Walk on Frozen Water

Some days you hope your children will make good decisions in their lives. Most days you hope for a better day tomorrow.

We were visiting family one day recently. If you live in Massachusetts, you know the cold weather we’ve been having lately. Bitter cold

We were travelling this past weekend to visit family. Granted, it wasn’t a long drive but I needed a jacket for the very short time we were outside. I’m delicate. One of the children, as I mentioned before, decided they didn’t need a jacket. They took the jacket with them to humor me. Most normal people will bring the jacket with them into the house. I hope this child meets these people someday. I clearly have nothing to teach or offer them.

We visited family that live near the water. We brought lunch with us and everyone caught up while we ate lunch. School is good. Work is good. The family is good. Corona will be over in three weeks. Everyone’s doing good. While we were visiting, the genius that left their jacket in the car needed it. I asked where it was. They said it was in the car. I commended the child for leaving the jacket in such a great place. The car gets unlocked and the child gets their jacket.

Later, one child wanted to go down and feed the ducks that, for whatever reasons they had, didn’t want to go somewhere warm. Another wanted to go with them. A couple of minutes later, one of them return to the house. It seems someone thought it would be a good idea to walk on the frozen water.

Over the river and through… the water.

“What?” I ask. They repeat what happened. The child tried to walk on the ice.

“No, they didn’t,” I said.

“Yes, they did”

“No, they didn’t,” I said. This is my way of telling the children I know they are smarter than this and there is no way they tried something like this.

Soon enough, the second child returns into the house with shoes in their hands and wet socks on their feet. They are leaving tracks on the floor. I remind the child to take off the dripping wet socks and clean up the wet tracks behind them. I also proceed to suspend future decision-making decisions until further notice. We find the child dry socks and, somehow, a dry pair of shoes. We later return from our visit. Everyone has dry feet, clean feet, and dry socks and shoes. A further check shows everyone has their toes and certain people living in our house are still not allowed to make decisions.

2020 Hindsight

There’s been a lot of talk about 2020 and how glad people will be to see it leave. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Coronapalooza isn’t going to disappear when midnight strikes and the ball drops to ring in 2021.

But that’s not why I’m here with you this week. I’m hear to tell you that 2020 hasn’t been all that bad. Not for me, anyway, and I want to share with you the memories of the year that was all about toilet paper, homeschooling, and wi-fi bands that were tested time and time again.

The year 2020 was a year that saw us as a family of five. One left us and two more came. One more came after that and we are now a happy family of seven. We made a jump from dealing with elementary school problems to dealing with teenagers, high school, Driver’s Ed and the multitude of happy experiences and memories that spawned from everything teenager.

Wife finally got one of her wishes. She got to spend more time at home. Granted, she was working from home so it wasn’t exactly ideal, but she didn’t have to fight traffic or deal with coming home after children had gone to bed. I even got to have lunch with her sometimes.

Youth sports got me out of the house with The Boy. We got to spend some time on the baseball diamond where I saw other ways to use a facemask besides protecting your face. Chew toys, sling shots. It’s amazing what kids can do if they’re bored enough. I also spent my time dodging errant throws and thrown bats as well as directing traffic on the base paths and making sure there was one person not chasing a batted ball so the up-and-comers would have someone to throw to as soon as they were done jumping on each other while trying to get said batted ball. Speaking of happy days on the diamond, I would like to take this time to thank a certain neighbor for taking over a couple of times so I could go on vacation with my family.

Vacation. Ah, yes. Vacation. Those glorious weeks spent with my wife, children and my wife’s cousins… and four additional children that belonged to one of those cousins. It was a good time. Swimming and campfires and no wi-fi. I think The Oppressed is still traumatized by the wi-fi-less week. Those therapy sessions are going to be epic.

We spent some time swimming at a nearby beach. We took walks. We dealt with the outdoors and the elements as best we could. It wasn’t Disneyland (our first choice for vacation before the Coronavirus fiasco) but we were able to spent some time together.

Summer vacation ends and we are back to homeschooling and The Homework Wars. We have a small break between homework and dinner where The Boy and I go to flag-football practice. I was an assistant coach. I get another chance to do something with him. The Oppressed has sworn off sports for the rest of her life. I need to find something else to do with her.

Driving lessons. Just one
example of our “fun” this year.

The sports seasons end and the weather gets colder. I move from coaching youth sports to helping one of The Gaggle as they start their driving lessons. There have been plenty of white-knuckle incidents and missed turns and slamming on the brakes when someone realizes halfway through an intersection that there was a stop sign. Good times. We will soon have another child starting Driver’s Ed. My liquor cabinet won’t be empty for a while. The colder weather brings a change to the seasons. We celebrated Thanksgiving. I won’t say how many were there because I’m still not sure what the limits are for gatherings at the time. Whatever they are, I’m sure we were WELL within them.

We gave candy at Halloween. We helped shovel out neighbors. I started to tell my stories to the world about parenting and all of the joys that came along with it. I also took another job writing. A friend of mine took me on to write some feel-good stories about the good people at Northeastern University and their accomplishments. I immediately said yes because I don’t have anything else going on right now. Sounds like fun. It has been.

There was no such fun when I pulled a deck of “Uno” cards out of my Christmas stocking and looked at The Oppressed on Christmas Morning. Playing cards is right under Batting Practice on the list of Cruel and Unusual Punishments she is seeking to have permanently banned. I’m hoping she will change her mind. In the meantime, there will be more stories to tell about me, Wife and our five kids who fill our home with love, memories, and ulcer-inducing stories.

So, what exactly will 2021 bring to us? I have no idea. I’m stuck with you here in 2020. I know there will be three in high school and one wrapping up elementary school and getting ready for middle school. A child in middle school. What could possibly go wrong?

I do have hopes for the new year. One hope is that we can finally get back out to doing normal things. Go out to eat. Take a vacation. Send my children, all five of them, to school full-time. Whatever 2021 brings us, I will be sure to let you know about it. Thank you for being with me this year as I share the ups, downs, and adventures in Parenting. The year 2021 should be an interesting year and, if anything goes wrong, there’s always 2022. Right?

Happy New Year!

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‘Rona

(Sung to “Lola” by The Kinks)

I’m stuck here at home with five or six kids

Where they just want screens and want to drink

Coca-Cola

C-O-L-A Cola

The Gaggle has to sneeze. The Oppressed needs to cough

They do what they must. In a laughing voice they say “’Rona”

R-O-N-A Rona, Ro Ro Ro Ro ‘Rona

Well, I’m not the most intelligent guy

But when the homework starts it nearly breaks my mind

Oh the ‘Rona, Ro Ro Ro Ro ‘Rona

Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand

Why they can’t figure math but can unlock IPads

Oh ‘Rona, Ro Ro Ro Ro Rona, Ro Ro Ro Ro  Rona

Well, we watch movies all through the night

Sometimes the fireplace has light

The Oppressed or The Boy is on my knee

I wish I could sit with their mommy

Well, I’m not the most intelligent guy

But why is Nintendo Switch

Missing again? Oh, ‘Rona

Ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

I can’t run away

I just lock the door

I lay on the floor

And I start to read

Then I look at them ‘cause they found me

Well, that’s the way that it is everyday

And it will continue to be that way with the ‘Rona

Ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

Two boys and three or four girls

It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world

With the ‘Rona

Ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

Well, Coronapalooza started in March last

The bourbon and scotch are running out fast

The Gaggle smiles with my Zelda game

The Oppressed and The Boy will both do the same

Well, we had a cleaning and learning plan

And the kids are saying no way to that plan

With the ‘Rona

Ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona

‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona, ro ro ro ro ‘Rona