This past weekend, our 12th anniversary, where my wife and I were together for the whole weekend without children for the first time in over a year, a madman went into a school and killed 20 children. These children were the same age as Erin and Grace and they were now dead. My Facebook feed yelled at me to “hug your children extra tight tonight!” That was a nice sentiment except that my children were over 200 miles away at their grandparents, safe, happy, and completely oblivious to the horror. I felt awful for those parents in Connecticut and I felt awful that I was enjoying myself away from my children.
I’ve been working hard this year to live in the present, avoiding nostalgia and avoiding longing for better times in the future. I guess it can apply to location as well. I am learning to be happy where I am and not where I am not. Last week I went to a concert in Rome, GA by Future of Forestry and singer/songwriter Eric Owyoung talked about how much he loved performing Christmas songs during this season and how in his versions he left “spaces” in the music allowing time for reflection in a busy time with busy songs. I can’t help but think this past weekend was one of the “spaces” in my life where we were afforded a rest and a break.
I don’t have anything smart to say about gun control, or mental illness, or really anything about the whole matter other than I hope we will learn in the coming week good ways to help contribute to worthy causes and pray a lot. Otherwise, all I could do this weekend was be the best husband and best father I could be and part of that was enjoying the rare moment away from my children as much as I could. So, Adriene and I toured the Biltmore House and were amused by quirky downtown Asheville. Hipsters in tacky Christmas sweaters, random hippies playing in drum circles, Sufjan’s Christmas music playing in a toy store, Asheville amused me so much in how almost predictable it’s quirkiness was. We ate great food and brought home bottles of wine and we enjoyed not having to say “sit down” 50 times during dinner and paying for kid’s meals at restaurants that would go only 1/4th eaten. We didn’t have to go through the long wind-down of bedtime and we slept in as late as we wanted.
And when we got home we hugged our children as hard as we could.