I Have The Good Fortune Of Having A Family That Avoids Drama


It was early. I had set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. this morning. I awakened before that. It wasn’t with a sense of panic, but the “To Do List” in my head was getting progressively longer. I had hoped to take the day off work, but happenstance and need to do otherwise were unavoidable. I have to go to the office.

I also need to finish scripting the workshop I’m providing at the National League of POW/MIA Families meeting toward the end of the week in Washington D.C.. The sense of urgency in getting that completed is primary on my “To DO List”. I need that written script in hand before I leave home. Our plane to Washington is scheduled for 5:30 a.m. in the morning.

Factor that anyway you want to, but that means we have to leave our house by 3:30 a.m. in order to get to the airport in time. At some level, we might just as well stay up all night. That isn’t going to happen, but we won’t get much sleep. I’ll be restless with the fear of over-sleeping.

This morning before I got out of bed, I thought about the “runaway mine train” at Six Flags Over Texas. Who knows, it may not still be one of their featured rides, but in some regards, the name reminds me of my life. When it comes to roller coasters, sign me up. There is nothing I enjoy more. The only way to ride one is hands free and arms stretched upward with a sense of elation.

Some folks have destination weddings or go to exotic and wonderful places on their honeymoon. What do you do if you’re still in college and have limited financial resources? It was an easy choice for us. Six Flags Over Texas had just opened in Arlington. What better place to start a marriage off right?

It was also a great place to determine areas that could potentially create conflict for us. The runaway mine train perked my interest. I assured the Honorary General that it would be memorable. True to my word, it was. She was absolutely horrified. Hands-free is not how she chose to enjoy the ride. In fact, if her hands had been free she probably would have placed them on either side of my neck and choked me. She was terrified.

The Honorary General would also be horrified if she had to complete my “To Do List” before 3:30 a.m. tomorrow. Never in a thousand years would she ever allow herself to be so unprepared. She’d have carefully scripted her presentation a month ago. At some level, I’m wired differently. Perhaps I need the added pressure to help me realize the importance of getting it right. I’m choosing to ignore the possibility that the lifestyle could also be the catalyst for a stroke.

Before you’re too critical, in my defense I planned to do it differently. Unfortunately, I’m not always fully in charge of my calendar. One of the things I like about my job is the lack of routine. I never know what I’m going to be dealing with and at times the sense of urgency mandates clearing everything else off my calendar while I attempt to deal with a problem.

Add to that other things over which I have no control and you get some sense of what a typical week looks like for me. In addition, folks don’t usually schedule their funeral a week in advance. Consequently, the importance of being available when needed adds a level of unpredictability to my very full schedule.

What would I change? Short answer – “Nothing.” My daughter and son-in-law invited us over for a Father’s Day dinner last night. The meal and evening was beyond description. A finer meal could not be found anywhere. We then opted to watch a movie. Under the category of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”, I didn’t fall asleep. It was a picture perfect evening. In addition, I also had the opportunity to Skype with Craig and his family. I opted not to feel guilty by giving myself permission to take the evening away from the sense of urgency surrounding my schedule. I didn’t even look at the messages on my iPhone. Who says you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks?

I don’t recall the name of the movie we watched, but it was a “the father just died and the family is a mess” kind of drama. I opted not to personalize the topic. I don’t plan to go anywhere soon. Besides that, for whatever reason, I have the good fortune of having a family that avoids the drama of ongoing family conflict. Does that mean we always agree? Absolutely not is the short answer, but we always treat each other with respect and civility. Nothing is of more importance than our getting it right and valuing the gift of each other that we’ve been given.

The movie did highlight the supportive and nurturing relationship the father had with his children. Obviously, it was a fitting reminder on a day where I felt honored. I am a blessed man.

All My Best!



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