A Father’s Reflections at Summer’s End

By: Danny Thomas


I’ve been trying to write this blog for over a week… I can barely get two thoughts down without getting interrupted or distracting myself… so… this blog is representative of life in our house right now…

I’m just going to post the various starts… the vapors… of something that should be more coherent right now… but…

just can’t be.

I just checked four books out from the library: a book of poems, a novel, a graphic novel, and a non-fiction book about three poets – oh and one more, so that makes five, the last one is about cool apps for taking and manipulating pictures with your iphone. I will never read all five.
What was I thinking?
There is laundry, and dishes, a broken vacuum cleaner, a finicky lawn mower, a cat box to empty, kids to feed and bathe… to say nothing of dusting or groceries, or going to work…

school is going to start soon.
thank heavens…
this family needs the routine
and the time away from each other
we need it.
we front loaded our summer with lots of activities and adventures for the kids…
dance camp, YMCA camps, tennis lessons… trips here and there…
and we have spent August tripping over each other and stepping on each other’s toys…
We will revisit our summer planning concept next year…

Yesterday Li’l Chaos fell out of a tree.  It was a big and scary, wonderful lesson… she is convinced Grandpa’s spirit softened her blow. She also made me and Jen very proud… she was trustworthy in a situation where a friend was trying to convince her to deceive us… she chose to be honest… and it gives me hope that despite all the trials and tribulations, all the questionable choices, something good is getting in there – we are doing something right, she knows what is right, and wants to be honest with us.
thank heavens for that.


a poem i wrote on my phone:

Lay there
On the floor
Of my odd kids
Trying to
Ignore the cat butt on my face
And trying to figure out
If it’s a Barbie shoe, or an escaped barrel monkey
Implanting itself in my left buttock.
I composed
In my head at that time
A divine and articulate blog
That was sort of
Story problem, a calculation
Many hours in the last five years I have spent putting children to
Sleep, then at ten I woke up
Off the floor
My still awake kid to
Put herself to sleep
And went downstairs to poor myself a beer
Am now writing this on my phone while my still awake kid tossles on the floor next to me.

Never finished my beer
got to, instead,
Talking about life
And our schedule
With Jen

out the window.

I can barely manage to…
to look up a recipe for the green round thing on my counter
that looks like a cross between a squash and a zucchini…
is that summer squash?
I thought summer squash was that stuff that was like a zucchini but yellow…
maybe just a round zucchini…?

the other day I stood in the shower
trying to think about nothing.
of course, if you have to try
it never happens.
All I could think about was the schedule… the calendar,
and the baby
crying in her room…
and her big sister… stomping around…
doing, who knows what…?
I was thinking about the next three days
and how they fill up
and fall together…
the next three years…
the last 6… 7… 10 years…

and I was thinking about myself…
and this shower…
and how I was trying to make it luxurious
but somehow managed to let myself be robbed of that…

but now, sitting here I realize that self care is not a luxury.
self care… I don’t just mean, hygiene, tho sometimes it seems I need the reminder…
I mean care of our greater self, our entire self, self time is not luxury time.
and I don’t necessarily mean time “by yourself”

but time that is free
free time.
Time that is spent doing things that make you feel good.
but wait,
being with, and doing things for my family make me feel good…
and, gratefully, I feel good when I spend time working, at any of my various jobs…
so what is this “feel good time?”
what is this moment we want to be in?
what is balance?


the thing is,
in the shower, I started to cry…
I started to lose my shit.
here is a baby crying, screaming in her crib…
and a stomping, six-year-old Lil’ Chaos looking for an outlet to plug herself into
(is that metaphor? I’m not even sure…)
and ten thousand things on my list.
and five thousand OTHER things I’d like to do to take care of myself.

like exercise
a check up with a doctor…

the big but,

if taking a shower feels like a luxury?
what do I give up
to fit in a jog?
or a trip to the doctor,
or acupuncturist.

I always tell myself,
that’s the time to get stuff done,
write that… blog

But post bedtime,
all I seem to be up for is folding laundry
or clearing the mess off the kitchen counter,
which is where I am, writing this
right now
one handed,
while holding a baby…

And, to be honest, sometimes all I have the gumption for after putting the kids to bed is to pin a few pins, browse facebook and instagram… and read a few pages before falling asleep.

I started exercising
about 2 weeks ago.

I had this conversation with my wife,
and she was right…
She’s been running for a few weeks… it’s clearly helping her feel good.
“If you really want it, you can do it, we’ll work it out.”
In the moment, I got really mad, ‘cause she made it sound so simple, but the thing is… it is… I just had to decide to do it – and the moment I did it felt pretty damn good.

And it made me realize with all this madness and craziness and overwhelming stuff of life going on right now it’s easy to start to feel down… with these kids who are constantly challenging me (bless their independence) and bickering with each other… it’s easy to lose my temper…
but, at least some of the time, on some level, it’s a choice…
and I can make another choice…
to have fun,
I’m sure getting enough sleep is key.

I posted this as a facebook status the other day…
it gives you another idea of what running on the treadmill is like
for me…

couch25k – week 2 day 1 – reporting Harpers Index style;
Minutes on treadmill:32
Minutes cat shared treadmill with me: 4.5
Minutes on treadmill w/baby crying in exesaucer: 7.5
Minutes on treadmill w/baby crying in Ergo: 1.5
Minutes on treadmill w/baby chilling in bouncer next to me: 20 or so…
# of fights between older two sisters refereed while on treadmill: 3
# of requests for assistance in costume changes while on treadmill: 1
# of costume change assistance requests denied: 1
Minutes on treadmill before older two sisters were sent upstairs: 2
Soundtrack: celtic station on Pandora (thanks to ‘Zilla – it was really good to run to…).
Color of socks: White. my previous three runs i wore black socks, I prefer black, I will go back to black…
Amy Winehouse style…
watched the chickadees (or whatever they are) patrol the yard and the apples fall from our apple tree… while the wind tried to blow barbie out of her branch…

The post A Father’s Reflections at Summer’s End appeared first on The Next Family.

Danny Thomas

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