You’re sitting the front car, a dozen more are behind you. All is quiet except the familiar click click click of a chain slowly pulling your coaster to the top of a very high hill. For just a split second you hang motionless staring down the near vertical drop. Then the chain lets go…
According to crosswordsolver.org there are 22,046 words that start with the letter P. This is exact number of time I’ve told the boys to clean up their toys in the basement.
The possibilities are endless.
This is a house of mostly boys. Therefore, P could be for penis, pee pee, pisser, or pecker. I’ll refrain from talking about our private parts.
This space is generally about being a dad. Hence,
will be for parenthood. One of life’s greatest accomplishments is to raise self-sufficient, happy, healthy, educated offspring. There is also nothing else more frustrating. Except for maybe that last piece of leftover pizza disappearing from the fridge.
Are we ever prepared for this journey? Oh sure, we buy the book about what to expect. That’s like me describing what the roller coaster The Super Duper Looper felt like. Until you ride it for yourself, you’ll never really understand that first drop and the feeling of your stomach in your throat. Isn’t that kinda what parenting feels like? You climb that hill, anxiously waiting for the ride to really begin just as mom’s belly grows and grows (you might even call her your punch buggy). Suddenly, life is flashing by at 65 mph and the best you can do hang on and scream. But, my God, it’s fun!
Like I wrote in Life Before and After Kids, our lives change drastically. No longer can we do what we want when we want how want where we want. We suddenly have this little ball of squishy, adorable, Jell-O tagging along.
I always thought I’d be a parent like Ms. Honey from Matilda, was a teacher. I would kindly ask in my sweetest voice for something to be done and the kids would scurry to get it done. They would answer my questions in complete sentences and dazzle me with their brilliance. Turns out my parenting style feels more like Ms. Trunchbull.
So whether you have 1 kid or, like Mr. and Mrs. Vassilyev you have 69 children, do what you gotta do to get it done. Books, TV, other parents, non-parents, and “experts” will try to tell you the best way to do it. Sometimes they’ll be right. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes you’ll get it right, sometimes you won’t.
The past is just a memory. The future is unforseeable. All we have is right here, right now.
This very moment.
I’m hearing stories of my father-in-law.
Of how he grew up with a twin sister and they were the second youngest of 17 kids.
Of how his first job working at gas station, he made $25 a week and would give most of it away to kids for new shoes, or to go to the circus, or for fries and drink, or to go to the movies.
Of how much he loved kids, particularly his grandkids. He would walk for hours to get a granddaughter to sleep when her father just couldn’t do it. He always had a joke or would act a clown to make them laugh. He would pass them his spare change. He always had a treat for them.
Of how he knew so many people and touched so many lives in big ways and small. Whether through an act of kindness, the giving of a nickname, or just talking their ears off, he was an influence far and wide.
Of his use of the English language. There were no swear words in his vocabulary, though he swore enough to make a sailor blush. To him they were just verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.
Of his days working as a welder. I’m told that whatever job he was on he was always one of the best. Though that doesn’t surprise me because he always took pride in his work.
Of how he loved company. He truly believed the more the merrier. He’d invite friends and tell them to bring their friends. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to arrive with their friend’s friends. Then he would start up the BBQ and feed you.
Of how some animals liked his home better than their owners’ home so they’d come live with him instead. He adopted stray cats. He adopted a bearded dragon that couldn’t travel with his granddaughter.
Of how he would bail kids out of trouble. He would give them a place to sleep when they were tired. He would feed them when they were hungry.
Of how much he gave. His money. His time. His tools. His Jeep. A listening ear or an earful. His home.
He gave me his greatest treasure… His daughter and his family. For that I’m forever grateful.
His memorial service was Saturday. There was food and a few swear words, the place was packed, memories shared and laughter rang through the tears.
Can you believe there’s only 3 more weeks until Christmas morning? 21 days.
A lot can happen between now and then. A lot will happen between now and then. I have so much I want to write! It’s going to be a busy week on the blog. Lots of drama. Some comedy. I’m praying for no tragedy.
So while you sit and relax this lovely Sunday, here are a few good posts that I enjoyed so much I though you should read them, too. Happy Reading!
Some good, really short stories (6 words short!)
The best summary I’ve seen of what Nova Scotia classrooms are like and why there is a teacher strike
True North Nomad
This looks like a good place to escape to should I need place to escape to.
The power of a good pair of shoes
The sunset from the roof of my house…
I’m posting this one at sunset. It is the end of the alphabet – the letter Z. Zee. Zed. Either way you say, it’s still at the end. I find it fitting to post the end of the alphabet at the end of the day. The symbolism gets me. I get the symbolism.
And it’s at the end of the day we look back and can see how our whole day played out. It seemed just as the sun rose this morning we were infants. New to the world. Innocent and pure as newly fallen snow upon the forest floor. We had the whole day before us to use however we wished.
This afternoon we learned not just walking and talking, but everything else we needed to survive. We found ourselves out on our own in the big wide world. We became whatever it was we wanted to become. Perhaps we had some kids. Some pets. We made a life and the river of life carried us along to sunset.
Now we lie in bed ready for sleep because it’s been a good day. A great day. We’re tired. We’re happy. So we sleep.
Z is for sleep. Zzz. But this sleep lasts longer than 8 hours. It lasts forever. This is the end, isn’t it? The end of the alphabet, the end of the day, the end of life. We experienced this end first hand yesterday. Our sweet, baby boy Dozer left us yesterday for the big Ball In The Sky. To say the least, we were devastated. Crash took it pretty hard, as could be expected. It was really hard to look at his empty cage. The mention of his name would bring tears to eyes.
His sun has set and now he sleeps. Sweet dreams our little hamster friend. You will be missed…
is for realize. I realized this morning that today is not “V” day. It’s “U” day. But I already wrote “U” last Saturday. I didn’t do two letters in a day, yet I’m a letter ahead.
I realized this morning that I skipped the letter R. When I should have been writing about R, I wrote about S. It was that stupid slither game that threw me off.
Not only did I realize I skipped R, but thanks to The Coach Daddy, I also realized the lines and splotches decorating my face each have a story. Laughter. Like when Bang poked his finger in his mother’s belly button (which she hates). After a slight pause, he smells his finger. Maybe you had to be there, but we were dying with laughter. Naturally, this caused him to do over and over. “It’s making you laugh, mom!”
I realized those lines are from stress. Perhaps my O’s lost their lead. Perhaps they’re staging a late game comeback. Perhaps from a few white knuckle, white out drives. Some are from a certain someone who had open heart surgery when he was 5 days old.
I realized those lines are from stupidity. An invincible adolescent who was too cool for sunscreen. I worked every summer, nearly every day, outside wandering through corn fields, pea fields, potato fields looking for bugs. I loved that job. If I wasn’t in a cornfield I was on the ball field. I was too cool for sunscreen. Even in the 115F heat waves. But I would tan and they’d call me José.
I have also realized I’m happier when I run regularly. I haven’t been. I’ve been finding excuses easier than finding the time. I realize this needs to be remedied.
I just now realized our refrigerator is as much a story teller as I am. It’s adorned with magnets collected from around the US and Canada and a Save the Date for a wedding invite from 3 years ago. It’s decorated with a picture of a creeper and R2-D2, a stop light made in kindergarten and a flower colored on primary practice day (colored by the same child). It’s covered with calendars, sight words for reading, and an EKG print-out. It’s a literal snapshot of our life right now.
Does your fridge tell any stories?
There is a hill in town that is famous for being THE hill for coasting, aka sledding. Last Satuday was nice day, if one degree can be considered “nice”. But the sun was shining and the wind was calm. So that definitely counts as nice. Crash asked “Can we go sledding at Prince St?”
“Sure. Load up the sleds.” Three sleds, a snowboard, and helmet on board off we went. Two minutes later we were standing at the top of Prince Street Hill. The biggest sledding hill in town.
Standing a the top looking down, we had that nervous excitement settle in. It made us giddy and giggly and trying to figure out who was going to be the first one down. Big, brave Bang won the toss.
Fearless. He attacked that hill head on. Laying on his belly on his penguin sled with me holding the sled so it wouldn’t leave without him he was set for launch.
“3…2…1… GO!” he hollers.
He’s racing down the hill picking up speed. Then he hits a bump. The sled turns sideways and off he rolls at the bottom of the hill. He was not impressed. That ride was NOT was he was expecting.
So Crash and I jump on the remaining two sleds, zoom down the hill hittting the same bumps Bang banged over. Now I know why he wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t the smooth ride it usually is. He was okay, of course. It just wasn’t a fun ride for him. Now the three of us were sitting at the bottom looking up.
This hill isn’t just coasting hill. It’s the hill of life. There we were standing at the top, barely knowing what to expect. Just as if we were anticipating a big move, a new job, a baby-to-be. We had an idea what was coming. But not really.
Then came the trip down. We knew others had been down this path before. They left their trails for us to follow. We didn’t take the path less travelled. It was thrilling. Exciting. Wind in our face making our eyes water. Time travelled faster for the one zooming down the hill than it did for those watching from the bottom. Exactly in the same way time passes faster when you are watching your kids grow up. And what life isn’t complete without a few bumps? As always, we made it
through over with a little bit of careful steering.
Then we rested, looking back up that monster of a hill. We laughed. We talked. We reminised about the grand time we had flying down that slope. We looked back, even if it was only 30 seconds back. From the bottom, that hill looks SO much bigger. We found ourselves amazed at what we had just done. No, we weren’t the first. But we did it.
But to get that thrill again, we had to make the climb back up. A hill that steep isn’t easy to get back up. We slip. We fall. We take five steps up and slip back two. Much like when your potty trained toddler has an accident. Much like when you have car touble on a thousand mile (or even just 10) trip. But we’re tenacious (a fancy word for stubborn). We get our footing back and continue up the hill. We know it’ll be worth it.
This hill has other aspects that resemble life as we know it, too. It’s social media, IRL. In Real. Life. It brings people together, planned or not. You’re bound to make at least one new friend when you come here. You’re more likely to make more than one. Just like life, sledding better with your buddies.
If you time it just right, you can have the hill completely to yourself. No waiting for others to get out of the way. No waiting for others to have their turn. Plus there’s peace and quiet, with the exception of your own screaming self coming down the hill. Perfect for the introverted adventure seeker.
This isn’t just a hill. It’s an adventure. It’s also a great source of fresh air, sunshine, a bit of exercise. I know my fitbit loved climbing back up. I made it up 70 flights of stairs that day. Crash made it more since he climbed up more than I did. Bang was content to slide down on his bum or belly sans sled after his wild first slide down on the sled. Lesson learned. See? That was life lesson right there!
Have you ever had the best plan ever, then something unforeseen happens. Or perhaps just normal, every day routine happens. But your best plan ever never happens. Life happens.
Back in January, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to run a thousand miles this year. It’s the second year in a row I’ve set this goal. It’s the second year in a row I’ve failed. Perhaps three’s the charm? Anyway, I just looked at my running log. It’s been 57 days since I ran last. Really? Yep, on October 15th I ran 10k. Haven’t run since.
I’ve been trying to figure out when I can get my runs in. I could go early in the morning. However, I can’t justify getting up at 5 am for a run. Plus, the kids are light sleepers in the mornings. Our squeaky floors would surely wake them. I could go right after school. However, that’s play time with the kids for an hour before it’s time to get supper on the go. Until Crash starts getting homework. Once that happens, homework will come first, then play.
I could go after the kids are in bed. That’s when I used to go most often. I don’t mind running in the dark. Actually, I used to look forward to it if it was snowing. The silence that comes with newly fallen snow is incredible. Pair that with the darkness and the Earth becomes a magical wonderland. However, the evenings have become us time for DW and I. The kids are in bed and all is quiet. So we watch a couple shows on TV. Do I give up time with the kids to go running? Do I give up time with DW to go running? Ain’t no way in hell I can make that decision.
But, I will get back into it. All that endorphin and “me time” is a needed factor in every life. Thanks to a post and a small discussion with Dave over at Runs Wit Faust, I will indeed be getting back on the road. Back on the trail, too. Running in the woods is even better. But I can’t go there after dark. I’m lucky I don’t get lost during the day let alone at night. Plus there are things that might eat me at night. I’d rather have supper than be supper.
Prior to this break from running, I would run for nearly an hour. Perhaps if I shorten my runs to a half hour (for now) I can make the time to go running. Something has got to be better than nothing, right? And perhaps I can rotate when I go – sometimes after school, sometimes after the kids go to bed. Or perhaps life will find something else for me to do.
But I hope not, because I like running and running likes me. And my poor running shoes miss me dearly.
We all had a life before our little parasites came along to suck every ounce of energy from our marrow. Our life was our own to do as we pleased. Beyond the scope of normal life responsibilities – work, bills, and doing whatever the hell we wanted – we were pretty free. Normal things were normal. Simply using the bathroom wasn’t even a thought. We just did our business and washed our hands. But life has changed drastically since those days. *If you don’t have kids, let this be your warning.*
Going out the door. You put on your shoes, your coat, then left. What’s there to think about?
You holler to the kids that you’re leaving. NOW! Get your coat on, get your shoes on. Find one kid’s shoes, find the other kid’s coat. Argue that it’s cold outside and they need to wear winter coats, not spring coats. Wait while someone runs to the bathroom to pee. Wait while one of them tries to zip their coat by themselves. God forbid you speed them up by trying to help. They’d just as soon throw you in the Sarlacc pit than get help.
Going out to eat at a restaurant simply involved choosing where to eat and then going there.
Screw that. Don’t take the heathens out in public if you don’t have to. Hit up the drive through and bring that shit home. And if you decide to brave it and actually go in to a place to eat, you have to make sure it’s child friendly, because you’re kid is so damn picky they won’t eat a hot dog with lines on it.
Your house was clean.
It looks like Hurricane had a party and invited Earthquake and Tornado to your house and it’ll take a national relief effort to put it all back in order. Toys, clothes, food, spilled something or other, and some kind of blue sticky stuff on the wall are your new decor. You might be worried that TLC will stop by to film the next episode of Hoarders – Buried Alive (By Kids).
Awake at whatever time o’clock you damn well pleased.
Awake at 1 am because your kid kicked the covers off and is now cold. Up at 2:30 because your kid woke up for no apparent reason and wants you. Up again at 4 because their diaper/pull-up/underwear leaked. It’s okay, though, you’ve mastered changing the sheets in the dark. Up for good at 6 am because the
monster is hungry for breakfast. And without breakfast they turn into the Rancor.
Nothing is broken. Everything works.
Everything is broken. Nothing works. There’s no explanation other than “the force is strong with this one”. Like a well placed proton torpedo, things seem to fall apart all around your kids. Don’t bother getting nice things because it’ll just end up at the curb for the garbage men anyway. Shop at the dollar store.
Enjoy an alcoholic beverage with friends any day of the week.
Like hell. See any of the above for reasons you won’t be doing this any more. You’re wiped from trying to get the kids out the door. You’re ready for bed after the fiasco of trying to take your kids out to eat. Getting up at a million times through the night is impossible when inebriated/hungover. You’re too busy with relief efforts after Hurricane, Earthquake, and Tornado are done playing for the day.
LBF (Life Before Kids) was an ignorant bliss. Sure we were happy. But the joy these part harbingers of hell and part angels of heaven have brought to our lives is immeasurable. Our houses aren’t clean, they’re lived in. Our lives are no long our own. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Most of the time.
So I Stumbled on to this page this morning and I felt I had to share. It’s really cool. You plug in your birthday and gender and height and it tells SO much about what’s happened in your lifetime. There are drop down menus providing even more info.
My next birthday on Mercury is in 11 Earth Days.
I’ve travelled 309,495,913,000 km through the Milky Way.
A house fly my age would have a family 21,808 generations.
While I’ve grown a towering 1.67 meters, a Coast Redwood would have grown 15.32 meters.
Tectonic plates have moved 5.85 meters since I was born.
Check it out for yourself! How has life on Earth change in your lifetime?