Friday, December 16, 2011

A New Tree

December has been hard, just like I knew it would be. The Christmas tree, Christmas cards, the awkward man-wrapping of presents. I knew every bit of it would be surreal, rough or both.

Dori always decorated the tree with the kids, not literally of course. Leading that evolution was different, but the kids helped me some and our tree looks nice. The Christmas cards? I'm doing them to honor Dori and to communicate to our friends and family that we will celebrate our Lord's birthday and wish them joy. Who knew the whole thing would take seven hours? I went to five outlets to find the right-sized envelopes, but when the cards didn't fit, I reacted like Animal the Muppet Drummer.

We are counting our blessings. I LOVE our new church. So do the kids. The homilies from the two priests are always stellar. Our nanny is doing a great job. The kids have good grades. I love my family. They have been terrific to the kids and me. I appreciate their patience, love, understanding, advice and kindness, even if sometimes I don't act like it.

I believe I'm doing OK, but some days are too much. So I cry, something I've started doing more frequently the last few weeks. The realization that I was married to the best woman I ever met is hard to process, especially during Christmas and her birthday last week. I'm so sorry for Dori's sister and friends that she's not here to call them and make them feel good.

Lonely but lucky, I'm where I'm supposed to be, I guess. We're going to do a little skiing soon and some rare December Commodore football at the Liberty Bowl. I'm ready to point my skis down the slopes of Steamboat Springs, yell for our school, and encourage my kids to do the same. And hey, KC and the Sunshine Band will be playing at halftime. The forecast for Memphis calls for a slight chance of cheese. Give it up, KC.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lifting of the Fog

When Dori left us, she left behind a tremendous legacy. Next Friday, we will remember her on what would have been her 44th birthday. It will be tremendously painful, just like the October wedding anniversary without her.

Earlier this week, we had a London-like fog in Nashville. It's the same kind of fog our family has been experiencing this year. It didn't want to lift, and we had terrible accidents across town, including one 55-car pileup and a fatality. Around lunchtime, the fog finally abated. The day transformed into a crisp, late autumn day with plenty of sunshine.

My son seems to have experienced something similar this week. A gifted basketball player, his heart wasn't into it this summer and fall. One can understand why. He played a decent first game on Thursday, with smiles scattered throughout the game. His team lost, but he said he had fun. All fall, Will only shot baskets when I challenged him to a game of "horse." Late this week, he began shooting baskets on his own. I sensed a change.

Yesterday, Will played like Will, scoring, rebounding and dishing assists. His team won, 26-17. I wasn't there, as I was at Kathryn's game, but I could see the game in my head as my sister texted me how he was doing. One text: "He's playing like a freakin' NBA player." Parents near me probably wondered why I couldn't stop smiling, as Kathryn's team trailed its arch-rival. I couldn't stop seeing Will drive the ball to the basket with a smile on his face! Thanks to my sister, you have a little visual.

At home, Will recounted key plays, smiling the entire time. He nodded in agreement when I shared that his mother was beaming with pride at his accomplishment. Most of this fall, our family has had a few steps forward, a few steps back. Yesterday was a leap forward, and I couldn't be happier for him and us.