Sifting Through the Madness

I laid down to sleep last night and the last thought I had before my brain finally turned off was “Did these people ever think that this was their last day on earth?”

At the end of a horrific week in recent memory – during a year that has already been turbulent – it was hard to imagine leaving everything behind. What you live for, work for, fight for. A wife. A child. A house. Family. Friends. Dogs.

When I woke this morning, I saw my dog laying near the front door. Perhaps how some other animals wait for their master to come home. And they may just keep waiting. Their master never coming home.

It was a sobering way to start a Friday. There’s nothing good to come out of what happened in Dallas, or St. Anthony, or Baton Rouge this week. Way too many people’s lives have been ruined – more than just those who were directly involved.

If anything, it can re-position your perspective. If there is anything to take from it as I sit thousands of miles away maybe it’s a small piece of purpose behind the madness.

The morning was deliberately slow. I laid in bed with my kid a little longer than normal, extending our morning ritual of her drinking milk, me drinking coffee, PBS cartoons keeping her occupied, the news on my phone holding my attention.

I hugged her and kissed her and took extra time with her.

By the time I was out of the shower, it was past 7 am; another way to put it is that normally she is being dropped off at daycare at this time.

We brushed our teeth together. I combed her hair. Then I put gel in my hand and ran it through my hair. Normal procedures, all.

Maybe my kid has a sixth sense but around that time she snapped to life.

Daddy, can I have some of that?

Gel? Normally this would be hit with a resounding no. What’s the harm, really?

So I put a little in my hand and then put it in her bangs.

Can I see?

I held her to the bathroom mirror. Oh! Daddy! I look pretty just like you!

She took a little longer to put her socks on, painstakingly trying to get the colored parts on her toes and heel. Once complete she went to putting her shoes on. Suddenly the Sahara Desert was in the floor of my house. Seriously, how do kids get – and keep – so much sand in their shoes?

Hell, it’s just sand, I thought. We can sweep it up.

She went out to the kitchen area and I served her toast with jelly for breakfast. Standard.

Daddy, can you eat your breakfast with me?

It’s a question I’ve never been asked on a weekday when we’re rushing to get out the door. Or, maybe, I’ve never noticed it because I’m trying to rush out the door.

I poured a cup of coffee, grabbed a protein bar and sat down at an impossibly small table designed for toddlers.

Daddy, this is delicious! Do you love your bar?

Affirmatively, I nodded.

Can I try some?

Why not? I gave her a small piece – because she’s trying to watch her waistline, too. (That’s a joke … in the words of my wife the other day: “Ella, if all I could eat was mac and cheese and never worry about my weight, I’d never complain.”)

We sang the Spongebob Squarepants song in the car. Twice. She told me she loved me – an idea that probably escapes her fully, but she knows it’s something we say to her and each other. She also told me I was her best friend.

She gave me an extra tight squeeze before she went into her classroom.

I’m convinced this kid has a sense of something greater sometimes.

Perspective is a great reminder. Sometimes the rest of life can wait.

Hug whoever you love a little harder today. Call your mom. Smile.

When you lay your head down tonight, be grateful. You don’t want to leave your dog waiting by the front door without appreciating the things that make your time here worth it.


  1. Your tenderness to Ella and your appreciation of the small moments shared are expressed so beautifully. You are a terrific dad and a wonderful son!❤️

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