Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Poem for Age 40

40 is the new 38

I pause today at 40 to look forward and look back.
I’m not upset with 40. It’s a mathematic fact.
I’ve shed some pale illusions, and I’m trying to slow down.
I’ve put down roots for me and mine in a stout, three-rivered town.
I’m married to the woman I have loved since eighteen years of age.
Forty minus eighteen equals twenty two years with Paige.
My skin has spots like some big cat’s, but I lack a leopard’s fierceness.
Said skin’s unmarred by tattoo ink, intact with zero piercings.
My back acts up, and my knees are sore, especially after hoops night.
By now I know
my second toe
nail will never look right.
I take three pills each morning and another few at night.
I’ve come to fear that my next beard will grow in gray and white.
There’s less hair on my head than there used to be and more on my ears than I care for.
I find I’m too often in some room with no idea what I went there for.
We’re closer today to my younger son’s college commencement than mine.
It’s hard not to take a certain offense at the lightning passage of time.
My twin brother’s better looking, but at this point, I’m stronger.
That makes sense; he’s been forty six whole minutes longer.
I’m raising two young patriots of whom I’m duly proud.
I wonder in the mornings if all patriots are so loud.
Despite eating better and working out lately
I can't seem to get and stay below one eighty.
I sweat from the scalp when I eat something spicy
I stay in at night when the roads are too icy.
High school students look really young;
that’s something that age forty has done.
I’ve lived through eight presidents.
I own my own residence.
No man is a failure who has friends.
I hope making new ones never ends. 

(Gasp. Panting. Out of breath.)

I wouldn't trade my life today for any day that came before.
I'm poised and ready to take on what my forties have in store.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

11 reasons I love and like my 7-year-old

I file this post under the good-gravy-the-start-of-the-school-year-is-busy-and-hard-to-
bedtime birthday cupcakes
adjust-to exception to the timely birthday post rules.  Also, for the math majors, I'm offering 11 reasons I love my 7-year-old because I offered that many when his brother turned 11, and my younger-sister wife felt that posting only 7 for Teddy would be unjust.

1. He hangs on me.  I confess that I only came to see this as a positive only after complaining about it.  Having a 50 pound human drape his weight on me while seated or standing doesn't always feel like an asset.  When I complained to Paige about it, however, after snapping at Teddy to get off me while typing, she said "but he's so bonded to you".  We had a lot of one-on-one time from late 2008 until he went to Kindergarten more than two years later, and it still shows.
2. He's a helper.  From an early age, Teddy's relished opportunities to help - mixing up ingredients, shopping, fetching stuff, carrying things.
3. He has an eagle eye.  It's probably most accurate to say that I admire this quality.  Teddy sees things other people just don't - mostly of the insect variety, but also coins on the ground and punchbuggies.
4. He has a strong, accurate arm.  From the time he could stand up (way before he could catch a ball), Teddy's been able to throw a ball a surprisingly long distance right to a spot.  It's wicked fun. 
5. He feels things so strongly.  Poor kid, he got this one from his dad.  Our main priority as his parents is helping him work with strong feelings - good and bad - and behave decently no matter what they are.  Happy Teddy, though, is incredible company.
6. He draws detailed pictures.  When Teddy undertakes to doodle, he draws complicated scenes with tons of things going on.  When asked, he can narrate the whole deal - e.g. "This guy dropped from the helicopter on his skateboard and went down the ramp and then did a flip off of here and grabbed the club and hit the dragon on the head."
7. Possibly related to his eagle eye, Teddy is very observant.  He's a professional noticer of things, people and patterns and he makes connections between the things that he observes.
8. He is so cute.  He's shed his baby fat, but he still has those big moony eyes and kissable cheeks.
9. He has a younger brother's bulldog spirit.  One of our big challenges as parents of two physical boys is keeping them from fighting, but when I'm not worried about safety or hurt feelings, I admire Teddy's tenacity in taking on his younger brother at every possible competition.  I first saw it when he was about 4 and tackling his 8-year-old brother with surprising ferocity.
10. His tastes are very predictable.  The palate has expanded since this chart, but Teddy's still very easy to menu-plan for: pretzels, provolone, bananas and apple juice satisfy most of his appetites.  It will be satisfying when he gets more adventurous in his tastes, but it's logistically easy to stock a Teddy-friendly pantry.
11.  He believes deeply.  Teddy prays with a sincerity and familiarity with which we should all approach God.