It’s Just a Number

This post is a couple of weeks overdue, but life happens sometimes, right? And more likely than not, given how little I pursue my birthday as an event – it probably has something to do with it.  But I am now 50.  AARP eligible.  But when I think about it, being 50 is just a number.

I know a bunch of people – my peers from high school and other walks of life – who have seen turning 50 this year as a watershed moment.  A time to take stock and do a self assessment.  But when I think about it – 50, it’s just a number still.

I look at life as full of milestone moments – if you’re heads up and looking ahead those moments of assessment and self scoring should be ongoing.

What would happen if I hit 50 and suddenly realized my life lacked meaning?  I suppose that’s where the mid-life crisis is born.  But that’s not me.

Physically, with the exception of a cranky hip I’m feeling better than I have in a long time.

Emotionally, I think I’m in better shape than I’ve been in for a while as well.

My kids are doing well – in school, in life and in general.

My career is going in the right direction

So what do I have to look back at and decide I need to restart? I don’t think anything – but that’s through the lens of looking ahead – and staying at a high level of keeping my eyes on the goals of my kids, my life and my choices.

Not to say I would never want a do-over on something here or there – but there’s no need to wait half a century and try to unring the bells.  A friend of mine posted on Facebook this morning a great link about being wiling to say, “I need to start again,” and it’s exactly right.

So 50, it’s just a number.  Now it’s 50 and a couple of weeks.

Related Posts:

He, She, They an App Review

He She They App ReviewWatch any gathering of young kids (I’m talking three-year olds or so) with their parents, and you’ll see kids with phones or devices – normally belonging to their parents.  But these kids are able to easily navigate the devices and launch the apps within.  I don’t bemoan this twist of technology.  Like reading to your child it’s a learning opportunity, and there are apps for that.  One of them is He, She, They, and this is a single dad app review.

The altruistic part.  The app is a $1.99 purchase from iTunes or Google Play with money from each purchase going to Autism Speaks, and since this is Autism Awareness Month, not a bad time to make the purchase.

The app, as its name suggests is designed to help kids understand the pronouns he, she and they.  It’s designed by some folks who have been working in the speech therapy field for years and has a pretty cool user interface.

The app launches in landscape on device and you swipe images into buckets broken down by “He” “She” and “They.”  One of the nice things about this app that many of the other educational apps don’t have is the game within a game.  After some correct matches balloons launch and you can try to pop them.

Another nice aspect to the app is there are three levels, so your $1.99 can go a little further – and you can watch your child master the key pronouns.

The teachers who helped design the app had kids on the lower end of the cognitive scale in mind.  But once your child is able to differentiate words, its a nice app to cement the proper use of these pronouns.

The graphics are crisp, and there are subtle changes in the experience each time.  It’s not just “nice job.”  There is also “way to go” and “thumbs up” mixed in, which will help drive engagement with the app, and enhance the learning opportunities.

So, yeah, your child can sell another farm or line up three diamonds – but with He, She, They they’ll learn something too.  A single dad app review.

Related Posts:

Kids Club of Single Parent Homes

Travis Hamonic and my girls in the Islanders locker room.  Post game Oct. 19

Travis Hamonic and my girls in the Islanders locker room. Post game Oct. 19

Although it’s not a club my girls asked to join, the same it’s not one I asked to join when I was seven-the Kids Club of Single Parent Homes is something I have in common with my girls.  Last night they had the chance to meet Travis Hamonic of the New York Islanders, and he shared him membership in that club as well.

Through Camp Good Grief and other places, my girls know they are not alone.  But I think hearing from as 13.5 called him “a famous person” that they are not alone had to help.

It wasn’t lost on me, and I hope not on girls the circumstance.

Background first:  For the last few seasons on the Islanders, Hamonic has invited children who have lost a parent to be his guest at a game.  As he shared with the girls last night, he lost his father suddenly to a heart attack when he was 10 years old.

Support Dad the Single Guy’s Cupid Undie Run in January 2014

Last night after a tough loss on the ice, and increased playing time during the game, Travis came out and cheerfully greeted the girls and took us all back into the locker room for a tour.  For more than half an hour we chatted about hockey, growing up, his dog named Bauer after his old equipment contract and other things.  In the trainers room, we saw Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas doing their post game routine.  In the hallway he wished Brock Nelson well in his game at Bridgeport today, “We’ll see you Monday Nelly,” was the indication that Nelson was loaned to the minors.

Then in the locker room we sat and talked some.  Travis told my girls the story of how he watched his father die when he was 10 and the impact it had on him.  His mother took him to an NHL game in Winnipeg two weeks later and supported her son on his odyssey through junior hockey and to the NHL.

I hope the take away for the girls is that there is nothing holding them back and they are not alone.

They each left with an autographed hockey stick, signed hockey jersey and a memory few other will have – and I hope a message that will come up as they look back every now and then and resonate for a while.

(Special thanks to Travis Hamonic, Ann Rina and the New York Islanders for making all of this happen for my girls).


Related Posts:

Chopping Away

Venturing to where no relationship (of mine) has gone in the past (although it’s a relatively small sample size), Health Club Girl and I did a meeting of our children a few days ago.  In not so unusual circumstance for me, I tried to read up on best practices and get some insight from others who had trodden down this path.

Unfortunately, most of the advice out there was pretty bad.  So, HCG and I went with heart and tried to make it fun and easy for the kids.  The upside is we had success.

First off, timing wise, HCG and I seemed based on blog reading and family pundit “experts” to be doing this early.  It felt like the right time though, so we decided to head down the path.

Rather than simply putting the kids together to play or sit down to dinner, we made it interactive and were able to include a shared passion we have and involve all four of our kids.

Since we both like to cook and are both self-proclaimed foodies, HCG and I staged a modified episode of the Food Network show Chopped with our kids.  First the four girls descended upon a local food store to buy four ingredients that would be in our “Chopped basket.”  She and I would then have 10 minutes to pick up staples we would use along with other pantry items already in her kitchen.

HCG and I sat down in a market cafe while the girls shopped with my credit card.  They came back with 1.5 pounds of scallops for each of us to cook.  Two jars each of apple-banana baby food, two artichokes and a box of oyster crackers.

After HCG and I did some quick shopping we hit the kitchen with our older girls (hers 13.5 and mine 12) as our sous chefs.  The younger girls decided to play together and relax-which was fine, no pressure.

At the end of the night, HCG won with a scallop and pasta dish, edging out my pan-fried scallops and bacon.  The side dishes I think is what won it for her-but in the end, the awkward part of our girls knowing one another was finished.  The night ended sitting around a table at a local ice cream place with all the girls deep into bowls of ice cream and toppings.

Win all the way around.

Related Posts:

Eloquently Aging?

Back in the day, and the problem is I can remember it pretty well, come nine or ten at night, and I was just getting ready to head out.  Now even with a chance to go and have some fun, there’s no will to get it done.

Both girls are having sleep overs tonight at different friends’ houses.  One downside is, 10.5 waited until 845 tonight to tell me about her plans.  8.5 at least let me know at 7.

So here I am ready to lead a bachelor’s life tonight-and pretty much all I want to do is sip some scotch and call it a night.

Now, I suppose I should be happy to have that opportunity-to turn a ball game on put my feet up and not have anyone asking me for anything.

Still, I can look back at the days of revving up right about now and heading out.  Maybe I should go make a Boardy Barn run just to prove I can still do it.  But I won’t.  Instead, I will sit here and eloquently age another night away.

Related Posts: