Priorities, Priorities

Waiting on a ride!

Waiting on a ride!

I’d made the decision.  It was a good one.  I passed it by a number of people.

It’s Capon Springs time.  Our family’s third week in August trek to West Virginia to hang with family and dear friends.  I’ve been every year since I proposed to a Katsopolis child in 1993.  It’s the dowry that keeps on giving.

When I was a kid, we had summer.  Months and months of summer.  Nowadays, summer is short and teacher workdays are plentiful.

Since Stephanie’s school began on Monday, and since she is taking AP Bio and four honors classes, it was her year to fly to Capon a few days late.  I’d checked the school schedule and although Monday seemed to be more of an introductory day, Tuesday – Friday were full on academics.  She’d get two days behind her and fly into Dulles late Wednesday night where I’d meet her and transport her to her favorite spot on earth.

I don’t think that everyone understands my children’s love for this place.  Yesterday Michelle asked me if I would rather give up our house or give up our week at Capon Springs.  I choose to keep the house.  She was undecided but leaning toward the family reunion.  I mean I love this place, but we’re here 7 days a year.  The other 348 we are in our house.

Michelle, DJ and I left at 11 AM on Sunday after dropping Stephanie off at school for orientation.  At 1:45, 30 miles north of Richmond, we received the text.

Dad, I could have flown out early on Wednesday.  Classes end at noon.  Same on Tuesday.  Afternoons are meetings about time management and stuff.

I recalled that in early August when I received the school schedule, I was told it was tentative, but I had to commit to the flight.

I couldn’t believe I’d made the choice to leave my kid out of this critically important slice of her life for two half days of class.

I pulled over and texted my parents who were in charge of Stephanie for the first half of the week.

You in the mood for a Sunday afternoon drive?

 Sure.  Why?

We’re coming to get her.

 While they packed the car and headed north, Lisa’s dad left the Capon golf course to pick up DJ and Michelle.  They threatened to kill me if I made them ride all the way back to North Carolina.

I dropped them off with Pops an hour north in Warrenton, Virginia, and turned my car around.

Heavy traffic, a major detour, a nearly empty tank of gas and a lower back that hurt like hell could not deter.  I’d messed up.  I’d made a short sighted decision.  I had to consider priorities.

When I pulled up to the Main House Sunday night and began unpacking our bags at 11:30 PM, twelve and a half hours after I’d left Raleigh,  one of Michelle’s friends asked why I went back home.

“I forgot something.”

“What’d you forget, Mr. Tanner?”

“My middle child.”

Leave a comment


  1. karinidear

     /  August 26, 2015

    i love this article

  2. Kittyluvr

     /  August 26, 2015

    Would you consider giving up your day job and becoming a full time writer? I find your stories wildly entertaining……….and can relate so well to leaving things behind…we left our youngest daughter’s suitcase behind not once…not twice but three different times while going on vacation! Sadly, we made a few trips to Target to stock up….

  3. karinidear

     /  August 26, 2015

    Reblogged this on kids short stories for us and commented:
    This is so family friendly and i would recommend it to my followers

  4. Wayne

     /  August 26, 2015

    Interesting day. We come home from church in Fayetteville, grab lunch, start packing to go Raleigh, get the call to go to Raleigh, pick up Stephanie, and head north. At 6:30 pm we’re sitting in Emporia, Va., 120 miles from home, in Cracker Barrel waiting on you. I turn to your Mom and say. “The last thing I expected when I left church at noon was to be eating supper in Emporia, Virginia.” Life with the Tanners is full of unexpected surprises! Thanks for keeping life interesting. Dad

  5. Aunt Susan

     /  August 26, 2015

    and your middle child, the first one and the last one all appreciate you what you do for them. I hope someday when I grow up I can join you again up there.

  6. I can’t believe it’s that time again – what’s the saying – the days are long but the years are short.


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