“You’re going to cry when I graduate, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
That was enough to satisfy my youngest daughter, Jessica, back in September. She’s the last of my eight children to graduate high school.
She graduated Friday.
We have a few college graduations left, but by and large, the work is done. The time is finished. The investment complete.
I cried, not why she thought I would, but I cried… Continue reading 31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days
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
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
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
I told four of the grandsons, ages 3 to 5, a story before bed time.
I learned a long time ago, the hard way, you don’t tell a scary story to small boys, UNLESS you’re camping and you have to sleep in the same tent with them. Then, any old ghost, alien or crazy wild flesh-eating bear story will scare the living bejeebers out of them. Afterwards, you can go soundly to sleep in the tent while in silent terror they stare wide-eyed listening intently for any ghostly rattles, spaceships or bears creeping through the woods.
This wasn’t such a time, so story time was about four boys with names that rhymed with their own. They were just amazed how the names seemed so much like their own. 😉
The story was about a submarine adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. The four boys were looking for sunken pirate treasure.
Instead, they found a sunken K-Mart cargo ship full of copper forks, tambourines and a miniature cannon. Continue reading Where Your Story Starts
We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.
The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.
Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.
She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?
Stillborn — that’s what the doctor said, but to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family, you very much lived! Thank you so much for entering our lives, even if ever so briefly. It is sweet, yet bitter, to miss and love you so much at the same time. Goodbye seems impossible before hello.
Your mother knows you better than anyone. She loved…no, she loves you dearly, Emmitt! You made her really sick those first few months. She was miserable in the mornings, and certain smells, like baking brownies, made her really nauseous. By the third trimester though, she was talking about how much you moved and how hard you kicked. We knew you were there because sometimes your mommy would let us put a hand on her tummy and feel you move. You would roll and stretch big, then give a hard kick just for good measure! I think you got all that energy from your daddy.
Continue reading Dear Emmitt
Yesterday I talked to a man who passes out cold when he gets a shot. He can watch other people get a shot, like his kids, but point the needle his way… KABOOM! He’s gone! Out like a light! To top it off, he says he always has a nightmare about it that night, which in turn, wakes him up for hours. So the shot knocks him out, but results in a nightmare that keeps him awake. Hmm. It’d be fun to jump out from behind a bush one day with a hypodermic needle just to see what would happen!
Everyone has something that creeps them out. You usually just don’t know what it is. Unfortunately, this is the month everyone seems to face some kind of fear. There’s even a Halloween horror movie marathon running the whole month on cable. Non-stop horror movies is not my cup of tea! Continue reading Horror Stuck on Me!
My daughters wanted a cat several years ago. I put my foot down. Absolutely not! No cat! Zero! Zilch! None! Ever!
They kept on. I said no, no, no! They kept on. I said no kitten, no way!
They kept on. It was like verbal water boarding, so finally, I agreed to go look, but that’s all! Just look! Understand? No cat, period. Just looking!
We adopted Carl the next day.
Continue reading Carl, The Cat!