The Blog

ache for someone
May 20, 2013

The devastation in Oklahoma is only the latest reminder.

Life is really quite fragile.
I had a nightmare recently I interrupted someone.

When I came to I thought, “That’s my idea of a nightmare?”

Progress!

amble
May 15, 2013

The other day Darrell and I watched a young man navigate an intersection in town with a little kid. The child was old enough to walk, but barely. And at least three times as the pair made their way across the street, the kid sort of collapsed onto herself the way kids do when they’ve decided they’re not walking anymore. She just sat down on the street, in the crosswalk.

Three times!

I couldn’t believe the man’s reaction. He didn’t scoop the child up in his arms to carry her. He didn’t yank her up to get her going. He helped her up gently, yes--but there was nothing to suggest the guy was in an hurry himself.

I couldn’t get over that.

I could write a book about how we don’t help kids grow up so much as they help us. One of the best things Katie ever taught me was to stop more often to play. This gentleman took that lesson and squared it, I think.

What would it be like to saunter instead of sprint?

Sometimes you have to sprint. Had there been any traffic, I’m sure the guy would’ve inspired more urgency in the kid. And we have a bit of a sprint to the so-called finish line of getting Katie settled into her dorm room at college in a few months.

In between, though, we’ve planned lots of lazy intersections.

I’m going to be as not-in-a-hurry to rush through them as my newest role model, The Man Who Crossed the Street with His Kid. It’s been a week, and I’m still taking in the wonder of that moment.

If only because--you saw this coming, I bet--he wasn’t on a frickin’ phone.
I was on hold the other day. For more than half an hour.

And I got so much accomplished! Darrell had to fetch me a banana because I was tethered to the telephone cord, and my neck got a little sore from cradling the receiver against my shoulder. But I consolidated several to-do lists, outlined an hour of the talk show, and wrote this post.

And yes, the gal who kept giving me updates was amused by my patience. She also seemed relieved when I told her--in an attempt to reward her for her patience--she could stop with the updates.

There was a time when being on hold that long would've driven me crazy. But I was prepared for the delay--and I made it count.

We call it The Magic of Keeping Your Butt in the Chair.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was often quoted as saying, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”

So please don’t take what I’m about to say as an excuse to put career over family. But one way to bungle your children is to abandon your dreams under the guise of putting family first.

There are probably as many ways to mess up a kid as there are people.

I hope you won’t let this be one of them. Don’t tell your kid he’s the reason you never went after your dreams.

That’s not fair.

And besides, how much credibility will you have with him if you encourage him to follow his heart?

As if he’d have any idea from watching you live.

drink more water
May 12, 2013

Want to know the secret to life? Watch this commencement speech. The condensed version won’t even take you ten minutes.

And I realize I’m late to the party on it.

On the outside chance you are, too?

You’re welcome!
When Katie heard me mention I needed to double up on posts last week because I’d lost a week to computer troubles, she suggested I not worry about it. “Just skip that week,” she said.

I told her skipping one week would make it easier to skip the next.

When I started blogging, I made myself a promise. Four posts a week. Period.

I don’t know if it means anything to you. But it means a whole lot, to me.

Darrell was amused by what I just said, by the way. “You write about not missing posts, and call it a post?” he asked. “Does that even count?”

So let me just add this postscript…

The point isn’t the blog. The point is keeping promises.

They matter. Even--or perhaps, especially--promises you make to yourself.

compare prices
May 7, 2013

In Monday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal there was a front-page story on college tuition, which included a reference to Katie’s big decision on what college to attend.

By reference I mean a few paragraphs. Which is amazing enough. But what struck me is how much more there was to the story. The reporter I spoke with distilled material from not one but three phone calls, and at least that many online exchanges. No wonder she was working on a Sunday when she reached me that last time. If she was being as meticulous with the rest of the facts she cited as she was in making sure she quoted me correctly, I think I’d need a few days off to recover.

It’s such a great lesson, really. What looks easy and effortless to the consumer is almost certainly not, if viewed from the perspective of the producer. It amuses Darrell and me when people ask us how they, too, can have a nationally-syndicated radio show. Our answer is usually something along the lines of, “Heck if we know. But here’s how things have unfolded for us…” Their reaction is almost always something along the lines of, “Never mind!”

And yes, there are casualties. There’s only so much of us to go around--and when Friday night rolls around you won’t usually find us kicking back with the neighbors, put it that way.

Maybe you’ve heard the suggestion not to compare the messiness of your life with the highlight reels people post online. I think a lot of envy would be replaced with compassion if we could remember that dreamy is only from a distance.