I made it to half time in the game of life.

19 09 2016

As the horn blew and I stepped off the court and into the locker room, I sighed a sigh of relief.  I made it to halftime.  The big 5-0, didn’t seem so big anymore, I felt like 24, looked a lot older but over all not what I expected at 50.

untitledThe first quarter was everything you would expect.  Young full of energy, no real lows tons of highs.  You are floating, bullet proof and going through school playing games and hanging out with friends.  Yes there are a few let downs like broken bones, sprains, losing a girlfriend or two along the way.  College comes around and  I started to consider…whoa careful there…responsibilities, yikes.  This quarter I play with the same teammates for the most part until the end with a few exceptions. Towards the end of the first quarter I am a full blown man with a career, payments and no summers off, time out needed.  Man that went fast.

Sydney first day 2nd gradeThe second quarter starts fast after a break to catch my breath.  This quarter is completely different.  This one makes the roller coasters at Cedar Point look smooth.  The second quarter is my country song.  You know, you find love, there are kids, the dog dies, the marriage fails, I get really sick, God gives me a rare disorder that tries to kill me ….. in my pick up truck in the pouring rain.  But wait, there are incredible highs too.  Through the rain an angel reaches out to me, one from a long time ago and I find love again in Jenny.  We dry off together and raise my little daughter who in the second quarter is transitioning from daddy’s little girl to an incredibly beautiful young woman.  This is the quarter where we are tested as a family with illnesses, job loss, another puppy goes to heaven, and moving two houses into one.  As a family we embrace our faith and are rewarded with a clean bill of health, a daughter who is embracing her faith and proud of what she does with it for Him and a Sam, he was new, he is a puppy.  We as a family have ramped up our service at school, in church and in our community.  We are looking further down the road with optimism and hope.  As the quarter turns toward half we are once again reminded how precious life is as we lose another loved one in our 14 year old puppy, Lucy.  Lucy came to us early in the second quarter.  As time runs out at half time, I find it is harder to catch my breath than it was in the first quarter and ironically I am surrounded by many of the same people as when we began.  Family and friends.

vl-auction-2016As I embark on the second half, I am calmly confident.  I am surrounded by my family and blessed that my parents and all of my siblings are still with me.  I was lucky in life as my parents gave me a built-in best friend in my twin brother Chris, yes we bicker sometimes, fight like all friends but he is always there for me and I like to think I am there for him.  My wife and daughter are  my anchors that keep me whole, grounded and loved like no other.  So time to snug up the laces and step onto the hardwood the whistle is about to blow.





Growin’ up….or grown up

23 08 2014

As time goes on, I realize just what you me to me. -Chicago

It’s been a pretty normal week leading up to the start of a new school year.  As normal as can be when one of us is a teenage girl who is changing school districts and jumping into the unknown feet first.  As normal as can be when one of us is a middle aged father who is desperately trying to hang on  to his little girl and stop time that seems to jump decades every time he blinks.  As normal as can be with two houses and two sets of parents with different views.

Friday night rolls around and it is orientation night at Valley, our high school of choice.  Orientation will be followed by a lock in at the local YMCA for the whole freshman class.  I can tell Syd the Kid is nervous.  I know because she is short with me and I don’t mean height.  She is also very quiet and doesn’t feel well a combination of nerves and unknown I suspect.  I do my best to keep her mind off things while getting ready.

Kitten has arrived home.  As we all get ready to go she brings out a gift for Sydney.  Jenny had sewn a new comforter for Sydney.  One side was royal blue and white with the Hemlock Husky and the other Navy and Gold with the VLHS Charger logo, very cool.  First smile of the night and I think it made her relax for a few minutes.  Time to go, Jenny asks “What wrong with you?” “my tummy hurts” I reply, damn you nerves.

Orientation goes well, lots of information the children go one way the parents another.  We meet up at the end for a final prayer and to say good night to the kids.  Sydney is so nervous I don’t get a kiss…I’m ok I understand…I don’t get a hug….uh, but that dad over there got one, and that guy there too….I’m ok, I got this, sigh.

5:45am the next morning.  I am not surprised that I am the first parent at the YMCA to pick my daughter up, they get out at 6am.  I over planned the time and calculated in some extra traffic I try to convince  myself, yeah big dumby lots of traffic at 5am on a Saturday morning (my inner voice of reason is screaming “you got to learn to let go”).  6am here she comes with a tired smile and a “hi Daddy, I get the back seat so I can lay down”.  I try to ask and get cut off and we go home.  i wanted to hear about the night and know if she had fun or not.  Nerves, I need a piece of toast.

11:45 am she has been awake for about 15 minutes.  I am busy in the kitchen making her some food so she has the energy to go school shopping today.  “Daddy, come here” I am beckoned.  “Hold on” I  reply “I’m getting you some….” “come here  I want to talk to you” she cuts me off.  Whoa, here we go.  She spent the next half hour or so telling me all the details of the fun and friends she met, the subjects the teacher told them about, the games to meet more friends, the pizza, the swimming, the fight song and more.  We talked about being a teenager and a parent and how important these next four years are and how we….gulp….would be growing together.  We talked about how she was going to have to learn to be more responsible for her time, work and schedule and how she will need to learn to be more independent and we talked about how I need to learn to….let go.  Big Gulp.

She is not a toddler anymore.  She is not a small child anymore.  She is a beautiful, brilliant, funny, unique and precious young lady.  A young lady who taking another big step, painting a new scene on her canvas of life full of vibrant color.  But, she will always be my little girl.  I’m ok, I got this.

Now that your near, promise  your love, that I’ve wanted to share.  And dream of our moments together, color my world with hope of loving you. -Chicago

 





Blink….

6 06 2014

Where did it go?  Time, where did it go.  Seems like yesterday, the blink of an eye.

Freeland, MI September 2006.

Sydney 6 years old AMI“My belly hurts Daddy” moaned Sydney on the big morning of her first day of grade school.  This was the common reaction to a nervous moment in the life of a beautiful budding 6-year-old.  She was barely waist high, cute chubby cheeks, a smile with some missing teeth and still small enough to throw over your shoulder at a moments notice.

We were dressed and ready for school.  Typical for big moments in her life, I had a lump in my throat and honestly my belly hurt a little too, but I kept that to myself.  Off to the big time, all day school, first grade, new adventures.  Hemlock Elementary School, ready or not here we come.  At the schools door kiss kiss, “I love you Daddy”.

 

Sydney first day 2nd grade

 

 

BLINK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney 8th grade jock

Hemlock, MI June 2014.

“I can’ believe your this old” moaned Daddy(Me).  She just shrugged her shoulders “It happens” she said.  Smart kid.  “It went too fast” I replied.  This was the common reaction to a nervous moment in the life of father who doesn’t want his little girl to grow up so fast.  She’s taller than her mother and sister now, long limbs like her father, the beautiful smile of a young lady and I have to put some real effort into throwing her over my shoulder without throwing out my back.

 

We were dressed and ready for school.  Typical for big moments in her life, I had a lump in my throat and a bit of sadness in my
heart(ok pity for myself because my little girl is growing up), but I kept that to myself.  Off to the big time, last day of middle school.  She is receiving an award Sydney Confrimationfrom the school according to the letter we received.  Last day of Hemlock Schools as her next adventure takes her to Valley Lutheran High School.

“Love your buds today ok”? I whisper as the bus approaches, whispered so I don’t choke up.  “Make sure they know this isn’t an end but a new beginning” I try to sound so assuring “we will see lots of them over the summer”.  My big girl’s choice to change schools leaves many questions about staying in touch with her friends from 8 years of school.  A day of mixed emotions I am sure.  As the bus approaches “I love you kid” again whispered, “Love you too Daddy” my princess replies.
8 Years…in the blink of an eye.