Tag Archives: Eagles

A Question of Balance

Take It Easy by The Eagles from the LP One of These Nights

It is hard for me to look forward and figure out what to do so my kids can have the kind of memories and experiences I did as a kid.  Believe it or not, all those chores and summer projects that my Mom and Dad made me and my two brothers do may have made me feel like the typical over-worked, under-appreciated and overly dramatic kid.  I don’t feel that way any more, obviously, because every one of those summers was filled with things I did with my older and younger brother.  One year we built a treeless treehouse.  Every couple years we had to paint the outlying buildings on my parents’ property.  We worked on a 1938 Plymouth together.  We changed the timing belt on my older brother’s Buick one winter.

Now I face the difficult challenge of trying to convince my kids that we have a house full of dishes, clothes (they’re clean, not dirty.)  I have to try and get the kids to fold the clothes, put them away where they belong, and even put them in the correct laundry basket.

But beyond the chores, which are necessary for the actual operation of our household, it’s more about what we’re going to do for our vacations.  I’m not managing an investigative unit any more, so I actually have vacation time.  I also work for people who are not obsessed with making feel guilty for taking that time off.

Where I face the difficulty of making those vacations count is the fact that I don’t live near my family.  No longer can I just drive a few hours and see my folks.  If I want to see my folks it’s a few days just to fly there and back.  I miss them terribly, they helped us to survive when I thought we were going to fall apart.  But the problem we have in this transient world we live in is the fact that I cannot see my folks without taking a good portion of my vacation.  I want to see my folks, but I can’t give my kids the vacations and experiences I had if we spend the time traveling to the same place every year.  It’s not an easy thing, but it is a question of balance.

The thing is I don’t feel in balance much of the time.  Balancing work and home.  Balancing cooking and chores.  Balancing fun and responsibility.  Balancing rest and necessity.

I’m not trying to get all Zen here.  It’s not like I subscribe to all that.  I don’t do yoga.  I don’t get “adjustments”, no “cleansings” of my colon.  I just try to make things as much like they were for me when I grew up.  So when Sam spent the evening throwing up, I stayed home, regardless of the amount of work I had to complete.  Without that second parent, there’s little I can do to keep him feeling safe without being the person home to take care of him.  He needs it, deserves it, and it’s that balance of family and home.

So I’ve asked for vacation.  I have tried to find time to see my parents along with going to places that my kids should see in the world.  With Andrea having left us, I feel like the things we always wanted to do with the kids are necessity, not just hope.  We should see the Grand Canyon.  We should visit the fields at Gettysburg.  Hell, we should get a picture of us standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona!  (If you don’t get that reference, too bad)

It’s all about balance again.  I am disappointed in myself for not making this a priority when Andrea was here.  I’ll be more disappointed if I don’t do it now.

So it’s all about balance.  Sometimes I feel like I’m teetering on the edge standing on only my hand but as long as I’m still upright, hopefully it will be OK.  It’s the days I see myself falling over the edge that worry me.

Everybody’s Workin’ for the Weekend . . .

Yeah, I know, Loverboy as a headline, but it’s appropriate, I promise.

My weeks are crazy, they really are. I’m not looking for sympathy, just trying to give you some context. I work a job that allows me a 40 or 50-hour work week, something that was unheard of even a year ago for me. So to be able to get on the road home at a seemingly consistent time each day is really a great thing for me.

But even then, my evening is spent getting the preparations for the next day all situated. I have to cook dinner, get the kitchen cleaned up, and then get the kids ready for their showers and bedtime routine. Once we get through that we do our “midnight snacks” of cereal with banana and then head upstairs to read a chapter from their book of the moment. Once that’s complete I head downstairs to make their lunches for the next day, maybe make a sweet snack to add to that lunch. I might have some time to play a few songs on my guitar but usually it’s a case of getting some stuff completed, head upstairs, do a load or two of laundry, write here, then try to get some sleep. I get up in the morning, make breakfast for the kids, make sure the lunches are in their hands, get Abbi’s lunch out for her, then head out the door and start the whole thing over again.

It’s just reality. What I hadn’t realized until recently is that I’ve been forced to face these things, the routines I always fought and pushed against. I don’t have a choice, and it’s so interesting to me that I don’t fight them anymore. I guess you always, as a couple, vie for who does what they’re best at, trying to put the other, less desirable things off and hope they get done. I don’t do that at all, I simply get things done. It’s a mentality my wife had when she was here and now I realize how much of her rubbed off on me and I never realized it.

The weekend is our chance to be together. It’s not a mandate, no forced togetherness whether the kids want it or not, it’s just the only time we have. Even then, it’s the time I have to vacuum, dust, do some laundry I didn’t get during the week, but at least get together and do something as the family we are now. Abbi gets to do things with her friends, sometimes the boys and I will go to the park without the girls, but the weekend is our time.

It is hard for some people to understand, but we’re not anti-social. We don’t spend any time just the five of us for fun during the week. Not right now. So the weekends are the time we want to spend with each other. We’ll go to events, visit someone’s house, you name it, but it’s not our priority. My hope is even that, once I get vacations and other things planned, we’ll visit places we’d never dreamed of doing before. We’ll get on a ferry to Alcatraz. Maybe we’ll go to the battlefield at Gettysburg. Hell, maybe we’ll go next Fall to Maine and see the leaves change.

Why? I have to. I can’t keep trudging through the life we were trying to make as a family before Andrea left. I wish we could, I wish we could see the future and she’s there with us, but that reality left with her. What I want now more than anything is for the kids to have their own memories, to have thoughts of life and vacations and fun that don’t have to think about the fact that their Mom isn’t there. Maybe it’s going to Disney or Leggoland, or maybe it’s just taking a picture of each of us standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona, but I want them to be the things we do together.

What’s hardest for people to understand is why I think this way, why I keep us together. Yes, it’s been 8 months, but no, we’re not totally healed. I made a comment months ago: “we’re stronger together than we are when we’re apart.” It’s totally true and absolutely crucial. When I thought we weren’t going to make it here in California, there was not thought about moving while leaving any of the kids here to finish school. We’re together or we stay. Pure and simple.

Life is about the memories you remember on the way to growing up. I may do more and more things without questioning them, but I still play my guitar and there’s a tiny person inside me, the 18-year-old Dave, that still hopes I’ll be a professional musician, though I know it probably won’t happen. But if I stop that younger version from coming out, our journey is over, and that’s the best part. I don’t want this to be over. I can’t let it be. The kids need to walk this road, making their own signposts and taking their own snapshots in their mind’s eye.

So every week I am working for the weekend. I had those opportunities, the times I could play my guitar, join my brother for a gig or just have fun. For that very reason I look forward to taking the time with my kids. I may do nothing more than make a pile of leaves in the back yard and watch them jump in them, but at least we did it together.

Take It Easy by The Eagles. See if you can get the connection tot he post above.

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My younger weekend days - with my bandmates