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Good with balls

Shortly after “deflategate” was a dinner table discussion because Reilly single-handedly divided the house into Seahawks and Patriots fans. His choice being the former. He was proud to find any and all reasons to want the Seahawks to win, but his most thoughtful reason was that the Patriots had all veteran players and he thought the Seahawks deserved it because they were a dynamic team. Shad and I, although we felt worthy of an argument, gave him credit for being thoughtful and personal about his convictions.

A terrible segue follows…

Shad found a recipe for no-bake, organic, gluten-free cookies. He made the batter and was rolling it into small balls and placing them on wax paper. Shea walks in and asks if she can help Dad, she went and washed her hands, dragged her little hand-me-down stool to the counter and started copying Shad. Shea would try to roll this “batter” into balls and place them on the sheet.

First one hits the floor.
She yells at the dog not to eat because she suspects the brown is chocolate.
She rolls the next two and gets them on the paper.
The novelty has worn off.

“Dad, I’m not going to do this anymore. I don’t like balls. You are really good with balls.”
Shad and I exchange one of those non-smiling but thinking the same thing glances about the innocence of this remark.
“Wait, B is a bad word”
No, it’s not a bad word… it’s like the Patriots and the footballs… it’s just balls.
Reilly interjects, “yah, it’s like deflategate”
“Reilly, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“I do know….”
“Well it’s the thing on boys.”… “And we don’t talk about them.”
Yes, it is also the thing on boys and we don’t talk about them but cookie balls are different.
“Oh, okay, I don’t want to make them anymore”
She drags her stool back to where it came from and moved on to something else leaving Shad with a bowl of batter and his cookie balls.

Undefeated

Tonight Kate’s rec league basketball team did something that I suspect she will remember for a long time. They were undefeated this season. Because there is not a big pool of girls playing in Milford there were two teams for our town and they played against the surrounding towns.

I love how Kate goes with the flow. She was not ruffled about not being in school with any of these girls and being one of the, if not the youngest on the team. She was as happy as could be to be playing with these girls. Her coaches were great.

Being undefeated is one of those things that you can go your whole athletic career and never experience — I’m psyched for her that she has this story, it’s just plain fun.

Sadly, even to this day Shad and I love to recall our sports experiences and share them with the kids. I’m confident the stories and memories are often better than the reality. I played an undefeated season, I was a older than Kate by a grade or so. I recall constantly asking the coach if I could go in — being a coach now that drives me nuts– I’m sure I was twice as annoying because I was one of the weaker players. After all the reality I recall is of that team six of those girls if not more went on to play in college, mostly D1.

So… Kate, congrats! Enjoy this season and these girls because this may be your story that you share with your kids one day. Tomorrow night you are the 1/2 time show at the girls Varsity game, have fun! Go Team Shock!

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Winter Storm Juno

Betsy Hansen NH

Winter Storm Juno

Winter Storm Juno has come… and now it’s gone. Nothing but a couple feet of light fluffy snow that I had to watch from a window while I worked. I’m sure there were local folks impacted by the storm, but my only impact was I had to watch the snowfall from my bedroom window while I heard the kids playing downstairs and outside.

Regardless of school and all businesses being canceled, the one downside (or I should say one of) of working at home is days like today. I wanted nothing more than to head out with the kids and make snow angels and sled in the white fluffy powder all day – and head inside with bright red cheeks looking for a cup of hot cocoa. To no avail, today was day #2 working from  my bedroom. The kids however had another day of fun (and so did Shad). I could hear them planning their sled run, making their jumps and trying to snowboard in the backyard. I heard crying from the cold snow going up someones shirt or down someones pants and a scream at the loss of a boot because of the waist high dumping. I do find pleasure and nostalgia in the noise of days like today and happiness that it wasn’t a tv and bickering in the room next door. I think these past two days will be days they will remember for years to come. Piles of wet clothes on the floor, sleds scattered over the yard, cold skin and and runny noses and two days off from school. Perfect.

I have decided that I am no longer going to feel badly about “Mommy-brain” as ignorant non-Mom’s like to call it. Nobody, young or old, likes to be accused of forgetting things. I, especially, loathe the accusation. I know when I have to “look at my notebook” or ask for a reminder and it drives me crazy. I have come to the conclusion that there is an over-abundance of information pushing going on and if you even absorb a small percentage of it, your brain has got to pick and choose the important pieces.

I manage the schedule of three kids with multiple activities and a commute to school. For work I obviously manage a meeting calendar but I also manage the multiple projects going on and I am a consumer of multiple newsfeeds every day to try to pick off some interesting topics in the world of networking. Additionally, I coach and I volunteer on a board and I try to have a schedule for me. I’m sure I’m forgetting something but this “booked from dawn to dusk” multi-tasking, multiple-medium delivery, way of life that feels necessary is the reason why people forget. I am going to stop feeling so bad about it. I think memory has up’d the ante for what it needs to do. I think there are so many things that we have to remember that we barely care about and the important things like someone’s name and what homework needs to be done are the last things on our mind. Yet, in some ways, they are the important things.

I’m glad that the carousel I have chosen for life allows me a few misses. There is so much going on, the snowday is welcome here – although I have to work the kids will do some jobs and have some fun playing outside. It’s not snowman snow but it’s worthy of some sledding.

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Big Brothers

Shea: “Mom, Reilly was fighting with me the whole way home in the car.”

Kate: “No Shea, he was just lecturing you.”

Shea: “Oh, okay.”

Car Rides

Shea: “Mom, how come when places are close it takes a long time to get there but when places are far away it doesn’t take long at all?”

Watching Death

I don’t mean watching it on tv or in the movies. I mean watching death through the eyes of people you love. It’s one thing to be the person dying but it’s another to be the ones living. My Uncle, my Mom’s brother, my Godfather — one of my Dad’s best friends is dying tonight. 24 hour hospice and an absolutely amazing family taking shifts to be with him every minute of every day. My shift is Sunday, I wonder if I will get to have my shift. I do hope so — but only if it means he doesn’t suffer for me to have it.

I feel for those who experience death without support. I’m sure it happens out there but I’m blessed for having never seen it. It’s days like today that make me appreciate the size of our family and the blood that runs so deep that it brings people together.
Stage 4 lung cancer and he never smoked a day. Awful. Originally called bronchitis — until the next day. None of the treatments worked for him — but they tried. How does it happen so quickly?
Kate, mom, Stephen and I sat with him on Dec 26th. Although he was tired and on oxygen watching him watch my Mom and her way was incredible. Seeing the way he looked at her made my heart ache but my heart warm all at the same time. How lucky they were to be so connected. Words weren’t needed… But… It’s my Mom so they were said. A few stories and Uncle Steve followed up with brief chort (my word for a chuckle and a snort combined) or a one-liner that reminded you how much he was still there.
Watching Moe care for him in a very prescriptive way when she returned home made me see that she was there for him. She was doing everything she could to manage and be in control of what he was doing. She was keeping him safe. Yet, around the corner the conversation with Kate made me see sadness, fear and love. She wanted everything to be just right– she wanted to protect him and seemed to be resigned to the road ahead. The boys, independently having discussions with me and my siblings wanting to share thoughts on losing a Dad. I think we are all in agreement whether it has happened to you or you are watching it happen you feel the permanent hole beginning to form. I think it widens and it doesn’t seem to ever close. It’s when you get caught up in the day to day it seems to disappear but it’s temporary. You remember, and it’s as wide as ever.
Watching death happen through the eyes of those you love is strange — waiting for death and having the time to process what it will actually mean is painful. I think understanding that the days are upon you causes reflection and assessment.

Tonight as I read Stephen’s email I found myself sitting in a chair crying. I’m crying for them. I’m for my Mom. I’m crying for the void that is upon us.

Rest Uncle Steve. Have a drink with my Dad and look down on all of us and be proud. Without you both we wouldn’t be who we are and share the amazing memories that we do. Love.

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