I Am Such A Sap
My wife Elizabeth created and posted this Flipagram video to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday yesterday. At first it seemed like just a sweet but fairly innocuous video, but as I saw it two or three times, it became clear that it was more than just 30 seconds of pictures and music. Quite simply, this little video has torn me up. I can’t watch it – heck, I can barely think about it – without turning into an emotional, quivering, puddle of goo. I’ll attempt to explain.
Elizabeth and I are lucky enough to have jobs that allow us to be home every night with our girls, Emily Grace (the now 11-year-old), and Lily. I rarely have to work late hours or travel out of town for business, and Elizabeth works in a school so she gets home early and has the summers off. In other words, there is hardly a moment in their lives that we’ve missed. We’ve seen and photographed every school play, church musical, award ceremony, dance and piano recital, and field trip over the years. We’ve taken trips to the beach, the mountains, aquariums and zoos all over the Southeast and snapped tons of pictures along the way. And, in 2013 we saw both of them baptized after accepting Jesus Christ into their hearts. We’ve done our best to make theirs the best childhood possible, but there have been a few hurdles along the way.
First, when Emily Grace was six weeks old, we discovered a problem with her left leg. X-rays showed she was missing the fibula – a condition known as fibular hemimelia. Not to get too deep in the weeds with medical descriptions, Elizabeth and I sought out the expertise of surgeons in Baltimore – 700 miles away from our home in Birmingham – for her care. Since she was four years old, she has had six or seven surgeries (I honestly lose count), and we we’ve logged thousands of miles traveling back and forth for follow-ups, consultations, and more X-rays. And, even though she has one or two operations ahead of her, praise God, she’s doing great.
We were at a good place with regards to health issues when, in January 2013, our youngest daughter Lily was diagnosed with diabetes. Fortunately we have experience with diabetes since I was diagnosed at the age of 17. Still, the past 14 months have been exhausting. Every day seems like one endless calculation – how many carbs does this have? What’s her blood sugar? How many units of insulin does she need? Add in the 2 a.m. blood sugar checks and we’ve basically had to learn how to live with a certain amount of sleep deprivation.
Again, thank God, Lily is doing just fine. However, looking at this video I realize how these medical issues, in particular the last year or so, have sort of robbed me of the simple pleasures of enjoying them, and taking pride in how they’re developing and growing. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying I’m not proud of them or I don’t have fun with my daughters, and take time to laugh, giggle, and horse around with them when I can. On the contrary, I am incredibly proud of them. It’s just that I’ve let taking care of their needs overshadow these special moments. In addition I’ve wondered recently if I’ve spent too much time worrying about work and chasing too many freelance jobs, forcing me to spend too much time on the computer or conducting interviews during my nights and weekends.
As I watched this little 30 second video, I started asking myself all sorts of questions and, admittedly, wallowing in a little bit of navel gazing. I started wondering what the future holds for them, if they’re happy, and if I’ve been a good father to them. And, lastly, while I know I need to let go and watch them grow – frankly, there are days when I’m ready for them to grow up and fly the coup – but today I can’t help but long for those days when they were younger. Right now I would trade anything to be able to come home and have my two little girls, in their Disney nightgowns and training pants, jump into my lap to read their Raggedy Ann and Pinkalicious books. What I wouldn’t do to be able to pick them up and toss them in the air, getting completely lost in their laughter and big, silly smiles. For crying out loud, I’ve seen practically all of these moments and it’s still gone by way too fast.
I just have one more question. Can’t they be babies for just one more day?
This is awesome!
A high school soccer player in Geogia nails a 67-yard goal on the opening kickoff! I love how the opposing goalie just stands there like he’s invisible or something. Hilarious!
My newest story in Discover St. Clair is sure to get your stomach growling. It focuses on a handful of meat-and-three restaurants in the area all cooking up some darn good Southern cooking. The story mostly focuses on what these restaurants offer for lunch and dinner, but I have to recommend the breakfast at Huggy’s Diner. Best French toast and pancakes I’ve had in a while.
Look Up In The Sky ….
I’ve been a little negligent keeping this blog up to date, but, hey, better late than never. Anyway, I had a really cool piece published in the January issue of B-Metro Magazine on several experimental pilots throughout the Birmingham area. I’ve become fascinated with the idea of someone spending the time, money, and energy to build their own airplane, and then having the cojones to actually get in the darn thing and fly it himself. This article gave me the chance to explore that idea.
I interviewed a handful of local pilots and got to fly in a couple of interesting planes for the piece, taking the controls for a few minutes as well. My favorite of the two planes was, without a doubt, the 1946 Erco Ercoupe, owned by Mr. Johnny Ward of Shelby County, Alabama. We took it up in the air late in the afternoon on a beautiful October day in central Alabama. It’s an open cockpit plane, so the experience is similar to riding around in a convertible with the exception of being about 1,500 feet in the air, of course. We flew over several local landmarks including American Village and my Alma mater, the University of Montevallo. If you ever get a chance to fly in one of these, don’t pass it up. Heckuva lot of fun.
I didn’t get a chance, however, to fly in the Breezy, much to my disappointment, although my wife was thrilled those plans fell through. Another time.
Also, I need to give a shout out to the photographer on the story, the always brilliant Beau Gustafson.
Read the story here.
Photo fun with a Coca Cola sign at Superior Grill, Birmingham, Alabama. Image created with #Snapseed #superiorgrill #birmingham #coke #cocacola #funky #kitsch
Broadway Joe Stylin’
While the game itself is turning out to be a dud, Joe Namath added his own sense of style to the Super Bowl this evening, styling a full-length, fur coat. Who else but Broadway Joe could pull this look off.
By the way, it’s shameless plug time. I have an interview with Joe Namath in the current issue of Tailgater Monthly magazine. I had a chance to talk to him for about an hour last fall, discussing an array of topics, but mostly the events leading up to his famous prediction in Super Bowl III. Now 70, Namath still has that sense of humor and a unique perspective on his role in sports, pop culture, and being the man largely responsible for turning this annual football game into a de facto national holiday. Read it here, and send me a note to let me know what you think.
If it makes you feel better, I’ve always doubted your talent, and I still do.
- Brian Hacket to Helen Chapel on Wings.
A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.
- Milton Friedman in response to the new, despicable mayor of New York, Bill DeBlasio.