• Joe

My oldest son came over the other night. He was at a crossroads with life and trying to figure out the best route to take. Not one to be caught up in the machine, like his dad and many others from my generation, he is trying to figure out his own, unique, fulfilling path.

And he’s pissed.

We talked about the things he thinks he wants to do; the things he thinks he wants to be. But we also talked about why all of this seemed to be taking so long. The uncertainty of it all was really taking its toll and he was tired of waiting.

“What are you waiting for?” I asked. My question was met with a blank stare.

“Waiting to get started or waiting for something to start?” Another blank stare. This father-son conversation was about to get deep. So, I poured us both a bourbon for this mental joyride we were about to take.

We went back and forth on all this time he believed he was wasting. I tried hard not to pontificate how I wish I was twenty-four again because, of course, I have all the answers now.

At about the same time the ice cubes started to rattle at the bottom of our empty glasses, we came to the realization that he really wasn’t even sure what the hell he was waiting for. Just that he wanted to be whatever he is supposed to be. Wherever he is supposed to be.

And he wants it all now. Not……Whenever it is supposed to be.

So, we talked about “the waiting”. And why it was so frustrating.

In this world of instant gratification, where we have information at our fingertips and can complete many of our daily tasks with a touch or a swipe, why does it seem like we are always waiting for something?

We wait for the water to boil. We wait for the mail to come. We wait for that project to finish. We wait for the kids to stop crying. We wait for the light to change. We wait for school to end. We wait for the week of vacation to get here. We wait for the flight to take off. We wait for the flight to land. We wait to get a text back. We wait to have that first kiss. We wait for ………you get the picture. We’re waiting for the waiting to end.

In Spanish, the word “Esperar” means to wait. To stay where one is. To pause. To delay. To hold back. To stop. To twiddle one’s thumbs.

No wonder we are all so frustrated. Esperar-ing sucks.

But esperar has another meaning - To Hope. A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Longing. Yearning. Craving. Wow! I regret not paying better attention in Spanish class.

I talked with Joe about how I also can find myself frustrated with waiting for Something to Happen in both my personal and professional life. It’s not easy to start over at the midpoint. But there is also a lot of excitement. An excitement that I haven’t had in a very long time. An excitement that lifts me up and gets me going. A longing, yearning, and craving that makes the waiting seem much more palatable.

We talked about enjoying the time he is spending in the pursuit of his promised land. The excitement of knowing that during this time that he is spending, he is learning and discovering more about himself and molding the future self that he will be.

I poured another bourbon for the both of us (he was going to sleep over so it was ok). We wondered if we had just stumbled upon the answer to my question.

While he may not know exactly what he is waiting for, whatever it is, his promised land is most likely going to turn out to be exactly what he is waiting for.

And that waiting doesn’t seem so hard anymore.

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  • Joe

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. The magical day of romance with our significant others. The Roses. The Chocolates. The Dinners. The Pajamagrams. The……... (I’ll let you fill in the blank). So much love in the air today.

I found myself thinking about some other things to make sure we love today……and every day.

Let’s start with the kids. Face it, without you they would not be here. From the moment they were nothing more than a microscopic cell, they have counted on you, believed in you, trusted you. They are not a perfect reflection of you. Nor should they be. They are growing their own way and leading their own life, and they are doing the best they can. But you are in there and they appreciate it. Somedays these kids make you laugh and somedays they drive you nuts……… Just like you did. If you don’t have your own kids, don’t underestimate that you might be that aunt or uncle who has the opportunity to make a lasting, loving impact just the same. No matter how big, strong, smart, successful they are, they look up to you and love you. The role you play, and the love you give, is unlike any other they will have in their lives.

Now that we looked down the family tree, it’s time to look up. Where would you be without your parents? Face it, without them you would not be here. From the moment you were nothing more than a microscopic cell, you counted on them, believed in them, trusted them. Their teachings are in you and whether you agreed with them or you didn’t, you learned from them. Oh, and yes, so many days they made you laugh and so many days they drove you nuts……... Just like you did. Physically or not, rest assured they are here and still teaching you, guiding you, listening to you, rooting for you, loving you. It is unlike anyone else.

Where would this post be without the “appreciate the little things in life” paragraph? You know, those microscopic moments that pass us by in a blink. The moments we know we should take notice of a little more, but we don’t. When your phone pings when that someone you hoped would text you, actually does. When it hits you that you were actually not stressing over that thing you always seem to be stressing about. When the point comes that you complete a task, any task. When you arrive at home, your home, and a shitty day finally ends. When the light hits your eyes in the morning and a new day begins. When it dawns on you that your feeling of nervousness is really the feeling of excitement. When you finally make that decision to face your fear and take a leap. (Now that I re-read this, these microscopic moments are not little at all.)

There is one common thread in all of this. Do you see it?

You are making an everlasting impact on others. You are building relationships. You are taking chances. You are overcoming obstacles. You are learning from when you succeed. You are learning from when you fail. You are achieving goals, both large and small. You are surviving bad days. You are celebrating good days. You have quite a life.

I hope today and every day, even for a microscopic moment, you love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  • Joe

Someone asked me last night if I was going to do any writing today. The weather was going to lend itself to a day inside with a coffee and a computer.

“I’m not sure,” I responded. “I’m looking for an inspiration.”

I had been spoiled lately. The past few weeks were kind of easy with a jolt coming from the passing of certain celebrities. Nothing like a major event of those types to make someone pause and reflect a little.

But no such “punch-in-the-face” events this week, so I felt stuck. And I was beginning to feel that my self-imposed schedule of a biweekly posting was in serious jeopardy.

So, with no writing topics to debate, we talked about the upcoming weekend. She was spending hers with her kids. The genuine joy in her voice of watching their soccer and wrestling matches was obvious. Back and forth from the field to the gym with not much time in-between to breathe, let alone eat and it all sounded like the best weekend possible. She would be working extra hard today so she could focus on the weekend activities. I couldn’t help thinking of the “my kids come first” mantra that we hear proclaimed from the mountaintop. Her kids come first.

I woke up in the middle of the night not only to the sound of some pretty harsh wind-driven rain but also to the blaring sirens of the local volunteer EMTs racing from their garage down the street. I groaned as I peered out the window, watching them race down the street, knowing that it would take me a while to fall asleep again. Lying down again I couldn’t help but think of these volunteers, racing in the cold rain at three o’clock in the morning, to help someone they didn’t know. I bet they would much rather be in bed in their own home. I

wondered if I would lose that bet.

Getting to the gym in the morning is hard enough but with interrupted sleep, it was bordering on unbearable. I forced myself as the guilt of not going would surely be worse. My usual spot on the cable pulley machine was open so I claimed it and set the weight. On the other side of the machine was this disabled kid who I’ve seen from time to time. He fastens this hook contraption to his right arm so he can grip the bar above and pull. Asking for help when he needs it, he never really seems to stay very long, but at least he goes is what I always conclude. Whenever I see him, I notice the hook and get back to my workout. This morning I noticed something else. A smile. Happiness and accomplishment at conquering twenty pounds. I don’t think he saw me staring as he pulled the hooked bar down to his chest. At least I hope he didn’t. I raised the weight on my end, took a deep breath, and pulled.

Today is Michael’s birthday. My middle son turns twenty and that alone still amazes me. He’s a quiet kid who never asks for anything which makes things like birthdays and Christmas a bit of a challenge. Another unique quality is his unwavering commitment to his younger brother. Making sure John brings his headphones to the mall, Michael’s on it. Ensuring the iPad is charged, taken care of. Verifying his brother brushed his teeth since dad went to bed before them, no problem. He was never asked to take on any of these responsibilities, it just came naturally. The impact he is making in the life of his brother is unlike anyone else’s. And I mean anyone! Just watch the look in John’s eyes when Michael is around, and you know.

The rain let up, so I decided to come to my favorite spot in Barnes and Noble. A venti coffee and my computer on the table in front of me. I will be doing some writing today.

I was looking for an inspiration.

I have to stop looking so hard.

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