Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We also call him Coach

I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station,
who did not do better work and put forth greater effort
under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.
~Charles Schwab

We call him Superdad because he's, well, pretty super. He's a super hard worker, he's super patient, he's super positive, and he can make a super duper grilled cheese sandwich. But what you might not know is that among all of those other super qualities, he is also a super coach.

I don't think I always knew to appreciate the fact that my kids grew up having their dad coach the majority of their sports teams. Ben has coached 14 years of soccer (some of those were spent coaching two teams at the same time) and somewhere around 12 years of baseball. He has coached little kids and big kids, boys and girls, winning teams and not-so-winning teams. But there are still players to this day who, when bumping into him at the grocery store, or down at our neighborhood village, will see him and call out, "Hey, Coach!" 


You don't know to be grateful for all of the great coaches out there until you encounter the not-so-great coaches. Sometimes it would be the coach of our opposing team who would leave me wishing I could gather up all those other little players and bring them onto our side. Coaches who scream, who belittle, who yell profanities and encourage their players not just to play hard, but to play with the intention to harm. And then there are the coaches whose offenses are more subtle. They are disinterested and unengaged. They don't really know the sport and they don't care to learn. They are the coaches who don't really care if the kids grow as players or as people. 

Sadly, these coaches exist. Thankfully, they are in the minority.

Soccer is really Superdad's sport, but he learned to be a good baseball coach, too. He learned by watching other good coaches and offering to be their assistant when our kids were young. He never minded being the co-pilot and enjoyed the camaraderie coaching with other like-minded men whose goal was as much to model good character as it was to build a winning team.



Superdad has won some championships in his time as Coach, but more importantly he has helped to raise champions. He never allowed foul language or poor sportsmanship on his teams. He made sure all his players played and felt valued. And he modeled an appropriate competitive spirit by ending every game with a smile, pats on the back and encouraging words regardless of the outcome.

The other day we heard about a coach who, while viewing the film of the previous game, called out a single player as being solely responsible for the goal that lost the game. Not only is it rare in soccer that one player can truly be identified as the lone weak link in the string of events that lead to a goal, but my mother's heart couldn't help but lurch in response to such an overt act of humiliation by a coach. But I'll admit that in my head I thought to myself, "I don't know...it's really competitive at this level now. Maybe that's what coaches do." It wasn't what I would do but, heck, I'm not a coach.

But my heart's response was vindicated when I saw Superdad shake his head and then heard him mutter,

You praise publicly, you criticize privately.

And I was reminded yet again why parents loved having their kids on his team. Because he knows what it means to be a coach. He knows how you talk to kids. He knows what motivates a kid and what just tears him down. He knows that being a coach is really about being a leader and the basic principles of good leadership apply whether you are running a business or trying to get 8 year olds to kick a ball down a field. You communicate, you affirm, you inspire, you teach, and every once in awhile you get a rousing game of Sharks and Minnows going- because you gotta have some fun.


Superdad's coaching days may be winding down. He got to coach Tim longer than we anticipated when he was asked to assist on his club team last year, but this year Tim will be moving on to a higher level and we will turn him over to a new club, a new team, and a new coach. We feel good about what we have seen from this new coach, but it still feels like an act of faith. Because like teachers, pastors, music instructors, and so many other adult mentors we bring into our kid's lives, coaches can have a dramatic impact for better or worse on the development of these young minds and spirits.



Synonyms for coach: guide, counsel, lead, mentor, shepherd, show, instruct

The best coaches are those who truly understand the power they wield and they do so consciously and carefully. Sports will not always feel fair but it should never feel unjust. Players may not always get what they want but they should always be treated with respect. And my personal belief is that when you are coaching kids below the college level, the development of the person should be as much of a priority as the development of the player. Actually, I believe that should be true at any level of sports, but that's just me.

So, this is my little tribute to our Coach. A thank you for the countless hours he has given not only to our own kids, but to the dozens and dozens and dozens of other kids he has tried to encourage and motivate along the way. I know it hasn't always been easy. I know there have been kids and parents who pushed you to the limits of your patience. I know you reach the end of every season exhausted and spent but also sad to see it end. I see how much you give and it is so very appreciated.

We call him Coach, because that's what he is. Always.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Strong enough to bend

I've been reflecting a lot on where we were a year ago. The biggest thing I remember from a year ago is the complete uncertainty about where we would be now- a year later. Decisions were still being made, discussions were being attempted and thwarted by a teenage boy who needed to go through his own internal process, and the planner in me was staring at her calendar wishing desperately I could start filling it in but having to wait because well....decisions were still being made.

It. Was. Agonizing.

But like so many things (in fact, almost everything) this too did pass and now here we are...one quarter away from Jack having completed his first year in college. Successfully completed, I might add. It's mind boggling.

As we watched our first-born navigate his way through so many choices and options over the past year, we were doing some navigating of our own. I don't know about everyone else doing this parenting gig, but sometimes for Superdad and I the whole thing looks an awful lot like a big game of darts. We keep flinging out ideas and plans and rules and intentions and hope that every once in awhile one of them hits the bullseye.

In case you are wondering, they do not all hit the bullseye. I don't even want to know our ratio and I'm glad no one is keeping track.

One of the things we felt very sure about in our grand plan for launching our first child out of the nest was that he should not go to college with a car his first year. Our reasons were very sound and filled with an abundance of parental wisdom. Every time the topic would come up we would toss out our razor sharp explanations with fine-tuned accuracy.

You need to earn that privilege.

We want you to get involved on campus.


It will be a distraction.

Walking is good for you and will prevent you from gaining the Freshman 15. (We didn't actually use that one, but it's good, huh?)

You need to settle into college life first and then we will consider letting you have a car at school.

And to his credit, he never really argued any of these points. Instead, he just came home a lot that first quarter. To visit his car.

And we watched...and observed....and discussed...and slowly we noticed that all of our arrow-straight rationales seemed to be landing somewhere on the outside edges of the Parenting Dart Board. They weren't hitting the mark.

Over Christmas we had more discussions and in the meantime Jack got a job downtown that meant traveling to and from school late at night. Concessions started to be made. You can take the car on the days that you work....you can have the car for the whole weekend since you work both nights...okay, you work Monday and Wednesday so just take the car and bring it back on Thursday and then you can have it again on Friday....oh whatever, just take the car!!!

Now he has a car at school full time. And guess what? The world didn't come to an end. He is actually happier, more involved at school and spends more time on campus now that he has access to his own transportation. It helps that he has to pay for his own gas so he has gotten surprisingly thrifty about unnecessary driving, but he never complains.

Superdad and I just look at each other, shrug, and happily say, we were wrong.

We had the best intentions but in this instance, with this kid, in this moment in time, we were off the mark. We had to re-calibrate, take a deep breath and try again. Let's try something different. Show us how this could work. We are open to a new plan. We could be wrong.

Bullseye.

And it got me thinking....do you know how many things could be solved, how much pain could be avoided, how much less conflict there would be...if we would all entertain the possibility that we could be wrong?

I like to believe I am a pretty forgiving person and one of the reasons I try to be that way is because I am well aware that people need to be forgiving of me from time to time. I am not perfect. I do not always have the right answer. I do not always say the right thing. I have bad days and good days. I try to use that awareness when I encounter someone behaving in a way that I find difficult to understand. I try to extend a little grace and hope that someone else will do the same for me when I find myself adrift and not operating from my best self.

Even our most deeply held convictions do not have to be used as a bludgeon against those who disagree. Is it possible that this person has a history you don't understand and that history has shaped his or her beliefs? Is it possible that you both actually do want to arrive at the same place you just have different ideas as to how to get there? Is it possible that if you really understood the fullness of this person's life experience and could truly get inside his head you just might find some common ground?

Is it possible that you could be wrong??

I don't pretend to know much about what will come after this life. I am a person of faith who believes in a loving God so I do believe there is more....but I don't imagine for a minute that my simple mind can conceive of what that might be. But one thing I am sure of is that I will discover there were a whole lot of things I was wrong about in this life.

And knowing that makes it a heck of a lot easier for me to concede now and then, while I am still living this life, that I could be wrong.

I don't know...maybe that makes me spineless, or weak, or wishy-washy? Maybe it would be better if I put more things in the "non-negotiable" compartment of my mind and heart? Maybe my peacemaking tendencies are really just a cover-up for a fear of conflict? Maybe you really can tell everything you need to know about a person based on a label, a single moment or a point of view?

Maybe....

But I could be wrong.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Small packages

Annie had her birthday party last night which consisted of eight giggly, bouncy girls coming over and eating pizza, doing crafts, making sundaes, watching movies and then...going to sleep. In theory.

Yes, it was a sleepover. Believe me, I did everything I could to talk her out of it.

Nevertheless, they did indeed all finally fall asleep (mainly because once I called "lights out" I sat downstairs in the dark and read a book on my Kindle so they would have to be quiet and sleep- it worked).

Because the party was on a Saturday night, that meant I still had to get up the next day and be ready to head to church right about the time all of the girls were going to be picked up. I told Annie in advance that she didn't need to go to church and could just stay and hang out at home since I assumed she would be tired after her big celebration. Superdad had to head out of town, so we enlisted big brother Jack to come home and stay with Annie until I could get back (another advantage of having your child choose a college five minutes from home).

All was going as planned and I was at church practicing with the choir when I saw Jack and Annie enter the front doors of the church. I wasn't sure if there had been a misunderstanding or what was going on? I caught Jack's eye and he pointed at Annie and shrugged. It was obvious she had insisted on being brought to church. So, there she was.

Later, when I asked her why she didn't just stay home, her answer was simple.

Because I wanted to go to church.

If you are not a church-going sort of family, that might not mean much to you. But for those of you who are, you know that is music to your ears.

I was raised in a small church and attended a small church in college, so any sort of mega-church was never going to be where I settled down as an adult. Small churches can have their limitations and challenges but I would maintain so do large ones. What we can do well in a small church are sometimes the things a large church struggles to do. In my view, one of our greatest strengths as a small church is our ability to forge connections.

On any given Sunday, one of our Kindergarten-age church members seeks out one of our oldest church members. They adore one another. Little C will spot her elder friend and immediately whisper to her mother and point, asking permission to leave their pew and go join Miss Kay. Permission is granted and she dashes over to Miss Kay's pew where she is welcomed with a hug.

Not long ago Annie was going on and on to my cousin about a friend of hers at church. She was telling my cousin that she dances for him and he loves it. My cousin raised her eyebrows at me. I laughed and informed her, "This little church friend of hers is 8 months old." She cracked up.

But it's true. Some of Annie's best friends at church are a chubby baby, a 5th grade girl, and a 29 year old woman who Annie tells me is "like an aunt" to her. Where else does that happen?

In our church children are routinely included in all aspects of the life of the church by adults of all ages. It is not uncommon for a group of children to spontaneously begin helping whomever is setting up for coffee hour before the worship service. They entertain babies in the narthex. They help pass the Offering. They read the liturgy. They participate in Communion.

As the Children's Ministry Director I sometimes feel torn in my mission and goals. Of course I love to see new children enter our doors and they are always welcomed with open arms. I pray daily that any searching family might find their way to our little church on the hill and feel at home here. But I will also admit there is a part of me that doesn't relish the idea of our numbers growing too large. I love the fact that I know every child in our church not only by name, but what school they go to, what activities they love, their favorite sport, and what makes them laugh.

Each Sunday, as children begin to arrive prior to the worship service, I am often still bustling around getting things ready, making copies, and mentally rehearsing my Children's Message. But there is scarcely a week that goes by that some child does not spot me, run toward me and say excitedly, "Miss Lori! Guess what?!?"

And I can't wait to hear, "what".

Blessings to all on this cold, rainy Sunday.

"You know....my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work."
~Henri Nouwen

Monday, February 17, 2014

Conceding defeat

Today we all enjoyed the extra day tacked onto our weekend. While some schools are celebrating the beginning of a week-long winter break, all of our kiddos will be returning to class tomorrow. So today was a welcome respite knowing tomorrow it will be back to business.

Just before lunchtime, Tim headed off with a friend to roam around downtown. As I began to wonder how the rest of us might spend the middle part of our day off, I heard a key turn in the front door and in walked that increasingly occasional visitor known as our eldest child.

Hey! What are you doing here?

He strolled in, iced Starbucks drink in hand, and proceeded to chatter on about how work was that weekend, how empty the dorm is on this long weekend, the highlights of a business school mixer he recently attended, the upcoming meeting about studying abroad that he's going to attend, the reason he needed to grab his shorts for some dorm floor competition, the great car he got to drive at work, how bad the food is this weekend because they know everyone is gone....and on and on and on...

And Annie and I both just stood there hanging on his every word.

Annie kept sidling up to him, wrapping her arms around his waist and squeezing him. Normally Jack has a pretty rock solid personal space bubble but he was being tolerant of her irrepressible affection. At one point I caught his eye and mouthed to him, "She misses you." At that he smiled amiably and magnanimously offered her a few friendly pats on the back and a small squeeze of her shoulders. She beamed.

After a bit he sat down at the computer so he could give us a visual of the best cars he had recently gotten to drive at work (he's a valet). Annie stood at his elbow and was either truly fascinated by all of his car talk or she was doing a darn good job acting like she was, because she didn't budge as he detailed all of the technical aspects of each car and had her listen to the sound of the different exhausts. I mean, really? But she didn't move a muscle and Jack just kept engaging her.

Jack: Annie, which one of these cars would you like to have someday?

Annie: (timidly) I think I like that one but I would want it to be blue.

Jack: Blue it is! Let's find you a blue one.

And she smiled with wonder as her big brother searched the Internet to find her the perfect car in the perfect shade of blue.

I was the one who thought maybe he should go farther away to school. I was the one who worried he wouldn't have a "college experience" if he didn't leave the city he grew up in. I was the one who thought there was something inherently problematic about being able to come home and do laundry and get a good meal every now and then.

I was wrong.

I was wrong on all counts. He is happy. He is having terrific experiences independent of us and home. It took some time but he has settled into his new life and is thriving. He made a good choice, a smart choice.

And today I realized something else. For the first time I really saw that by staying close to home, his much younger sister gets to continue to have her big brother as a physical presence in her life. That is no small blessing.

This is me, waving the white flag of surrender admitting now and for all time that I WAS WRONG. For Jack's sake, for Annie's, for his longterm career goals, for the sake of his beloved car that he would have had to leave behind...I will admit that Jack's intuition was right and mine was wrong.

And maybe, just maybe...I get something out of this, too.

Because I'll admit it, when he suddenly shows up at our front door with his bag of laundry and his colorful tales to tell, I always hope he might have at least two loads of washing and drying to do.... just so he will have to stay a little bit longer.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Alliances

Years ago, when the boys were young, and I had just gone ten rounds with Timothy's superior circular reasoning as to why whatever it was I was mad at him about was completely justified/unjustified, I overheard the following conversation between my two sons:

Jack: I don't get it. Why don't you just apologize?

Tim: For what?

Jack: For whatever you did.

Tim: What did I do?

Jack: Whatever mom says you did that was wrong! 

Tim: I didn't do anything wrong.

Jack: But mom thinks you did and if you just apologize it will be OVER!

Tim: I'd be happy to apologize if I did anything wrong, but I didn't. So I won't.

Jack: Alright. But that is not the direction I would go.

I can't even remember anymore what it was that Timothy did that was wrong (he was probably being argumentative) but what I do remember is their conversation actually made me smile. It reminded me of two things; 1) My boys are SO different, and 2) They have a relationship that is separate from their shared role as our sons, they are brothers.

Over the years, I watched that brotherly friendship grow and change but it wasn't until they were in high school that I truly came to realize something. They were not only brothers, they were allies. And, every once in awhile, their common enemy was me.

Let me explain.

When Tim entered high school, Jack was a senior and thus drove them both to school. They had a 30 minute drive to and from school each day in which they sat side by side and presumably spoke words to each other occasionally. Their school is not gigantic and without a doubt they frequently saw one another in the hallways, at lunch and at school gatherings. During one term they even had an art class together and I came to find out later that most days they sat at the same large table together during said class. Jack would often give rides to Tim to and from his friend's houses and, again, I'm assuming that sometimes during those car rides they spoke to one another.

Do you see where I'm going with this? Are you getting that during that one year they had together in high school they actually spent quite a lot of time together? Yes?

Uh huh, but here is how conversations would go when every now and then I would try to innocently inquire about one brother to the other.

Me: Soooo....(casually) do you know if your brother is asking anyone to the dance?

Son: (without making eye contact) What? I don't know. Why would I know?

Me: Oh, I don't know I just thought maybe he would have said something to you?

Son: Me? Why me?

Me: Because you're his brother and you spend an hour together in the car everyday and you see him at school and I just thought that maybe you might know a little something about what goes on in his life?

Son: Nope.

LIES!!!! LIES!!!! LIES, I TELL YOU!!!

They know. They always know. They just won't tell me!!!

As infuriating as it was not to be able to get them to turn on one another and be the proper little spies I wanted them to be, I eventually had to admit (begrudgingly) that their loyalty was admirable. While I would have liked to have had a steady stream of information on their lives, and thought I might have been able to bribe at least one of them into being my informant, their tight-lipped, unyielding "know-nothing" schtick was commendable. I guess.

Not that they would ever admit there is a secret alliance between them. I mean, that's the whole point of a secret alliance, right? Nobody is supposed to know. And I've mentioned before that as amiable as my boys are with one another they would roll their eyes and immediately start punching each other if someone tried to suggest they are "friends". But as someone who has tried multiple interrogation tactics and hasn't been able to get one of them to break, there is no doubt some sort of unspoken non-aggression, mutual-defense treaty is in place.

But every now and then one of them lets something slip. Nothing that would qualify as top secret information or critical intelligence, but more of an unmistakable quiet admission that the alliance does in fact exist.

Jack was home doing laundry the other day and started to laugh about something he read on his phone. I inquired as to what was so funny and in an unguarded moment he just chuckled, shook his head and muttered,

Oh, it's just Tim....

And that was all I got. But it was enough. It was enough to know that even now that Jack lives out of the house and goes to college and has taken the concept of secret life to a whole new level, he is still in touch with his brother. And they are still making each other laugh.

That's all I got. But I'll take it.

Long live the alliance. (But I'm still hoping I can get one of them to crack...)


What?!?
(Can't you see how cagey they can be?)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Betrayal

I can't remember if I have ever gushed about my sister here?

No? Well, it's about time then. 

My sister is hands-down one of my favorite people in the whole entire Universe (the world is not big enough, I had to go with Universe just in case there really is life on other planets). 

It's not because she is perfect. Being perfect is not a requirement for being one of my favorite people. Thank goodness, since if it were no one living in this house could make the list, including me. 

It's not because she is smart, even though she is. 

It's not because she is beautiful, even though she is. 

And it's not because she can do actual, for-real, military-style pull-ups and therefore could snap me like a twig....even though she can....and it scares me a little. 

The #1 reason she is one of my favorite people in the whole entire Universe is because there are scarce few other people who know me like she does and, remarkably, she loves me anyway. 

I know...that's sweet. But I'm about to put that love to the test. 

You see, if there is one thing my sister and I agree on 100% of the time besides the irrefutable truth that eating raw cookie dough is worth a small case of salmonella poisoning, it is our dedication to Lazy Parenting. 

Let me explain, Lazy Parenting is not the same as neglectful parenting or love-less parenting. Don't judge us too quickly. It simply means that if there is a path of least resistance available, we are going to take it. 

Get out of bed to make the kids a hearty breakfast on a Saturday morning, OR, stay in bed and let them scrounge around for granola bars and string cheese? That one is too easy...

Offer to take the kids for a bike ride and picnic in the park, OR, make a big show of conceding to let them ride their scooters up and down the hallway (like you've done something really generous and cool) while you heat up some hot dogs and read your book? Uh huh. This is where we start to separate the over-achievers from...people like my sister and I.  

But even more important than the careful investments of time and energy you make within your own home are the ones you make outside your home. This is where it can get really dicey. 

Lazy Parents are very careful not to over-commit, over-promise, over-extend and over-volunteer lest they should pull a muscle or have to give up their favorite TV show. They are the Kings and Queens of the Sign-Up Sheet Shuffle. You keep moving around that table, pen poised, carefully reading every volunteer request and checking your calendar for dates, all with the hope that by the time you circle that table for the 35th time all of the jobs will have been filled. Oh, really? Shoot. 

It's an art form. My sister and I keep saying we are going to write a book titled The Lazy Parent's Handbook but, well, I think you know why that hasn't happened.

And given all of that...given our conscientious dedication to this important life philosophy...given that we perpetually refer to that fake book which we are never going to write...do you know what a Charter Member of the Lazy Parents Forever Club absolutely, positively, under no uncertain terms DOES NOT DO? 

She does NOT agree to be the Team Parent for the High School Soccer Team!!!!!

I'm so ashamed (and exhausted already and the season doesn't start for over 4 weeks). 

So, you can see why this is going to be a true test of my sister's loyalty and devotion. I'll understand if she can't see past this horrible lapse in judgment. Who could blame her? It's obviously indicative of some tragic, hidden character flaw. I can't even look at myself in the mirror. Sisterly love can only be pushed so far. 

I will understand if our daily texts and phone calls and accidental Facetimes dwindle to nothing in the wake of Soccergate 2014. Betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow. 

But I'll miss her. 

Just as soon as I have time to miss her....which will be sometime in May...maybe June. 

Did I mention this is a two year commitment? 


She shakes her head slowly in silent humiliation. 

We were so happy then...
Sigh...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Handle with care

My daughter Annie would be the first to tell you that she is a bit on the sensitive side.

And while it's true, I often try to help her reframe that idea of herself into more positive, affirming adjectives. I tell her she is compassionate, she is empathetic, she is thoughtful, and she has a tender, open heart. And I tell her that those are all good, good things. I tell her I wouldn't change a thing about her.

And, in theory, I wouldn't. Except that I kind of want to...for her sake.

I want to temper her compassion and empathy with just a dose of apathy (just a dose, mind you). I want to water down her thoughtfulness with just a drop of selfishness. And most of all, I want to build a wall around that tender, open heart of hers. Not a very tall wall, and not an indestructible wall, just a wall high enough and strong enough that maybe not everything can get through.

I want to do all of those things in spite of my great love for all that is Annie, because I know exactly how it feels to move through the world with paper-thin-skin and a gaping wide open heart.

It's interesting to me when I hear people talk about or write about "Facebook envy" or in its more general form, "social media envy." The idea being that some people find themselves feeling deflated by what appears to be the perfect lives of others. Perfect crafty birthday parties on Pinterest, perfect photos on Instagram, perfect family vacations on Facebook. And while I can't relate to it, if I step outside of myself enough I can understand how under different circumstances I could fall prey to the same phenomenon. I don't feel that envy but I also don't judge that envy because I know it is most likely coming from a place of hurt. Back in the day when I was struggling with infertility, Facebook might not have been the right place for me, and I'm kind of glad it didn't exist.

So, when I say I don't personally feel the social media envy some people struggle with, I am not saying I think it's crazy. It's just not my battle.

My battle is with social media fighting and labeling and political posturing and the feeding frenzy that can erupt when someone says something the slightest bit controversial. And the reason this is my battle is because at the end of the day I am NOT cut out for battle.

I feel wounded when someone else feels wounded. I feel attacked when someone else is attacked. I want to speak but fear keeps me silent. I am a great big baby who doesn't know how to unravel the knot in my stomach every time I witness conflict flare up, even when I am not personally involved.

Here is the thing, I just don't DO conflict. Even perfectly sensible, civilized debate leaves me rattled. I'm not proud of that, believe me. Part of me wishes I could stand up for my convictions and then walk away without another thought about it. But that's not what happens. I worry. I stew. I fear I've offended someone. And then I just start saying sorry even when I'm not entirely clear what it is I am apologizing for.

Honestly, I think it's too late for me. I've tried to figure out how to grow a thicker skin but I'm learning that at almost 44 years old, you either have it or you don't. However, I do hold out hope when I see elderly people who have that distinctive "I could give a crap" air about them. I wonder if they were always that way or is that the final gift of age? I kind of hope so. I could look forward to getting older if I thought it meant I would stop carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and could finally unleash every controversial thought I ever had without fear of reprisal. That would be awesome.

Picture me, I'll probably be about 4' 10" by then, just going off in the nursing home on a rant that would make Richard Sherman look like he was just reading a bedtime story. And all this stupid exercise I've done my whole life is going to finally pay off then because I will still be strong and feisty and I'll single-handedly start a Senior Citizen Mock Trial group just so all of us oldies can argue and argue and argue to our heart's content. And at night, I'll sleep like a baby.

That's what I'm going to hope for.

But until then, please tread lightly. Be kind. And let's keep Facebook fun.

Peace out.

Be gentle, World. Handle with care, please.