Category Archives: children

Everybody Wins

It’s our large family tradition. Easter egg hunts for the children AND adults.

The kids go first, eggs with candy, bubbles, little toys, and more candy.

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Then the adults hunt. We had 13 adults hunt this year because 5 of our adult gang couldn’t make it.  Janet and I sat back and enjoyed watching the 13 go after it.

Fun, fun!

It’s basically the same each year, but with new twists thrown in.  The twist this year was games made up of random teams.

The first-place team in points from the Egg Toss, Egg Spoon Race and Rabbit Race (tow sack races) got a first-place head start hunting eggs, followed by the second-place team, then the lowly third-place team. Continue reading Everybody Wins

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Little Rascal Soccer

Anticipation was high. All the mother’s anxiety was higher.

Water bottles? Check.  Halftime orange slices? Check.  After game snacks and juice boxes? Check.

Spectators set up lawn chairs battling for the best open places on the sidelines. This would be an epic contest, one replayed on family home movies for years to come.

Coaches were nervous. After all, their reputations were on the line. If their teams didn’t perform, well it would be obvious to everyone, and most importantly themselves, that they were failures as coaches, maybe even failures at life, like, forever!

The referee wanted to take control of the game of four-year olds in 4 vs. 4 game that doesn’t require World Cup refs.  It didn’t matter.  His nervous habit of rubbing his acne took the air out of his mystique. Plus, he was only thirteen, 5 feet tall and maybe 97 pounds.

The players weren’t stressed a bit.  Although two players had to go potty before the game. Probably just nervous energy.

Continue reading Little Rascal Soccer

Dance On

She smiled, flashed her big brown eyes open wide in anticipation, before scooting over and asking what I knew she would ask.

“Daddy, will you dance with me?”

Dancing. It terrifies me. On the other hand, I don’t mind looking like a fool on the dance floor because other than a slow dance, I know that’s how I’ll look.

Now my oldest daughter, Shawnna, who was 14 years old at the time, was asking to dance with me at her basketball fund-raiser in the school cafeteria.

There’s only one answer. “Absolutely!”

There were lots of girls there, only a handful of guys, and even fewer fathers.  If you lined all the other males up and rated them from first to last on the dance floor, I would by far be last, dead last.  I didn’t, no wait, I still don’t know how to two-step.

Shawnna is a very kind, observant daughter and knew I would dance, but also knew I didn’t like dancing because quite frankly, I don’t know how.  As if our roles reversed, she smiled, took my hand and said, “Come with me. I’ll teach you.” Continue reading Dance On

Maybe For One

We sat in assigned seats.  She sat next to me.  I didn’t understand why she would keep her arms crossed, as if holding herself, and rock back and forth while looking down at her desk or staring at the blackboard.  Back and forth she rocked, back and forth.

We were in second grade.  I understand child abuse now, but then, I didn’t even know what it was.

Looking back, she did. Continue reading Maybe For One

Nightmare on Tahoe Street 😂

We jumped at the chance to help take care of three grandkids while their mom and dad did duties at a church camp retreat! It’s what grandparents do.

We jump in and help, you know? All for one, and one for all! Do it for the team!

Oh, did I mention it was at Lake Tahoe? In a cabin setting? Second story waterfront view? Alright. Well, SURE!  Happy, happy, happy to fly from Texas to help!!

Our job was to help entertain the three munchkins, ages 6, 4, and 2, even though they all answer “and a half” when asked their age.

Life is odd like that. By the time you’re my age, you round down. In fact, birthdays are now Pretend To Have Ten Fewer Candles on the Cake Day!  Besides, it saves the environment from candle pollution and the smoke detector doesn’t go off!

Anyway, at the retreat center, Janet and I discovered there was no adjoining door between the rooms. In fact, there were three queen size beds in our room….with only one bed in Mommy and Daddy’s room.

Uh, huh! That’s just stinkin’ parental brilliance right there! Why didn’t I think of that as a young parent?!
Continue reading Nightmare on Tahoe Street 😂

The Baby Dies

When my oldest son was 4 years old, we were on our way to “Life Chain”, a pro-life activity where everyone stood silently holding signs along the business route in support of life.  There were hundreds of people participating and the silence was, in and of itself, peaceful.

What I remember the most, however, was the drive.  Blake sat next to me and asked where we were going.  Thinking a short answer would suffice, I told him it was to support babies who hadn’t been born.  As kids will do, he filled his logic train by peppering me with, “Why?” over and over.

Honestly, I didn’t want him to know about abortion, but after answering a couple of questions vaguely, I let the word “abortion” slip out. He zeroed in like a heat seeking missile. Continue reading The Baby Dies

You’re Pretty

She was a cute little girl, about 9 years old, with her hair in corn rolls and little rubber bands at the end of each braid.  She and her mother were walking up the sidewalk toward the restaurant, but her mother forgot something and stepped back to her car.  The girl just stood on the sidewalk. 

We were leaving, and quite frankly, I was talking to my brother-in-law as we obliviously walked past the little girl.  Turnabout is fair play, because I suspect she didn’t give either of us a moment’s notice either. 

She did, however, zero in like a heat seeking missile on my wife, Janet.  After passing a few parked car bumpers, we realized Janet was no longer with us.  We turned around and Janet was kneeling down looking the little girl eye to eye. 

The little girl was mesmerized as Janet spoke to her with a compassionate, peaceful smile on her face.  She  stared in her eyes soaking up the gentle words and kindness that naturally flow from Janet’s spirit as they talked briefly back and forth.   Continue reading You’re Pretty

Laughter in the Mind

Somewhere in the forest of the mind, echoing between growth rings of the trees, laughter is held captive.

Over time it dies, or at least settles in the hard wood, and many don’t really remember laughter at all.  We remember moments, the freedom, the feeling, not the laugh itself.

Laughter bubbles up from fresh water wells that runs deep in the soul. It spills over, runs across the ground, even the stony parts of the heart.  If there is enough joy, the water rises soaking even the high, arid places of the heart allowing lush green fields of Spring grass to once again grow.

In its sincerest form, laughter is kind and gentle. It happens when the heart is full, safe, secure.

It’s the kind of laughter children have when wrestling the family pet, and to their delight, the dog plays back.   It’s baby laughter when they first become old enough to respond to silly faces that cause hysterical laughter.  It’s a toddler’s uncontrollable belly laugh in a fullness and purity that we adults often crave to experience again. Continue reading Laughter in the Mind

Wanna Be Santa

Saturday was the annual Christmas parade down town.  We found an open curb on the brick street to sit on for a front row view.  It was about 6:30 PM, so it was dark, but well-lit with street lamps.  Directly across the street a pickup sat in a driveway with the tailgate down.   Several adults, all apparently related, were sitting on the tailgate, in lawn chairs around the back of the truck and on the curb ready for a bird’s eye view of the parade that would be starting soon.

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About 10 minutes before the first lighted float crawled by, an “unofficial” Santa slowly walked up that side of the street.  He looked the part too — real white beard, red suite, black belt and boots, big belly.  The “official” Santa always rides the last parade float, so this guy wasn’t the “real” Santa!  He was a wanna be Santa, but he was convincing, even for a certified Santaologist.

To the poster child of cuteness little girl sitting on the tailgate, it didn’t matter one iota.  To her, this man dressed like Santa was totally, completely and absolutely, the real deal! Continue reading Wanna Be Santa

Catching Wind….in a Hurricane!

Hurricane Rita was going to blow in a few hours later and I was shutting down the hatch.  My four sons helped and I was about through when I walked in on them in the garage.  They looked guilty. Figures.

I was hurrying so I didn’t ask why they had a life jacket, rope and a new 8’ x 10’ vinyl tarp.  I should’ve done a mental stop, drop and roll, but there were just bigger fish to fry.  Besides, the next day I’d find out during the peak of the hurricane.

Ever since they were little, Blake, the oldest, has come up with ideas for his younger brothers to try.  Jared, the second born would usually pass on the idea, but instead encourage Todd, the third son, to try some scattered brain idea.

Sometimes Todd volunteered. Sometimes they talked him into it. Sometimes he was blackmailed into some wild, half-baked scheme, most of which (surprise, surprise) dealt with some sort of danger or peril.

Regardless how outlandish, or in this case, hazardous it might be, Todd usually tried their brain cramp scams.

Blake had an idea — a homemade parachute, powered by hurricane winds, to make Todd go airborne! Continue reading Catching Wind….in a Hurricane!