February 21, 2015

I started this post on December 29, 2014. I have returned to it exactly six times since then. The post was originally titled, "New Years Resolutions."
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I'm just going to put it right out in the open, with much trembling and what very well may become a post I return to in a year and laugh at. None the less. For my New Years resolution, I would like to return to some of the habits and hobbies that occupied my life before I had kids. 

Namely, these:

It would be really nice if I could read more books this year. And by more, I mean more than how many I read last year, which was zero. My former readoholic self would literally slap me in the face for this. I had one full day all to myself last year, on June 10, when I spent the day flying from LAX to NYC to IND. During this one day, I managed to read half of The Grapes of Wrath and I loved every page of it and then, sadly, never picked it up again. So this year I would like to some novels.

It would be really nice if we could travel more this year. Since big trips are impractical these days with a newborn and a Kindergartner, I would like to return to some of our old travel habits. Like camping and day trips and hiking excursions and road trips to new landscapes. On the off chance we did spend time in the wilderness last year, the older kids came alive in ways I didn't expect. And if there is anything better than exploring new places, it's doing it with wide eyed kids who are seeing and experiencing for the first time. If I was the kind of person who left sticky notes on the bathroom mirror*, the note for this resolution would tell all of us to Get Out More.

It would be really nice if I could write regularly again. Between 2007 and 2013, I averaged 50 blog posts a year. In 2014, I wrote a total of 5. The writer in me is horrified by this reality. Last year I felt like I was slowly suffocating this deep need in me to create new ideas and tell stories and reflect on the current state of my life and I'm terrified if I keep ignoring this need it may wither away into my past. The family record keeper in me is equally appalled. Where are the pictures from Stella's fifth birthday party? Where are the reflections on Fatherhood? How will 2014 be remembered and stored away without the written and visual record? I am determined to write and post more this year, which means not letting perfect being the enemy of good and being okay with letting posts suddenly end without a proper ending.
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* I'm not that kind of person.

December 27, 2014

It is 64 degrees on Christmas Eve and the sun is on its way down, hoping to clear the horizon before the dinner rush. 

My five ear old has an ear infection, my two year old has a fever and I'm doped up on just enough NyQuil to simultaneously make myself feel better and allow me to take care of the older kids while Kari and the baby hole up in our bedroom. 

The older kids. That little s on the end of kid is just about the best thing I have ever written. Such a telling implication. More than two. 

I feel surprised by VIvian, by her sudden arrival into our family. We spent the better part of a pregnancy doing our best to avoid the subject, ignoring the ball of matter growing on auto pilot. It felt easier that way, like we could just pretend everything was as usual. So we put our heads down and worked and talked about our days and went to bed distracting ourselves from the present and the fear and the possibility of a living baby at the end of the tunnel. And now she is here and SHE IS HERE and I'm cramming nine months of mental and emotional preparation into a few weeks. 

Vivian Lucia. Life and Light.

August 14, 2014

It’s 9:37am. I slept in, which is arguably the best gift I will receive today. Kari whisked the kiddos out of our bed at the headache time of 6:30am. The curtains were left shut, the fan was turned on high and the covers were pulled over my head. There is no better sleep than getting to sleep in, without consequence or guilt, after you become a parent.

Speaking of gifts, I received $30 from my parents, which feels like such a kind gesture when you’re halfway to seventy. I have been wearing socks with holes in them for a solid four months now. There are two pair in which my big toe just slides right out into the open. Another pair has the heel worn out. Some days I have opted to simply go without socks altogether, knowing the callouses that have emerged on the balls of my feet would get me by just fine. And I knew this day would come and I knew my parents would faithfully send me $30, so I waited until now and bought five pair of socks from REI. They are ready to be picked up at the store today. Shipping to my home would have blown out my budget.

Thanks to my sister, I will take Kari out for my birthday, on a proper date, which would actually win the argument for best gift. We will arrive to dinner and have two whole hours before the movie starts. We will converse and eat, at whatever pace suits us. I will dip my fries into a gourmet sauce slowly and defiantly, one at a time, and feel like everything in the world is going to be okay.

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Happy days like today have a sadness about them now. Like the happiness you’re supposed to feel actually accentuates the sadness. As good as dinner and a movie sounds, and as sweet as the drawing is that Stella will no doubt give me, the truth is, I would equally like to skip out on the rest of the day and grab the framed picture of my missing daughter and hold it close and pull the blankets back over my head and cry until it’s no longer my birthday. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to pick up my socks. It’s just different now.

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I feel so lucky to be alive. Thirty-five years is a long, long time to escape death. If there is one gift I could give myself today, I would beg and plead with the universe that my kids and Kari and I could stay alive for a good long while. That would be really nice.

August 6, 2014

What if I just kept a journal, somewhat, from time to time. Maybe that would liven this place up again. I don’t know.

There are birthdays gone missing. She turned five. M turned three. He turned two. There were parties and photos and cake and tears. All undocumented.

We bought a house. We are doing things to it, at least on the outside. There are gardens and chickens and a working furniture studio. My grandfathers garden tools hang on recycled redwood on the outside of the shop. It didn’t take long to make, but I like the way it looks.

Three camping excursions. A trip to Minnesota. A wedding. Eleven thousand cavities.

All of this is missing from the record that I like to keep here.

The funny thing about it is, at some point in the near future, I know I will actually go back through our photos and record some of these events. I will even time stamp them back to when they should have been posted. So in five years, or ten years, or whenever, it will be like they were never even missed.

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Truth is, I haven’t had time.

March 31, 2014

My final short essay for Glow In the Woods, writing about Letting Go. You can go here to read it.

Slideshow