I met Destiny

This past weekend, I was swimming in a hotel pool with my 3-year-old daughter Grace. She can’t really swim, so I was basically holding her life jacket while she kicked and splashed. She loved it. I’m not big into swimming, but I love watching my kids have fun; so it was really enjoyable. The pool was warm, a bit crowded; but we had fun.

About 10 minutes into our Saturday morning swimming, a very quiet and shy little girl wearing green arm floaties came directly up to me and very quietly asked if she could play with us. She softly said her name was Destiny, and I would guess she was probably 4-6. I did a pretty thorough glance around to see if I could see some sort of parent figure looking at her or me; and didn’t see anyone that caught my eye. Regardless, she seemed pretty harmless, I asked Grace if she cared if Destiny played with us. Always one to make new friends, she said “Sure!”.

Well, Destiny was much more interested in me helping to hold her up by the strap on the back of her arm floaties so she could swim better (as I was doing with Grace), than playing with Grace. Since Grace is my daughter, I’m obviously going to be much more attentive to her and making sure she was having a blast. Unfortunately, I got to the point where I was almost ignoring Destiny. Not because she wanted to play, or anything like that; she was a sweet, albeit a little awkward, little girl. Because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to rescue my own kid from the bottom of the pool. Now, conversely, in the back of my mind during all of this was “what happens if I look over and this little girl goes under while I’m playing with my kid”. The whole ordeal is getting a bit stressful at this point. I glance around for some sort of parent/guardian for Destiny…nothing. :(

Parents, am I wrong to admit that in a situation where my kid and your kid are both going under water; that I’m saving my kid 10 times out of 10? Once mine is safe, I’ll go for yours, I promise. But am I a terrible person for admitting that? Look, I’ll save as many people as I can-given the opportunity, but my kids are going to be my first priority in a safety situation. Please tell me I’m not a jerk for thinking this way.

About an hour later Destiny was still there, but I think she was slowly getting the hint that if she didn’t want to play with Grace, I wasn’t really enjoying having to watch her as well. I felt really bad, but I’m not very good in those situations. Still no parent figure that I could see either, and I’ve had Lasik.

**For the first time in any of my blog posts, I’m going to have a point, and I’m getting to that point very soon-I promise.**

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, this giant inflatable ball appears! This thing was so cool!! The kids in the pool, young and old, loved it. So I grabbed Grace and we ran around the pool with the other kids ‘booping’ it back in the air like we were at a rock concert. This went on for about 20-30 minutes and then it was time for us to head back to the room to eat lunch, and I was out of breath.

As I’m getting out of the pool, Destiny floats over and again, very quietly says something to me: “I haven’t gotten to touch it”. I didn’t really know what she was talking about (I’m not bright), so I think I looked at her a little weird before realizing that she meant she hadn’t gotten to play with the ball that all of the other kids were playing with. I didn’t know what to say to her, so I said “well, keep trying!”. As you can tell, Tony Robbins and I are basically the same person…

As Grace and I are walking away, the ball comes flying out of the pool right towards us-slow motion style. I got my hands on the ball and this 10-12 year old girl comes running up to throw it back in. So, I stopped her quick and said “NO RUNNING BY THE POOL!!!” Just kidding. I actually said: “Hey, this little girl right here (pointing to Destiny in the pool) hasn’t gotten to touch the ball yet”. “OK!” the girl said and pointed right at little Destiny and under hand threw it right towards her!

It went over her head.
https://giphy.com/embed/OWpMbuG5W4r4Y

BUT! Since kids now days are becoming more awesome because they’re being forced to (See: Parkland, Florida). I know, I said no political talk, but let’s be honest; when you were in high school, were you doing/thinking the things that these kids are? No, the answer is no-you weren’t.

Anyways, The other kids all heard the conversation that I had with the girl outside of the pool, so they caught the ball and walked it over to Destiny so she could throw it in the air.

You guys, she lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It was so much fun to watch her instantly being able to play with the rest of the kids around her. It made me really feel good that Grace was able to see the whole thing as my wife and I always stress being nice to everyone to her. Now, I’m not telling this story to make myself sound like this great and wonderful person; I can do that on my own-just ask me. I wanted to tell the story to remind people, that sometimes a very small act of kindness can make a person’s entire day. Not only will I remember how much fun Grace and I had while we were swimming, I’ll also remember the look on little Destiny’s face when she finally got to be included with her newfound friends.

Also, I still didn’t see any parents to watch their child have the best time of the their swimming session. I’ll blog more on my thoughts on THAT particular issue and other observations from the hotel later this week.

Have a great rest of your week everyone.

-ML

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Why I don’t talk to my friends from school anymore

I bet that got your attention! That’s called “click bait”, sorry about that. But keep reading since you’re here..

This is the subject that has caused me the most anxiety over writing about-might as well get it out of the way! This is a subject that I’ve had on my mind LONG before I ever started a blog-years even. Keeping in touch with high school classmates is something that I’ve never been very good at since I graduated. Actually, I’m downright terrible at it.

I grew up on a farm in a small town in southwestern Minnesota of about 900 people, the phrase “everybody knows everybody” is incredibly true. To this day, my dad still says “nobody uses their blinker because everybody else knows where you’re going!” You obviously can see where I get my wit.

Growing up in a town of that size, you do know everyone-especially the other kids your own age. I remember so many summers riding my Huffy bike about a half mile into town every single day (kids can’t do that anymore unfortunately…) to hang out with my friends, play T-Ball/Baseball, go swimming, or just ride our bikes around town; usually begging one of our parents to let someone stay over night. Man, summers were the best!!

Now, summers are just a reminder that I didn’t choose “teacher” as a career.

I grew up with those kids, from daycare to graduation. You get to know them, you know their families, where they live, etc. I distinctly remember being a freshman in high school and watching the seniors walking through the hallway. I felt like a kitten walking around in the lion’s den. THEY WERE SO BIG!! Some even had facial hair. When I got to be a senior and we were “Soooo big” as my 10 month old ‘says’, my classmates were the same size in my eyes that they had been since 5th grade. We didn’t change, we even added a bunch of great friends.

After graduation day; everyone kind of goes their own separate direction. There are some who go to college, some who don’t, some who move far away for personal reasons, and some who stick around. During high school, your friends might not be your “best friends” anymore, “cliques” form, and people change. But, you still play sports with them, you party with them, and you grow up with them.

Regardless, in the end the T-ball team full of 5 year old kids is still the Class of 2004.

Facebook came out in 2004 and not to be left out of a growing trend, I joined during college in 2005. I thought “this is great!, I’m going to stay in contact with so many of my old friends”. I did that by “liking” things that they might have posted; or experiences that they were sharing.

Almost two decades of friendship, stories, and experiences has been reduced to a blue and white thumb. Don’t forget that at least 50 other people clicked that thumb as well; so it probably got lost in the shuffle anyways. I remember feeling anxious the first time I clicked “like” on a post of one of my high school classmates that I hadn’t talked to in, I don’t know-one freaking year. Now I pop thumbs like I’m poppin’ tags.

Now, I think there have been 2 class reunions since I graduated. I have not been able to attend either one; I’m sure they were awesome-we had such a great class! So, maybe had I been able to make one of them I wouldn’t feel so damn weird reaching out to some of them!

I’ll be at the 15 year reunion. That’s a promise.

I can count on about 3 fingers the amount of classmates that I genuinely keep in touch with; and 2 of those-I’m pretty poor at. If you’re reading this (I really hope someone reads this) and we went to high school together and we’re Facebook friends. I can almost guarantee that I have kept up with your life in some capacity through Facebook. I notice it when you get married, have a new baby, made a lifestyle change, got a new job, a first or new house, a new car, started a blog/podcast, started a business, or you had an amazing trip to Europe. Granted, these are all the “positives” that make the Facebook timeline anyways. But, unfortunately it’s not very difficult to spot the negative things as well, perhaps a divorce, death, ilness, job loss; etc.

Jesus H. Christ, that made me sound like a stalker…I hope people get what I’m trying to say.

I CARE, OK?! DAMMIT, I CARE!! There, I said it. With all the crap going on in schools and on social media now days, I’m not sure that phrase is said enough.

I feel weird reaching out to old classmates, and I know its because I feel guilty that I haven’t reached out. I guarantee there are people out there feeling the same way. I have this anxiety where I feel like I’m bugging someone by reaching out (yet-oddly enough, I’m a very good cold-caller), so I don’t reach out-I watch their lives on Facebook like the rest of the world. Do people still call each other? Whenever someone that I haven’t talked to in a while calls me, I’m always like “Do you need help? Say ‘Kangaroo’ if you’re in trouble”. Its almost weird, right? Everyone lives in a world of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and text messages. Myself included. I think they’ve even started teaching kids how to have actual conversations in school. That’s sad. I can promise that both of my kids (and any future kids—calm down Mom; just saying) WILL be able to hold a conversation with another human being. I hate when you ask a kid a question and the parent answers. HATE IT! If the kid is able to, let the kid talk answer…if they embarrass you-so what. It’ll be more embarrassing when they’re 16 and don’t know how to answer questions in a job interview without you doing it for them. Sorry-I’m off topic…

Anyways.

Let me put this out there, if you’ve been doing the same thing as me and watching your classmates that you haven’t talked to for a long time on Facebook or otherwise. Reach out to them! Maybe it’s me? Maybe you think your kids would like to play with my kids, maybe you want to grab coffee or better yet, a beer and just catch up. I’m 100% in. This is something that I would love to get better at, but I’m also not sure that I will-but I’ll try. Let’s figure something out and reconnect! It’ll no doubt be awkward, but who cares. If not, I hope you’re all doing very well for yourselves!

Well, …that was kinda mushy. Sorry about that.

-ML