Category Archives: Family

No one laughs at God

That September morning, a boy awoke excited. He was about to become a teenager. He was the eldest of his generation in the family, and he was thrilled to be the one to break this ground. Just two more days and his life would change.

He had no idea. None of us did.

It was during first period at his middle school that he was pulled out of class, along with his twin brothers in the grade below. It was probably at the same time that I got the call from my parents — his grandparents (he is my sister’s son).

His father had been found dead.

There was a letter.

This September morning — today — that same boy is again awakening, this time with an odd mixture of excitement and loss. He is about to become a man. In two days he’ll be eligible to vote, he’ll be invited to register for the draft, he’ll have all the freedom and responsibilities that go with being 18.

And he marks five years finding his way without his dad. With his own resilience and the support of family and friends, this young man can finally say:

I feel content
I feel at peace
You’re so close to me
Even though you’re out of reach

Jake, my nephew, (center, with his brothers) has been grieving and healing in fits and spurts for five years now. Whereas my therapy is blogging; his is rapping. Today, he releases his latest creation, No One Laughs, with haunting backdrop by Regina Spektor. I am honored to share it with you. (Safe for Work version.)

Have a tissue box ready for the ending.

Consider this my love note to Jake, Ben and Ross today. I love you boys with my whole heart, and my love extends to everyone who has contributed to making you you.

Happy birthday, Jake.

Perfect Moment Monday: Dross into gold

I should have been suspicious when the tent showed up on our front porch in May, shipped from Costco. Weeks later, the UPS guy dropped off several sleeping mats, also from Costco. What was this? Could it be that my husband was conniving to take our family on a camping trip?

Why would he do this to me, take me out of my natural habitat (indoors) and plop me into the wilds? Why would he do this to our kids, tear them away from their screens and electrical power? Why would he do this to himself — deal with all the whining and gnashing of teeth that was sure to ensue?

Not to mention the children’s.

Mid-month we rectified our family’s Nature Deficit Disorder and I got outside my comfort zone. We spent the weekend at a campground near Estes Park, CO. Was the weekend amazing, reminiscent of a Brady Bunch episode, a string of pearly perfect moments?


The weekend was fraught with tension, arguments, frustration, and even a little blood. We had delay after delay getting started on Friday afternoon and therefore got to the campground long after dusk, hungry and cranky. Finding our designated spot and setting up by moonlight was a challenge. Putting together a tent for the first time by flashlight was a challenge. And finding kindling in the dark was a challenge.  To cap things off, our mats didn’t fully inflate on first use, meaning we essentially slept on the cold hard ground on a night the temperature got down to 48 degrees.

The next day there were fatigue-induced spats about, well everything. But there was also swimming, eating ice cream in town, and each kid choosing a trip memento.

Said memento brought Reed much joy but was eventually the cause of the bloodletting. He’d chosen a small pocket knife and Roger showed him how to whittle, which he did happily much of the afternoon. Until his attention wandered for a moment and he sliced his thumb (turned out to be only a few layers deep). Big commotion.

It was exhausting. I wasn’t feeling very perfect moment-y for much of the weekend.

Yet there were some idyllic components.

Our site was delightful. (And not just because my husband got up early to build a fire, cook breakfast, and have coffee waiting.)

camping in Colorado

We had friendly neighbors.

deer at campground

Bambi and her kin frolicked all day right in front of us, replacing the Saturday cartoons and sports shows as our entertainment.

Tessa demonstrated her flair for fashion, even while roughing it. Not much chance of blending in had it become necessary to camouflage ourselves.

fahncy pahnts for cahmping

At 8000 feet, our view of the day sky was a clarified hue of blue.

mountain sky

Later that evening after we’d cooked and cleaned up and assembled s’mores, I realized we had been building our family narrative story by story. We sat in our camp chairs with faces aglow, bonded by shared anecdotes that we’ll tell through the ages, maybe to people who don’t even exist yet.

colorado camp fire

That expansive thought, which entered my mind as I saw the light flickering on my loved ones’ faces, ignited my perfect moment, turning all that other dross into gold.


A happy moment, Lori, will seed ten thousand more.Notes from the Universe.

This was a message in my emailbox awhile back. And it explains why it’s in my interest (and yours) to notice perfect moments.


Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  • Follow
  • Write up your own Perfect Moment and post it on your blog (or other site).
  • Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or blog name), the URL of your Perfect Moment post, and a thumbnail image if desired.
  • Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with a comment.

With your Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog (in the post, on the sidebar, or both).What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of?

Top 9 reasons: I’m my father’s daughter because…

9. We both repeat things ad nauseum just to annoy our kids.

8. We both know that repeating things ad nauseum to kids annoys them now but they’ll thank us for these words of wisdom someday.

7. We are both authors. His is an economics and political book called The Total Power of One in America and mine is a parenting book called The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption.

my family in the 1970s6. We are both obsessive-compulsive about keeping things new. I have been known to keep the protective film over the screen of a new smart phone for weeks after I begin using it, until it falls off by itself. I can’t bring myself to expose my new treasure to all the dirt and grime that’s just waiting to adhere.

5. We both love my mom and are grateful she is such a patient soul.

4. We are both musical. We play piano. He plays the guitar and tuba and I play the flute. We love to sing, sometimes embarrassingly loudly (well, him. Oh, and me, as I have confessed). Family lore has a story in which during communion one morning at church, Dad was indulging in the line:

when I fall on my knees | with my face to the rising sun ♫

But legend says he confused the two body parts and instead belted out:

♫ when I fall on my face | with my knees to…the….ummmmm… ♫

****walk of shame back to the pew****

My sisters and I have never let this go.

3. We both hate waste. We’ll get every last drop out of that salad dressing bottle, even if it takes forever and tastes as watered-down as we’ve made it.

2. We are both comfortable speaking to large groups about what we are passionate about.

………………..And the #1 reason I am my father’s daughter………….

1. [Edited] Did you see our expressions?

Image: my family’s archives. Front row: Sheri, Tami, Lori.

Back row: Mom, Dad.

This is a Generation Fabulous bloghop in honor of Father’s Day. Click for more linkies.