Monthly Archives: September 2015

This is My 40

A couple weeks ago I did a triathlon. It wasn’t a very long triathlon, and I wouldn’t exactly say I trained for it, but it was my first and only tri of 2015. A year ago I was preparing to go to Arizona to complete an Ironman, but this year a lot happened…school, sickness, recovery. Like I said, it wasn’t a very long tri (.75 swim, 18 bike, 5 run) but it included my only open water swim since Tempe Town Lake last November.

The NEMO tri (which stands for Northeast Missouri) was one that I had been contemplating for the better part of a year. You see, it’s the one and only tri my mom has ever done. She did it when she was my age, on the cusp of 40. And she did it with my dad on the course. He was the runner of his team, but he was there.

So, a couple Saturdays ago, Brian and I made the drive over to Columbia, then north to the small town we grew up in. I only lived there for 5 years of my youth, Brian’s family is still there. I’ve only been back a handful of times since I moved away in 1989 but the memories are still as fresh as ever.

We rolled into town a few minutes before the athlete meeting at the Thompson Center was supposed to start, but I figured I could get checked in and get my biked checked before. As we approached the building, that from the outside looked exactly the same as it had 26 years ago, the memories started flooding back. Memories of my first ever mile race that ended in that parking lot, I ran 7 minutes flat. What I would give to still be able to do that!

We walked through the doors, the set up had changed, but as we walked toward the stairs, I stopped suddenly and pointed to the exact spot where my dad bought me a Mickey Mantle baseball card well over half my life ago.

We walked down stairs and into the main hallway. To the right were the racketball courts where my parents were playing wally-ball the day my brother fell off the jungle gym in our back yard and I had to call them to come home so he could get stitches over his eye. Eventually, we walked into the big gym, which didn’t seem nearly as huge as I remembered, but I had spent hours shooting baskets as a pre-teen.

I signed my waiver and got my packet, which we took to the car in exchange for my bike and helmet. We went back to the gym, got my stickered that it was approved for racing before returning it to the rack on the car. We still had a few minutes before the meeting, so we grabbed a seat and watched the other athletes shuffling in.

Brian said, “That guy has been the director here forever.” I turned and looked to see who he was talking about. And a name I hadn’t said in almost 3 decades, instantly rolled off my tongue. “Dan Martin”, a person who was instrumental in encouraging my love of running at the ripe old age of 9. I guarantee he is the one who handed my first trophy at my first 5k all those years ago.

We sat there looking around and I’m quite sure Brian could tell I was trying to hold the tears at bay as I said, “I didn’t expect it to be this emotional…”

We sat through the meeting and waited to say a quick hello to Dan, who had been trying to figure out why I looked so familiar. “You look exactly like your mom the last time I saw her!” It’s true, people say it all the time. Even our voices are the same. Even my dad couldn’t tell us apart on the phone.

Before we headed to Brian’s parents’ house we drove out to Thousand Hills State Park so I could preview the course a bit. I remembered the huge hill I was going to have to climb immediately after mounting the bike, but I wanted to see if my memory was correct. As we pulled into the park, we came to the playground. Some of the equipment was different, but them memories were still there. We parked and found the little trail that leads to the “cave”. We walked down the hill and found it. I loved that cave as a kid. I used to walk down there and imagine myself an explorer, like I was the first one who found it. I’m sure every other kid who grew up there did the exact same thing. B and I read the names that were written all over the rocks, looking for people we knew. Then we made our way back up the hill to the car and drove over to the transition area/finish that was already set up in anticipation of the next morning.

Yes, that hill was pretty much exactly what I remembered. It was a doozy. All of the hills were. I felt my nerves flare up in my stomach a little, but I told myself not to worry about it until tomorrow.

We left the park and drove past where Leo’s roller rink had been, I spent so many Friday nights there skating to the sounds of Madonna and Phil Collins. My first kiss was there in the coat area. We used to make “suicides” mixing all the different flavors from the soda machine. And we ate giant dill pickles. I had my own skates that I carried in a purple skate case, with a care bear keychain.

We spent the evening with Brian’s family. I had promised Silas I would take pictures of the baby cows for him. We grilled and ate chicken and pork chops. Brian pulled out some old school projects and we went through them seeing who all I remembered from his school days before I came to Kirksville Upper Elementary. Which has since been renamed Ray Miller Upper Elementary, for my principal and outstanding basketball coach. Brian’s sister came over with her kiddos for a while. We turned on the Michigan State football game and one by one everyone started turning in for the night. I organized my race gear and I managed to stay up long enough to see my Spartans win it against Oregon.

Then I climbed into bed and turned out the light in the room where Brian had slept as a kid. Funny, if you had told me then where I would be now, I don’t really know what I would have thought.

The alarm went off at 5:25 am. But I had already been awake off and on for a while. I rolled out of bed and started getting ready. Brian poured me some coffee in the kitchen. I made a peanut butter sandwich and grabbed a banana. We loaded up the car and by 6am we were on our way to the course. It was in the 50’s, but the air didn’t feel as cool as I expected. We got to the park, I got my body markings, set up my bike and the rest of my gear in transition. I debated about whether or not to wear my wetsuit and ultimately decided against it, as I always do, but second guessed my decision until I didn’t have a choice anymore.

Brian and I were sitting in the car to stay warm and relax since I still had plenty of time until I had to get on the shuttle to the swim start. He could tell I was nervous. He put a hand to my cheek.

I’ve done an Ironman. Why in the world am I so nervous about THIS?!

The truth is, I was scared. I was scared of how much it would hurt, of how hard that hill would be. I was scared of being weak, of overdoing it and ending up in the hospital again. I was scared of not honoring my memories of this place well.

I knew there were only 3 people in my age group, so all I had to do was finish and I was pretty much guaranteed a spot on the podium. But that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to earn it.

Eventually it was time to go. I had been talking to the girls who were set up in transition next to me, and I decided to follow them to the shuttle. I gave B a quick kiss and said I would see him after the swim. Turns out one of the girls I was talking to, is the wife of an old friend of Brian’s.

I rode the shuttle over to the beach. I found a few other non-wetsuit-wearers and hung around them. Turns out, one of those guys is a friend of Brian’s sister who she had mentioned the night before. I took it as a good omen that I was meeting people I had some sort of connection to. It calmed me.

I waded into the water. The sun was up now and the air was hovering around 60 degrees, but the water was 74 so it felt like getting into a bath. I acclimated to the water. They shot the cannon sending off the individual men. Then they gave the rest of us a countdown, and 3 minutes later we were underway.

I knew once I got going some of the anxiety would dissipate. It did. I’m still not a fast swimmer, but this time I felt like a swimmer. I had predicted 30 minutes for myself. I just kept breathing when I needed to and making my way from one buoy to the next. At one point, I took a breath and I could see a row of cabins on the hill. The same cabins that the whole Jacobs side had rented for a week one summer. Memories flooding back. Keep breathing, keep swimming. And finally, Dan helped me out of the water in almost exactly 30 minutes. I ran towards T1, waved to Brian, shoved half a banana in my mouth and the other half in my pocket, then got on my bike to tackle that hill. I actually passed a couple people on my way up. I don’t know why I stress about hills, if there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m a climber. I rode past the playground and thought about that cave. I thought about how far I’ve come since my younger days there. And I kept peddling.

We rode out of the park and at the 9 mile mark, we turned around and rode back. I continued to pass people, mostly on the uphills. When we got back into the park, I had to go down that massive hill. I think I’m more afraid of going down than up. Steve in particular likes to tease me about how I ride my brakes going down steep hills. When I got to the bottom, I saw B as I passed. I said hi, he looked surprised to see me there already. I had finished the bike about 10 minutes faster than I anticipated.

I racked my bike, ditched my helmet, changed shoes and headed out for the run. The 2.5 miles out were almost entirely uphill. I knew I had to keep my heart rate under control. I ran past those cabins again and then onto a brand new paved path through the woods. It was tough, but beautiful. Finally after the turn around, there was one more short up hill and then the rest of the way was pretty much downhill to the finish. I was almost done. I had done a good job of finding balance between pushing myself hard, but not so hard I ended up back in a hospital bed. Just before I got to the finish I saw B and made silly faces for the camera. Then I cruised into the finish and it was done. I felt good. I felt really good. I kept saying I was surprised at how good I felt.  I was tired, but not totally wrecked.

I had hoped to finish in under 2:45. I was surprised to learn that I finished in 2:24 and change, and earned myself 2nd place for females 40-44. During awards, Dan called me up and presented me with a NEMO pint glass along with the others. Memories of years before at the forefront of my mind.

“Lindsey, you’ve done this race before, right?” He said into the microphone.

“Nope. My mom did. 25 years ago.”

And she earned a 2nd place age group finish as well. Keeping it in the family.

It was a great race. Everything went exactly as you would hope. The weather was perfect. No flat tires. It was just an all-around great day.

I had a tough time coming back to reality in the Lou after that trip to the ‘Ville. I found myself wanting to go back to Kirksville, 1985, when life was just being a 10 year old kid, riding bikes, building forts, trading baseball cards and playing kickball. But I finally had a break through the other day when I dusted off my Mizunos and hit the trails in Castlewood, for the first time since Berryman. Without even realizing that I hadn’t dumped the sand out of them since the race that made me so sick, I had been avoiding the woods ever since that day in May.

But this is how I know that I did myself proud at NEMO. I was scared, but the only way I would really have been weak or not honored my memories well, is if I had let the fear stop me from getting out there and trying. We fall down, we get banged up.  Life isn’t always kickball and baseball cards, but I will take advantage of those opportunities as they come, even if I get a scraped knee and need a Band-Aid once in a while. And, well, if this is what 40 looks like, then I’m in for a pretty good ride.

Coming into the finish of my 7min/mile

Coming into the finish of my 7min/mile



Just Call Us…The Comeback Kids

Not all comebacks are created equal. They don’t all look alike and they don’t always lead you back to exactly where you were. But they do all have one thing in common. Every comeback requires that when you get knocked down, or fall down, you have to get back up again and keep going.

You might remember my friend Katherine that was in a really horrible bike crash back in April, we weren’t sure if she would make it. And if she did, we weren’t sure what the damage would be. A mere two or three days after she got out of the hospital, I was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and Pyelonephritis that went septic (that basically means the infection got in my blood and was trying to kill me).

This summer didn’t look at all like last summer for me or Katherine. Last summer, I was training for my first (and only for the foreseeable future) Ironman. By the end of last summer Katherine had qualified for the Ironman World Championships and was preparing to compete in Kona. This summer, for both of us, workouts were considerably less intense. Not that I am comparing myself to Katherine on any level, her accident was completely different from my illness, they left very different scars. But we were both brought back to zero for a while where triathlons are concerned.

On Saturday, I made a comeback, of sorts. Before I got sick I had signed up to be on a relay team of 6 people to run 82 miles. At the time, I had confidence in my abilities. 13ish miles in one day, sure, no problem. But as September 6 edged closer and closer, I wasn’t completely sure what I would be capable of. I gave my friends an opportunity to find a replacement if they wanted since I was the obvious weak link of the group. They assured me that despite my lack of speed they still wanted me on the team. And so, for the first time ever in my life, I asked for the shortest, easiest legs of the race. I knew what I was capable of, and I knew it wasn’t much.

As we started watching the 10 day weather forecast, we all hoped that there would be a major cold front to come in and push summer’s last efforts out of the way. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so we were left to deal with 95 degrees, humidity and sun, which made the “feels like” temperature somewhere in the low hundreds, as we made our way from Creve Coeur to Hermann, MO. This had me a little (a little meaning A LOT) worried. I didn’t want to end up in the hospital again. No more IV’s for this girl this year, thank you very much.

When we got to the starting area, I immediately thought I was in some kind of a sick joke. It was awesome to see so many familiar faces, but with our start time being the last of many waves between 4am and 8am, I wondered what I was doing with all the fastest people I knew. My mileage this summer has been low, and my speed has been even lower. And yet, there I was with lots of speedy peeps.

I was the #2 runner, so I was glad to be getting my first leg out of the way early. I was set to go just before 8:30am, before the heat of the day, for about 4 miles. However, that first leg was 99% in direct sun. No shade. It was brutal. As I finally made my way across the Highway 364 bridge to the exchange point, the very last runner to start this leg caught up to me. We handed off our bracelets and the exchange volunteer said to me, “Are you the last one?” I responded, “Yeah, I think so.”

I was so glad to be done running. That was hot. And the reality that it would be even hotter when I had to run again 4 hours later was not super exciting.

As the race wore on, it did warm up even more. We all took care of each other, having bottles of cold water waiting as a runner would come in to an exchange, a bag of ice, sponges soaked in cold water to squeeze over our heads, salt tablets, whatever we needed. We worried when we didn’t see our runner in the anticipated amount of time listed on Angie’s spreadsheet. But I’m happy to report, we all made it to each exchange without anything catastrophic to report.

My other two legs were even less eventful that the first. They were both on sections of the Katy Trail, both 90% shaded and I even began passing runners from some of the slower teams that had started hours before us. We strolled into the finish line in Hermann around 7:30pm where they had brats, sauerkraut and beer waiting for us.

Despite the heat and my lack of training, it was a fantastic way to make a comeback. I wasn’t really racing as much as just being at a very sweaty party with a whole bunch of great people, who happened to be running. I saw lots of friends throughout the day, and I made some new friends along the way. My team was awesome and I genuinely appreciated their support to get me through my return to “competitive” running. It wasn’t pretty and I have no idea if I will ever be truly competitive ever again, but it got me back into the community I love. And somehow we managed to finish 6th out of 49 teams in our open/mixed division. It certainly wasn’t due to my speed, but this “down time” in training, if that’s what you call it, has reminded me that I am so much more than just a runner. To all of you who shared Saturday with me, especially the CRABS, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

As I mentioned earlier, not all comebacks look the same. I’ve never had a guest writer here, but there is a first time for everything. And the timing of this couldn’t be better. I read a post from Katherine earlier today and it oozed the essence of RRG and all that I want this blog to be. With her permission, I’d like to share it. Her life looks a little different now after her accident, but she continues to inspire all those around her, in any and all circumstances. I couldn’t be more proud to call this girl my friend and I am thankful for her perspective.

So without further ado, here is Katherine’s comeback…

Thanks for all the bday wishes. I’m so grateful for being able to celebrate another bday. Here’s why, in the form of an update.

.               September 8, 2015 at 9:12am

I believe that there are things to the be grateful for in every situation. My severe bike crash that occurred at the end of April is no exception. I am, of course, so deeply grateful to have survived. Not only did I survive, but I made it through with all of my faculties and body intact. I’ve been able to return to what I consider the most important parts of my life: being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a physician.

What I am not able to return to at this time is competitive triathlon and endurance sports. As a result of my accident, my amazing team of doctors discovered that I may be at a slightly higher than normal risk of a cardiac arrhythmia at this time. Based on the risk:benefit ratio of another severe and potentially fatal accident occurring at this time, I have decided to walk away from racing for awhile.

I’ll admit that it hasn’t been easy. My athletic hopes and dreams for 2015 and 2016 have been shattered. There were 6 races that I was registered for this year, all of which I have officially withdrawn from. The 3 biggest ones were ITU Olympic-distance triathlon Nationals in Milwaukee, the ITU World Championships (which I qualified for at Nationals last year), and Ironman Louisville. The ITU World Championships in particular were a dream come true. I was so looking forward to proudly donning my Team USA uniform in a race which just happens to be in my hometown of Chicago this year. I was then planning to race in Ironman Louisville where I was hoping to try to earn a repeat spot at the starting line in Kona.

I envisioned 2016 as being my peak year in endurance sports, a field in which women tend to peak in their early 40s. 2016 was going to be The Year, after which I was planning to transition to ultra-distance runs and shorter distance triathlons. 2016 was supposed to include Boston and Big Sur (my favorite marathon in the world followed in less than a week by a marathon that I’ve always dreamed of running). Then ITU Worlds in Mexico. Finally to cap it all off, the greatest starting and finishing lines that exist in sport: Kona. Dreams. Shattered.

Yet I am still so grateful for the fateful day of April 29, 2015. I am actually grateful that the accident even happened. So many things have happened that wouldn’t have had it not. For example, it has forced me to make changes in my life that I wouldn’t have otherwise made. After the 2 months that I spent in the hospital and rehab, I found myself with what felt like endless unstructured/free time, especially because I am no longer training to race. As a result, I have restructured my work days. I am now working more days per week, but fewer hours per day. For the first time in their lives, my kids no longer have to go to aftercare. I’m now personally picking them up from school 5 days/week. They’ve never complained about aftercare. In fact, they’ve asked to go numerous times over the years even when they haven’t had to go. It’s all they’ve ever known, yet I think that this change is for the better. It has happened just in time, at a crucial age when activities really start picking up as does the beginning of the formative pre-teen and teenage years.

I see my role as a doctor so differently now after being, and continuing to be, a patient. In particular, I think I’m a much better psychiatrist now that I understand what it’s like to be a patient. I also now know what is feels like to have to go through a somewhat big life transition so abruptly. It’s not easy. There are many ups and downs. There is no easy fix. Yet there is hope and so much gratefulness to be had.

Not only am I more focused than I’ve ever been at work, I also am at home. My family has always come first. There was a period of time right after the injury when I was in the ICU and it was unclear if I was going to make it through without brain damage. I feel horrible that the kids had to go through that, but it has opened their eyes to the fact that bad things happen. My accident and its sequelae are small things compared to the atrocities, hatred, poverty, and violence that happen throughout the world. Moreover, my accident was small compared to what so many people, including some of you, have to deal with on a daily basis, and every day going forward for a few of you. Things like incurable cancer, progressive neurological diseases, heart disease, and other chronic and severe illnesses.

I don’t know what the future holds for anyone, much less for myself. I’m still keeping active, but I now exercise like a normal, fit woman in her early 40s. Nothing long and nothing fast. It hasn’t been easy to stop endurance training. It’s been tough, even tougher than the hardest race I’ve even participated in, Kona. It’s been a process that I’m still working through, but I’m getting there. I’m starting to feel content with what used to feel like nothing. For example, a 1 hour swim used to be my warm-up or cool-down for my long bike rides or runs. Or it is what I used to do on my rest/recovery days. It is now my main form of exercise of any type for the day. I’ve actually grown to love it. Running 1 lap (5.5 miles) around Forest Park also used to feel like nothing. In fact, prior to my accident, I can’t remember a time when I went for a run and came back in less than an hour. Now even 1 lap feels like exercise and leaves me feeling content.

Who knows what the future holds? I may one day get back on a bike, something which is currently too risky for me to do. I may one day participate in triathlons again, even longer distance ones, but I quite likely may not. I do know that I am so thankful that I have such an amazing support system. I have family and friends who truly care, who have gone above and beyond. Same with my doctors, nurses, therapists, and the rest of my treatment team. Above and beyond. I couldn’t ask for more in terms of my recovery from my “accident.” I put accident in quotes because I don’t truly think it was a complete accident. It was meant to happen. It may be tough at times, but it has changed my life for the better. The future is unknown, but I do know that it is bright and that I hope to continue to be able to see what it holds.


I know I am not alone in how glad I am to be able to say, Happy Birthday Katherine! Let the birthdays, and the comebacks, keep on comin!

Pre-race eL CRABS, which stands for Lindsey, Chaz, Rob, Angie, Becky, Scott.

Pre-race eL CRABS, which stands for Lindsey, Chaz, Rob, Angie, Becky, Scott.

And eL CRABS post race

And eL CRABS post race


Lesson in a Lunchbox

It’s Friday morning and I just got back from dropping the kids off at school. To say I’m glad this week is over would be a vast understatement. Aside from the fact that they started school on Monday and I wasn’t there to see it due to my school starting at the same time, we had a total of 7 sporting events in 5 days between baseball and soccer. And with summer giving one final push into the mid 90’s we were without AC. Again. This week wasn’t pretty. But we got through it.

Today at noon the kids are leaving school early when their dad picks them up to spend the holiday weekend at Lake of the Ozarks with his new girlfriend and her 3 kids. This morning, in their flurry to get ready for school and their excitement over the weekend, Silas and I had a hard time seeing eye to eye. On anything. Actually, it’s been like that for about the last 48 hours, just one thing after another. Nothing major, just lots of little nitpicky things. We had some pretty great moments over the summer, but the last few moments before school this morning were not our finest.

As parents, we all struggle with walking that fine line between being firm on things that we maybe don’t need to and giving in to our kids to the point that they walk all over us. I never do it perfect and this morning was a clear indicator of that.

Yesterday when we got home I asked Silas for his lunchbox so I could empty the remaining contents. He couldn’t find it, not in his backpack, not in the car. But he assured me he was absolutely positive he had not left it at school. So this morning as I walked into school with him to see if we could locate it, he was more than unhappy with me that he had to carry a brown bag. I’m not sure why that was my fault, but he seemed to think so. As sure as he was that his lunchbox was not at school, as we approached his classroom, sure enough, there it was hanging on his hook in the hallway.

He stormed into his classroom without even looking my way. I popped my head inside the door and said a quick introduction to his teacher who I hadn’t met yet. She mentioned how excited he has been all week about leaving at noon today, I quickly brushed past the fact that it was not with me.

I was halfway back to the car with lunchbox in hand when I paused. I really didn’t want to go back into the school, especially since I was wearing the same clothes I was wearing at drop off yesterday (it’s been a rough week, don’t judge me) when I had to go in to deal with Ally’s meds. But I stood there on the sidewalk knowing what I needed to do.

As a mom, there is nothing better than seeing the look of pure joy on one of my kid’s faces. I got to see that look several times over the last few weeks, like at one on one Cardinals games with each of my boys, our Fab 4 adventure day all around the city and my road trip with Ally to see her fave band, 1 Direction (who is apparently breaking up, so there is a lot of drama around here).

And there is nothing more heart wrenching than seeing them with a look of defeat or disappointment. One of those moments occurred a couple weeks ago at Ethan’s baseball game. He was up to bat and he got hit by a pitch for the first time in his career. It wasn’t hard, I knew he’d be ok. But I could tell that it shook him. He took his base. Lead offs are allowed now, so he was testing the water with that. After a couple pitches, the pitcher threw the ball to the first baseman and Ethan wasn’t at all close to getting back to the bag in time. He was clearly out.

I could see the look on his face. He was disappointed, embarrassed, frustrated. He felt let down, and worse he felt he had let his team down. That’s the worst feeling in the world, especially when you’re out on the middle of the field with everyone looking on. I watched carefully as Ethan came off the field and one of his coaches put his arm around Ethan to speak to him. He didn’t make him feel bad, just used it as a learning experience. With kids, or with anyone really, it’s all about what you say in those moments.

That got me thinking back to my own days on the softball field. Now, let me be very clear, I was not good. Ethan has talent for baseball, I did not. Sure I could throw and catch and shag a fly ball, but my batting average was .000. Seriously, my final varsity season I either had a pinch hitter, walked or struck out at every single at bat. I made contact for an occasional foul ball, but I had no hits. None. Somewhere I even have a certificate to prove it.  Despite all that, there is a right way and a wrong way for a coach to treat his players and my coach didn’t really know the difference. While I was at best mediocre, I still always put forth any effort I could muster. I’m all heart, I always have been. I distinctly remember a time my coach had promised me a place in the starting lineup, but as game time neared and he announced the positions, my name wasn’t mentioned. I found myself sitting on the bench again. I made it through the game and helped gather the gear at the end. And as I shuffled toward where my dad was waiting in the parking lot, I felt the tears welling up. It wasn’t long after I shut the van door that the tears flowed and I vented my frustration. It wasn’t about the fact that I didn’t get to play, it was that I had been promised an opportunity and then without explanation it was taken from me. I wasn’t treated right and that stuck with me. Obviously. It’s now 22 years later and I still remember it like yesterday.

My dad just listened and let me get it out. I don’t recall what he said to me that day, but I remember coming out of that experience knowing that he was still proud of me and my efforts. And I had the confidence to seek the explanation I desired.

I went to my coach the next practice and explained my disappointment. Rather than owning his mistake, he basically manipulated the situation and told me I got his words mixed up. I left feeling even worse, when really, all I was seeking was “You know what, you’re right, I should have handled it differently and I’m sorry.”

Coincidentally yesterday when I was going through a box of stuff and I came across a picture of my dad. There was a sticky note next to it with these words written in my handwriting: The one who attempts to be better than oneself is likely to have more success than one who attempts to be better than someone else. I have no idea who to give credit to for that quote, but it very easily could have been something my dad said to me in the van that day more than 2 decades ago.

Flash forward back to today. Me standing on the sidewalk holding a 2nd graders lunchbox. It took less than a fraction of a second to decide what to do. I couldn’t wait until Tuesday when I see Silas again to make things right. So I turned around, walked back into school and straight to his classroom. He looked up at me like why are you back in here? I walked to his desk, he stood, I knelt. I whispered in his ear, “I’m sorry we fought this morning. I didn’t want you to leave for the weekend with it this way. I love you.” He put his arms around me, and kissed me on the shoulder, then went back to his desk. I smiled and told him to have fun. And I went back out of the school to the parking lot, got in my car and drove away, crying of course.

Even in his absence, my dad continues to teach me things. All any of us really needs is validation and acknowledgement of our efforts. It’s ok if we don’t see eye to eye all the time, as long as we accept and love each other in the process of figuring it out. I don’t need to be right all the time and I don’t need to be better than anyone else, I just need to do right by my kids to the best of my abilities. And to try to be better than myself, better than who I was yesterday. And I guess if I keep doing that, then I’m doing alright.

With my little buddy at Ethan's baseball game on the first day of school

With my little buddy at Ethan’s baseball game on the first day of school