So I’ve been away for a while.
I’ve got to stop inviting that upon myself, the lawsuits.
So how’ve you been? Everything good? Oh me? Where’ve I been? Funny you should ask…
It all started back around Easter when I heard from someone that a mutual “friend” thought that my writing was not very good, that in fact I was the only one who believed it to be decent in quality. I had also heard around the same time that another friend believed I had used my brother’s death as a way to garner sympathy.
So, 1) I don’t need sympathy from anyone for anything. To clarify what this person was saying… I posted a picture of my brother – the last picture from the last time I would see him alive. I mentioned how I hadn’t known him all that well. What I was trying to say was that I hadn’t actually known him that well and this was a source of sadness. But I was thankful that God had given us this time in the final moments of his life to spend any time with him. To be of any service to my brother as he lay dying was a blessing to me.
And 2) who cares if you don’t like my writing? I like it. My kids will like it when they eventually get around to reading it. That’s all that matters. So there.
So here’s the deal… I was captured by aliens and trapped on the pages of a coloring book.
Want to catch up? Work’s good. Still teaching. Nothing new on that front. Running? It’s still hard as hell. But I’m sticking with it. I forget sometimes to celebrate the accomplishments. I ran five miles the other night. That’s a PR for me. I also learned that this is runner-speak for “personal record”. Hey, I’ve never run that far before in my life. It was slow but I did it and I’m happy. Trainer’s been busy so I haven’t had a chance to get a tune-up on my routine – you know, see what needs tweaking and the like. Of course trainer’s still rockin’ the fitness world. I’m still not sure how he finds time to teach and pose for covers of men’s fitness magazines while raising a family. Perhaps we’ll get to catch up before my body catches up to my schemes and starts hiding fat in places I’ll never find.
I also noticed that my feet have grown. Ain’t that a bitch? But I looked it up and it’s apparently for real. When people start running on a regular basis their feet can actually go up a size. This would explain why my now-size 12 feet are stretching out my size 11 dress shoes.
Finally, my amazing son just had a birthday. He turned 8. I don’t know where the time went. It’s like I blinked one day and a young man was standing before me sharing his ideas for what we should get Mommy for Mother’s Day. I love him so much (and my little girl). We had a party for him, a small affair. In fact, it was even smaller after the Texas-tornado-season weather forced a few people to drop out. He didn’t mind. We went to play lunar mini-golf. Yep, there’s a place in the mall that does glow in the dark miniature golf. My mother-in-law found and booked the place. We both determined that it was the kind of place that would be occupied by a different business the next time we were at this mall, like a Christmas-all-the-time shop or something.
While playing “golf” one of my son’s friends expressed a desire to use the bathroom. Being the only man in the group of adults, I was given the task of taking him. Being a fly-by-night operation, this place did not have it’s own facilities. Out into the mall we headed, me and a kid I had just met, who’s name I wasn’t quite sure I had remembered. To top it off, he wasn’t really listening to me and my pleas that he walk a bit faster and keep up with me as we headed down a mall corridor to a public bathroom. Gee this is sounding like a Dateline special.
I walked into the men’s room and saw my little party guest head for a stall. Being a dad I jumped in front to check the cleanliness of the stall. Three stalls later I allowed him some privacy. And then it happened. I stood outside a bathroom stall while its occupant began making the most ghastly whining noises I’ve ever heard. “You almost done in there, buddy?” I asked. “NO! My stomach hurts,” came the reply. “And what time is it?” he bellowed. “About 7:15, kid,” I replied. He shouted back “It’s almost my bedtime.” Fifteen minutes later I think he must have finished. Either that or cholera is a quicker moving malady than I thought.
We walked back to the party where our little friend proceeded to lie on the floor. What he was doing there I know not. My wife did happen to reveal to me that his mom had mentioned that this was his first time going to a party by himself. “Aha!'” I thought. “Time for me to slip into best friend mode.” And that’s something I’ve always done well. I think it comes from my childhood. Growing up without my twin I always felt a little out of place in the world. I’ve been extraordinarily blessed to have such wonderful people surround me through those times where I’ve felt more alone than others. My sisters taught me great kindness. Always. My best friend Dan (I’ve mentioned him before) has been a kindred soul, a brother to me and ever since we met in college is always around with a bawdy joke or an encouraging word. A thousand mile distance only means it’s usually by text. And more recently trainer has been a good friend, albeit one who pushes me around (in a good way) when he has a spare minute between running mud marathons. Why the tangent? Because these people have given me example and reinforced what I always knew – that sometimes people just need a little bit of kindness. So I sat down with our son’s guest and started with the questions. “So, kiddo, got any brothers or sisters?…” And like that, he opened up and after a few minutes, the dysentery was gone. Our little friend was happy for a moment. And all because some people in my life were kind to me and I could extend a little of that kindness to another.
Forgive me for my length. I wanted to say thank you to my dear sister Maureen. We spoke the other night and she asked why I’d stopped writing. “[My daughter] and I both agreed it would be a shame for you to stop writing. Trust me your words help all of us. We laugh. We cry. We share. It all helps. I found myself needing to read your work today.”
Someone needed me. And that’s reason enough to keep going.
Thanks, guys, for sticking with me. Now tell your friends.