Not My Dad

Let’s start here: My life is strange. None of my stories sound like they’re normal and I’ve come to just expect weirdness and complication and just roll with it.

Several years ago, my dad died. I was just embarking on the incredible adventure of adulthood – which for me included getting married, a period of not having an address, starting a career and nearly dying. A few days after I was released from the hospital, my dad lost his battle with cancer. I sometimes wonder if he held on just to make sure I was okay. My life may look like smooth sailing on Instagram sometimes, but it’s had a lot of ups and downs and a few tunnels I almost didn’t make it out of.

My mom eventually started dating, which was weird. She found a nice man and married him. When you boil it all down, he’s my stepfather. But that feels really weird to say. In my head, you get a step-parent as a child and then keep them through adulthood. When you’re already grown up and your mom marries someone, you get a Keith. Okay, I got a “Keith,” you may get a “Bob” or “Jim” or whoever. He’s a guy who is married to my mom and he’s part of the family. For us, it seems to work really well. My siblings and I call him by his first name and my nieces and nephews call him “Opa.”

But to someone outside of our family or who don’t know the history, it’s hard to explain a Keith. Continue reading

Good Year/Bad Year

The view from my new office

As a kid, the one thing I remember the most about references to wine (from TV or movies) was its year. The phrase “X was a good year” stands out. I feel like and entire year can’t be all good or all bad, but some years stand out as leaning more to one direction than the other.

The years that stand out the most are the bad years. However with each of the bad years in my life, I feel like some of the most joyous things happened at the same time.

For example: Continue reading

Candy Memories

You know how there are little things that will always remind you of someone? Like every time I see a greyhound or something with a greyhound on it, I think of my friend Natalie. Whenever I see anchors or nautical-themed things, I think of my cruise-loving mother in law.

When I see certain candies, I think of my dad. My dad was a fan of hard candies. He had four favorite kinds of hard candies: Peppermints, lemon drops, cinnamons and Horehounds (brown candies that have a unique flavor that reminded me of licorice and root beer).

They’re the kind of candies that you find in the paper bag packages at the Cracker Barrel country store. The ones with very distinct and very different flavors. Continue reading

If You Aren’t Flexible, You’ll Break

If you aren’t flexible, you’ll break.

That’s what my mother said when I called to explain the changes in our Christmas plans.

We’ve been planning for months on having Christmas at our new house with some of both of our extended families. There would be 11 people at our house for dinner and a nice time was to be had. We’d gotten all of the food, determined the best configuration of the dining room to seat 11 people, planned the schedule to spend a little time with my relatives, a little time with Brad’s and some time with all of us together. Then it all changed.

In the same day, I had two phone calls that led to my conversation with my mom about being flexible. One of my relatives dropped out. Then it was determined that Brad’s mom wouldn’t be able to make the drive up to our house since she’s recovering from surgery. So, we changed our plans. My mom and her husband came over on Christmas Eve, spent the night and had Christmas morning with them. Then we packed up all of the food that we got, took it down to Brad’s parents’ house and I made Christmas dinner for 8 people. I’m pretty proud of the meal I made.

Continue reading

Helping the Men in Our Lives Stay Healthy

No one really likes to go to the doctor. It seems like men as a gender in general are known for avoiding those who wear white coats.

Oscar Insurance put together a great infographic for Men’s Health Week (this week) and apparently June is Men’s Health Month. Most wives probably realize long before walking down the aisle, that part of the role they will play in their partner’s life includes encouraging him to be healthy.  Continue reading