In preschool, elementary and middle school there were the occasional theme days: pajama day, crazy hair day and, of course, Halloween. My son often balked at these, not inclined to go along with the crowd. To be fair, my son has paid attention to fashion for a while. As a first-grader, he saw an older boy with long hair and said “I want that …” And, from first through eighth grade, he grew his hair out to a very long length. Known as ‘the boy with long hair,’ and often mistaken for a girl, he added to the persona by dedicating a year of his life to wearing only tie-dye. Notoriety followed … [Read more...]
Every morning, when the kids get downstairs, it’s the same ritual. Our youngest sits to my left and his older brother sits directly across from him. He’ll talk about how he had “a good sleep” and ask about what we’re doing tomorrow, at which point I’ll remind him that we have lots of fun stuff to do today. While all of this is happening, Abby, our 14-year-old flat coat retriever has already set up camp under our youngest’s chair. The boy is just the right height to massage her with his bare feet, and if anyone at the table is going to drop something edible it’s going to be him. At … [Read more...]
Before I was born, my parents lived in Charleston, S.C. Dad flew C-141s there, and they had a boat and several sets of wooden water skis. Dad would go waterskiing, doing slalom. Mom would drive the boat. Then, they'd switch places, and he'd pull her on a pair of skis. A few years later, I came along, and two years after that, my little brother. We never got to live in Charleston, but every summer, we'd get together for a week with two other couples my folks knew from the Air Force, and we'd spend a week on a lake in South Carolina or Alabama skiing and fishing. I was always amazed to watch … [Read more...]
The oldest child in our house is turning 8. This shouldn't seem like that big of a deal.
It’s still single digits. Our state and federal governments confer no additional privileges upon 8-year-olds. She won’t change schools. It should just be another number signifying that she’s still a decade away from moving out (i.e., not soon). Right?
Not to me.
In 1983 – the year I turned 8 – was huge. In a way, it was the beginning of my childhood.
Tuesday was one of those days. My smile was a facade, it was there, but wasn't as wide, or bright or authentic, as it usually is. At one point, my daughter even asked me why I wasn't goofing around as much as I usually do.
I was grumpy. I had a bad case of the grown-ups.
I'm not going to trouble you with the details, partially because I'm not sure what the particulars actually were, but I was stressed and fixated on things both in and out of my control. And at one point, I started getting stressed about … [Read more...]