Life Isn’t A Hallmark Moment

At some point today during a scroll through Facebook I found a post about National Cancer Survivor’s Day – which I somehow thought was in June (it is).  The post was one of those copy and paste to status, so no telling when it was actually written.  But it made me think – we’re all kind of cancer survivors (at least in my house) and life isn’t a hallmark moment to be commemorated like that.

Hallmark as a euphemism for many industries – creates days and events (Santa Claus and  Valentine’s Day are the two that leap to mind first) that we commemorate and sometimes even celebrate.

I’m not sure cancer fits into that mold.

A good friend of mine and someone I’ve worked with for the last eight years or more recently beat cancer.  He and his family should celebrate that accomplishment and cherish all that life has to offer.

In the same way my friend is a survivor – I think the girls and I are survivors too.  We not only survive – but thrive in the world after Risa passed away from cancer.  In fact – I even consider the 12 years Risa battled (and beat) cancer as surviving.

I don’t think any of us think of life as a Hallmark moment – instead we embrace every day and celebrate the day for all we can accomplish and use it to prepare for tomorrow.

So let the first Sunday of June, National Cancer Survivor’s Day, be another day to celebrate the battle we all do with cancer (and all of the other diseases) and save the Hallmark moments for times you want to cherish.

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Six Years Later – The Snow Day

Through the magic of Facebook, I was reminded this week about some updates made in years gone by about snow days.  As near as I can tell I’ve written about them for six years.  Now six years later the snow day is a little different.

It’s been a while since I wrote here – not that there’s nothing going on.  Maybe its the opposite and too much is going on and getting to the end of the day and then writing just doesn’t happen.  Today wasn’t too different, except during this snow day – I took time to think about the changes in six years.

Flashback to when the girls were 10 and eight.  Snow days were much different.  The day was very hands on.  There was likely a trip to someone’s house (or having someone over), there was the juggle of trying to do work and keep the girls entertained and there was the sense that the day would never end.

Six years later the snow day is much different.  Today really started last night after 14.5 finished her tennis.  I dropped her at her friend’s house with a vague plan of how and when I would pick her up.  16.5 was home all day doing homework and working on prep for upcoming ACT and SAT tests.

I spent the day quietly working (I think I had eight calls and a constant email flow) and making a big pan of lasagna for the next couple of weeks.  Completely hands off to my kids for the day – other than cutting off some lasagna for dinner.

Six years later, the snow day is really another day – it would be nice if the girls were at school, but we all went about it.

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Savor and Appreciate

death of a friendFor a couple of weeks now a story that many of my friends know about has haunted me – but I really haven’t talked about its impact on me.  (For anyone who knows me, they know that is not a surprise at all).  One of the reasons I have not spoken much about the sudden death of a friend from my childhood is because I could not figure out what was so upsetting to me about it – then I realized that doesn’t matter.  The take away is to savor and appreciate what we have because it all goes by quickly.

Gabe Selig and I were never super close.  We were friends through grade school and into high school.  He grew up for the most part across the street from my grandmother’s house.  We shared many classes together, had mutual friends and later in life at a few chance meetings in the city shared some beers.

Gabe collapsed and died playing ultimate frisbee with a team he belonged to about two weeks ago.

When I first saw the postings on Facebook I thought it was a joke of sorts – Gabe announcing his retirement from frisbee.  Then as the tributes to Gabe rolled in, I realized it was not a joke – someone my age in relatively good (at least appearance wise) health suddenly dropped dead.

There are lots of images from my past of those exact moments – maybe this conjured some of those up.  Maybe the fact that I’m closer to 50 than anything else has me wondering about what my life will be like in five or 10 years.  Or maybe its a sign to savor and appreciate what you have now – and focus on the good things in life because there’s no telling what tomorrow holds.

I wasn’t there that Sunday when Gabe collapsed on a field – and it took more than a week before I was able to find details to what occurred that day.  I was watching the pictures Gabe shared from the frisbee event that weekend as they flipped by on my Facebook timeline.

I know all too well – from my father, to my grandfather, to my brother, to my wife that life moves at its own pace and its own path – maybe the lesson though is to savor and appreciate the moment….

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Remembering a Friend

Judy Martin (1965-2014)Today my friend Judy Martin would have turned 50.  Certainly a milestone moment for anyone – instead of preparing for a celebration of her birth, many who knew Judy are remembering a friend who lost their life a year ago.

Many remember Judy in the way she went about life – finding the best in people.  For me, Judy helped me realize there was time to breath and enjoy life.  So Judy, as we mark what would have been your 50th birthday, and a year since you passed, I’ll take a moment today to look about and just breathe.

As time goes by, we remember people who are no longer in our lives in different ways, but I hope I’ve learned how to remember the pieces of people that made them special-and pay tribute them everyday.

Stop today, remember a friend – and breathe.

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Being Able to Step Back

foot stepsThe words of warning are well-intentioned I know, and kind of redundant.  As a single parent of a now 13.5 year old and an 11-year-old I’ll have two girls in the teens together.  Yeah, they warn of the teen years (especially for girls), as of now my strategy to survival is being able to take a step back.

Right now it’s more the case with the older than the younger, there is a lot of feeling out to see just how far she can go – and at the same time some clinging to make sure she stays safe.  I fully know this will change over the next few years.

As she tries to branch out, I try to let her do it and explore the world around her.  I cherish the moments she decides to cling to her childhood and just hang – but I also want her to be independent and able to be out in the world.

Being able to step back though is not quite as easy as it sounds.  You have to be willing to live with mistakes and lessons.  Being able to step back means giving up some control so she can get out and explore the world.

Friday I went to pick her up after school at a friend’s house to find her there with her friend and a boy.  The plan was they were going to go out to dinner with a third girl and all come back to my house.  This would have been the first boy (minus the kids in the neighborhood) coming over.

Today its a trip to the mall with a friend with a friend.  We don’t live close enough for two 13 year old’s to make it to the mall on their own.  The friend’s mother is driving them there and will likely be in the mall.  I fully expect the two of them to venture off and go make up shopping or something like that.

At this moment I ask myself if I did my job to prepare her for this.  Did I show her how to be aware of her surroundings?  Can she find her way from end to end?  I think yes, but we’ll find out.

With a deep breath today I find myself being able to step back….

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You Just Never Know

Sometimes you just never knowOne of the things I’ve mostly accepted about the way my life goes is, you just never know.  There are times when life is good, and a seemingly random thing triggers a memory or thought and like Yogi Berra once said, its deja vu all over again.

The most recent example of life handing out some you just never know moments was this weekend.  We were busy.  Saturday was a long day of swimming, bouncing around and then yummy dinner.  Sunday we did a Octoberfest.  So there was a lot going on.  From time to time as people do today, I clicked over to see what was going on in Facebook world.


It turns out last weekend was the bachelorette party for one of Risa’s best friends from college.  I knew she was getting married.  I even knew the wedding was coming up.

What I didn’t expect though was to take some time to look at the pictures and think about Risa, and how she would have been there.  It wasn’t a moment that dampened the weekend, but a moment that came out of nowhere.  You just never know when that moment will come.

I dropped a note to Risa’s friend to let her know, and I think she appreciated it.  She even reminded me of another of life’s moments I had forgotten about.  At our wedding, Risa did not toss the bouquet to the single women.  Instead she handed the bouquet to her friend telling her she was the next to be married.

I would guess it took a little longer than planned, but now she is getting married and I am sure Risa would be thrilled.

Bring it on.  You can’t prepare of these moments, you just never know.

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Looking For Problems Where They May Not Exist

In my never-ending quest to over-think as much as I can, the puzzle I am working on lately involves 9.5 and one of her best friends.  The friend is the youngest child in a nice family that live here in town.  The girls have been in the same class several times and have gotten very close over the years.

Now the problem.  9.5 goes to her friend’s house often, sometimes many times per week.  The friend almost never leaves the house. The few times she’s been here or at a mutual friend’s house she seems uncomfortable.  When she’s in her house she’s a very personable nine-and-change girl.

So the conundrum.  My younger daughter loves the sleep over, and her friend’s house is a welcome abode to her.  The family is great, very solid people.

But still, I can’t help but think there is something more than a little amiss here.

Here is the problem.  By and large I urge the girls to choose their friends and try to stay out of how they manage their relationships with their friends.  (There are a few who will attest to the poor job I do managing my own relationships).  So, while I want to encourage 9.5 to spend time with her friends, I am growing increasingly uneasy with the amount of time she is spending with this one particular friend.

Now for the over-thinking.  I am looking for the near perfect solution to this-assuming 9.5’s friend is not going to change.  I need 9.5 to want to move her from the almost every weekend group of friends to the I’ll call sometimes group.  But it’s a delicate line, and I am not sure how to walk it.

Anyone have any insights they want to share here? As of now, I don’t have a great plan but would love to figure one out.

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The Lessons Learned on a Sunday Bike Ride

It was an eye-opening bike ride late this morning when 9.0 and I set out for a short ride with her friend from across the street.  The differences between boys and girls became pretty clear.

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Back From Vacation

So Much To Do After VacationWow, there are more people who read this blog than I though.  I was on vacation for a few days which doubled as a friend’s wedding.  I came home to a bunch of email and Facebook notes asking if everything is OK.

First, thanks to all who asked, all is well and the girls are doing great.

Second, some updates coming likely over the weekend since it will probably take me the rest of the day today to finish catching up from vacation.  For someone over-connected like me, being unplugged was nice, but unintentional, so I have a lot to catch up on.

More on the vacation, the girls, camp and everything else over the weekend and into next week.

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