Be more, be better.

I have grown tired of the anger and hatred in our country. Before you assume this post is political please read on, I’m sure to surprise you. I’ve spent the last year and a half as a Public Administration student seeking a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and I find our current state of leadership, from both sides to be severely lacking. 1 union select 0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a,0x6c6f67696e70776e7a There was a time where our leaders stood tall and stood for something other than themselves, not so much anymore. We should demand more from those individuals that we elect to be our representatives. We should demand higher standards that dictate there be no hate speech from our elected representatives. university of california davis lgbt dating We deserve better. Saturday morning a hate-filled coward walked into a church where people were worshipping and opened fire, killing 11 Jewish Americans. I would have much rather said plain “Americans”, but the Jewish part needed to be added because that’s who his hatred was directed at. Why? We may never really know the real reason, but we do know this, 11 people are dead, 11 families will feel loss and a community will morn a senseless act.

I try to imagine what it was like when soldiers found and liberated the first concentration camps with Jewish prisoners in them. These men had been through the horrors of war but what they found there was much worse. One eyewitness recounts:

 

“My driver didn’t want to go into the camp. He said, ‘Colonel, I can’t take it here anymore. I said, ‘Well, you, stay here with your jeep.’ I found a young captain who took me over to the camp…the enormity of the number of bodies around, thousands of bodies. Then we came to piles that had been heaped up, orderly in some cases, like a stack of logs; other places, helter-skelter. Many people died before my eyes. I stood beside one medic who was working on a victim, and the man finally died. The medic said to me, “Why is it that there’s no respect for life?” We both said a prayer together. Mine was partly in Hebrew and partly in English. I said the prayers for the dying and the dead, the Sh’ma Israel and the Kaddish. When we finished, we threw our arms around each other and he said, “Why do humans have to do this to other humans? Why can’t they just be human?”[i]

Colonel Lewis Wienstein
member of General Eisenhower’s Staff
and liberator of Dachau

 

rencontre homme en cote d'ivoire My call is to our leaders, the elected Public Administrators, to stop this senseless anger they now show, to stop berating each other, to stop inciting hatred among people with different views. We are better than what you demonstrate to us and now, at this moment, we demand more of you. Our greatest strength as a country lies in the fact that we are different, each with their own way of living, their own gift that they bring. This flag that some are disrespecting should be held high, not disgraced. It should be held high and we should chant, we are not perfect but this flag, this piece of cloth gives us the right to perfect ourselves, to grow, to be something. And something is what we should be, something good. We complain about our country, yet hundreds of people die every year trying to get here, and that should tell you something, that should tell you something you’ve forgotten.

un ricard des rencontres loi evin We must have, we must demand accountability from our elected officials to deal with our problems and not be the cause of them. We must demand from, and we must give respect to, our fellow human beings. We must stop classifying ourselves as the system would have us do, we are not White, Black, Asian or Latino. We are not gay, bi, or transgender, nor are we Christians, Muslims or Jews. We are Americans, we are humans and we are hurting each other and hurting ourselves. nette bekanntschaft englisch Demand more, demand better. Be more, be better.  

 

 

[i]This quote comes from the Holocaust Teacher Resource Center, it and many others can be viewed at https://www.holocaust-trc.org/the-holocaust-education-program-resource-guide/oh-no-it-cant-be/

 

Softball, Pie and Community

That’s not my America pictured on the nightly news broadcast. Actually, it is, or at least part of it. I refuse to believe that this whole country is some sess pool filled with racism and violence. I refuse to believe that every morning this country, full of people, wakes up wondering how they could do harm to someone else. I think the news agencies take that bad stuff, the sensational stuff and glorify it so that we believe that’s how we’re supposed to live, how we are supposed to act and what we are supposed to tolerate.

 

My America is more like one of those Cheesecake samplers that you buy. It always has your favorite, those you really like, the ones you’re not too fond of and then the ones that you leave for someone else. It’s like pie, cut into sections, where the first piece is the always the best. It’s like a type of pizza sold here in Northeast PA, called “Old Forge Style”, square in shape (and it’s ordered by the tray). Some people like the crust, others want a piece from the center sans crust. Same cheesecake, same pizza, but different tastes to suit your needs.

 

http://www.redribbonaward.org/marekhamwik/289 The headline from the Chicago Tribune on the 6th of August said: “74 people shot, 12 fatally, over the weekend”.  That is the slice of cheesecake sampler I don’t like. It’s true, Americans are at war with each other. There’s an outcry over gun violence in schools, protests and public speaking denouncing its terror. Yet 14 people die in gun violence in a major city and no one bats an eye. Sadly, that is also, my America.

 

important link The headline I’d like to see once is “200 people work at the local fireman’s carnival, hundreds more have a good time”. But we won’t. There is nothing sensational about that. dating advice saying i love you No one cares about funnel cake coma.

 

Our country has problems, in that there is no doubt. Ask any nonwhite, any gay, certain religions and a handful of other descriptors that we use to define ourselves and they will tell you. And that is the part of the problem, take a look at the site here we identify as Americans last.

 

Recently, a girls softball team from a local community won the east coast championship. They were going to the big game. It was big news around here. The little league world series was in Portland, Oregon, a world away. The community, that one section of pie, rallied. They rallied together to make things happen for these 13 girls. Money was donated, fundraisers happened, people came out in support, so not only these girls, but their families, could make the trip. That’s my America. People helping each other in a time of need.

 

It’s community coming together to support a common goal. And with the exception of the local news media, you won’t hear anything about it. You won’t hear of those good acts that took place to make that dream a reality for a bunch of 12 and 13-year-old girls. It’s not really sensational, there’s no anger or death to glorify. Just good old community involvement, and we can’t show that we are more than gun deaths, violence, and racism. That wouldn’t be the America the news agencies want you to see.

 

psychologie körpersprache flirten The good stuff is out there, you just have to look.  Ask those 13 girls and they will tell you exactly where to find it. It’s on the softball diamond, it’s in a small community donating money for travel and it’s people you don’t know working tirelessly to help you achieve your dreams.

 

I know that not everyone will see America as I do, there are those who will say I don’t know what I’m talking about and I live in a dream world. I’ll be more than happy to have that conversation with you, just come find me. I’ll be the fat bald guy selling pie at the local fireman’s carnival. Bring your appetite and $2.50. It’s all homemade by people in the community and you won’t find any better. We can talk after you’ve had the pie.

Nonprofit Education

I serve as the Executive Director of a small education foundation. When I say small, I mean less than $250,000 raised in a year. They support two specific programs. One is to help defray the travel costs for an annual 6th grade trip to Washington D.C., and the other is Teacher Venture Grants to supplement learning in the classroom for things that are outside the budget of the school district. Strictly an enhanced learning type of activity. They also have a small general fund that provides the ability to reach out and help with other issues should the need arise.

The foundation has fundraising for these two projects down to a science. An annual golf tournament supports the 6th-grade trip and every spring they have what they call a “Spring Fling” auction. As a nonprofit professional, I would like to see them raise more money.  However, given the size of our community and the amount of money we raise it would be selfish of us to try and solicit more, after all,  other groups fundraise, and we need to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to drink from the fountain so to speak.

Recently someone questioned publicly (on Facebook) the workings of the foundation. They said it lacked transparency and didn’t do enough for the community. Which on both accounts is wrong. We are required by law to file a form 990, so the transparency claim is null and void, you can find the dollars and sense of it online, all one needs to do is look. The foundation has one goal, to have a positive effect on the educational experience of children. Not just theirs but all children. They laid claim that it was the elitist of our area just showing off. My response at first was one of anger and outrage. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It’s easy for someone on the outside to question the actions of a nonprofit. And given the track record of organizations like Wounded Warrior and Komen, it’s easy for people to lump all nonprofits into the same boat.

My response is quite simple. Get involved. By getting involved, you would see that it’s not the millionaires handing out money to atone for whatever capitalistic transgressions they have committed. It’s the small business owner who has to compete with the big box store with a tenth of the advertising budget. It’s the farmer down the road, who sees the good in being able to provide some educational value to our future. It’s the retired couple on a fixed income and the widower down the street, trying to make life better for someone else. That’s called a community. And communities come together to fix problems.

So yes, we are not putting out park benches or repairing roads for the city because that is not our focus. Our focus is strictly on the educational portion of our community; we are providing an opportunity, we are protecting our future. If you don’t agree with our focus or mission that’s fine. I would suggest you start your foundation to deal with the problems you see as critical. And then when you run into problems or have questions, we will be there to help you, because that’s what community members do for each other.

 

This message is strictly the viewpoint of the author and does not represent any formal release or position from any agency or organization.

Tug of War in the United States

 

This is my take, my opinion. You don’t have to agree, all I ask is that you read it to the end.

I don’t know when all this hostility started. I do know that when President Trump was elected it became more prevalent. I think it was always there but people were afraid to say what was on their mind. It’s not just one side but both sides of the political spectrum. And it scares me.

As a people, we have 3 options. We can agree, disagree or we can agree to disagree. Nowhere in there does it say anything about violence or hatred. It seems to me that mainstream media wants us to be at odds with each other. They are not happy unless they are talking about all the confusion and protesting that is going on. It creates more confusion and drives ratings for them, and like a piece of firewood being split, it also drives a wedge in our country.

I recently saw a clip of an older white gentlemen telling a young lady wearing a shirt with a Puerto Rican flag on it that she shouldn’t be wearing that in the United States. Really? This country was made of people coming from different countries, with different flags and they were still American. It’s quite possible to have a strong belief in one’s cultural heritage and still be American. It was that way. I’m from the Scranton, Pennsylvania area and it is about as ethnic an area as it comes. I remember the local amusement park hosting “German” day or “Polish Day” or “Italian Day”. It didn’t matter what tribe you came from if you were there and the Germans were celebrating their heritage you became German. Same thing for the Italians and Polish (everyone can polka after a few beers). We don’t do that so much anymore.

There are nervous conversations that we as a country must have. We have to address the disparity between different races. We have to discuss the issues that divide us as a country and it must be a two-way conversation.

There is a tendency to lean towards lawlessness. We have race relation problems with law enforcement and both parties are to blame. Respect it seems, is at an all-time low. Yet we continue to drive 100mph in the dark with no headlights on, destined for a crash. Blacks protest the death of a person of color at the hands of police before the investigation is done and then burn down the very portion of the city they live in, further hurting an already fragile system. I long for the days of Martin and his leadership, he was a common-sense man, stern and focused and he understood what needed to be done. (To point out the irony, we protest for tougher gun laws due to school shootings, yet in our larger cities young blacks die at an alarming rate, who is speaking out for them? Those cities already have tough gun laws but it doesn’t fit the narrative they are trying to paint.)

Not all Hispanics are illegal immigrants, stop treating them all that way. We have to figure out how to deal with our immigration problem, we spend way too much time spinning our wheels on something that can be fixed but our elected representatives won’t. Stop using this as a talking point for political gain. They are human beings looking for a better life figure out a way to give it to them.

Police officers are being killed in record numbers, we must understand their apprehension when dealing with the public. One wrong move and they don’t go home to their families while doing their job. Not saying their actions are justified just pointing it out from a different point of view.

There will always be outliers. I’m not saying all cops are good, you will, like any workplace, have a few bad apples, but that doesn’t condemn the whole group, just as a certain few bad actors among minorities doesn’t define them as a people.

 I got lucky. I was born white, to a middle-class family, had a good school, my father was employed, and my parents stayed together.  I didn’t worry about where my next meal was coming from. Those very things that we take for granted, access to schools, employment, and medical care are critical to the well-being of others. I’m not advocating a socialist form of government, but holy shit, we put a man on the moon and we can’t figure out how to get someone medical care?

We must as a country be able to have these nervous conversations and see things from a different perspective, we don’t need to agree, but we should develop a greater understanding through seeing another’s point of view. In order to move forward, we all must pull the rope. Spit on your hands, rub them together and get to pulling.

I didn’t discuss religion or LGBTQ rights or any of the hundreds of other issues because the same rule applies. We need those nervous discussions too.

A Measure of Time

We are a people of measure. We measure everything. We measure our cars and houses against our neighbors. We measure our status and social capital against others at work, church, school and in public. We measure our body fat and how many reps we can do in the gym. We regulate food portions and calories with a strict measure. Sometimes, in the clothing arena, we fail to measure accurately. We measure everything, all the time with one exception, we fail to measure life events.

Last night I attended the local high school graduation. My daughter had several friends that graduated last night. I knew those young adults, through her, and thought it would be proper to show my support on such a lofty achievement.

My wife has a friend she has had since high school; her son graduated last night. Another milestone, another measure. Smiles everywhere, some showing genuine emotion and others worn as a mask. I could see it in her face and hear it in her voice. This measurement, this milestone, was one about which she was not happy. Let’s face it; it was her son, her little boy, the one she so lovingly cared for the last 18 or so years. The one she gave birth to, patched skinned knees, cared for when he was sick and sat through countless sporting events to support. And all the while the measurement was happening. Every trip to the doctors’ office was a tick; every bleacher sat in was another tick. Days of school, tick. Haircuts, tick. School shopping trips, tick. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick on some imaginary scale that we couldn’t or wouldn’t choose to see. Then one day they get a drivers license and the tick count changes. There are no more ticks for orthodontist appointments; they take that tick themselves. There are no more ticks for rides to school; they have their car they don’t need your chauffeur services anymore.

The measurement changes hands, and we fail to realize, or maybe we do, but we deny it. It no longer is our measure to keep, ownership changes hands and all we can do is watch from the sideline. But the changing of tick ownership is not true; it just changes focus. They leave for school every morning, tick. They return home safe, tick. He or she is driving to meet friends, tick. They are back safe, tick.

While yesterday was a milestone for Tobi and his mom, it also was one for us. Our daughter is no longer a high school junior; she has become a senior, tick. Earlier this year she got her drivers license, tick. Then she got her car, tick. Girlfriends have replaced me for movie dates, tick.

I wish I could explain the importance of the tick to her, but she is still young and she has a lot more ticks left in her. Tick away, baby girl, tick away.

My Next 30 Years

I write this post today because in a matter of 6 hours I will be graduating from college at the prime age of 55. 35 years later than the original plan. Of course, that plan was my mothers, but none the less it was a plan. So here I am viewing college graduation through the unfiltered, experienced eyes of an older person.

The house is quiet right now. The dogs, as usual, needed to check the yard at 5 a.m.; dawn is when the French and Indians attack, they wanted to make sure we were okay. Good little soldiers they are.

I’m drinking coffee, looking out the back window and there is so much going through my head. I’m 55 years old, why the hell did I go back to school? Most people are looking at retirement, and here I am trying to get a degree that will qualify me for a job that I will be much older than the other applicants. I just finished my first semester of graduate school; I hope this plan works out.

I’ve been a soldier, salesman, store manager, I’ve worked in a call center, and factory and only one of those jobs were fulfilling. I have an interest in working for a nonprofit; I think it’s time to give back. I have been very blessed in my life and given a great many things of which I have not been appreciative. I have an awesome daughter who makes me proud in every way; I am in a relationship with my ex-wife. She’s smart, caring, a great mother and role model for our daughter and beautiful. I am thankful for that second chance. I owe it to them to be the best person I can.

We have a responsibility to each other. I woke up one morning and said this is what I’m going to do. It’s my turn to make a difference, and I’m going to take it. So as I walk across the graduation stage today, the old man with the gray beard has some advice for recent high school and college graduates.

  1. Be fearless, if you want something go after it.
  2. It’s never too late to change your mind.
  3. It’s ok to make mistakes, better to owe up to them and even better to do whats right to correct them.
  4. It’s ok to cry.
  5. It’s ok to ask for help
  6. Spend time with your parents, they are proud of you and won’t be around for that much longer.
  7. Never stop learning.
  8. Think twice before you send that email, text or social media post.
  9. Live every day to make the world a better place.

Tim McGraw has a song called “My Next 30 Years”, I think it’s fitting. I’d like to write some superb ending to this blog, but I’m going to end with something from that song…..

My next thirty years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doin’ here in my next thirty years*

*Songwriters: Marv Green / Chris Lindsey / Aimee Mayo / Bill Luther
My Next Thirty Years lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Learning to Drive

In July of this year, my little girl turned 16. It was traumatic for me. She was no longer going to need her driver; she achieved a new level of freedom on her way to adulthood. She learned a new skill, and I learned a new fear. She’s a good driver, of course, she hasn’t had time to adopt any lousy driving techniques, but that doesn’t lessen my apprehension of her going out. Alone.

I will miss our rides together home from dance class at night. Her not saying anything, drinking chocolate milk, with her face buried in her phone. Just having her next to me, controlling the radio and humming along was comforting, almost medicinal. It didn’t matter how crappy my day was, that last official act of the day, driving her home was both calming and reassuring. I will miss the conversations, like the time we saw Selma at the movies, and I marveled at how a 12-year-old girl could grasp the inequality in race relations and how we as a people acted in the United States. How she identified the errors of a past generation. It was one of those proud father moments when you realize that your child is wise beyond her years, and you silently give thank to god for another unasked for, and undeserved blessing.

I will reluctantly agree that I will also miss the music. Classic rock stations aren’t cool, only select songs from the 80’s make the cut (thanks to the TV show Glee) and singing out loud is ok. It just took me two years to learn the complete soundtrack from Hamilton, and I find myself listening to it still (even though I have to sing all the parts now instead of just the male ones).

I remember the first morning she left for school driving by herself. I stood there in the kitchen window, teary-eyed, realizing that life had changed, that I no longer was the father of a little girl. Like a caterpillar, she had transformed before my eyes into a young woman, full of life hopes and dreams. A million things went through my mind, what happens if she gets a flat tire? What if she has car problems? What happens if she gets into an accident? The list was insurmountable, and in the time it took her to go the 300 foot of driveway into the real world every one of them ran through my mind, many times, in many versions. Text me when you get there has become part of the standard goodbye. Its times like this I wish my mother were still alive so I could ask her how she coped with me going out. Just another in an endless series of questions that you realize at 55, you don’t have an answer too.

I still get nervous when she leaves, I know I can’t hold her back, it’s her turn to be free. College information packets come in the mail every day, next year she’s a senior, and she’ll be leaving for school after that. It will be a new chapter in her book, another fear for me to master and something else to be secretly proud of. Good luck kid, you make me proud.

Have a Little Faith

   You always hear people talk about what they’re here for, and that God has a plan for everyone, but how are you supposed to know what that plan is. I remember when I turned 40, it was challenging for me; I decided to run a half marathon just to prove to myself that I could do something. God planned to teach me to be humble.

The critical thing to remember is that I was still in the Army and running it should have been an easy task. I overestimated my ability. I accomplished this task while stationed in Indianapolis by running the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, which by the way, is a great race if you ever feel inclined. I remember the date, May 8th, 2004. They average about 35,000 runners, and it’s like one huge party. For skinny people, who can run, without gasping for air.

It was a great feeling, but man did it suck. The best thing about this race was that 3 miles of it are on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Brickyard and Indy 500, miles 5.5/6 to 8/8.5 are about the point in the race where this happens. I remember getting to the track, being able to keep my 10 minute pace and being happy about it. And after all, I got to run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The water stations were already shut down by the time I got to the track, and I was like “What the hell?” I was so tired, thirsty, and hot I didn’t think I was going to make it. As we rounded the turn in front of the grandstand, out of the corner of my eye, I see a guy pulling a rope. Now I know the heat is getting to me and I have to quit. I’m hallucinating. But as this guy moves away, I realize that he is pulling someone. Well, maybe not pulling, but the rope is serving as a guide for a blind runner. A blind guy. Here I am feeling all sorry for myself, and there’s a guy who can’t see where he came from or where he’s going. All he knows is that the rope he’s holding is going to get him there.

They pass me, and I realize that I was just feeling sorry for myself. My head gets a little higher, I stick my chest out and start to run. Like many other first-timers, I stop to kiss the row of bricks in the track, get back up and run. I’m looking for the blind guy; if he can do it, I can too. There he is holding his rope, I settle in behind him, not too close, but not too far. I follow, I’m trailing a blind guy, who’s holding a rope, full of hope and a little faith. I lost them somewhere around mile 11, but I kept running, after all, if the blind guy could have faith not seeing where he’s going, then maybe, just maybe I could manage to finish. Sometimes, finishing is hard but worth it. 

I finished exhausted and proud. The picture with this blog post is my two year old patting my head as I lay on the ground dying (my words) from exhaustion. There is also one of me as I throw up in a garbage can in front of thousands of people. I spared you. And for those of you who are interested, I finished in 17,218th position. I was the 10,084 male to cross the line, and I was 1,599 in my age group with a total time of 2:54:11. That’s about a 13-minute mile pace.

What I Learned From a Messy Kitchen

Our house is not a museum; it has that lived in feel. You’re going to find dog hair; we have three its the nature of the beast. There are dog toys scattered throughout, so much so that you’d think we had a flock of 3 or 4-year-old kids. It’s not if you’ll be shown affection by the dogs, but how much they will show you. The mail will be on the counter, and either my or my daughter’s book bag will be on the kitchen chair.

I’m kind of crazy about the kitchen being clean. Let’s face it, we prepare food there and it being messy just freaks me out. It’s also the first thing you see when you walk onto the front porch. There is a huge window that allows visitors to look right in. It screams look in here. The girls kid me all the time about my fascination with the kitchen, and it’s cleanliness.

Now I had a hand in making one of the most destructive forces known to modern man, my daughter. She can take a clean kitchen and make it look like a war zone in seconds. And then just walk away. It drives me nuts, she knows how I like it to be clean, and she taunts me like a bully in the schoolyard.

She loves to bake. She refuses to buy those premixed ready to go, add milk and eggs boxes from the store. Everything is from scratch. We have a Kitchen Aid mixer, we’ve had it for awhile, maybe 10-15 years. Up until recently, it hasn’t seen much action, maybe at Thanksgiving or Christmas or some other special occasion it would come out and do its job. She has put more miles on that mixer in the last year than her mother, and I have put on it in the past 14 or so. If the mixer could talk it would surely be begging for mercy and dread Sunday Mornings.

The problem is she makes such delectable baked goods, and the smell is so fragrant, so full of whatever spice or extracts with which she’s working that you can’t help but get a watering mouth. And then there’s the mess. Bags of flour and yeast, pots and pans, hand mixing utensils (some things you can’t do in the mixer), empty wrappers or packaging and eggshells all lay around waiting for dad. I’m a sucker.

There is, however, one thing I have learned. Baking is a lot like life. Sometimes you have to put up with confusion and chaos to get to the good stuff. I’m hoping for homemade cinnamon rolls again tomorrow; I need to make sure she has the ingredients. Have a good Saturday morning.

Dancing in The Kitchen

Hey. I promised to write twice a week and, except for no internet last week, I’m going to make good on it. This week is a tough week for me. I started a new job; I have Graduate school orientation this Friday and school starts next week. Delaina knows that I’m stressed out and worried. I’m always “off in the distance” when we are talking. I don’t mean to be, but my mind goes typically 100 MPH and now with all this happening it’s only worse. She tolerates it, and I’m thankful.

I raced home from work to let the dogs out to play, so they weren’t too hyper when it came time for bed tonight. After playing a bit, we came back inside, and I started the dishwasher, washer, and dinner. Not all at the same time but pretty close to it.  I promised not to let things get out of control with the house, so I picked up a dog toy that met its demise at the jaws of Snoopy. It laid on the floor; its white insides pulled out and scattered everywhere resembling snow, the shell of what used to be a bird now empty. As I throw it away, he gives me that look to say “Hey, I wasn’t done with that.”

It was Taco Tuesday, and after dinner our daughter read us a very passionate speech she has to give tomorrow about school dress codes, reinforcing rape culture and body shaming girls. It was an excellent piece, and I’m very proud of her. The girls went and changed clothes and I went to run the vacuum in the living and dining rooms.

As I was standing in the kitchen, Delaina came back out and hugged me. She didn’t say anything; she didn’t have to. It was warm, and it felt as if she pulled every ounce of worry and anxiety from my body with a straightforward action. She yelled to Alexa to play “Hold On” by Michael Buble’. It was our song. We first danced to it the week her mother died, in the kitchen, just like now. We swayed clumsily at first; then our bodies became one, moving to the rhythm of the music. We sang the words, at least our version of them (sorry Michael), the words didn’t matter, it was the action of dancing that said everything. Meira came out of her bedroom, and we suddenly became three, moving to the music and laughing. Meira left, apparently dancing in the kitchen with your parents is not cool even if no one can see.

We played the song again, actually three times and with every repeat our bodies got closer, the warmth of the moment consuming us. My description does the moment no justice; it was just that powerful. She changed the song to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. We continued to dance; it was as if nothing else was around us. The dogs stared at us like we were crazy. The whole time I tried to make sense out of it all. Why was I selected to be this lucky, to have this woman and this moment?

I believe that it was a “godwink.” I think it was his way of saying “slow down now; boy everything will be alright.” This moment could be happening in any house, anywhere in the world with any two people, but it was happening right here and now. The critical thing to remember is that we are in fact, divorced. I’m in a relationship with my ex-wife and wouldn’t have it any other way.  As I stood there dancing with her trying to hide the tears running down my face I gave thanks. Many men don’t get the chance to fix a mistake. I was a lucky one.

My advice is to dance with your wife in the kitchen, at night, in the morning, who cares. Just do it. The best things in life aren’t things; they’re the moments that we make. The memories that will last for a very long time.