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Happy ‘Do’ Year

Resolution. The word of the new year, the word of now. We are resolving to start anew, set a goal — lose those pounds, finish that project, clear out the clutter. There are so many resolutions.

But what of this word “resolution”? What does it mean? One definition is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” It’s a word of doing, not one of thinking, or musing, or considering. As Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old who finally succeeded on her fifth try to swim from Cuba to Florida, said in her recent TED talk (quoting Socrates): “To be is to do.”

“Resolution” also brings to my mind, at least, the idea of re-solution. Re-solving. The idea of “again.”  Maybe we start an entirely new project, but more than likely we find ourselves staring discontentedly at a familiar picture. Often our impulse is to throw it out and start over completely, but more than likely all we really need to do is add a smidge of color here, take away a shadow there, paint over a few drips. A tweaking.

I know I do this in my own life — I often think I need to wipe the slate clean, approach life with a “whole new attitude,” go for the sea change. I think, I should cook family meals every single night! I should write for an hour every single day! I should take up piano lessons again! Naturally, that’s a setup for failure. Not to mention it just makes me want to go watch “Modern Family.” Besides, what if we actually did achieve these things? Would that really bring us ultimate happiness — or whatever it is we think we’re looking for?

What I’m starting to realize, unexciting as it may be, is that I just need to do things a little differently. Shift slightly. Decide to turn on the oven a couple of times a week. Sit down at the piano instead of walking past it. Bother to craft a good email. Baby steps.

Our resolutions relate to issues we face again and again. And there’s nothing wrong with resolving to “solve” them again and again. That’s really what life is about. Usually, we don’t have a bunch of new problems. We have old ones that are still there. And most of the time, there’s no solution. Instead, it’s a daily struggle. That’s why in disciplines like yoga, or music, or writing — in just about everything — the word “practice” is used. We practice at life. And we do it every day, every hour, every minute. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better.

As the author Eckert Tolle suggests, “Die to the past every moment.”  No matter what has happened in the past, all we truly have is the present. All we have is Now. Every moment presents a chance to “do” and “do” again. All year long, all life long

The keys await… (Maybe if they were cleaner I'd be more likely to play them.)

The keys await… (Maybe if they were cleaner I’d be more likely to play them!)


The F-words

There are a lot of F-words associated with turning 50. First, let’s take the obvious one: F*ck. As in, “F*ck, is this really happening to me?” That thought first flickered in my mind after I turned 49 and started the countdown to the next birthday. Essentially, I had a year to wrap my head around “50.” By the time my birthday came around a couple a weeks ago, I’d been 50 for ages. No big deal.

A second but more important variation of the F-word is the phrase “F*ck it” — the rallying cry of the “50” crowd. It’s basically a license to say you’re going to do what you want to do, regardless of what others think. Yes, there’s a bit of the “When I’m an old woman I shall wear purple” in this. But the truth is, the older you get, the more you become comfortable with being yourself. And if yourself has always wanted to take dance lessons or act in a play or jump out of an airplane, turning 50 is a great excuse to do it.

As it happens, myself decided to go to Disney World. It wasn’t exactly something I’d been dreaming about, but it was something my husband and I had been wanting to check off the family-pilgrimages list for some time, and the timing was right.

Fortunately, I had the “f*ck-it” part down when I told friends what I was doing for my birthday. Many of them looked at me with either incredulity or laughter and quickly followed up with raised-eyebrow comments like, “Who’s idea was that?” or “I can’t think of any place I’d rather go less,” or just a simple, “That sounds awful.”

I have to admit that a part of me completely agreed. Did I really want to spend my 50th birthday tackling crowds and riding roller coasters? But ultimately, I loved the idea of having a memorable trip as a family on my birthday. In fact, “Family” is one of the most important F-words of 50. How could I hit such a milestone and not celebrate with my family?

Furthermore, those two days at Disney embodied another F-word, one that I plan to experience a lot in the future: Fun. It’s impossible to go to Disney World — and the nearby Universal theme park — without having a great time. Not only is it fun to see your own kids having so much fun (my son rode every thrill ride in every theme park, many times over — I think he counted 32 altogether), but you can’t help buying in to the whole schlocky deal. You “ooh” and “aah” at the constantly-changing colors of the lighted Disney castle, you find your competitive mojo during the Toy Story target-shooting ride, you actually choose to go on the Everest Expedition roller coaster three (yes, three) times. There’s a reason, you realize, why people return to Disney again and again: It’s la-la land.

That said, there were a couple of times I took one for the team. At Universal, my daughter really wanted to ride the insane, inversion-filled Hulk roller coaster, insisting she would only go with me. And I really didn’t want to go, preferring to keep my head on my neck. Finally, against my better judgment, I acquiesced, shutting my eyes the entire ride while being jerked left and right, turned upside down and corkscrewed around — hitting, I later learned, 4 G’s. After I got off the ride, and indeed for a few days afterward, I felt like my brain had been split apart and rearranged and the new formation wasn’t quite complete; a few cells were still rattling around in my head, looking for a place to land.

This leads me to another turning-50 F-word: Fuzzy. After two days in Orlando, it was how I was feeling. Unfortunately, my mind has gotten a little fuzzier as I’ve gotten older, and I find myself forgetting incidental things like my good friends’ names and restaurants I’ve recently visited. But, I’m attributing that to the multi-tasking brain we women are so good at nurturing, so I’m going to forget about it (which will be easy.)

Speaking of good friends, I would not be exaggerating to say “Friendship” is the ultimate F-word of 50. My friends provide me with comfort, laughter, commiseration and wisdom. They are the ones I’ve celebrated with as many of us hit five decades together this year, and they’re who I hope to be hanging out with for years to come. My friends help me realize how rich life at 50 really is.

And, they all are associated with the final, impossible-to-ignore F-word: the overused “Fabulous.” It’s hard to quibble with this one, as celebrating oneself as fabulous is certainly in order on any birthday. But there’s an underlying ring of desperation here, as in, “Even though you’re now officially old, you’re also fabulous! Really, you are!” No one says “You’re 20 and fabulous!”

But the flip side is that you can look at yourself amid all the “50 is the new [fill in blank]” comments everyone makes these days and say, “You know, I don’t look that bad and I feel pretty good. And mostly, I’m happy with myself. I’m still learning, trying to be a better parent, a better wife, a better friend — to myself and others. All, in all, I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got.”

So, I say, bring on the fabulousness. Bring on the fun. Bring it all on — and while you’re at it, maybe add a few highlights to cover the gray.

Or maybe not. F*ck it.

The Hulk roller coaster at Universal - with 7 inversions. Yes, I rode this.

The Hulk roller coaster at Universal – with 7 inversions. I rode this, eyes closed.

Van is Still the Man

My husband says when we were dating many years ago as 20-somethings in DC, I informed him, “People in Washington don’t dance.”  I’d love to dispute it, but I know in my then too-cool-for-school-and-beyond mode this was my excuse for not dancing.

I have always been a bit self-conscious when it comes to dancing and marvel at those who can let loose — and look good doing it. I see my son practicing moves in front of the mirror now and think, good for you. I was even too cool for that, back in the day. Oh, I remember dancing in front of the wall of windows in our den when I was a kid, admiring the reflection of my show-bizzy tap and jazz steps, but that was me trying to emulate Ginger Rogers in the movies, not Britney Spears on the dance floor.

So my husband might find it interesting — and my kids mortifying — to hear what happened the other morning when I met up with two friends walking dogs in the neighborhood park. “Tess” was holding an iphone up to her ear, trying to hear Neil Young’s “Til the Morning Comes” that “Dana” was playing. Loving any excuse to hear music or get a recommendation, I leaned in and listened too. Then Dana insisted on playing a Van Morrison song, and for the next 20 or so minutes, we proceeded to walk our dogs around the park, playing music from our iphones and reminiscing about favorite songs from the ‘70s and beyond. Maxine Nightingale’s upbeat “Get Right Back” took us right back, as did the intensity of Kate Bush (“Wuthering Heights”) and Tori Amos (“Cornflake Girl,” from the ’90s).

Eventually, having trouble downloading a song from YouTube, Dana directed us back to her car parked on the street so she could play a CD on her stereo. It all started off benignly enough. We stood on the leafy sidewalk, the car doors flung open, and listened to Morrison’s meditative “Whenever God Shines His Light.” Then she played Elton John’s folky “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy,” which I’d never heard. We were in the mellow singer-songwriter era, hanging out as though at a tiny tailgate party, although the tunes emanating from the auto were so loud that we glanced around for annoyed neighbors.

“Wow, those are some powerful speakers,” Tess remarked. We laughed and looked at each with raised eyebrows.

Suddenly, Dana ducked into the car and cranked up the disco-y “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, and before you could say Studio 54, the three of us were shaking our hips and waving our hands overhead. We boogied on down and showed off our moves as Tess demonstrated a line dance I suspect was her version of the once-ubiquitous “Bus Stop.” (Boy, am I aging myself here.) By now, the dogs had plunked themselves down on the bricks, gazing up at us like kids waiting for their parents to stop socializing at the soccer game.

We ended our impromptu dance party with vows to do it again soon (the Dog-Walking Dance Club?), and I left feeling energized and thankful for my just-nutty-enough friends who could cut loose on a weekday morning amid the towering trees and passing cars. I went home and immediately put on Van Morrison, downloading a few favorite songs I reveled in during college days.

I thought about how it’s so easy to stay wedded to routine, to never veer from the familiar path, to conform to your own notions of yourself. Who could have predicted that when I stepped out on a little jaunt with my dog that morning I would wind up dancing in the streets?

No surprise, Van says it best:

      “When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
      When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this
      When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
      Well my mama told me there’ll be days like this.”
Love these fall days like this...

Love fall days like this…

Music Extra: Two Van songs below!

Tears II: Beyond Sweat

I say I don’t cry often, but then I think about the times I do cry, and it’s mostly when I’m moved by something, not sad about something, and then I think to myself, I actually cry a lot. And in that context, I love crying.

This past Sunday, a friend I’ll call Joan and I ran the 10K race that was part of the Marine Corps Marathon. We weren’t into putting a lot of pressure on ourselves (at least not overtly — that would ruin the “fun”), so therefore hadn’t talked much about the race until that week. We casually agreed that after we finished the race we would find our friend who was running the marathon for the first time and cheer her on.

But I confess that at the end of the 10K, which started on the Mall and ended in Arlington, I was mostly thinking about going home. Not only was I sweaty and getting cold, but it was also my son’s 13th birthday. I was feeling a bit guilty for not being there. Furthermore, how were we going to find our friend along that 26.2-mile route that extended up into Virginia? How would we get there? Once there, how long would we have to wait to see her? Did I mention I was cold? And that I’d ditched my hat before walking out of the house?

Then there was the issue of ultimately getting home. Most of the surrounding streets were closed because of the marathon, and I live more than a few blocks from a metro station. I’d just run 6.2 miles, after all. Instead of shrugging at the idea of more walking, I was balking.

Fortunately there was a Starbucks near the 10K finish line, which is practically where the line to order started. As we waited for a precious latte from surely the most profitable Starbucks on the planet that day, Joan repeatedly dialed our friend’s husband, who wasn’t answering.

Finally, as we started slurping down our hard-won hot drinks, he called. We should go back down to the Mall and catch her around mile 18. Easy, we thought. The Metro was across the street.

Except I was reliving memories from two years ago of large masses of people crowding the Metro entrance. It had been so menacing that my friends and I immediately retreated and started walking across Key Bridge. As Joan and I approached the turnstiles and joined the blob moving slowly down the escalators, I started to sweat again. “Um, I don’t like this,” I murmured, and Joan shot me a serious look. “Are you claustrophobic?”

“Um, uh, just a little…. I’ll be fine.” I forced myself to keep going, to push down dark thoughts of trampling crowds and being trapped underground and just shuffle forward. Once we reached the platform, the crowds thinned and I breathed a bit easier. But then the train arrived, and the blob moved toward the small opening of the doors, and I had this panicky sense of flowing over the top of the funnel — we’re not going to make it! I tried to draft off Joan, who subtly but deliberately pushed her way forward and around others simultaneously. Suddenly, we’d stepped through the doors. We were on the train.

“Wow, that was impressive,” I said.

“I lived in New York. I’ve learned a few tricks.”

On the train we miraculously found ourselves standing right next to one of only two other 10K runners on our “team” — I spied his t-shirt sporting “Team Swab-a-Cheek,”  a nonprofit which helps find matches for bone marrow donation.  We introduced ourselves and laughed in amazement that among 30,000 runners, we ended up right next to each other on the Metro. [Plug: Go get your cheek swabbed and possibly save a life. It’s simple:]

In a few short stops, we found ourselves at the Smithsonian. We made our way to a spot along the route at the Mall, and waited for the husband somewhere in front of us to alert us to our friend’s impending arrival.

In the meantime, we watched. I realized I was not prepared for the show that was playing right before me, for the sheer humanness that was parading by. For the sweat and determination on the faces, the ease with which so many seemed to run, as though they had just begun and hadn’t covered 17 miles, 9.2 more to go…. For the costumes, the clown wig, the full-body green suit. For the signs, the flags, the strollers — a marathoner pushing a child in a stroller! For the cheers of the crowd, the urging on, the “you can do it!” screams around us.

I was not prepared for show of heart. Most moving were those who’d lost a limb or were disabled in some way. The amputee hand-cycling on the recumbent bike flew past me so quickly I barely had time to register what I saw. Fallen comrades’ and lost loved ones’ photos were plastered on passing t-shirts. Panting, out-of-shape runners with causes scribbled on their faces trotted by.

Eventually, we spied our friend approaching, looking energetic with her earbuds in, as we waved and yelled loudly. Suddenly she turned toward us, arms rising up overhead, a wide smile brightening her face. She later said seeing us for that fleeting moment got her through the rest of the race.

The whole scene got to me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Being there amid that crowd of marathoners and cheerleaders, inspired by their strength, will and determination  — it was beyond words. Tears would have to do.

Most amazing marathoners

Most-amazing marathoners


Music Extra!  Great and not-obvious song from my running playlist (“tears” in lyrics!):

“Engine to Turn,” by Tift Merritt. Check it out, below.

Tears I

It’s a cliche to say that crying will get you what you want, but by damned, it sure works for my kids. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child cry. The little mouth starts to quiver, and then the face reddens and eyes water, and before you know it, that gymnastics class that occurs right at the most inconvenient time, during dinner and rush hour, becomes a happy reality for your 10-year-old budding Nadia Comaneci.

What is it about tears? They say “trauma,” “crisis,” “pain.”  Crying is the “there” in “Don’t go there.” I rarely cry — well, except during bad TV and commercials. No, I rarely cry over my own experiences. But the few times I have — in 20 years of marriage I recall a doozy of an argument or two that ended in tears — I almost always end up the victor.

Once I discovered this, I confess to having tried to conjure up tears a couple of times in “disagreements” with my husband just to get to the win, but found that’s harder to do than it looks. I haven’t gone as far as to think of something really sad — I guess that’s what actors do — but now that I’m writing this, even admitting this, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

I’m wondering if my kids are onto this idea as well.

More next week…

No tears here, just a kid being a kid.

No tears here, just a kid being a kid.



In the previous post I described spending many hours making a photo album for my father’s 87th birthday. We presented it to him last weekend during a big family celebration. All in all, it was a huge success. But there was one small glitch that ultimately presented itself as an opportunity for me (once again) to “deal” with imperfection — and my own temper. Not that I expect perfection and niceness all the time, but considering all the effort I’d put into the album, this instance was, in retrospect, pretty, um … funny. (Apologies in advance to my husband, who is an amazing person and not only managed to spend the entire weekend with my family, but actually seemed to enjoy it.)

Here’s the scene: It is lunchtime Friday and my parents have just arrived at the hotel. Since our kids are swimming in the pool and not ready to eat yet, my husband decides to have lunch with my parents in the cafe. Toward the end of this meal, my daughter and I, dry and dressed by now, decide to join them. As I settle into the extra seat at the table, there are smiles and hugs and happiness all around. Then someone — maybe my mother — says something about how my husband has just let my father read what I wrote about him that week — including the part at the beginning where I say we are surprising him with a photo album for his birthday.

As my parents express appreciation for what is essentially a tribute to my father’s values and even temperament, especially as a parent, I can barely keep a lid on my own temper. I just look straight across the table at my husband, as my parents on either side glow and say nice things, none of which I hear because of the steam shooting out of my ears.

I give the “laser look” to my husband, trying not to be too obvious to my dad, seated at my right, so it probably looks like I have a weird tick of smiling to my right, then turning to glare straight ahead at my husband, then smiling right, glaring ahead, smiling, glaring …

My husband throws me a quizzical look like, What is wrong with you?? As my parents chit-chat, I mouth to him, “It was a SURPRISE”… I do that, demonstrably, a couple of more times, as I see it dawning on him what has happened.

“Sorry,” he mouths back.

I am fuming. How could anyone be so mindless? He let my dad read it?? ARGHHHHH!!!

But there is literally nothing I can do except sit there, simmering, try to slap a smile on my face and change the subject. And, of course, talk only to my parents for about 10 minutes and not so much as glance at my husband.

Finally, I shoot him a look, and he looks right back. I can tell I am going to have to suck this one up. His mistake comes from a good place, after all, and my father is behaving as though nothing has happened and he has not just been informed that the family gathering this weekend is essentially for him and that furthermore, there is a surprise gift we all conspired to keep secret from him for weeks.

I keep up light conversation, but inside am still incredulous. I mean, what??? I am going to need some time to calm down. I know this is my husband being sweet, supportive, loving — it’s all good!! Right?? Except I am pissed.

We rise from the table and my mother, also in on the secret, murmurs to me, “Don’t worry, I don’t even think he got it.”

Yeah, right.

My husband and I speak briefly and I say something not very conciliatory like, “I can’t believe you did that,” and then we all walk out of the restaurant. Yeah, I am really proud of my generous and understanding behavior. I know I need to just shake it off and move on.

It takes about a day — in the workout room on the elliptical machine I realize that I’m still ruminating over The Big Slip — but I eventually calm down and am even able to tell myself that maybe it’s a good thing my dad knows about the album. He doesn’t love the limelight, and perhaps this has given him a little time to prepare.

When we finally present him with the album two nights later, he appears to express genuine surprise. And delight.

And my husband and I don’t talk about it again. Oh, there is one moment on the car ride home, when he turns to me out of the blue and says, “By the way, your dad didn’t know anything about the album. It was a complete surprise.”

I say nothing for a few seconds. Tiny vapors waft from my ears. I look back at him.

“Maybe you’re right.”

A dip in the pool might have cooled my temper...

A dip in the pool might have cooled my temper…

Low Boil

I’m in the midst of creating an album of photographs and letters for my Dad’s 87th birthday. As I cull through stacks of prints, I see my father in his youth—a dashing 6-foot-tall, blue-eyed blonde–and in later years, where he maintained his youthful look and more importantly, his lightness and humor. I am reminded of what a rich life he has led, filled with friends who’ve sent along pictures of the myriad trips they’ve take with him and of golf courses they’ve played. There are funny, heartfelt notes, but nothing too sentimental for a guy who doesn’t like to hog the spotlight. In fact, he will probably get pretty embarrassed when we give him this album. He has never wanted a big celebration around his birthday, and we are essentially sneaking this one in, going away for the weekend with the extended family to celebrate several birthdays, not just his.

Mostly, what I’m finding in the pictures are feelings–my own. Yes, I have the perspective of a daughter, second-born but oldest girl of four kids, when I look at these photos, but I’m also seeing them from my perch as a parent.

Parenting an almost-teenage son and twin 10-year-old girls seems for me to be a full-time, 12-hour-a-day job crammed into the hours between 3 p.m. and bedtime, encompassing driving, homework, dinner and all the crises that crop up along the way. When I pick my kids up from school, I try to chat with them, hear about their day, laugh, be relaxed. I’d like to make light of life, the way my dad does. He loves to joke (often cornily), doesn’t lose his temper (really), and is an all-around happy person. It’s very hard to roil him.

For example, I remember once when I was a teenager, my neighborhood friends came knocking on my first-floor window one weeknight after dinner. They were biking down to the convenience store a few blocks away and wanted me to come. I, supposedly doing my homework, agreed, locked my door and turned up my music–inexplicably thinking that would disguise the fact that I was AWOL–and hopped out the window. When I climbed back in a little while later, the first thing my eyes landed on was the open door to my room. Oops. I’d been caught–turns out my music was too loud. I remember sauntering through the den like nothing had happened. My dad just looked up from his newspaper and said, “Sugar, you know you can’t do that. You’re grounded for a week.” He tranquilly went back to his reading. And I was effectively neutralized.

I can’t imagine myself asserting this kind of calm with anyone, much less my soon-to-be-teenage children. In fact, I find myself getting roiled pretty often, even when I’m trying not to. Take yesterday for instance.

I drive my daughter to gymnastics class in rush-hour traffic, taking about 40 minutes round-trip. I pull back into the garage and my phone rings. It’s my son, who is in the house.

“Mom, I forgot my vocabulary book at school and really need it for homework that’s due tomorrow.”

“Fine,” I say. “I’m already in the car in the garage. Just come out and we’ll head up there.” I am thinking, let’s just get this over with. It’s the beginning of seventh grade, so do the kid a favor.

He emerges from the back door, his sister close behind.

“Can I come?” she says. “I don’t want to be in the house by myself!”

“Fine, just hurry,” I say. She climbs in barefooted. I am calm, my pulse normal.

We head up to school in what turns out to be crawling traffic–oh right, rush hour–and what normally takes 15 minutes takes 30. My heart beats a bit faster. Once we arrive, the security guard unlocks the doors, lets my son in, we wait a little bit, and he runs back out. There is no vocab book in his hand.

“Did you find it?” I say steadily, hoping illogically there is some explanation other than that he didn’t.

“No,” he says simply. “It must be in my backpack.” He closes the car door.

“At home.” I again say grimly, eyeing him squarely. I can feel my neck muscles start to strain.

“Um, yeah.” He looks down. “I could have sworn I left it at school.”

“So you didn’t even check your backpack before you called me?” My voice is higher and I’m starting to feel hot.

“Mom, I swear, I didn’t think it was in there!” He gives me a sideways glance and looks away. I know he is contrite.

Tamping down the tiny voice telling me to keep it together, I jump straight to the list of grievances:

“I’ve driven all the way back here and it’s taking up a lot of time and your sister is sitting here in the car and hasn’t been doing her homework and now I need to get home and feed you both and then go get your other sister from gymnastics and rush home to get you all to bed on time and Daddy’s out tonight and now you’ve got to finish your homework so good luck making THAT happen and this isn’t exactly how I need to be spending my time right now!!” I take a breath. I’ve said enough.

“Plus, I need to take a shower!!”

“I get it, Mom! I’m sorry.” Now he looks at me squarely.

“No electronics at all this weekend,” I say with finality. There.

“OK, Mom. I understand.” He is now perfectly calm, even calmer than before. “I get it. I’m really sorry.”

“No electronics. No computer, no i-touch. Nothing at all!” I am toast.

“I know, I know.” What he knows is that now he is in complete control.

Just stop, I tell myself. But that’s the hardest part–just stopping. What do you do after that? Turn on the radio and start singing?

I manage to restrain myself, and when we arrive home, my son goes immediately to his backpack and pulls out his vocab book. I just shake my head slightly and head to “make” dinner (code for leftovers).

I think now about how my father would have handled that situation. Granted, he didn’t have to face the daily after-school routine–that was my mother’s job, and yes, I’m sure she got frustrated–but if he had, he probably wouldn’t have said much. He would have put an expression of veiled disgust on his face–his pulse unchanged–and if it had been me in my son’s shoes, I would have felt really, really awful.

Sometimes no words are more effective than any at all. Maybe I should have given my son a chance to reflect on his actions and feel guilty on his own. Maybe I should have then asked him how his actions affected others and what the consequences for him should be. Maybe I should never have driven him back to school.

Today I came across an essay I wrote years ago for a graduate school application. It made me wonder what I can do that would inspire my kids to write about me the way I wrote about my father:

“As I grow older and reflect upon what factors have influenced my decisions, ideas from particular authors and classes from certain professors come to mind. But it is the people who put into daily practice values upon which others only reflect that serve as the examples I wish to follow. My father claims first place among the people I admire most for the simple reason that I have never seen him contradict in deed what he has put forth in words. I have learned more from my father’s mere presence than from any sermon delivered on a Sunday morning.”

I guess that’s my answer. Whatever my father did, he would have done it with conviction, kept his word, and most of all, reacted in a way that his children could ultimately (even if years later) admire. To that, all I can say is, there’s always next time.

Plus, I better make sure that computer stays off this weekend.