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The Last Year With My Kids

So another year ends, never to return again, as we all rush headlong toward our deaths. It’s creepy, isn’t is? You ain’t getting any younger. Did you suck all the marrow out of 2012? If not, you can always live vicariously through your kids. They tend to make the most of things. If you don’t have any kids, read about mine. This is a review of the last year with my kids.

My daughter turned 8 this year and my son turned 14.

She ended 2nd grade and began 3rd. He ended 8th Grade and entered HIGH SCHOOL. He didn’t seem to endure all the agony that I remember as a 9th grader. However, he did face his very first academic challenges and failed algebra. I wanted to tell him inspirational stories like Dude, no worries. LEBRON JAMES failed algebra or something like that, but I couldn’t think of any. So I just told him Hey, you, look here. You are NOT a loser. Sucking at math does NOT make you a loser.

My daughter has a boyfriend names Aidan. I try not to react stereotypically. Aidan isn’t very good at coloring inside the lines. I don’t know what she sees in him.

My son grew several inches, his voice went crazy, and he’s got a mild acne issue. He became interesting to me in the way other adults interest me. We talk about real things. I tell him he needs to take a shower.

My daughter developed a relationship with a beautiful young woman with heroin eyes on the corner of Sahara and Ft. Apache. Whenever we hit that stoplight, she gave her a dollar, sometimes two, and told her Good luck or I hope you find a house soon.

I’m pretty sure my son didn’t start using drugs this year. That’s good. Drugs are no good for the development of frontal lobes.

The kids and Jenna moved out of the house that used to be our family home, sealing the deal in a way that’s hard to articulate.

My son broke his arm playing soccer and he wore a green cast for five weeks. It was pretty tough looking. Would you mess with a kid with a green cast? Me neither.

This year my kids argued A LOT. And I said Really? This is a fight? For real? A LOT. My kids fight over who gets to open the car door.

My daughter joined choir this year and she became the little girl who sings the songs that have always played in her presence.

The kids spent the night a lot of weekend nights. We ate too much candy and stayed up too late. We watched movies and played UNO. We walked to the park and fed the fish. A lot of times, we were bored. We went swimming. We went to Michigan to see my parents and they met the first post-mom woman in my life. Everyone felt weird. And the kids went to camp. They had lots of adventures with their mom and her boyfriend. They cut their fingers, applied triple antibiotic ointment and band-aids. They laughed. They cried. They played video games and watched more Netflix than you’re supposed to allow. They ate, bathed, pooped, got haircuts.

My kids would sometimes stop to wonder, in the midst of the mundane, What is this that happens? Who am I? What does it mean to die? And, as if these questions were nothing more than pests or mosquitoes, they continued playing their games and laughing, hard, from deep in their bellies. Try to remember what year it is when you’re laughing.

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