Oh to be thirteen…

I can’t  believe that I was once one of them:  a middle school boy.

Two weeks ago I chaperoned our church middle school mission trip.  The three adults sat with our youth on the front row of the church the Sunday that we departed.  Late in the service, we all stood up front so the minister could “commission” our group which includes a charge to spread Christ’s love throughout the world.

We were all wearing shorts that day, ready to depart at noon.

Mid point in the service, our youth director looked down as the 12-year-old beside her took full use of the ink pen on our weekly visitor register.  His ball point was steady on his buddy’s right leg.  And what might one guess this young man would draw?  A penis.  Yes, he used the pen from the Friendship pad to draw private parts on his friend’s leg.

I didn’t see it myself which is a good thing.  Because I fear I would have rolled under the pew with laughter.  Although grossly inappropriate, it is perhaps one of the moments I will most remember from my years in church, right after my baptism and being ordained as an elder.

What are these dudes thinking?  Or are they?

If there is a deck of cards in view, they pick it up and begin flipping the cards all over the room.  They flip cards at windows, heads, legs, girls, the floor, the ceiling, the wall – I bet I picked up 6,800 cards that week.  And I nagged so much just to ensure that they would occasionally sleep and not forget to change their clothes, I found it easier to clean up myself than to ask them to help.

There were actually two church groups spending the week together in Asheville.  Although we separated during the day, at night we had programs as a large group.

On Tuesday, we visited a Labyrinth.  Our goal was to quietly walk the maze-like path while praying and pondering.  The boys took this as an obstacle course; a challenge to see who could run through the quickest.

Afterward, we all stood in a large circle on a concrete pad.  I had a clear view of one young man who was directly across from me.  His finger was lodged into his nose so far up you could not see his knuckle.  The girl beside him was from the other church and was staring at him with a look of disgust and amazement.  I could see her thought bubble, Is he really digging into his nose right here beside me?  Could he possibly get it any further up?  Can he possibly be my same age?

As his finger disembarked and he relaxed his arm beside him, the group leader announced to all, “Now grab the hand of the person beside you, we are going to pray.”

I wanted to save her.  I could handle a boogered hand much better than she.  I considered diving in between them, grabbing his snot remnanted digit so she would not have to.  But it was too far.  I could not get there in time.

Bless her heart.  I wonder what she thought as we all bowed to God.

Girls at that age are advanced.  Michelle and her friends were having intelligent conversations with the chaperones, listening to music, and braiding each other’s hair.  Calm, cool, and collected.

The boys were were walking around like Beavis and Butthead.

That’s why I volunteer with middle schoolers.  They are incredibly interesting.  Incredibly funny.  Unpredictable.  Pushing the limits.  Full of life.

I had a late birthday for my grade.  I’m a September baby.  My mother has repeatedly told me she should have held me back.  Although I’m fifty, my maturity level is the same as a 26-year-old woman.  Some things never change.




California, Here I Come!


If it wasn’t going to break in half due to a massive earthquake, I would move to San Diego.  I just spent three days there for a meeting and man, is it a cool place!

I first noticed the difference at the airport.  I take people watching very seriously when in public places.  And the people I watched in California were all beautiful!  The women AND the men!  I saw very few who were overweight.  Folks were walking around the airport with skateboards in tow and muscles bulging.

I swear that the Dali Lama and Shirley McLean were on my flight from LA.  “Shirley” looked to be a healthy seventy-something-year-old.  She sat in an airport chair wearing culottes with her legs tucked up under her behind.  She was more limber than my 13-year-old daughter.  Although she had a bit of dangly skin on the underside of her arms, and who doesn’t at that age, her biceps looked as if they could easily hold the weight of her body in an upside down split on a balance beam.

These Californians dressed casually, had unusually bright colors of hair, and seemed to enjoy open toed shoes.  There weren’t a lot of wing tips strolling around LAX, it was FLIP FLOP haven.

The lush plantings all along the 15 minute drive to my hotel were beautiful.  While it was a balmy 95 degrees at home, we ate outdoors each evening with a slight breeze and a refreshing temperature of 70.

I will admit, the local newscast took some getting used to.  One reporter shared that a man had been shot by his car while meditating on the side of the road.  Thankfully, he was going to be OK.  I wonder why he stopped his car on a seemingly busy highway for quiet and relaxation.  Perhaps the traffic was stressing him out.

I haven’t seen that many people mediate on the Raleigh Beltline, but I might try it.

The weather woman for the morning broadcast wore a short, puffy, bright pink skirt.  Her black blouse was fitted – VERY fitted (and there was a lot to fit.)  I sort of felt like Katy Perry was delivering the five day forecast.  Oh, and I swear she was wearing medium length black socks with her high heels.   It was early, and they only showed her feet once.  Maybe that was just a dream.  High heels and socks?  That’s not something you see at the Fayetteville mall much less on the news in North Carolina.

I return next year for a conference, and I think I’ll stay a while.  Just breathing their air makes me feel all tingly inside.

The Male Period

Kotex Test

Michelle jarred my memory.

“Dad, do you remember when you chaperoned our middle school youth mission trip last summer?”

“I do.  That was fun.”

“Do you remember when you and Brooks convinced the boys that they were going to have periods, just like the girls?”


She recanted the story.

Several girls were on their periods the week of the trip.  They were middle schoolers; it was a bit embarrassing.

At one pit stop, the boys saw the girls purchasing supplies, and the teasing began.  Smirks.  Whispers.  The giggles.  Typical male behaviors.

At the time, Brooks, a cool, young, male chaperon, and I were not aware of the ongoing conversations.  As the story goes, one of the girls approached an 8th grade boy.

“Shut up!  You don’t even know what happens!”

“Yes I do.  It’s when the blue water comes out.”  The laughter resumed.

Apparently he had seen the commercials advertising the absorbency of some of the most porous pads.  In it, a cylinder full of blue water is poured into the pad to show its effectiveness.  Not one drop of the Windex looking liquid leaked.  Pretty amazing.

Made sense that the young mind assumed that was actually what came out.  You wouldn’t advertise muffin tins by putting spaghetti in them, would you?

The girls busted out laughing, and the poor clueless boy was bewildered.

Later that day, as the story was unfolded to Brooks and me, the girls asked if we would convince the boys they too would soon be having a visit from Aunt Flo.  It seemed like a reasonable request considering the males had indeed begun the fight.

As we entered the bus after our afternoon outings, one of the males again chose to bring up the subject, this time in earshot of Brooks and me.

“Fellas, why are you bringing this up?” I questioned.

“Yah,” Brooks followed.  “You know, everyone has them.  Your turn is coming.  I just started mine last year.”

I added, “Boys start later than girls.  Usually around 18.”

A silence fell over the bus.  I’d never seen such big eyes IN MY LIFE!

The fact that the girls were rolling in the floor quickly gave our joke away, but if only for a few minutes, we had them convinced.

Now, in the guys’ defense, it is tempting to tease females.  It is our way of flirting.  As a kid, we hit you.  In middle school, we pick at you.  When older, we use lines that are meant to engage you.  And generally, regardless of age, the woman ends up with the upper hand.  My mother had it.  My wife had it.  And all three of my daughters have it as well.  We might as well give up.  We will NEVER know more about ANYTHING than they do.

Firm or Squishy?

Beauty Rest

If it’s over 8 it’s time to replace.

I don’t buy it, the mattress industry’s insistence that my bed will double in weight over that period of time because it is full of skin, sweat, and dust mites.

Oh, they got me thinking no doubt.  After envisioning their claims, I sort of want to change my mattress as I change my underwear: daily.  I wake up feeling the dust mites running across my ankles, my skin falling off as if I were a snake.

It wasn’t an advertisement though that motivated me to visit the Mattress Firm.  It was my daughter.  I moved DJ’s stuff to Stephanie’s smaller bedroom the week after my oldest left home for college.  When she returned to Raleigh for the first time last fall, my older, taller kid nearly fell off her sister’s former cot.  Her feet were entangled in the footboard, her butt was spilling off the sides.

An upgrade for her meant an upgrade for me!  I’d flip and rotate my mattress and move my old bed upstairs.  She’d be happy, and I’d be sleeping like a champ!

I sort of exceeded the 8 year limit.  My dad gave Lisa and me a new bed as a wedding present in 1993.  It was a good model.

I loved it.  I might never had made a change had extenuating circumstances not propelled a move.  You could make a Madame Tussaud wax figure of Danny Tanner from the imprint of my body on my Serta Sleeper.  The knots of my elbows.  The dimples of my fanny.  The contour of my large triceps.  So snuggly.  I feel all tingly just thinking about it.

This was a big decision.  I knew I wouldn’t buy another until 2038.  I wanted to take my time, to consider the feel of each of my options.  I dressed comfortably for my shopping trip: sweats, my favorite boxers and a holey t-shirt.

“Can I help you sir?” the sales guy asked.  He had lots of hair and the suit I’d worn in high school.

“I’m looking for a mattress,” duh.  “I’m just gonna try a few out.”

He stood up and escorted me to the Tempur-Pedic.  I lay down.

“I can tell by your face you’re not a Tempur kinda man.”  His disdain was obvious.

“It swallowed me like Jonah’s whale,” I pleaded.  “It’s like I reentered the wound.”

He headed toward the back of the store where the cheaper beds were kept.  His commission was getting smaller.

“Here, try this one.”

I lay on a stiffer model.

“Feels like the Beltline.”

He quickly moved to the next.

I wanted to take my time, to relax.  To simulate a real night.

I curled up in a ball.

He explained the coils.

I turned to my stomach.

He shared that the cover was hand sewn right here in America.

I flipped on my back.

He expounded on the generous warranty.  “It’s guaranteed for ten years.”

“Then why do I have to replace in eight?”

He didn’t have an answer.

With him watching me writhe around, I could not concentrate.  I needed quiet.

“Sir, could you give me a minute?  I need to relax.”

“Oh certainly.”

He backed up a step and stopped talking.  Although he closed his mouth, I could feel his eyes zeroed in on me.

I’d stand to move to the next, and he’d rebegin the inquisition.

“How’d that feel?  Was it comfortable?  Too hard?  Too soft?  Just right?”

I looked around for the three bears.

Within 20 minutes I’d made my decision.  Not necessarily because it was the right one, but because I was exhausted.  I simply couldn’t get any rest in that place.

It is taking some adjustment to get used to my new digs.  I miss my mite friends and the smell of dead skin.  I no longer sink in.  My body hovers over the springs, my neck now falls at a 45 degree angle on my pillow below.  I’ve had a crick for two weeks.

And DJ, home from spring break?  Oh, she’s sleeping like a champ.


It came early this year.  Generally, it’s two weeks out – like clockwork.  I begin to well up when certain songs come on the radio.  I get a pit in my stomach when I look at family photographs.  I long for what could have been.

I think the anticipation of the anniversary of Lisa’s death has been magnified this year.

Last fall I found some old pictures on my computer that I thought we had lost.  They captured the Tanner family from 2005 – 2006, four years before she became sick.  I recently uploaded them to Shutterfly and have been working to order prints and create one of their memory books.  It’s a task you should only have to do as punishment for a terrible crime.

Keeping up with family pics was not my job – until 2010.  Lisa held that responsibility, along with most of the other things I currently do that are unrelated to my work, tickling kids or putting them to bed.

I’ve dug through these pictures for two weeks, there were over 1,000:  beach trips, Disney World, The Grand Canyon, birthdays, Halloween, huge smiles at Christmas, a shot of the two of us dressed up for a night out.  I keep thinking, we had no idea… absolutely no idea that cancer was about to kick our asses.  If we would have known…

If we would have known, what?  What could we have done?

Ab-so-lutely NOTHING.  We could not have done anything except lived those last few years in fear.

This past fall I was told by someone that I hadn’t written a new chapter in my life.  That I had to put the past behind me.  I thought that was a ridiculous statement, proud of what I’ve accomplished – astonished at my fairly happy demeanor, blown away by my three daughters’ blossoming, excited about the new things in my life.  But maybe, in a way, this friend was right.  Or maybe, you do move on but in a different sort of way.

I will never, ever, be the same.  I will never fully get over my loss.  Perhaps those who have not experienced what I have aren’t able to fully comprehend my inability to slide through February unscathed even after significant time.

Yet, only I can ensure that I’m not stuck, unable to move forward with new relationships and experiences with real joy in my heart.

Occasionally I teeter between thriving and shriveling up.  Weird, these incongruent worlds.  Ninety-five percent of the time I’m ready to tackle the world, completely pleased with how I’ve grown, excited about today and the future.  Five percent of the time I’d like to curl up in the corner of the closet.  The wound fresh again.

It’s been nearly six years.  I am grateful for the 95%.  It’s been nearly six years, why isn’t it 100?

The $80 Knife

cutco knife

It must have been a Saturday in about 2005, I can’t remember exactly.  All I know is that Lisa told me she had an appointment at the house on a Saturday afternoon.  She was cryptic.  I thought maybe it was the traveling bra saleswoman with an enormous suitcase who visited my mom back in 1974.  I didn’t ask.  I didn’t want to know.

That afternoon, an attractive young woman drove up to the house.  She got out of the car with a magazine and a bag the size of a large purse.  I was trimming bushes in the front yard.

“Are you Mr. Tanner?” she inquired as she walked up our front steps.

I held my stomach in and puffed out my chest wanting not to look as close to 40 as I was.

“Yes.  I am.  Mrs. Tanner is inside.”

“Here, use these.”

She walked over to me and pulled out a pair of hand held yard clippers from her bag.

“These are Cutco Clippers.  The best in the world.”

I nodded and resumed my work on her dime.

Damn. I thought to myself.  These things could cut brick.

I’d found the Cadillac of cutlery.

It wasn’t until last week that I discovered that the three knives my wife had purchased from a struggling younger sorority sister 12 years ago cost well over $100 each!

What’s worse than a cute sorority girl selling you knives that you can’t afford?  A dear friend’s son selling you knives that you can’t afford.

Ben called on a Wednesday.  “Mr. Tanner, I’m selling knives, and if I don’t meet with you, I won’t meet my quota this week.  You don’t have to buy anything.  I’m new at this.  I just need appointments and experience.”

When he arrived, he had me pull out a couple of my old knives, not the Cutcos that Lisa had purchased, the rusty ones with the wooden handles.  He then proceeded to give me the schpill, complete with demonstrations.

“Now, Mr. Tanner, cut this rope with your knife.”

As I sawed through the thick tread, he counted my swipes – 1…2…3…13…15..29.

“Twenty nine.  WOW.  Never seen it take that many before.  Now try it with the Cutco.  1…”

“Man, that would come in handy if I was trying to cut someone loose from a Totem Pole.  How does it work on a cucumber?”

We sliced through leather, and he pointed out the inadequacies of my collection and the unique engineering and craftsmanship of his.

I’ll have to say, he had me.  I was ready to pounce.

I asked about price several times during our hour and a half long visit.  He looked down avoiding my inquiry.

He explained to me that there was a major Cutco convention in Atlanta in February and that he only needed to sell two more table knives to get his trip to attend paid in full.

I headed to grab my checkbook.  These boogers could cut like Tarzan’s bayonet.  I would be the envy of all other widowers working to feed their children something other than French fries.

He showed me a listing of their competition’s pricing, a full set at $2,800.  “We are better than them, so you’d expect to pay more for the same set of Cutco, huh?”

“Ahhh…”  I sat down.

“Our price is half that!  Only $1,400!”

“Do you sell them individually?  Like only 1?”  I so wanted to support.

He proceeded to walk me through the multiple sets you could buy.  Sort of like the school picture packages – A:  17 wallets, 18 4 x 6s, 10 5 x 7s, an 8 x 10 and if you order today, a life size 14 x 36.

I wanted package F:  the 5 x 7.

Although I hated to diminish his dreams of Atlanta, what in the heck would I do with two table knives?  Lisa’s mother would look down on passing the steak knife from person to person on Thanksgiving day.  And a set was out of the question.  Besides, what kind of college kid wants to spend a weekend at a knife salesperson convention?  That is not healthy.  He should be out under aged drinking with friends.

Besides, I already had three of his knives from 2005., and they still cut as if they were only 2 years old.

It took some work, but I talked him into letting me just buy one knife.  The cheese cutter.  My FAVORITE food.

It was only about $86 with tax.

I’m renting it out for parties – $10 per night, if anyone is interested.

The Coveted Puffy Shirt

Puffy shirt

I got the puffy shirt!  Only for half of the shows, but a puffy no less.

Two years ago in Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol, I was cast not only as a townsperson, but also as a dancer in the second act’s Fezzy Wig dance.  The entire cast is on stage for this number but only about twelve are dancers.

It was perhaps the most stressful, nerve-racking thing I’ve ever participated in – including giving a speech to over 1,000 people, having surgery and riding The Beast, my first roller coaster.  Although I can shag and step to the beat when Let’s Groove Tonight is played at a wedding, sticking to set choreography that someone else is dictating is much more difficult for me.  I like to feel the music and do what comes naturally – can be a beautiful thing.

So, last Friday when I received an email from the play’s choreographer, not the same one from two years ago, informing me that one of the male dancers had “hurt” his foot and would not be able to perform Fezzy Wig the opening week of shows, a hinge of nausea overcame my being.

I wanted to know what was wrong with his foot.

“What do you mean ‘hurt’ his foot?  Is it broken?” I asked.  “Have you seen it?”  “Could he possibly get better?”  “Can I see a note from his doctor?”  “Can I take him some soup?”

He’s like 15.  He has to have a quicker healing cycle than someone my age.

I considered sawing a toe off.  I mean ten is a lot, and that would have to top his injury.

I would be filling in with only one practice and a dress rehearsal between me and 2,000 audience members who had paid money to attend this show.

Thankfully, Stephanie was also in the dance.  The floor in our den needs to be refinished because I made her go through each step with me countless times Friday night and Saturday.

Surprisingly, and thanks to a patient and diligent instructor, I caught on fairly easily.  Mind you, I made a few logistical changes to the dance steps to better fit my abilities.  At one point, because of my position on the stage, I was to do a 540 degree turn, and gaily clap across the stage to my next position.  I cut my spin down 450 degrees to 90.  I was afraid I’d get dizzy and land in the orchestra pit.

In addition to dancing, we are also supposed to sing.  I can’t walk and chew gum.  That ain’t happening.  I tried, but I continue to catch myself mouthing 1, 2, 3, 4 rather than come and join our rondelay.  I don’t even know what that means.

I’ll have to admit I’m sort of proud that I stepped in and thus far have not fallen on my behind.  Oh, and the best part of the dance for me?  All male dancers get to wear a puffy shirt – like Captain Hook!  Argh.

Come see Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol at DPAC this weekend:  https://tickets-center.com/search/durham-performing-arts-center/a-christmas-carol-tickets/?venueId=6022&performerId=6&venueName=Durham+Performing+Arts+Center&performerName=A+Christmas+Carol&vaid=123&pfaid=269&tagid=102&atid=1&nid=1&cid=86145766985&akwd=christmas%20carol%20%2Bdpac%20%2Btickets&mt=b&network=g&dist=s&adposition=1t1&device=c&ismobile=false&devicemodel=&placement=&target=&aceid=&random=9232261882099785294&vx=0&locp=9009736&loci=9060500&gclid=Cj0KEQiAqK-zBRC2zaXc8MOiwfIBEiQAXPHrXuGYDX_ueDQKslaw6_I0OLXEMrRa6OcXxXnS4uiEBf0aAq8N8P8HAQ

SHE Change My Tire?

Flat Tire

I have had three flat tires this year.  THREE.  And all have been due to nails or screws.  What’s up with this?  Did someone working on the hardware aisle of the Home Depot move into my neighborhood?

Last time I tried to change the tire, I couldn’t find the spare.  I tore the back of my car up looking for the dang thing and finally, a child of mine took out the car manual and discovered where my Michelin was stored.  It was actually hidden under the car like on an airplane or something.  When I was a kid, the spare was just rolling around the back of the station wagon with a half can of cheese whiz and some Fiddle Faddle.  Not anymore.  In my car, you actually have to lower the tire from the bowels of the underneath with a socket.  Then it dangles between the hydraulic back disc brakes like one long rubber testicle.

So the last time I changed my tire, I decided it would be the last time that I would change a tire.  It’s a lot of work, and I risk getting grease on my bowtie.  It’s just not me.  That’s why I have Triple A.

When my battery went dead in February, I called them late at night.  I met the technician in the driveway.  SHE strolled up and hooked her positive on my positive and her negative on my negative and within a few seconds, I was all revved up.

I’ll have to admit, I was a little taken aback that a woman showed up at my house to fix my car while I drank hot cocoa and ironed my dress shirt for the next day.  I stood out there with her for a few minutes and after it was apparent she knew what she was doing, I retreated to my warm house scurrying after my children as if being a widower gave me an excuse to have a double xx chromsomer manhandle my alternator.

I was OK with the battery charge, anyone can do that.  I have jumper cables in my car and have used them quite often.  I just didn’t have another car in the driveway to help share the juice.

But I sort of had a slight panic attack when I realized that a woman might show up to change my tire.  How could I stand by while Sheera hoisted my car in the air, stripped off my lug nuts and lifted a 25 pound tire off the chassis?

I told Michelle my fear.

“That’s sexist!  Grow up dad!  Women can do anything men can do.  I’m disappointed in you.”

You’d think a father of three strong females wouldn’t have my concern.  I want equal rights for them, the same opportunities as men.  Although I’ll have to say I don’t have a dream of them changing tires for a living.

Fortunately for me, a woman did not show that night.  It was a man, with a mouth full of chewing tobacco.  A good fit for me.

As I worked to get the tire lowered from underneath my car, he glared over at me, “I got this.  You ain’t gotta do nothin’.”

I went back inside and did some push ups – a very manly thing to do.



Birthday Buddies in Bow Ties!

The day after Lisa died, I sent an email to a group of friends asking them to meet me in the church fellowship hall thirty minutes before her Memorial Service.  I told them we would save seats for them up front in the sanctuary and that they would all walk in together, united.  I wanted to be able to look over and see those I knew would usher me through the intense shock and pain I was experiencing.

I also told them that they were the ones, like it or not, who were stuck with me, that I needed them to stand by me until I got my feet back up under me.

I think I underestimated their sticktoitiveness.

Last week, on my fiftieth birthday, five years after Lisa’s death, this incredible group of friends threw me a surprise party.  They rented out the second floor of a bar and filled it with the people in my life that I love the most.  When I walked up the steps, there they were, this incredible group of folk, who genuinely care about me.

It sort of blows my mind.  I haven’t been as good to them as they have been to me.  Man, am I blessed.

This past week, I was in Greenville, SC, speaking to a group of YMCA staffers.  After my talk, a woman came up to me with tears in her eyes.  She said, “I’ve heard you speak before.  I just want you to know that I keep you and your girls in my prayers.”

Maybe that’s why we’re all doing really well!

As I write, tears well up from my gut.  They aren’t tears for loss.  They are tears of knowing that I can never repay what has been given to me.

When praying, I sometimes struggle to remember those around me who hurt.  I forget the guy I met with a few weeks ago who recently lost his wife or the high school buddy who has been diagnosed with cancer.  They roll through my head on occasion, but I don’t have the same level of persistent, perpetual care that others have had for me.

My friends and family could write the handbook on caring for those experiencing grief.  For them, it isn’t a short story.  It’s an epic novel.  They’ve been working on it for five plus years.  I have this feeling that it will go unfinished.

Letting Go

IMG_0802  IMG_0804  IMG_0806  IMG_0809

Next week I drop my oldest kid off at college.  How did it come to this?

I mean, I assumed she’d grow up, this should not be a surprise.  But damn Sam – I’ll be fifty this month, and she is gone.  In my mind, I am thirty-two, and she should be going to kindergarten.

She still has blonde curly hair, just like the day she entered this world.

At first glimpse, I thought Lisa had birthed a Smurf.  Her head was cone shaped, and her skin was blue.

“What’s wrong with our baby?,” I asked the nurse.  “She’s the color of Gatorade.  And her head is a triangle.”

“She’ll get her color,” the nurse assured me.  “She is the first through the birth canal.  She’s a pioneer!  Her head will smooth out.”

I was thankful I had an older brother.

I used to carry her on my shoulders.  I can’t do that anymore without risk of paralysis.

I read to her every night and most often we had a tickle party.

“Daaaaddy.  Will you tickle me?” she’d ask.

The moment I’d start she’d curl up into a ball and implore me to stop.

Even when she was older I’d pray with her each night, and we’d argue about who loved each other more.

“I love you the mostest!”

“No!  I love YOU the mostest!”

In high school, she danced like a champ, the most graceful girl on the stage.  I worked hard not to miss the special moments in her life, particularly over the past five years.  I wanted to be there since her mother couldn’t be.  I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to recount DJ’s life for the woman I most loved.

I was at a funeral last month for a man who was about a decade older than me.  His two daughters spoke at the service.  They both gushed about the father who had raised them.  As one shared memories of how he had parented, she said, and then he gave me wings, the greatest gift he could have given.

In theory, it doesn’t seem that hard.  She has to do all the work, all I have to do is let go.

And yet, what a scary thing to do.

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