A special time

I’m just back from several days of vacation with my son Grant. We started at Lake Tahoe, nourishing my love of the mountains, and then spent a couple days in Reno, nourishing his love of cars. Hot August Nights, a nationally-known car show, was chalking up its 25th year, with probably thousands of cars touring the city.

The greatest joy of the trip was being able to spend time with Grant, both of us largely unplugged from our normal routines and distractions. At 15, nearing 16, he’s contemplating what to do with his life. Paraphrasing Rilke, Grant is living in the questions more than finding answers, and it was a privilege to be able to hear him articulate a few of those questions and possible answers.

With my daughter off to college in a few short weeks, I’m reminded of how fleeting life is. Often we don’t recognize this until we encounter a sudden, unexpected transition. Too soon, Grant will also be off. Fortunately, in the coming years, I’ll have the memories from this week to recall.


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October gratitude

&#147Some October, when the leaves turn gold, ask me if I’ve done enough to deserve this life I’ve been given.&#148 — Barbara Crooker, from her poem Some October

In addition to the brilliant colors of fall, I find much for which to be grateful: Lori and I have now been married for 21 years, Andrea turned 18, and she received her first admission to a college.

I recall my own senior year and the process of applying to colleges. Life was all possibility, unbounded, a future awaiting discovery. I didn’t fathom the wisdom of a casual comment my high school boss made, that my choice of college would determine my life.

At times I have mused about my path, had I made a different choice. No regret, just curiosity. These days, though, I wonder about the decisions my children will make and the die they will cast. I hope they will make a positive contribution to the world through the purpose of their days, while finding fulfillment and happiness.

Change the World!
Andrea’s admonition, immortalized with sidewalk chalk on the street in front of our house during the summer of 2009.

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At 17

Andrea at 17My, do the years go by quickly.

17 years ago, shortly after midnight, Andrea came into the world. She arrived late and in a rush, her official clock kick-started by a surgical team.

I remember Lori draped in the blue dressings of the operating room and the anesthesiologist positioning me at the head of the table.

“You see all these people?” he asked, pointing to the gathering crowd of doctors and nurses.

I nodded, nonplussed by the sudden move from the quiet delivery suite to the bustling operating room.

“Not one of them is here to take care of you if you pass out.”

His words struck the nerve of the dilemma racing through my mind. Ever squeamish around needles and blood, I simply could not allow myself to pass out and miss the birth of my daughter — or son, as we had chosen not to know whether this child would be boy or girl.

I didn’t pass out, the medical concern surrounding Andrea’s birth proved unfounded, and we’ve now shared 17 largely wonderful years graced by her presence and embrace of life.

Within the last few years, we’ve also shared some unexpected, scary times. Ironically, she seems to have faced and transcended the challenges better than her parents, teaching and inspiring us to accept life as it comes and to be grateful for each day’s dawn. Make each day sufficient.

Happy 17th birthday, Andrea.

As you enter adulthood, may you chase your dreams to fulfillment and may your journey be blessed.

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