It wasn’t the snap, crackle and pop I usually heard coming from my the cereal in the bowl on the table.
Instead it was the pop pop pop pop I associate with the times I have gone shooting except I wasn’t anywhere you are supposed to hear it.
Someone in my neighborhood was shooting but I had no idea who or what they were shooting at.
We were well past the witching hour and heading towards the quieter part of the night in which you wanted to be certain you were enjoying shut eye because the dawn was closer than the prior day.
Took a moment for me to rub enough sleep from my eyes to recognize what was going on and to wonder if the sirens I heard were going to be close enough to be seen.
I rolled out of a bed and padded softly to the window so that I could look between the slats and try to figure out what was happening.
One car, two officers, lights flashing but no siren.
Something was going on because I could still hear sirens from other cars but the one on the street below was silent.
Watched, waited and wondered if I needed to do something to protect my family, but without more information than I had I couldn’t decide what that would be.
Moments later the driver 0f the squad car below put his foot through the floor and the car flew down the street.
And then silence swallowed the night and the noise that had disturbed it was gone.
About The Masks We Wear
That was another one of those moments that made me think about the masks we wear and the roles we assume each day.
Every day is different and we never know how many masks we’ll cycle through.
Reminds me of what old Willie Shakespeare said.
Fear & Uncertainty
The world is going through a little something now and the people that populate it seem to be in a mood.
In my life I have already played many parts but I am still not a shrink or therapist. I am just an ordinary Joe who feels like the reason why so many of us are acting out is tied into a lack of leadership.
Or more accurately, a lack of faith in the leadership we do have.
Fear and uncertainty are driving people towards poor decisions and the net affect of those poor decisions is an increase in more fear and uncertainty.
When my children ask me about the shootings, the attempted coup, the war and the violence I always tell them to do their best to remain calm.
We always make smarter decisions when we remain calm.
Deep breaths and thought help provide perspective and just in case they tire of their father’s words I like to bust out a couple of quotes from our favorite Jedi master quotes:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Not long ago I watched a father try to corral two toddlers at Target and smiled because I remember those days.
I must have been staring because he looked at me and said it was much harder than it looks.
“You’ll get more sleep when you’re older which is good because you’ll need it to keep up with all of the other stuff that comes when they are preteens and teens.”
The words surprised me because I didn’t plan on saying anything but given all of the stuff going on I guess I shouldn’t be because I have been thinking about my kids more than usual.
Mostly because of the transitions and changes that have been coming around and because the conversations we have now often roll into topics that aren’t black and white.
Conversations about the police and Black Lives Matter, politics, elections and terrorism.
Sometimes I think I learn as much from the kids as they do from me.
What Comes Next
Someone asked me recently if I was worried about the draft and I said I wasn’t. It is not just because we have two more years before he has to register for Selective Service either.
It is because there is no draft to worry about and I am not going to waste energy worrying about something that may never happen.
At best I might shake my head and wonder how the 9 pound baby boy is finally old enough for that to even to be a thought but the reality is I worry about other stuff more.
I think about how in three years he’ll be in college and wonder what else I can do to help prepare him for it.
And then I look at his little sister and realize that the few years separating the two of them will flow by faster than I expect and I am amazed.
Everyone told me it would go quickly and though I had no reason to disbelieve you never quite accept it until you see it happening.
The Dad Mask
Mask is a funny sort of word to use here because it suggests that it is something I take on and off.
That is not how being a father works.
The day my oldest was born I knew I had made a lifetime commitment, hell I knew it before then but I didn’t really understand it.
Sometime during the silence that followed the sirens and the gunshots I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and thought about all we have been through and realized that there are going to be fewer and fewer moments like this.
Ideally it is because Utopia comes and no one ever worries about the safety of their loved ones but more likely because the day is coming when they’ll be living on their own.
Doesn’t mean I won’t wonder and worry about them when they aren’t around because I will.
But instead of knowing I can walk down the hall and find them I’ll have to hope that I have taught them well and that they make smart choices doing whatever it is they do and living wherever it is they live.
Pretty damn surreal.