Sunday Post 138: The Inventory

It’s birthday week – again.  It seems like it comes around more quickly every year.  Someone asked me how old I was, I told them 46.  Michelle and Stephanie reminded me I am actually 48.  Never was that great at math.

I took my annual birthday jog today.  I do it every year for two reasons:

1) I want to make sure I can still jog

2) I like to ponder the year, think about the ups and the downs, recalibrate.

There is never a year that I can’t see blessings – well, there was one.  But I less think about what I do or don’t have and more focus on what I’ve accomplished over the year.  Sort of where I stand with myself.  Think about where I was 12 months ago and where I want to be 12 months from now.  A gut check, some accountability.

As I pondered my year, I was fairly satisfied.  Gave myself a B+.  Then I began to ponder the future.  This is where I want to grow:

1)  Next year, when I’m 47 or 49 or whatever, I’d like to be a more consistent dad.  I harp too much.  I stress them out.  I’m impatient.  I seldom raise my voice, but my tone is telling.  “Do you need more help with that math problem?” (tone – you are not very smart, why can’t you do it yourself?  I am too busy with important stuff).  Sometimes I bet my kids think I’m schizophrenic.

2) Next year, I’d like to be in better physical shape – I’ve worked out all year, but I haven’t done P90X!  A two-mile jog at a snail’s pace isn’t exactly gonna keep me from having a massive heart attack at age 62.

3)  Finally, I’ve really noticed a difference in my kids’ social lives over the past 12 months.  I’m finding they’re becoming much more independent than they’ve ever been before.  DJ has her car – we don’t see her so much anymore.  Stephanie has plans, always.  Mind you, she never makes them until an hour before the event, but plans she does have.  And sweet Michelle has at least one sleepover per weekend.  I think there’s a mandatory quota for ten year-olds.   I gotta figure out how to reengineer my life now that they don’t need me quite as much as they did before.

That’s a significant adjustment – my idea of a Saturday night out is a G movie and leftovers from the Happy Meal.  Imagine a restaurant withOUT a kids’ menu!  A movie with unanimated characters.  A glass of red wine, not Cheerwine.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t going anywhere.  I plan to be here as much as they need.  But taking the annual inventory sort of brings to light the things I’ve let go –

48 may be the best year yet!

Purchase Danny’s book: Laughter, Tears and Braids

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  1. Almost Empty Nest Syndrome is almost as bad as Empty Nest!! I have a husband but he is celebrating while I am pining. I am the caregiver. I took care of my brother and my mom as they died.
    And now my 2 sons are at the age where making mistakes is how they want to learn…..not by Mom’s warnings and advice. It’s tough to watch. My mom did it so I guess I can, too.
    Good luck and God bless.

  2. Abby Johnston

     /  October 6, 2013

    Happy birthday!

  3. So much in your post rang true for me, too. My kids are rarely home but they leave their messes for me to clean up, still. It’s also my birthday week. Will be attending Senior Night at volleyball instead of celebrating, but that’s a celebration in itself. I got my girl to her senior year, and then it will be time for her to fly. I like your idea of an annual check-in. This has been a big year for me and I think I’ve traveled far. Can actually get through a couple of weeks without some massive, debilitating breakdown. Reading about your journey always reinforces the hope I have for mine.

  4. Aunt Susan

     /  October 6, 2013

    I think, from my distant perch, that you are doing very well, as you are having to go solo when you had planned to a a pair. don’t beat yourself up so much. the girls are doing super and they will surprise you when they are older and still want to be with you.
    Celebrate being who YOU are.

  5. I started Couch to 5k, figured I’m never too old to learn how to run! Plus, I need something to do now that mine is 15 and driving me around all over the place – before too long I won’t see him except when he is hungry! He is working to graduate high school a year early, and I’m doing my best to support him while at the same time trying to keep him from growing up too fast! He told me the other day “When I get my licence and drive on my own for the very first time, I just picture you sitting at home crying because I’m growing up”. 🙂 Many blessing for your new year!

  6. mel ham

     /  October 6, 2013

    you are 48, eight eight eight! Holding your own just fine. You eat well, probably need more sleep, and exercise ritually. You are a good boy..I know so and your mama said so. Happy Birthday Bruce. For the record, Chad was called Bruce today in church as we walked down the hall. Cam thought that was hilarious. Love much Mel

  7. Happy Birthday! 47 here. Ughhh. Sometimes I think you’re the male version of me. I spend a lot of time with my kids. Now the oldest is like… “Dude, Mom… seriously!” And the youngest is like, ” I think I’d rather have a playdate.” I was explaining to a gentleman the other day the idea of life long partnership… I think I scared him off. LOL

  8. Happy birthday to you. I enjoyed reading bout your annual check in. I myself, always feel like an overhaul has to be made on or around te date of my birthday – actually this year’s launch of my blog was inspired by my birthday! My 7 year old has discovered “Full House”, she really likes Michelle & Comet the dog 🙂

  9. Miss Fanny P

     /  October 7, 2013

    Happy Birthday. I have just found your blog and am enjoying your posts and just catching up

  10. Such a well thought out inventory of your life. It made me smile because I think in the same way that you have crafted your words. A really heartfelt post. I enjoyed it immensely!

  11. But they do need you as much or maybe even more than they did before! Maybe not physically like wiping their noses or driving them to sports practice but spiritually and mentally, they are maturing and they are in need of a father’s guidance and love (of which I know you are superbly and courageously providing).

    Many parents seem to think that once their kids are grown up, their work is done or greatly lessened. I have five grown children (not married yet and most of them not living at home) and they seem to take turns being very needy.

    It’s definitely bittersweet realizing that our kids are no longer little (my youngest is nine) but I think I am even busier caring for everyone! Having children is a never ending adventure!

    Happy Birthday! I just celebrated mine 51 (!) last week. Your annual check in is such a great idea.

    You are such an inspiration. God bless you.


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