Yeah, It’s All About Dad

claires

Walking through a shopping mall today with my two boys, I just stopped in my tracks and peered into a Claire’s store.  After staring into the haven of trinkets for young girls for just a few seconds, I sped ahead to catch up with the boys.

“I kind of miss going into Claire’s on every mall trip with your sisters.”

Macy and Maddie are 18 & 20 now.  Maddie is away at college five hours to the northeast.  Her sister is four hours to the south, graduating from college in April and preparing for a wedding in September.

But in those few seconds in front of Claire’s, I was taken back in time.  Following two little bright-eyed girls around the displays, patiently waiting while they chose their treasures of the day.  Bracelets, earrings, Hello Kitty wallets, wooden jewelry bins covered in butterflies.

“Thank you daddy!”

Somewhere in another part of the mall, their mother would have been searching for a new Power Rangers action figure for an energetic and excited little brother.

Somehow, quite a few Power Rangers action figures have survived the passage of time and remain stored in assorted bins around our home.  I’m sure that few items remain from the trips to Claire’s.  Simple memories stick around though.

Our trip to the mall today was just an effort to get out of the house.  Doing something just for the sake of doing something together.  That something turned out to be the new Power Rangers movie.  So we met up with my wife and a friend to watch it together (I don’t think Power Rangers was their first movie choice…….or second).  I had these strange thoughts as the movie progressed:

“I’m not one to enjoy or waste my time with mindless entertainment, but I’m loving this movie (and I have this sinking feeling that I am the only one of our five that doesn’t think this movie is horrible).”

power rangers

Kal is 11 and the family movie critic.  He loved it and his 17 year-old brother did too.  Their mother even loved it.  But for me it was more than a movie.  It was a trip down memory lane.  Jumping up to run around the room to loudly sing the Power Rangers Dino Thunder theme song to the dismay of my whole family.  Driving around the state for our girls travel soccer games with a flip down TV monitor displaying a Power Rangers marathon for all in the back seats (the girls wouldn’t admit it, but they couldn’t help watching too).

So tonight, stuck in a strange mood, and missing our girls, I’m just thankful for happy memories of little things.  Thankful that I have memories that make me smile instead of regrets that bring sorrow.

For parents, when the time comes when our kids are no longer under our roofs, some things just seem to come into clearer view.  What we did well.  Where we came up short.  I won’t talk about what an amazing mother my wife is, because that’s just a foregone conclusion.  But I will share some truth about little things that dads can do to have an amazing impact on the lives of their children.

  1. Be physically present.  Our kids should never entertain the idea that they are less important than our jobs, our golf game, our fishing trips, or our workout schedule. Don’t underestimate the value (when schedules allow it) of being there when they wake up or go to bed, along with the value of attending as many school functions, recitals, and sporting events as possible.
  2. Be mentally present.  Look your kids in the eye when they speak and listen as if it’s the most important thing that’s ever been spoken.  Get your nose out of your smartphone or laptop and interact with your kids.  You only get one chance to raise your kids, don’t miss it (no regrets).
  3.  Be emotionally present.   Most of the time, guys aren’t exactly gifted in the area of saying the right thing (especially when our daughters become teenagers).  But thankfully, frequent hugs and pats on the shoulder are a valuable and acceptable substitute.  
  4. Choose your words wisely.  Kids are guided less by the instructions that we give them than they are by the manner in which we speak to and about others.  The way we speak to and about their mother (even if she’s not your wife) is so vital.

     5. Make memories.  Doesn’t have to be an expensive trip or adventure.  It just has         to be a shared experience.  Shared experiences build relationships.  Kids need           good relationships with their dads.  Watch a ballgame.  Go grocery shopping.             Go fishing. Play video games or board games.  Read books to your little ones.

Just be there.  When I read stories of American cities with annual homicides over 800 and shootings over 3,600 it makes me wonder………………

No, I’m not wondering if we have too many guns or what our government can do to swing things in the other direction.  I’m wondering how many of these shooters spent time in Claire’s with their dad and how many of their dads can name more than one Power Rangers series (Dino Thunder was my favorite).  Probably not too many.

It’s pretty simple stuff.  Hey dads, your kids need you.  Be the best dad you can be.  Start today…………maybe with a simple prayer,

“Lord, help me to be the best daddy I can be, and guide me to raise this child in a way that’s pleasing to You.”

I’ll bet you can change the world!

 

 

It’s Complicated

A Syrian refugee holding his son and daughter breaks out in tears of joy after arriving on the shore of the island of Kos in Greece.

Some questions have more than one correct answer.  Not every problem offers a simple solution.  For example, the ongoing debate surrounding Donald Trump’s executive order concerning refugees from certain nations.

Compassion vs. caution.  I’ve heard and read passionate arguments from both sides.  I tend to agree with them all.  Caution is good.  Compassion is obviously good.  But when it comes to a wise balance of the two, that’s where the wheels come off.

I’ve picked up just a few hitchhikers over the years.  Shouldn’t we all feel bad for the guy walking down the highway on a 10 degree day?  Sure.  But it’s always a risk.  The unknown.  But in the cases where I have given a ride to strangers, I never did so when I had my wife or children with me.  Why?  It’s one thing to choose to take risks for yourself.  It’s quite another to dive into the unknown and assume risk for others.  This is the problem that faces leaders of the USA.  How much risk is too much risk.  How much compassion is simply not enough?  Who can we trust when so many levels of “certainty” seem to exist.

My uneducated opinion is that Obama downplayed the potential risk involved in admitting refugees, and Trump simply undervalues compassion.  We are a nation made up of people who unquestionably have different views about how to properly balance the two.  But at the same time, people with opposing views mostly want the same things.  We want a safe country, safe from terror attacks.  And we want to do what we can to ease human suffering, especially in cases where the matter has an urgency to it, as it does in Syria. We just have different ideas about how to achieve these things.  Balance.

Some people lean toward the side of compassion.  Some people lean toward the side of safety.  I’m thankful to be surrounded by both types of people.  People care.  That’s a good thing.

I wouldn’t tell someone that they’re a bad person or a bad Christian for not being in 100% agreement with me on a stance of taking in as many refugees as possible.  I wouldn’t call someone a hate-monger if their position was that we should severely limit immigration from certain nations.

I’ve heard it said that the life of one American doesn’t have more value than the life of a person from another nation.  For an individual, especially for a follower of Christ, this is true.  But when it comes to our government, nothing can be further from the truth.  When we reach a time when our government doesn’t value our lives above the lives of those in other countries, then we may cease to have a country.

In the book, “All the Gallant Men”, USS Arizona crewman Donald Stratton recounts the horrors he witnessed and endured during and after the Pearl Harbor attack.  As his memoirs were put to paper 75 years later (at the age of 95, one of four living USS Arizona survivors), great attention was given to a burning question:

uss-arizona

“What could we, as a nation, have done to prevent this terrible tragedy?”

Obviously, refugees aren’t the Japanese army.  But it does raise the point of the overwhelming responsibility of government to protect its people from danger, both seen and unseen.

How many people have looked for ways to blame our government for the Sept 11 terror attacks?  “They should have prevented it.”  I don’t buy that.  From the heartache, the conspiracy theories, and blame game arises a great need to learn from the past.

sept-11-flag

You can’t foresee every danger.  Every catastrophe cannot be prevented, but we have to do everything in our power to see that certain things never happen again.  We can’t downplay the presence of evil or of the hatred that exists toward our country.

I’m not saying we should let in zero refugees.  I’m not saying we should let in 2 million. But I am saying that some things are worth taking the time to get it right.  It’s a matter that’s worthy of swift movement, but diligence in our actions cannot be sacrificed for the sake of fear of inconveniencing a few.

“Never forget” really does mean “never forget” for some.

My hope is for a nation that’s safe.  My hope is for a nation that cares about humanity.  I don’t really know the best way to pull that off.  Maybe a good start would be for a lot of folks to stop pretending like they have all the answers.  They don’t.  When you take a look at the big picture…………

It’s complicated.

I

Trading Poop For Sh*t!

poop shoe

 

I owe some people an apology.  Early on in this ongoing bowel movement that has been the presidential election of 2016, I spoke freely and openly about the idiocy of Bernie Sanders and socialism in general.  At the time, I really didn’t grasp that some of my adult friends would actually be voting for Bernie in the primary.  Looking back now, I realize that my remarks probably gave the impression of calling people stupid for supporting Bernie.  For that I apologize.  My intent is almost always to be critical of thoughts and ideas without being overly critical of those who buy into them.  But I know it doesn’t always come across that way.  I apologize.

I’ve followed along pretty closely through the primaries, with hopes of a candidate with true conservative values winning the Republican nomination.  Maybe someone who possesses wisdom, integrity, honesty.  Someone who understands the dangers of an ever-expanding federal government and the exponential rise of the nanny state.  Gee, maybe even just someone who has genuine leadership skills.  Someone that will be a president even for those who didn’t vote for them.  That just didn’t materialize.

Before our eight years of Obama, I was never overly concerned with who out president was. My main concern has generally been for what Americans believe and not so much for who our supposed leader is.  But it is now my belief that no American president has ever done a more masterful job of negatively influencing the thinking of an upcoming generation and effectively silencing and shaming dissenters.

From Obama’s ongoing narratives, racial division has been re-ignited and disrespect for law enforcement has been energized.  Climate change is a new religion.  Work ethic steadily dies along with personal responsibility, as he pushes for equal results under the disguise of equal opportunity.  Affordable care act has basically made healthcare more affordable only for those who aren’t paying for it anyway.  The “everybody deserves” movement has never had so much momentum.  It’s probably safe to say that no president ever has done more to lay the groundwork for outright socialism (Obama and Hillary both love socialism, but only Bernie has the courage to call it what it is).  So yes, my attention level has risen.

So where does that leave conservatives?  Between Hillary and Trump, it may be a race between socialism and free markets.  That’s enough to make me vote for Trump, almost.  I don’t feel it’s necessary to hash out a laundry list of what I don’t like about Hillary (being conservative should explain why I could NEVER vote for Clinton).  Suffice to say that both candidates face a continuous onslaught of negative publicity, simply because that is the true path their life has taken and the malodorous trail that is left behind.  Plenty of folks have done a fine job of laying out a case for not voting for either one of them.  Yeah, I get that loud and clear.

Can I vote for Trump?  At times I thought I could, simply because of what I was voting against.  I was undecided until today.

I don’t say this to get others to follow along.  And I certainly don’t want to present my position as the right position or one that Christians should take.  But I have a feeling that many others feel the same as I do.  Unsure.

I have 10 & 16 year-old sons.  I care deeply what the United States of our future looks like. I care deeply what our younger generation believes in and where they lay their hope and their trust. My hope is that they place their trust is Jesus Christ as a savior who gives them hope, strength, and guidance.  I have a family to raise and a family business to run…..no matter who is president.  And regardless of who our nation’s leader is, I can use my life and my words to make an impact for Christ.  We don’t need a perfect environment to practice Christianity or to raise our family in God-honoring ways.  We don’t need an intrusion-free business climate to keep the doors open and keep the bills paid.

Yes it’s wise to be informed and concerned.  But I refuse to resort to hand-wringing about who our next leader is.  I refuse to buy into the perspective of “we’re doomed if _____ wins.”  Maybe for Christians, we’re not doomed, but we are seriously distracted from the life that God desires for us when we allow ourselves to become overly distraught about election results.  Again, I’m not trying to shame anyone for a level of passion that they may have reached.  I’m just telling people where I landed.

As a business man, I’m thankful that I don’t conduct business and treat people the way Trump has a history of doing.  And as women, I’m just forever grateful that my wife and daughters are polar opposites of the person that Hillary is.

But still, I could vote against Hillary and vote for Trump.

Except that I have two daughters of voting age (18 & 20).  And if they ask me who they should vote for, I could not with good conscience tell them to vote for Trump. But they didn’t even ask me.  And perhaps that is the deciding factor that speaks loudest of all.  My girls spend their time in the Bible seeking God’s direction in their life instead of following the biased hysteria of CNN, Fox News, and social media.  They are more concerned with God than they are about political and economic circumstances.  Pretty sure my wife feels the same way. I’m following their lead.

For all you folks that have done such a fine job telling the world why we shouldn’t vote for either, I commend you for a job well done.  You win.  I will vote for neither.

Like a good friend of mine has always said when left with choosing between two bad options………..

“You’re just trading poop for sh*t.”

In the end, you can choose to call your prized pile of manure something else.  But it still stinks.

Don’t bother telling me I have to choose one.  No, I don’t.

Mister Magoo and a Dose of Gratitude

magoo

I rushed out the door with my son Kal one fall morning, trying to get him to school on time.  As I started down the hill of our leaf-covered driveway, I sensed that something just wasn’t right with my vision.  It took entirely too long to realize that a lens had popped out of my glasses.  Driving with one good eye and one bad eye seemed to be more dangerous than simply removing my glasses.

Kal always took his morning flag-raising duties seriously.  I didn’t want to make him late.  There was no time to go back and find the missing lens.  I took my glasses off and drove on.  “Dad, can you even see without your glasses?”  Actually I couldn’t see well at all.  But I knew the route well, and I could at least make out images of large things like cars.

As a kid I never really understood if Mister Magoo was actually blind, or if he just couldn’t see.  I knew he caused a lot of cartoon chaos behind the wheel of his car, but I was pretty sure he never caused any real harm.  So I drove on.  “Yeah Kal, I can see good enough.”

After dropping Kal off at school, I drove back towards our home to hopefully recover my missing lens.  I knew there were only about two million freshly fallen leaves covering our driveway, and I was pretty sure the lens was somewhere in the middle of them.

My mind wandered as I realized how poor my vision had suddenly become and how I was struggling just to drive.  Thoughts drifted back to a time nearly twenty years ago.  Sobering memories rushed in of a time when my heart was full of gratitude.

I remember so plainly becoming a father for the first time.  The feelings of awe.  Experiencing in the most powerful way just how loving and awesome God truly is.  And getting a new glimpse of how small and powerless I am.

Those first times walking the floor at all hours of the night with a crying baby.  Feeling helpless as to what I was doing, unable to console our crying bundle of joy.  Singing, whispering, talking, and trying anything to get our firstborn Macy to stop crying and go back to sleep.

And praying. “Thank you Lord for this precious child.  Thank you that I have legs to walk, to carry her across this floor.  Thank you that I have ears to hear her cries.  Thank you that I have arms and hands to hold her.  Thank you for the privilege of being her daddy.  Thank you for this roof over our heads and food to eat.  And thank you that I HAVE EYES TO SEE this precious child.

But something happened to that grateful heart over time.  With child #2, #3, and #4, those constant feelings of parental uncertainty and fear diminished with experience, knowledge and lessons learned along the way.  I suppose routine and comfort tend to nudge away that feeling of closeness to and dependence on God that we feel in times of fear and uncertainty.  And I guess that life can become so full that we are so busy worshiping God’s blessings that we fail to honor the One who provided them.

It turns out that my missing lens was in the seat of my truck the whole time.  As I was popping it back into the frame, it became obvious what a lousy “blessing counter” I had become.

Psalm 107:1

For most of the past year I’ve struggled with a variety of small health problems that have made life……..just different.  Things that I’m used to doing or want to do, I simply can’t do them right now.  The phrase that comes into play often is, “it’s all relative.”

I can’t run, but I can walk.  I can’t use my right arm well, but I can use my left arm well (just not with skill).  I have pain, but I’m just uncomfortable and not miserable.  I struggle terribly with sleep, but I have a real mattress in a home with heating and air conditioning. I know where my next meal is coming from.  And I know Jesus as my savior.  Shame on me if I utter complaints.

 

It’s all relative.  I don’t have problems, I have inconveniences and disruptions.  If I allow myself to complain about what I can’t do instead of being thankful for the things that I can do, I risk crushing the spirit of a grateful heart.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
I still don’t know if Magoo was totally blind.  But I do know that we often choose not to see.  Give thanks.  A grateful heart see clearly what God has done.  And it can open our eyes to a broken world that we simply aren’t the center of.
Count.  Give thanks.  Love.  Take action.

 

The Strong-Willed Child Goes To College

maddie2

Disobedient.  Disruptive.  Defiant.  And sometimes downright mean.  These words all described what was then our chaos producing middle child Maddie as a two and three year-old.  At a loss for how to deal with it, I resorted to outside help in a couple of books; James Dobson’s “The Strong-Willed Child” and Kevin Leman’s “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.”

I’m not really sure if the books were helpful or not.  She might have just grown out of it. But I am sure that those who know Maddie today find it hard to believe that she absorbed more tongue-lashings and doses of swift and immediate correction than her three siblings combined.

A few weeks back, I was talking to a friend whose oldest son and Maddie’s classmate was departing for college soon.  He shared with me the same uneasy feelings that my wife and I had stumbled through two years ago when our oldest daughter went away.  I told him that it would be easier for both of us when the time came for our second oldest children to go away.

I was wrong.

My theory was that I had seemingly done more life with Maddie than I had with her older sister Macy.  As things worked out, I managed to coach Maddie’s youth soccer, Upward basketball, middle school basketball, and even help with her travel soccer team.  We had been through the battles together and seen the best and worst of each other.  I firmly believed that it wouldn’t be difficult to send her away.

For all the ways that Macy had taken after her dad with a quiet and laid back personality, Maddie seemed to mirror her mother’s strength and determination.  There would be no need to worry about Maddie or a struggle to let go.

But something changed in the days leading up to her departure for Taylor University (5 hours away).  When I was alone in my office each day with my thoughts, surrounded by pictures of our kids from birth to present day, I cried.  Some days worse than others.

I cried because I know the feeling her absence from our home will bring.  But mostly I cried tears of joy and gratitude.  She IS like her mother.  Her faith in God IS strong.  Our 17 year-old daughter is going away and I have zero fear for her ability to make good decisions.  I am grateful.

maddie goes to college

Move-in day came.  Her mother and I accompanied her to a few orientation type events and meals around the Taylor campus.  I remained mostly quiet in the background, trying to study the looks on Maddie’s face and gauge her state of mind.

My thoughts drifted back in time more than once.  I saw Maddie once again as an undersized 7th grade basketball player with a big heart.

 

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Maddie stood nervously at the free throw line, ready to shoot, .2 seconds showing on the clock, with her team trailing by one point.  She’d already missed the first free throw.  When our opponent called a timeout after the miss, I explained to her that they had called the timeout just to freak her out a little more.  At this point I wasn’t a coach, but I was just Maddie’s dad offering assurance to my daughter, “Sis, it will be great if you make it.  It’s no big deal if you miss.  Just relax.”  Truthfully, she probably hit about 15% of her free throws on the year because she simply lacked the strength to get the ball to the rim.  As she returned to the line to make her attempt to send the game to overtime, I positioned myself standing in front of the bench so that she could see me if she glanced my way.  Fear and uncertainty showed on her face as the referee bounced the ball to her.  Everything about her body language screamed “what if I miss?”

She did look my way before her she shot.  “Hit or miss, it will be alright”, I could only hope she could understand that just from the look on her dad’s face.

As I walked across the Taylor campus with Maddie, I finally had to ask the question, “Well sis, do you think you’re gonna do alright here?”

Her answer was a simple, “Uh yeah.”  But the look on her face said it all.  “I’ll be alright.”

Second free throw goes in.  We win in overtime.

Gone today is the defiance and disobedience of her early years.  But the strong will lives on and plays out in her faith.  Maddie believes in herself.  She is strong, determined, and caring like her mother.

She’s in a great place.  Her dad is grateful.  And grateful for homemade cards:

dads glasses

“Thank you for making me stronger.  Thank you for making me think. Thank you for showing me how to love and live through the eyes of Jesus.”  –Maddie Shay

I cried today also.  But I’ll be alright.

 

 

 

 

Men Are Just Stupid Sometimes

DSC00637

Yeah, I’m a basketball coach again.  Sure, I’ll do it.  Maybe I trust God to get me through the situations He leads me into.  But maybe I worship the idol of self-reliance.

Yeah, there’s a backstory.  There was a period of about a year of feeling as physically bad as I ever had in my 48 years.  Many many headaches, lack of focus and energy, minor bouts with anxiety and depression.  The fight in me was gone.

“You’ll feel better if you get into an exercise routine”.  No, this wasn’t the voice of my marathon running wife.  This was my inner voice beating me with proven truth.  So I started lifting weights and running on the treadmill.  About 2 weeks into an actual routine, I started experiencing neck pain.  But I continued to workout (because men are stupid).  My wife noticed my discomfort as I ran on the treadmill one night.  I told her, “it hurts when I run.”

“Don’t run!”   Good idea.  World of exercise was done.

Pain worsened.  Problems from an old neck/spinal problem sent steady pain to my shoulder and arm.  Sleep became more difficult.

Next problem.  Family vacation.  I only take one full week off each year, and dangit I’m gonna fish nonstop from the beach while I’m there.  Cast after cast, many with 12 and 14ft rods, made things worse.  Sleep became very difficult.  I could no longer lay flat in a bed.  Pain worsened.  But I continued to fish, continued to cast (because men are stupid).  My son and I were gonna haul in something big, even if it killed me.

Upon returning to work I have been too prideful to ask others to help me with things that I am used to doing myself (because men are stupid).

One month later, I still can’t lay flat in a bed.  Sleep comes 30 minutes at a time sitting upright, and usually tops out at 4 hours a night.

Almost 3 weeks ago, I started another tour as a middle school girls basketball coach.  Working 45-50 hours a week, plus spending 3-6 hours in the gym each night, sleeping 3-4 hours, and trying to keep young ladies excited about the game of basketball……….I was scared.

“I can’t do this”.  My inner voice returned.  The pain was constant.  My movements became limited.  My doctor and therapy visits didn’t promise any relief in the immediate future.

I struggled mentally, focusing on the things that I wasn’t able to do.  I was no help around the house.  I felt like a 100 year-old man raising a 10 year-old son.  The idol of self-sufficiency was apparent even if I hadn’t struggled with living for achievement.

But the prayers were constant too.  I received texts from my wife, “I’m praying for you right now.” I knew that others were praying also.  I don’t know exactly what they prayed for.

I’m certainly not healed today.  The pain remains a constant.  But my perspective sure shifted in a hurry.

About a week into practice, I could see clearly that I am coaching a group of young ladies that will be a joy to coach.  A feeling of peace seemed to arrive so suddenly coupled with the thought of, “this is where you’re supposed to be, this is what you’re supposed to be doing”  (yes, my inner voice talks a lot).

And I soon realized that there’s a big difference in being uncomfortable and being miserable.  Yes, I’m uncomfortable all the time, but I’m not miserable.  Headaches are miserable.  I’ve gone the longest period in my life without having one.

When God leads us to the mountain, He will also lead us over the mountain.  He provides a way.

It’s all relative.  Sure, I could be better.  But I can see clearly now that I could be much worse.  Seems pretty lame to complain about discomfort when I look at the physical problems and the absolute heartbreak of others.  My eyes have been opened.

Maybe others have prayed for healing for me.  But maybe God just wanted me to not be so stupid and whiny.  And maybe He desires for me to be more compassionate toward the suffering and struggles of others.  I’m getting there.

We don’t feel the need to change if we don’t feel broken.  We don’t ask for help when we fool ourselves into believing we can do it all on our own.

Text from Kristy today, “How you feelin dear?”

“Hurting and overloaded, but in good spirits.”

Answered prayers.  By His strength and not my own.

I’m not quite as stupid as I was yesterday.  Trying to absorb those lessons in humility, trust, and surrender.

I’m not afraid anymore.

 

A Boy, His Dog, and Being Strong For Mom

mom and kal

Kal loves his dogs.  He’d rather chase his dogs and roll around in the grass or dirt with them than any other outside activity.

kal and zee

We had a small household tragedy as Kal’s 6 month old German Shepard mix pup was run over by a car and died a quick, merciful death.

pippen

As Kristy and I were assessing the dog’s condition and chances of survival, Kal walked hesitantly up to us. The typical emotions of a 10 year-old boy that loves his pup were evident- fear, blame, anger, and extreme sadness.

“Is he gonna live?”

My reply of , “no buddy he’s not gonna make it” brought him instantly to point of being distraught. But as he raised his arms in horror, and just before the tears began to flow, something amazing happened. He realized that his mother was hurting worse than him…..because she was the unfortunate driver when the pup darted under the wheels of the SUV, and because she was overwhelmed with concern for her boy.

Her tears flowed freely, “Oh buddy, I’m sooo sorry”. Kal’s previous emotions disappeared in an instant, as the strongest of feelings took over; a son’s love for and desire to protect his mother. His posture and facial expression immediately changed, even before the first tear was shed. He hugged and patted on his mom and assured her,

“It’s ok mom, these things happen. It was an accident”.

In an instant he became a big boy and revealed feelings, instincts, and maturity that I would have previously told you weren’t even present in him.

Later in the evening when I asked him if he was ok, he simply replied,

“Yeah, as long as mom’s ok, then I’m ok”.

Two of life’s most powerful forces on display. A mother’s love for her child, and a son’s love for and desire to protect his mom.

A sad night, but a blessed one.