Monthly Archives: January 2013

Through The Littlest’s Eyes

The Michael Jordan of basketball.

The Derek Jeter of baseball.

The Peyton Manning of football.

The Jerry Seinfeld of joke telling.

The Alex Trebek of game playing.

The Michael Phelps of swimming.

The Ryan Hall of running.

The Bill Gates of technology.

The Ernest Hemingway of writing.

The Michael Jackson of dancing.

The John Cena of wrestling.

The Bill Walsh of coaching.

The Jon Bon Jovi of singing.

The Isaac Newton of math.

The Guy Fieri of scrambled eggs.

He is all this and more.

He is my Big Brother.

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T.G.I.P.F.

Holding white paper bags in hand, they line the chain-link fence like inmates in the yard. Reaching into their bags, they grab handfuls of freshly-popped, movie-style popcorn, stuffing and shoveling it into their mouths. Hands move quickly, eagerly. Pieces of popcorn escape, littering the ground, sure to delight flocks of crows, but not janitors, over the weekend. Like a hot dog eating contest gone haywire, these third graders consume popcorn at what appears to be record speeds, all so they can hurry and join friends on the playground for Friday afternoon recess.

It is Popcorn Friday.

A couple times a month our elementary school’s PTA puts on the highly-popular Popcorn Friday. Kids bring 25 cents for a bag of fresh popcorn that they get to eat after lunch, but before recess, along the fence that lines the playground.

I witness firsthand the mayhem that ensues as students try to eat their popcorn fast so they can go about the business of playing.

I don’t know if it’s like this every time, or if the weekend’s upcoming full moon puts a particularly wild spin on the events. But never before have I seen so much popcorn consumed so fast.

Perhaps the phenomenon of T.G.I.F isn’t one that’s limited to the workplace.

Maybe it starts for elementary school kids on Popcorn Friday.

I help a friend clean up a bit and count some quarters. One perk: I take a few extra bags home. Later, my 9-year-old sits on the couch, slowly and leisurely eating popcorn as he reads a book.

No stuffing. No shoveling. Just savoring.

T.G.I.P.F.

The feeling is universal.

Happy weekend.

Treasure In The Sand

I took my four-year-old to one of my dad’s favorite Northwest spots, Mukilteo beach, yesterday. My dad would often sit in his chair, gazing out at the ocean, taking in the beauty of the surrounding islands. I often wondered if he was thinking about his Navy days. Or simply admiring the view. Probably a little of both. I’d written my dad a letter a couple years before he died and told him that Mukilteo would be a place that I would always be able to return to, to think of him, feel his presence, and talk to him. Yesterday marked 1 1/2 years since he died—I could think of no better way to spend the sunny, chilly afternoon.

My son and I grabbed a football and some snacks and headed out. As we passed Boeing and began to approach Mukilteo, a thick fog covered the area. We parked near the playground, hopped out of the car and went right for the beach.”It’s so foggy, you can’t see where the ocean ends and the sky begins,” I said to him.

He proceeded to throw some rocks into the water and we listened to the ferry’s foghorn blow. We then hit the playground for some Seahawks-inspired football, where he instructed me to “Go deep.” Soon after, we returned to the beach for some more rock throwing. As he meandered along the shore, I hung back, looking at shells, rocks and seaweed. At one point, I stopped and reached down for a rock that rested right at my feet. It was dark gray and smooth. I picked it up and smiled.

It was shaped like a heart.

Not perfect.

Not symmetrical.

But a heart nonetheless.

It was like an early Valentine in the sand, waiting for me.

I tucked it in my pocket and made my way over to my son, who waged an all-out air attack on the roots of an unsuspecting, washed-up log. Grunting and hurling rocks and pieces of driftwood, he warned an imaginary foe of impending defeat. He uttered some manly “boo-yaas” and continued the walloping.

“Mom, how many rocks do you think are here?” he asked.

“A lot,” I wisely and knowingly replied.

“Like three hundred?”

“Probably,” I answered.

I stood there, smiling as I watched him, clutching the heart-shaped one in my pocket.

He gave one more “boo-yaa” and raised his arms in victory.

Heaven met earth, just like the sky met the sea, and I knew, just knew, that I was loved from above.

The Moving On Part

This is the moving on part.

The part that doesn’t feel so good.

The part that doesn’t feel quite right.

The part where, at times, the emptiness feels like it’s overtaking most of your insides. When you get that painful reminder, like a shot of cold water, that as far as your day-to-day, “parents” is no longer plural.

You don’t feel it all the time. Certainly not when you’re making roast beef sandwiches. Or putting the wiffle ball back on the tee for the 12th time. But when you’re sitting quietly on the couch reflecting on a milestone birthday, listening to the wind whip, feeling the tears glide down your face like the rain on the window, it hits hard. You can’t help but miss the parent whose absence makes the word no longer plural. The two of them went hand in hand, one with the other. It still takes some getting used to, one without the other.

This is the moving on part.

The part that doesn’t feel so good.

The part that doesn’t feel quite right.

But as you relive and replay memories in your head, and the blustery winds continue to blow, you realize that yes, this is the moving on part. But it’s also the part where friends reach out, swoop in, embrace and celebrate that milestone, and—through loving, kindhearted, generous gestures—remind you that even though you’re moving on, you’re not doing it alone.