I turned 40 on April 3rd, 2019, amidst the turmoil of moving into our new home, an unrelenting barrage of grading, the daily challenge of balancing sports schedules and coaching duties, and the never ending stress of family concerns. My head has been spinning since last summer and I am just now able to breathe deeply, and come to terms with my new middle-aged reality.
Parenting is political and the choices we make now will have repercussions that will resonate for a lifetime. My children are close to a decade away from voting, so I have the solemn responsibility to inform myself and vote for candidates and issues with their best interest in mind. Choosing not to vote or voting for candidates and policies that benefit me now, but do not invest in the future would be selling out my kids.
The generational divide may be wide, but our grandparents are our connection to the past and a humbling reminder of just exactly where we came from. Once they are gone from this earth, they leave a void and we need to decide how to fill it. Just as we sort through their belongings, we need to decide which memories to keep and pass on to our children and, if we are so lucky, grandchildren.
Children need a lot of stuff. Of course we must provide the basics: food, water, shelter, but then we add books, movies, toys, clothes, and other “necessities” in our efforts to nurture. The pressure to buy children all of these items comes from every direction and is not only felt by parents, but also friends and family who want to show children they love and care about them through these trinkets.
As I sat and listened to two people I have admired all my life talk about their newest and gravest challenge, I looked around, took a sip of my pinot and a jagged breath in, exhaling, “Marriage is hard.”
They briefly looked at each other and then at me and my uncle bestowed his wisest advice yet, “Nik, someone once told me that there are three magic words for a strong marriage: I love you. I learned that there are actually four: I love you anyway.”
As I walked my children to the bus stop today, it occurred to me that putting them on that bus and sending them to school has become an act of courage. In the wake of every new school shooting, terror grips my heart as I grieve for the children and teachers who lost their lives …