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The Bumpy Road

by Danny Thomas January 14, 2014


oh you know…

it’s like this…

here is the path i took to sitting down to write this blog


i put the toddler in her bed

moved the kindergartener from our bed to hers

checked on the suffering of the insufferable 8 year old

and flopped down next to my wife…

who was more exhausted than me

having spent the weekend casting

Much Ado About Nothing…

in addition to the usual stuff…


i started to talk to her,

to explain..

and justify my bedtime actions:

sticking to my guns,

being hardline,

so that i dont get pushed

to the point of

losing my temper.

letting the child

get emotional

and remaining

in control of my own…



my temper gets the better of me


like it did yesterday…


i feel like

a pretty crummy parent


a pretty crummy human being.


i looked up..

knowing that she knew all this,

but wanting affirmation,

of my actions…



or even a reprove.

she was snoring…


I gathered up my stuff…

notes from the week

playlists etc

writing supplies…(the computer)


came downstairs to the living room

went to the cupboard to find

the tylenol pm…


sometimes i go for the stress relief tea…

but sometimes i need a guarantee…


And my head hurt…

and there was a lot of stuff knocking around in there,

likely to keep me awake.


So as I reached up into the basket that holds the various remedies and medicines

my hand hit something sticky… something gooey and grapey.


I pulled down the basket to confirm that indeed…

childrens tylenol had leaked, spilled, upended…

slathering the entire basket with a viscous purplish, graying syrup.


so… there I was – ready to settle in to the evening

and write for an hour until the painkillers kicked in and took me to dozy, drowsy land

and instead what did i have before me but a goddamn



this is the way my week has been…


mishaps and misfires.

misunderstandings and crossed wires.


every time I come up with an on-the-fly solution…

a last minute wrench just fucks the whole situation even further.


i’m not sure what is happening – if it’s the cosmos…

or just a function of being too busy

hurried, harried, hassled…



i could make you a list.


the best example, other than the medicine basket,

is the leotard fiasco…


Wednesdays ‘Zilla has ballet at 6:10.

and Lil’ Chaos has piano at 6:15.

Somedays Jen is not busy,

and we split this up.

Otherdays i attempt to defeat the laws of physics

to be in both places on time.

I don’t know how we thought this schedule was possible…

i think we didn’t realize how often Jen was going to need to be somewhere or doing something.


Some Wednesdays we manage to feed the rugrats prior to all their cultural inculculation,

but more often than not, they get some apple sauce and/or a granola bar on the way,

and a sandwich or a bowl of soup before bed when we get home.


Wednesdays are hard.


This Wednesday had an added layer of complexity which involved Jennifer and I

misunderstanding each other about dinner plans with a friend/colleague visiting from out of

town, and not communicating very well about it.


As a result,

I waited until the last minute to pick Zuzu up from daycare… and neglected to feed the children –

though there was – as per our meal plan – roasted chicken and sweet potatoes available to them…


The latest possible pick up for Zuzu is 5:30pm…

The day care is only a few blocks away…

Much of the year – if we wait until 5:19 to leave the house – no sweat.

If we wait ’till 5:19 this time of year – we are pushing our luck.


Boots, hats gloves, coats…

these things take time to locate and apply…

but are necessary even for a car ride when windchill is pushing the temp to 20 below.


So the Elder two and I slammed out of the house in breakneck speed.

But in a stroke of inspriation I had everyone grab lesson supplies

‘Zilla had checked her dance bag for appropriate contents and it was slung over her shoulder

Li’l Chaos had her piano books…

I grabbed granola bars…

we’d be fine.


We’d arrive at the dance studio

early enough to change ‘Zilla there…

We’d have some time to relax – a few minutes at least.

And then we’d load up, leaving ‘Zilla in class,

to take Li’l Chaos to piano…


We even had time to accommodate Zuzu’s toddler rebellion..

Allowing her a good 5-8 minute protest about sitting in the car seat.


It was a masterful rejiggering of a sticky situation.


You’d think.


But the plan went to shit

when, at the dance studio changing room, ‘Zilla looked in her ballet bag and discovered it was

lacking a leotard or tights…


“What!?-Didn’t you look? I Thought you looked!”


(waitaminute dad, she’s five… she “checked her bag”)


oh well, nothing to be done. had to head home get the leotard – maybe we’d make it.

of course Zuzu was compelled to stage another protest…

my metaphorical tanks mowed her down

the car seat was Tiananmen Square,

I was riot police… with tear gas.

no time… sorry Zuzu.


So… still not having a clear understanding of what our evening plans were, and in need of

re-enforcements with the terrorist uprising in the toddler seat behind me, i frantically attempted

to call my wife…


who had just wrapped what sounded to be a slogging but significant needs assessment meeting

for her department. Needless to say, my frantic pleas were not what she was most in the mood to

hear and thus was not as receptive as I had hoped she’d be to my preternatural howling through

the phone…


she dug deep however…

I heard her take a breath and say, “I will find a leotard and tights for you.”

We had to cut the conversation off – the light changed – it was probly for the best.

But I needed  more…



i needed her to understand – the riot – the leotard – the ruined plan – i needed to know what was

happening – i needed her to jump in and help…


if only i had been as articulate in the moment as i was in that paragraph.


so it was like the leotard

and the purplegraysticky mess

all week


maybe all year…


maybe my whole life…



I have been thinking a lot

of this little bump

in the sidewalk…

it’s about halfway

to Zuzu’s daycare

I have been trying to figure out the

right context

to write about it

and thinking about it a lot.


The thing about it is this…


Back in July or August when we first started walking to the Daycare with Zuzu

She was pretty new at walking…


And that bump was a big deal

It caught her off guard

more than once.

Jumped out

and pulled her to the hard pavement

like a troll under a bridge.


But here is the key point.

On the days she did see it…

She would walk to it

check to see if it was still there

and stand on the fucker.


and celebrate.


Conquer it.


And pretty soon

she saw it more often than she tripped over it.

And so

most days,

had a reason to celebrate,

a little reason,

on the three block walk to school.


Ha! you didnt get me, bump.


And then…

Pretty soon after that

she didn’t even notice it anymore.


And as much as I was sad to say goodbye to those little celebrations…

I guess forgetting about it

is another form of conquering it



And so,

I guess the lesson to learn

from my toddler

is that, as trite as it may sound,

life really is full of bumps in the road

both literal and figurative.

And you will conquer them…

and then forget they were ever there.

They won’t even bother you anymore.

You may take your accomplishments for granted as you move on to new challenges,

but be sure to take a little time to celebrate the things you do right as you go.


Thanks Zuzu.

Once again.

The post The Bumpy Road appeared first on The Next Family.

Danny Thomas
Danny Thomas


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