Two For Tuesday

“I got lost, couldn’t find my way, and I guess there’s nothing more to say. Love can make you blind, make you act so strange, but I’m here and here I will stay.” ~Everyday (Phil Collins)

blacktuesdayIt’s Tuesday evening and I’m listening to Phil Collins because his music soothes me, and I have had a long day. I was off from work today, but my children are on their Christmas vacation, so it wasn’t like I could sleep in, or phone it in. Being the primary caregiver during the day takes a lot of hard work, some insane creativity, and the constant possibility of a tantrum I must try to head off at the pass. Today was no exception on all fronts, and I felt like I was run over by a mack truck by the time my wife arrived back from her day at work.

So I’m drinking hot chocolate, listening to Phil Collins, texting my best friend, and trying to figure out the meaning of the universe. Well, yeah, not that last one, but the other ones are true. Maybe eventually I can tackle the meaning of the universe, but for tonight I’m just thinking about me. What are two things I’m especially thankful for this evening, after the day I’ve had? It’s time for Two For Tuesday…

  1. I’m thankful for outlets. No, not the things you plug cords into, but having some kind of outlet when I am filled with emotions. Today Lexi was overwhelmed when her sister wouldn’t stop repeating every word she said, so she had a meltdown and I had to try and come to the rescue. I talked to her about having an outlet to channel the anger we feel throughout the day, how it was what kept me sane as a kid when I had issues and things that tried my patience. I’m not sure if it helped her at the time, but I hope eventually she will look back on our conversation and have a “light bulb” moment.
  2. I’m thankful for people who understand. I know I’m about as scattered as they come. My brain flies from one subject to another and back again, and I’m sometimes hard to follow in conversation, but the people I surround myself with get that about me. They aren’t overwhelmed with all of the overload that comes from being around me, and even though I spend about 1/3rd of my time apologizing for one thing or another they don’t tell me to shut up. I second guess myself enough throughout the course of my day and they’re there for me when I get all emotional.

Which reminds me, I was playing the new Wii U with my kids today, and it reminded me of all the time I spent playing Super Mario Bros. when I was their age, trying my best to rule that game with my sister. It made me smile, and even though two minutes later the one was yelling at the other it gave me a chance to see them interact, and to appreciate that they’ll always have each other. I love that thought.

Sam

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Two For Tuesday

blacktuesdayI just came from a school concert where my daughter belted out some interesting songs just as loudly as all the other third graders, and that is quite the accomplishment because that wasn’t always the case. For some reason the rambunctious rapscallion who calls me daddy somehow transformed into a little mouse when on the public stage. I guess you could call it stage fright, but whatever it was it definitely translated into meekness when in front of a large audience. Not anymore. And I am ecstatic because that means she’s not as self-conscious around others. Step one complete.

Now step two is a bit of a longer process, but it’s okay if she’s never as comfortable in front of an audience as her old man is. I just want her to feel good about being herself, no matter who else is around, and I think I was right around her age when that finally happened for me. It was really just me saying, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and putting it all out there. I saw quite a bit of that tonight from Lexi, and it made my heart full to bursting.

Speaking of things that warm my heart, it’s time for a little Two For Tuesday, where I give thanks for two things that made an impression on me in that given week. Funnily enough more than two special things happened this week that make me smile, but here’s two of them:

1. I’m grateful for timely friends. You know how it is when you’re feeling down and a friend sends you a text out of the blue that just says, “It’s all good.” Even if it’s not all good, just getting that message makes you want to look on the bright side. That’s just what happened this week when I was feeling down, and I can’t say how much I appreciate my friends for knowing those times I need them most.

2. I’m grateful for time with my wife. It’s easy to have what I refer to as “shallow” time, where we just sit here and watch something together, occasionally sharing an anecdote or laugh, but it’s harder to grab hold and change that shallow time into “deep” time. But for the past week we have set aside some deep time every single day, time where we turn off the screen, hold hands, and talk openly about whatever is on our minds. It has reminded me all over again about why I’m so in love with my wife, because I can talk to her about anything and I know she listens and is there for me.

What holds it all together for me is time, I guess you could say. It’s so true that we make time for what’s important to us, and it works both ways. If someone isn’t making time for you then maybe you’re not as important to them as you thought you were. I say don’t waste time on people who won’t make time for you, and appreciate those who want to spend their precious time with you.

Sam

Two For Tuesday

tuesday.001Last Thursday we went on a walk through the neighborhood, me and my daughters, for the first time in a long time. We put on our sneakers one at a time, freshened our smiles, and headed out like conquering heroes. You know, until we met our first unleashed dog. Then we scampered away like mice (really, people should follow the leash law around these parts) and took an alternate route.

We breathed in the fresh air of a village that was just awakening from a long winter’s slumber. It was crisp and clear in our lungs as we rounded corner after corner, meandering as much as anything else from block to block in a relatively circuitous path. Surprisingly there were few others out and about on that glorious afternoon, under the shining sun. They were probably inside like some Ray Bradbury future, all huddled around screens instead of enjoying nature, which was fine by me.

Now, you know I’m not an outdoors type of person, but every once in a while it hits me, that bug, that desire to explore the world around me instead of being a sedentary creature. Not often, but it happens, and I am grateful for it. Here are two other things for which I am grateful:

1. I am grateful for opportunities. I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t always seem to me like opportunities are falling from the sky, but not all opportunities are professional. And while professional opportunities just aren’t coming, personal ones are appearing like woodland creatures in a sunny glade. Just having the chance to spend time with my children is a great opportunity that I treasure more than anything I could possibly do professionally. Just being able to say that I have two books published and another on the way is a great opportunity for me in so many ways, not the least of which is feeling fulfilled as an individual.

2. I am grateful for laughter. Someone a while back said that it was the best medicine, and I tend to agree. Whenever I’m down or feeling depressed something happens to lift my spirits, or someone says something hilarious and I can’t help but fall under the spell. While laughter can be forced, true joy cannot, and laughter spawned from true joy is utterly fantastic, almost magical in its spell. It’s easy to tell the difference when you’re attuned to the glory of that true laughter, in the freedom that lets you just give in to it. From early on I’ve loved watching comedians who are good with the timing of jokes, and that goes for regular folk too. Timing is everything, and the laughs will follow.

Sam

Two For Tuesday

“This simple life, this little wonder, expanding and contracting with each rising of the sun on a new day, makes me appreciate each breath that slides in and out of my lungs, and prepares me for night’s embrace and the start of a new day tomorrow.” ~Theodicus

tuesday2It doesn’t feel like a Tuesday. I mean, usually Tuesdays exude this feeling of accomplishment, like, “Dude, we’re almost halfway through the work week!” or “Man, it’s not Monday anymore!” But not this Tuesday. Maybe it’s because I had a bit of a long weekend, with a family trip capping it off yesterday, so today feels more like a Monday to me. Friday should be extra-special then, eh?

My mom just left yesterday. I took her to the train station in the morning after what was as usual a brief visit, but maybe any visit would be too brief. My children don’t get to spend nearly enough time with their grandmother, so it was good to have her here for four days, but those days went by like the wind and we’re back to our regular routine, like it or not. And part of my regular routine is making sure I dig deep into my soul to come up with more reasons to be grateful. It’s amazing how even the small things seem big when I take time to focus on them instead of dismissing them because they’re always there.

So here are two more:

1. I’m grateful for persistence. It’s not even just my persistence I’m referencing, but my wife’s as well. Ever since we found out Madeline had Down syndrome, and then when Alexa had that collapsed lung scare (and the subsequent surgery), Heidi has been like a dog with a bone finding any and every possible assistance for both girls. Madeline has been getting assistance since she was 6 months old due to this persistence, and just this past week we found out that a special machine that Alexa has been utilizing to help her airway was finally approved by the insurance company. All because of dogged persistence.

2. I’m grateful for blogging capabilities. When I first started writing in the late 80s there weren’t such things as blogs. Hell, there wasn’t even a world wide web that could spit out information faster than I could think of topics from which to search. Everything I wrote was captured in thick notebooks, and scribed with pencil, and I was the only one who ever read any of it. Funnily enough, back then I wondered what it would be like if my writings, my scribblings as it were, ever had more than just an audience of 1. And now, here I am with a readership approaching 2 thousand, all because of this little thing called the blogosphere. All hail WordPress.

I’m listening to David Bowie this afternoon as I wait for the laundry to finish, which does curiously enough feel like a Tuesday activity. Or maybe it’s just an every day activity.

Sam

Two For Tuesday

blacktuesdayDaylight Savings Time never used to mess me up, not really. The change came in fall and I gained an hour, which was cool enough, but then it ended in spring and I lost that hour, which wasn’t cool. Yet it was just a matter of changing clocks before bed on those two Saturday nights. Now most of the clocks change themselves — weird, right? — and my body isn’t shifting well to either one anymore. Two days after the change and I’m still exhausted by 6:30PM and I’m a zombie when I usually get up in the morning.

But I’m not complaining. Not really. It’s just interesting what age does to some of the body’s internal clocks as the wheel in the sky keeps on turning (to borrow a line from Journey). And it’s Tuesday again, the day I’ve taken over in celebration of everything I have to be thankful for. This day is no different, so without any further ado here are two things I’m thankful for today…

1. I’m grateful for surprise inspiration. Last week I followed a writing prompt that had me writing the first few lines of a children’s book, as if I were a children’s book writer. I’ve never written a children’s book before, so I thought it would be interesting to do the prompt, and I posted it on the blog. You can read it here. The response was surprising, with the major one from my sister saying I “had to” write more of the story. So I’ve been doing just that the past couple of days and the story has been evolving at a rapid pace. I’m surprising even myself, which is difficult to do but is happening nonetheless.

2. I’m grateful for iced tea. It makes me think of summertime because when I first got married it was summer and we used to brew iced tea in a big jar out on the front porch. The sun would heat up the tea bag infused water, and I would keep coming back to it and wondering when it would be done. It was an impatient time but it was also wonderful, watching the shadows come in and moving the jar back into the sunlight. Those young days as a married couple were just like that, so warm and comfortable, but also a little impatient for life to keep moving, to grow our little family. I made a huge pitcher of iced tea this week, and even though there isn’t nearly enough sun to do it like we did back then, the stove works wonders as well, and the taste still brings back memories.

Sam

Two For Tuesday

tuesday2“Prayers go up and blessings come down.” ~Yiddish proverb

I’m not religious, but I do believe in blessings, those positive results even when I wasn’t actively looking for them. They happen all the time, and in every place. Some of them have been with me my entire life, and others I discover and marvel at on a daily basis. What I love most about blessings is that they’re personal. They don’t have to affect everyone, but they definitely affect me, which makes them special. And which makes me grateful.

On Tuesdays I will be talking about two of those blessings that make me grateful, whether they be the ones I’ve appreciated forever, or the ones that have just appeared. I want you to think about your blessings too. It feels good to voice them because sometimes we don’t really know they’re there until we give name to them. Here are my two for this week…

1. I’m grateful for competition. I may be a sore loser, but I’m less of a sore loser these days because the people I play against are gracious winners, and even gracious losers. It helps me to lose with more grace myself instead of becoming a seething beast with tears and accusations. Yeah, that guy wasn’t very good to be around, which is why I’m sure others didn’t want to play games with me for a while. Now I appreciate the joy of the battle, win or lose. Most times. Sometimes I still get upset, but I am able to temper it more easily than before. It’s a start.

2. I’m grateful for time with my children. In the afternoons I’m the one who gets the girls off the school bus, and every day we spend at least two hours together, just daddy and daughters. We’ve developed a routine that we follow, and just seeing their little faces light up when they see me is beyond amazing. I love it when Alexa is doing her homework and she asks me a question, then we work it through together. I’m worried about the time when I won’t have the answer, but at least we will figure that out together too when the time comes. Then I work with Madeline on writing her name and matching numbers, words, and pictures. Just being able to understand her more is incredible to me. That time every day is precious to me, more precious than words.

Sam

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