Sunday Post 185: Too Much Too Soon

I likely made the wrong decision.  I guess that’s not all that unusual, and I don’t think it is a decision that will make much difference in life down the road.  But, nonetheless, I wish I’d had better options.

In the Tanner household, at the end of fifth grade it has been a right of passage to get your first cell phone.  With child 1 and child 2, both having June birthdays, it was their gift.  A flip phone, used solely for text, photos and phone calls.

With DJ, Lisa cut her left arm and exchanged blood with the other mothers in her friend group.  They pressed their wounds together and vowed not to get smart phones until the inital end of fifth grade, two-year Verizon contract expired.  At the time, it cost us $10 per month to add this additional phone line to our growing technological household inventory.

When Stephanie came along, I followed the path originally set out by her mother.  Although child 2 specifically requested an iPhone, I stood strong.

“But dad, ALL of my friends have one…”

We went through the list of ALL of her friends.  As I suspected, it was a lie.  Not everyone had a smart phone.  In fact, most did not.

As I entered the Verizon store last week with my final daughter, my plan was solid.  She did not need a data plan.  She was too young.  It mattered not that I had confirmed three of her very best friends did indeed have one.  For crying out loud, my 17-year-old is driving a car her same age.  I am not a parent who falls for the Everyone Has argument.  Plenty of people I know have a beach house, and my butt is thankful I have a father-in-law generous enough to rent a place for the family one week each July.

As we neared the phone shop, a nice young man with a pull over hoodie and pants anchored around his hips met us at the door.  His iPad in tow, he began crunching numbers.

“Mr. Tanner.  If you add a flip phone with unlimited text and calls, it will cost you $30 per month.”

“$30?  I thought it was $10.”

“Nah.”

That was his answer.  Nah.

“Well what does it cost to add a smart phone?”

“Let’s see.  You have plenty of data that is unused each month, so we could add an iPhone for $40.”

“A month?”

“Yeah.”

I mean, he couldda said, Yes sir.

So for $10 bucks we get the Caddilac instead of the Pinto… hummm.

I pondered.  Am I spoiling my kid?  Am I exposing her to stuff too early?  Is she going to watch videos all day and flunk out of school?  Will she become homeless?  Addicted to crack cocaine?

When we arrived home with the gadget neither of us had expected to return with, I broke the news to her sisters.

“It was en economic decision,” I argued.  I then reminded Stephanie of the unusually expensive boots I’d purchased her last winter because they were slightly on sale and were so stinkin’ cute.  “DJ didn’t get a pair of shoes that nice until she was in 10th grade and going to a school dance!”

DJ muttered an expletive and told me that I might as well have given my final daughter away.  “Don’t complain to me when she ignores you or won’t talk to you at dinner.  You might as well have shipped her off to college!”

I think that may be an overreaction, although I did have to ask Michelle to put her phone away during the worship service at church last Sunday.  She wasn’t texting, she was just rubbing it across her face, like you would do with someone’s hand as they departed this life for the next.

The frustrating thing is that had I not lost my wife to cancer, I wouldn’t even be making these decisions.  I would have been informed and could have chosen to support the decision or participated in the nonviolent resistance.  Either way, I would have basically been off the hook.

There are so many questions surrounding this decision:

  • Why did I cave?
  • Am I allowing my preteen to grow up too fast?
  • Why do young salespeople answer questions like they’re sending a text message?
  • Why don’t sisters want each other to have good stuff?
  • Why do I have to make all the decisions?

I have some pondering to do.

 

Check the Tanners out in the September issue of Family Circle
Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks!

It Has Come To This

receeding teeth

I mean, I knew that aging wasn’t going to be easy, that things would begin to droop and sag.  I was clear that hair would turn white and appear in places it’d never been before.  But, I never imagined this.  Yes, I want everyone out there struggling with the same issue to know… don’t be embarrassed, I’m owning it…

My gums are receeding.

AHHHH.

Well, actually only one – gum.

I have prided myself on great dental hygiene.   The first time I spent a weekend with Lisa we climbed a mountain, and at the top, I flossed.  And she married me anyway.

My mouth has always been my most attractive feature.  And now this.

I went in to have a simple teeth cleaning and made the mistake of complaining about tenderness around number 21, the left bottom canine.  Dr. Helms came in and started poking around with his fancy fish-hook.

“Looks like you have a receding gumline.  We’ll just drill a little and fill that right in with some epoxy.”

Epoxy?  Isn’t that what we made ashtrays out of in high school?

Two weeks later I found myself horizontal in his chair, with a flurry of folks dashing about my kisser.

I began to have heart palpitations.

“Am I going to get a shot?  In my mouth?”

I’d never had a cavity, never experienced Novocaine.  Needles and mouths are not compatible!  You wouldn’t put butter beans in your underpants, it doesn’t make sense.  Why in the world would you ever stick a needle in your trap?  It’s for eating, kissing, talking – not stabbing!

The doc assured me it wasn’t going to hurt.  “you’re going to feel a slight sting.”

“I don’t like slight stings!”

“It won’t hurt, I promise.”

He was pretty much right.  The actual prick didn’t cause much pain, but I could feel him digging around my gums with his prickly apparatus.

Once he was through, the left side of my lip stuck out like Fat Albert’s friend, Dumb Donald.

Iba couldn’tba hardlyba talkba.  Slobber was falling down my chin and neck.

He finished the procedure and told me that number 21 should be good to go by dinnertime.

I jumped into my car and began to stretch my lip in and out to see if I could feel anything.  I bit it, nothing.  I hit it, nothing.  I pressed down on it with my fingernail – if I hadn’t seen it in the rear view mirror, I wouldn’t have known my hand was anywhere near my face.

If I wanted to I could have pulled my lip out and stuck a grapefruit between the outside of my gum and the inside of my bottom lip.  It was like Stretch Armstrong.

I actually sort of liked my lip in limbo.  Next time I want to do my eyelid.

 

 

Sunday Post 184: Six Days Each Year

RC-mainhouse-featured1 (1)

How can you feel close to people you only see six full days each year? It’s weird. And yet, that’s what you feel with those you meet annually at our August vacation in Capon Springs, WV.

Lisa’s mom was six or eight the first time she visited. They haven’t missed a week since.

I imagine my mother-in-law eating at the same table we eat at now. Her mom and dad younger than I. She likely had dark hair, maybe braids. Now her hair is short and white as my undershirt.

I wish I could string together a video with clips of each trip from years gone by.

The first time I came was in 1993. It was unprecedented because Lisa and I were already engaged. The potential suitors weren’t fully accepted until all tenured aunts, uncles and family friends approved. It was like a debutante, a coming out of sorts.

If the other guests liked you on your first Capon visit, it was a done deal. But many came through never to return again.

Capon is nestled right across the Virginia border near Wardensville. The most direct route takes you down a dirt road and over a mountain.

The first time I went Lisa was driving. We left Raleigh at 5 PM on a Friday. Neither of us had enough vacation time to go earlier in the week – we were mid twenties and new to our careers.

As we wound through the Virginia hills, service road signs discreetly displayed their names: Route 652, Route 664, Route 665. When Lisa pulled onto the gravel and we began to traverse the hill in the pitch black night I wondered if I had been duped. Was she taking me up Route 666 to dismember me? Was this some sick family ritual? Could they cover me with chicken blood and burn me at a stake?  How many other guys had she left in these woods?

There are informal initiations, like being pushed in the spring fed swimming pool (the temperature remains consistent – hovering around 70 degrees Farenheit). But there was no blood, no dismemberment. Just folks that I’d see six days each year.

These same folks drove hours to attend our wedding, and naturally they returned to Raleigh to support in our time of crisis.

We have no idea what we’re like in real life. We don’t see each other on a daily basis. In many cases we don’t understand each other’s career. You may be known as the best team captain in the annual Tuesday golf tournament or the guy who plays the banjo on the porch all day. Maybe your family is the one that enters four pairs in the Shuffle Board Tournament but never gets past the first round (I know that family well).

We may not have ever visited outside of August in West Virginia. But there is a tie, a connection, a closeness.

Life sort of stops this week. And then your return to reality until the next year where you pick up exactly where you left off… on the front porch of the main house at Capon Springs.

 

Check the Tanners out in the September issue of Family Circle
Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks!

20 Cans of Tuna

can of tuna

Sometimes it is difficult to be my child.

Last Sunday I was working hard to be ready for our afternoon activities and for the first day of school which was Monday.  We had two covered dish dinner events – one for the girls’ mother/daughter charity club and one at church.

Lisa and DJ began participating in the National Charity League five years ago.  There are meetings, socials, and service projects, and mandatory expectations for participation.  When Lisa died, Aunt Sallie stepped up and filled the mother piece of the duo.  When Stephanie aged in, she joined too.

The kickoff picnic required a salad for the covered dish meal and canned goods to be donated to a local nonprofit.

Because I had to bring an entree to the church picnic that followed the NCL dinner, I decided to knock out a slew of ham biscuits.  I made about 50.

That morning I ran by the grocery store to purchase supplies to create my sowbelly delights and at the same time purchased 20 cans of food.  I was thoughtful enough to purchase tuna because the cans were small, easier for my delicate daughters to tote from car to picnic shelter.  I was on my A game.

At 4, I shipped DJ and Stephanie off to NCL and shortly thereafter made my way to church.  They showed up at 6 for their second dinner of the day.

As soon as Stephanie got out of the car, she ran up to me.

“Dad!  Guess what?”

“What baby?”

“Well, we walked up to the NCL picnic and went to put our Food Lion bags full of canned goods on the table with everyone elses’ stuff.”

“Yeah?”

“Everyone else was standing there with Target bags full of shampoo and toothbrushes.  Do you know why?”

“Ahh…no.”

“Because we weren’t supposed to bring canned goods!  We were supposed to bring toiletries.  Do you know how embarrassing it is to show up with TUNA when everyone else has Colgate??”

“What did you do?”

“DJ said to just put the bags down quickly and walk away.  It was humiliating!”

“Well I would imagine that if someone needs toiletries, they likely also need canned goods.”

“At our next meeting we are taking all of the stuff we brought and putting it in bags for the people in need.  I guess the bags will include toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, Q-tips and TUNA!”

She sort of grunted and walked away.

The beautiful thing about DJ is that she didn’t even bring it up to me.  She’s used to this sort of stuff.  No need to get bent out of shape.  With me as her father, it just is what it is.

 

Check the Tanners out in the September issue of Family Circle
Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks

 

 

They’re Home

Someone told me that time creeps when you’re looking forward and flies by when you’re looking back. I believe that to be true.

Two and a half months ago, DJ left to work at overnight camp for ten weeks. A month ago, Stephanie joined her for a four-week stent. I thought to myself, That’s a really long time. And now, it’s already over. They’re back.

I’m glad all three are under one roof although it won’t be for long. It’s DJ’s senior year so pop ins and outs will become the new norm. Major transitions are staring me down.

But while they’re all here, I’m going to savor the things I enjoy most about my girls:

1)  Borrowed clothing

Stephanie: “Where are my jeans dad?”

Me: “I’m really not sure. I have not worn them.”

Stephanie: “Did you see Michelle leave the house today?”

Me: “Yep. I took her to Lilly’s.”

Stephanie: “Was she wearing jeans?”

Me: “I believe she was.”

Stephanie: “Daaaad!!!” Message to the father: I can’t believe you let her leave the house in my clothes. What were you thinking??

2)  Eating Out

Me to the crew: “Where would you like to eat tonight?”

Stephanie: “Anything but Mexican.”

DJ: “I ONLY want Mexican.”  Seriously?  

Michelle: “It really doesn’t matter what I want. You always go where DJ suggests.” Message to the father: Why is she your favorite child?

3) Laundry

DJ: “I don’t have anything to wear! It’s ALL dirty.” Message to the father: Dad, do my laundry.

Me: “You’d better wash some clothes.”

DJ: “I can’t. I have to go to dance all morning, followed by a manicure.  I have tons of homework, and I’m going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show with Maggie tonight.” Message to the father:  I am busy. You are not. Why won’t you do my laundry?

Me: “Bless your heart.”

She puts a load in and leaves the house.

Michelle: “Dad, I’m trying to do laundry and DJ’s stuff is in the wash. What should I do?”  Message to the father:  Come finish DJ’s laundry. She is YOUR irresponsible child, and remember, she is also your favorite.

Me: “I don’t know. I guess you could switch them or you could wait for her to get home?”

4) Shoes

 By the back door

In my bedroom floor

In the bathroom (why do you take your shoes off in the bathroom?)

Under the couch, coffee table, book bag which is strewn in the middle of the kitchen floor

The office

Beside the printer which is on the desk – perhaps it was in hand on the way to tho put them up, nah

On the back porch

In the car – if you leave home in shoes and then leave them in the car, what is on your feet when you get out of the car?

Message to the father: You should pick up all of our stuff cause we don’t feel like it

5) But the best thing about my girls all being home is times like these:

 

Message to the father:  We do like our family

 

Check the Tanners out in the September issue of Family Circle
Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

The Dog Blog

She is cute...

She is cute…

 

Four months ago my neighbor walked up my drive. I was outside working in the yard.

“Danny.”

“Yep?”

“This is our new puppy, Penny. She’s just a couple of weeks old. You wanna dog share?”

As we talked, I realized he and his children had purchased the dog without full permission from his wife. He was trying to save his marriage.

“It’s an interesting concept,” I admitted. If I was ever going to have a dog, split custody would be the way to go. You’d have built-in care when you went out-of-town, and you could split the expenses.

I briefly wondered if there was someone who might want to do the same with my kids.

I’ve always felt I was sort of robbing my girls of one of a child’s most precious experiences by not allowing them to have a pet, well save the Hermit crab. Perhaps this was a way to give them what they desperately wanted with only half the pain for me.

We decided that my neighbor would potty train the dog and that we would keep it when they went on vacation in several months. That would be our test drive.

It’s several months, we’re on day 7 of 9, and we’re failing the test.

I have spent the last week of my life arranging my schedule around Penny’s bowel movements. There is only one being on this earth that I’m willing to make adjustments to my schedule for bowel reasons:  ME. I do not like this.

I wake up at 6 AM so Penny can pee. She then eats. My neighbor told me that exactly ten minutes after she eats, we must take her outside because she WILL be pooping soon. The one thing he had wrong is “exactly” ten minutes. It could be less. It could be 9 or eight. Just ask my dining room carpet.

Oh, and just because she poops ten minutes later does not necessarily mean she ain’t gonna poo 20 or 30 minutes after that. Just ask the rug in my living room.

And guess what? I’m out of plastic Harris Teeter bags. Wanna know why? Because when I take Penny out to do her business, I then have to PICK HER BUSINESS UP and CARRY IT WITH ME for the rest of our walk. Yes, I have to pick up her dung, it’s a law in Raleigh. On Tuesday I happened to have an itchy nose. I had the leash in my left hand and bag of her brownies in my right hand, although I sort of forgot. When I reached up to scratch my nose, I realized I had %$#& about an eighth of an inch from my left nostril. I gagged.

At work I was telling a buddy of mine this story and he said, as if he had pondered this on several occasions, “You know Danny, you never see white dog poop anymore.” He then walked out of my office.

He’s right! When I was a kid, there was petrified white dog poop all over our neighborhood. When I’d mow the lawn it would fly out from under the blades.

Never, ever do I see that anymore.  I miss it.

You know why we don’t see it anymore?  It’s because we PICK UP OUR DOG’S FECES! That’s not right. We shouldn’t do that.  It should stay in nature where it belongs.

Although Penny is extremely sweet, and I have enjoyed her, this week has taught me that the Tanner family will not EVER be getting a pet, not even a fish. I don’t want to go outside at 11 PM waiting on a dog to decide which blade of grass to pee on. Twice I went myself in the yard while waiting. I thought that perhaps my example might spur her on; plus it was one less thing I’d have to do once I finally got back in the house.

The beautiful thing about the week is that I don’t think any of my kids will ever ask me if we can have a pet again. They’re as exhausted as I am!

I think I’ll keep my kids full-time. I think I’ll keep Penny on the occasional weekend. That will be plenty for all.

 

 

 

 

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we're gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

I am delinquent.  I admit it.  I have not yet completed my oldest child’s physical form for the upcoming school year.

There’s a good reason mind you.  She can only get a physical once each year, and her last one was on July 12, 2013.  She’s been working at an overnight camp in Arapahoe, NC, for the past ten weeks.  I don’t think there are doctors in Arapahoe.  If you have a tooth ache there, your neighbor extracts it for you.  We simply had no options.

She does have an appointment this upcoming week.  And I promise, the second we walk out of the office I will drive straight to her school and turn it in.

It has to be frustrating to deal with parents like me.

To deal with us, the delinquents, our school has hired a health form repo company to ensure that my child does not spread disease and that I meet my deadlines.  I was late on my middle daughter too.  Between the two of them I have received no less than 60 emails this summer informing me of my inadequacies as a parent.

This week, I didn’t get an automated reminder, I actually got a specific note from a staff member at the Health Form Repo Center.  I think his name was Guido.

Today I logged on their website to print the form, readying myself for the upcoming appointment, and at the top of the page there was a large red box.  It read, “54 DAYS PAST DUE” you idiot!!! (that wasn’t written but it was certainly implied).

I am afraid.  I am not sleeping well.  I look out of my windows at night fearful that Guido is going to snatch my child and hold her until her blood test comes back.  We don’t walk near windows anymore.  I just don’t know what might happen.  I have Michelle climb under the car, just to be sure nothing looks cut, before we leave home each morning.

I purchased a bulletpoof vest.  I wear it any time I leave the house.

Guido, have mercy!  Do I not get any credit for the forms I have completed?

Vital Health Record – took 20 minutes to complete – CHECK

Consent to Treat – CHECK

Over the Counter Medicine Form – CHECK

Prescription Medicine Form – CHECK

Psychological/ADD meds Form – CHECK

Copy of Health Card – CHECK

Concussions Form – in the event my child gets hit in the head with a ballet slipper?? – CHECK

Asthma, Allergies, Diabetes, Seizures, Mental Health Condition forms – CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

I have also completed the Transportation to/from and at school form.  I agreed to have any and every photograph of my child be displayed anywhere the school wants to put it.  I have given them information on all four grandparents, my credit card number for school purchases and volunteered for two committees.  They know my shoe size, that I prefer boxers, and that I had a crush on Janice Middleton in 4th grade.

This week I will attend multiple orientation sessions to seep up more information.

But I will attend only, only if I get this dag gone physical completed and turned in.

What if my car breaks down on the way to the doctor’s office?  What if the doctor is sick that day?  What if their copier is broken or their pens run out of ink?

I’m going to begin investigating home school options.

 

 

Sunday Post 180: One-on-One with the Kid

For the past three years, when Stephanie and DJ head to overnight camp for a month, Michelle and I take at least one fun trip.  We did New York last year.  This year we decided to hit DC.

On the first day of our adventure, we decided that we were going to talk with British accents, even in front of others.  Typically, we’d stick to our plan for an hour or two.  But we sort of got into it for the whole blooming trip.

This is how we rolled:

“Father?”

“Yes daughter?”

“Can we speak like William and Kate for the duration of our trip?”

“I don’t see why not.  Let’s make a go of it ole’ chap.”

“Shall we speak like this alone or in front of others?”

“As we’re gallivanting around, let’s consider speaking like this the entire time regardless of who is listening.”

“Jolly good.”

I’ll have to say that it was quite enjoyable to pretend to be something we weren’t – people with manners.

We saw almost all of the monuments…

Jefferson

Jefferson

 

Washington

Washington Monument

 

And MLK.

MLK

I’d never seen that one.  It was bloody beautiful!  But by the time we got that far, Michelle was fagged out.  So I had to entice her with a spot of tea and a ride on the Tidal Basin paddle boats.

We didn’t boat too far.  I began to realize that the further we moved from the docks, the more leg power it was going to take to get back.  Plus it started raining.

“I’m tired father,” my little one complained.

“Rubbish!  Poppycock!  We’ve got much more to see.”

“But father…”

“Don’t get cheeky with me princess.  Sit on your bum a bit and rest your pins.”

She regained her energy with a lemonade and a bot-le o water, and tickety-boo we marched on to the Roosevelt statue.

Roosevelt

By the end of the day we were zonked out.  We showered and had a nice dinner where Michelle ordered surf and turf (from the kid’s menu) and sucked down three Shirley Temples.

Although the sites were amazing, one-on-one time with my girl is what took the biscuit!

 

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks

 

 

I am Free!

I AM FREE! I am no longer a slave to their monopolous activities. They can no longer ignite my rage through their inefficient, laborious voice mail system. Yes, I have signed on with a new cable company – screw you Time Warner! You can’t see my hands, but my middle finger is in the upright position.

The night of the switch, I called the 800 number for what I thought would be the last time. I was actually looking forward to speaking with PKkflugde from Outer Mongolia. Unfortunately, the automated voice system cut me off, three different times, right after I told it I wanted to cancel my service. Each of these calls took ten minutes because prior to cutting me off I had to recount my phone number, social security number, listen to 17 options of what I might choose to do and share my inner most feelings about the crush I had on my second grade teacher and how it affected what I now watch on TV. When I finally got through, I was informed by the robot that cancellations could only be handled during business hours.

I’ll be doing 65 Hail Mary’s for my reaction to that news.

The next day I called back. Again when using the “c” word the call would not go through, so I told the robot that I actually wanted to upgrade my service at which time I was immediately patched through to PKkflugde. When I told him I actually didn’t want to add service, that I wanted to cancel, he berated me.

“Did you call us before switching to another carrier? We have better deals.”

“No PKkfludge, I didn’t. I called you last year and you gave me the best deal you had. And, for $30 less I’m getting an extra DVR box, a booster on my internet service AND HBO. Plus, I never have to talk to you again.”

“They’re only giving you HBO for three months,” I was informed by my friend.

How can he speculate what they are giving me???

“No. I believe I’m getting HBO for two years!”

“You believe?” PKkfludge questioned. “You’re not SURE? I don’t think I’d be changing services on an ‘I believe.'”

I believe I’m gonna jump through this phone and choke you! “Just drop my damn service! Now!”

He then told me he could match their plan for less than I was paying now.

“How much less,” I inquired.

“$6 less than your current payment.”

“But that is still $24 more than I’m paying them!! New math tells me that is not a better deal.”

He then proceeded to tell me that the new carrier didn’t yet pull my phone line over so if I cancelled I would lose my original phone number.

I cursed him, and hung up.

That was not true I discovered after talking with my new carrier.

After another phone attempt I decided to go in person to their customer service center so I could physically hurt someone if needed.

I got in line at 7:45 AM. There were 34 people already in front of me.

There was one of these signs on the door:

no guns

No firearms allowed? I put my pistol back in the car.

After number 11 in line completed his transaction, he turned to those of us waiting behind him and in a fairly loud voice shared what we were all thinking, “This is worse than the DMV.” He then added a few expletives.

As I walked out of the building I felt as if I had just signed the final divorce papers from a very bad marriage. I asked Michelle to take a picture. I wanted to remember one of the happiest moments of my life.
TWC

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

 

Sunday Post 179: The Freight Train of Life

It makes me sad that I don’t love summer anymore. It used to be my favorite time of the year.

In 2009, in the three months that preceded Lisa’s diagnosis of cancer, we took a trip to Yellowstone National Park, our weeklong annual getaway to Topsail Island, a couples only weekend trip to Lake Gaston with our best friends and our August jaunt to West Virginia. The day after Christmas, 2008, I began looking forward to summer. Each day brought me closer to the excitement of time with family, a clear calendar and 4 pm Happy Hour.

It hasn’t been the same since.

Although I still enjoy the beach, DJ’s absence is noticeable. She’s employed – how inconvenient. I figure Stephanie will be in the same boat two years from now.

Clearly, DJ’s not the only one missing from our June capers.

Since Lisa’s death, I’ve fared well when busy. Without dance carpool, homework and laundry for four, I find myself re-edging a border that has already been edged. No wonder Mr. Royster’s yard in Glendale Acres, my childhood neighborhood, looked so good.  He was childless and had nothing better to do.

I realize that much of what I’m experiencing has nothing to do with the loss of my wife. My kids would still grow up and get jobs with or without their mom in the picture. The pressure of carpools would lighten with additional drivers in the house. When you’re 16, you tend to get annoyed at waiting for dad to get around to doing your laundry – when you need an article of clothing, you wash it yourself.

Maybe this is why folks end up having a midlife crisis. They can’t seem to figure out how to handle the changes so they remake themselves in an unsavory way.

It’s clear I’m not going to cheat on my wife, I don’t have one. And a sports car is out of the question – I don’t have the money, and it won’t seat three children and their pack of pals.

If you look at a life’s calendar, these changes occur over a long period of time. But at times, they seem more like a freight train.

 

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

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