After saying that I have to confess there have been many moments over the last month that I've spent in the eyes of some just "wasting time" with my kids in the evenings. That may or may not include curling up on the couch with one of them for a big drooly smoochfest, or a passionate game of whatever Wii sport Jessie chooses to kick my ass in, or just lounging between two sleepy souls with two sets of long legs entangled on my lap admiring the incredibleness that defines my two kids. 95 days ago Jessie and Ben couldn't count on that foot-rubbing guy to be anything close to sociable later on in the evenings, much less having their dad even awake or alert enough to notice the value of such profound moments - moments that some parents never will get back. Thank God I am no longer one of those.
In between those short snippets of pure joy have been visits with my two brothers - the two most responsible people for my sobriety - including a trip to Tampa, Florida for spring training baseball games; a fun day-long excursion to a NASCAR race with two of the folks financially involved with renovations to Ben's living space; watching Jessie learn and play softball; and the not-so-great annual allergy roller-coaster of March many of us endure here in the southern United States. The irony of ironies? Ben has been the healthiest of us all the past month or so!
Life is indeed good. I guess if I looked hard enough I could find something to complain about but it is just too much fun right now noticing all of the terrific stuff - the family, the friends, the music, the laughter, the smiles, the colors - surrounding me at the moment. There's an old almost forgotten trick one of my art mentors taught me a long time ago to help me break out of a rut or encourage creativity when the painting ideas have dried up. "Take out a couple of your favorite paints and put a few blobs of color on your palette," he says to me. "Close your eyes and smell the fragrance of those pigments and binders. Now put your hand on your palette making sure you get a good amount of paint between your fingers - rub 'em together like your breaking up a clod of dirt." Finally he tells me, "Now open your eyes and look at your hand. You have a choice. Are you gonna go wash your hands or do something better with all that paint stuck to your paw?"