more than enough.

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Asked and answered

“Adam, why are you sniffling so much?”

“I have a booger that keeps coming out so I suck it back in.”

That was a little more detail than the questioner was looking for, but I thought he nailed it.


Not afraid

image1096184013.jpgBeth’s stubborn streak can drive me crazy sometimes, but I wouldn’t have her any other way. Her almost complete lack of fear to speak her convictions can push my patience to it’s absolute limit. At the same time, it’s a big part of why I’m so proud of her. (Probably at least in part because I had none of her inner strength when I was her age – which she finds hard to believe now.)

I thought about this the last time we went to church. It was hard not to. We had an errand to run afterwards, she had a suggestion to make, and spoke right up.

“Dad, Publix (a grocery chain in FL) isn’t that far away. Why couldn’t we just walk?”

As you may know, I’m compelled to admit my faults at every turn. My knee was itching to jerk – telling her that was silly. Walk to the store?

But you know what? It wasn’t silly at all, and I should have known better. Publix was a third of a mile up the street (at the very most). It was an incredible Sunday morning, the kind of day that cries out for attention. A little walk was the least we could do for it. So I quickly bit my tongue and we did just that.

It’s crazy how lazy we can be – jumping in our cars for the shortest trips. I’ll admit I’ve been as bad as many, in part because of where my house is, and the distance we travel for basic stuff – often with little kids in tow. But that’s no excuse for how we use our cars once we get there. How many of us make a shopping trip, then move our cars in quarter mile increments as we check items off our to-do lists?

Look at me. I’ve been making an effort to consolidate trips to cut down on the gas we use. I’ve been recycling everything I can think of – dropping it off when it’s on my way elsewhere. And we’re eating better (your diet has more impact on climate change than you think). But even I’m still a bit brainwashed by our car driven society. I was going to get in my car and drive less than a mile up the street for a few non-perishibles. Strictly speaking, It wasn’t even on the way home.

Think about it the next time you’re shopping and you go out to essentially just move your car. Why not just move yourself and leave the car out of it?

Think of this as fair warning. Even if you don’t have kids to answer to, mine’s more than willing to take up the slack.

Something Lost

Your mother wasn’t feeling well last night or this morning, so we called her doctor. The pain was worrisome but not unbearable. The doctor took us right in this morning and gave your mother an ultrasound to see how you were doing.

I have no medical training, but I knew enough looking at the monitor to know we will never get the chance to meet.

I noticed the nurse wasn’t saying anything, and I got the sense it was deliberate. Your mother was looking at the screen too, but I couldn’t tell if she knew what I knew, and I was no better than the nurse. If your mom had looked at either of us she would have known right away.

So now we’ve lost you before we ever had you, and my soul is filled with sorrow at the loss. Even though you were never born, the idea of you is three months old, and your loss has struck me more than I would have thought. My only memories of you are made up, fantasies of what you could have been like. We’ll never get to make real ones. I’ll never get to look into your eyes and see some of myself in you. I’ll never get to look upon your face and see some of your mother in you. I’ll never get to see you play with your older sister. I’ll never get to share my love with my second child. One day we’ll probably have another, and maybe by then I’ll have recovered from your loss. People will refer to that child as our second child, and I might too; but it’s hard to imagine now. I’m so sorry.