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Saying Goodbye

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I’m learning (or maybe I’ve learned?) that I wait too long to take care of things. Yes, I take care of a lot of important (and not-so-important) things every day, but there are those things that really matter that I put off and put off until they silently slip away and get replaced by other pieces of life. And if they’re really important and I’ve let them wander off, they often come back as regrets.

It’s been three weeks since I returned from Honolulu to visit my dying Nana—a trip I made to take care of one of those important things: saying goodbye.

I broke into tears when I entered her room. The weight of everything washed over me instantly and there was nothing to do but cry and somehow, in the midst of that, try not to show what I was really feeling and thinking. Did she know I was there because I thought she was dying? Did she feel like she was dying? What does it feel like to see people grieving your death when you’re still alive?

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A Birthday Without You

Uncle VicMy uncle would have been 53 today. It’s almost been 5 months since his death but that raw sadness of his absence is still just barely beneath the surface. The Facebook reminder of his approaching birthday arrived in my inbox like a ghost, his profile picture, a beaming face of his 3- or 4-year-old self beneath a cowboy hat, staring back as a stark reminder of a life cut short.

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Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Giving Up

acceptanceAcceptance is a word I’ve struggled with in the past because I often equated it to giving up. And because I looked at it in that light, I fought it hard and I fought it often. Until relatively recently—the past year or so—anything that wasn’t the way I wanted was unacceptable. Either there was something I could do to change it, someway I could look at a problem differently to fix it, or just flat-out work harder to make it the way I wanted. I even approached people and their behavior in this way. I always said I couldn’t change people, but I thought that I could make choices that would then “steer” people in the direction I wanted. I couldn’t just accept how others were and the choices they made.

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Not a Bad Way to Spend a Saturday

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Don’t Have Kids

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to not be ready
or if you want to be in control or
if you don’t want to be completely swept off your feet.

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to let go of your life
and create a new one, and
if you’re not ready to say I’ve been tired for 7 years
but I’m good.

Don’t have kids if you don’t think you can hold another person as long as it takes
period.
And don’t have kids if you’re not ready to clean vomit off a cat or
sleep on the floor or wonder when it is, exactly, that people learn to blow their own nose.

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Into the World

This is a re-post from my family blog, which I wrote late last night. I don’t normally do this and although I can and do separate out my person in different online spaces (i.e. work guy, music guy, baseball guy, family guy, etc.), I don’t always want to. So here’s a taste of this part of me…

In just a little over seven hours the thing on my wrist will beep, over and over until my waking consciousness suddenly jumps up and remembers it is an exciting day. Today is the first day of school. It’s strange as an adult, because for me, it will be like most days. I will work and I will do stuff—my day won’t be drastically different. But for the kids, it will be a very different day, one they haven’t had for months. And even then, it will not be like those other days that have come before, the ones where school was involved, because it’s all new, again. Not only that, but they have changed and that, really, changes everything.

The backpacks are packed—except for the lunches of course, those I make fresh—the clothes are bought, cleaned, and folded only to be unfolded in mere hours. The shoes are lined up, ready to be put on. Maia will be in “street clothes” while Keana will be in the now familiar navy blues, whites, and khaki. It was funny to hear her, two years ago as a kindergartner, use her new vocabulary word “khaki” for anything tan, and even now it sounds like such a foreign word coming from the mouth of our child. The supplies seem almost endless for Keana and it’s hard not to look back to when I was this age, only going to school with a notebook and pencil, and wonder how bad the state of education must be where even in a pretty well-off school like this one, Keana still has to bring two reams of printer paper, other notebooks with lined paper, a composition book, a box of pencils, glue, crayons, markers, highlighters, erasers, folders, and even a day/homework planner that has to be purchased for $3 from the office tomorrow. Oh, and two boxes of kleenex. I almost wondered if I should I also send her with the package of toilet paper that I have in the hall closet.

We’ll be sending our kids out for the day tomorrow packed high with supplies, food, and water, but even with all that, as a parent, you wish you could give them more. You know you can’t though, you’ve already given them everything for now—mentally, emotionally, spiritually—and you tell yourself it has to be enough. “It’s good, it’s important, it’s the right time,” you tell yourself and mostly you believe it. If you didn’t there would be no way to unlock that door in the morning and let them walk through it. This year should be much easier now that Keana is going into second grade and Maia is returning to preschool, now one of the older kids. Aliya, though, will be left wondering where her sisters are going and will no doubt want to follow fiercely. Maybe she won’t though. Maybe she’ll enjoy the alone time at home and Maia will be home by 1 p.m. anyway, excited to tell her all about her first day back at preschool. Then again, she may also come home in a storm, swearing never to return. You just don’t know.

And that’s the thing: you just don’t know how it’s all going to go. It’s just like any other day in that regard, but it’s not. We’re sending our kids out into the world with strangers. Not just adult strangers but smaller strangers too. Smaller strangers with different perspectives and vocabularies and experiences. They’ll experience new people and things and some will be great and some will be shitty and some may even fall somewhere in between. “It’s good, it’s important, it’s the right time,” you tell yourself and mostly, you believe it.

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