Nephews

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Man-Bat

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

A few weeks ago, I spent nearly a week with my nephews. Micah and Tyler are 11 and 10 now (someone hold me), and have an entire world of interests and passions and hobbies completely separate from what anyone is telling them to love.

One of the things they’re into is superheroes. And when I saw them, they told me that Batman has an enemy called Man-Bat, to which I said, “You are lying,” and left it at that.

But the other night, I thought, “What if they were telling the truth?” So I googled Man-Bat.

You guys, Man-Bat has a wife named FRANCINE LANGSTROM, and their two kids are Becky and Aaron.

Batman-Arkham-City-Man-Bat

Don’t doubt your nephews. They always know.

The last days

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

When I think of my last days in Colorado, I will think of the temperature – days in the high 90s, the brutal sun beating down on the Mile High City, and me, applying SPF 100 like my life depended on it (which it kind of did). The air conditioner in my Subaru struggled, no longer strong enough to stand up to the heat. On the lucky days in which I made it to the mountains, I experienced Colorado’s iconic summer smell: pine needles in dry dirt.

And then I will think of the rain – the afternoon thunderstorms that you can set the clock by, raging storms that swelled the rivers and flooded my normal walking paths. Of course, this didn’t stop me from walking, although June was a Fitbit feast or famine (35K steps at the highest, 3K at the lowest – a day in which I brought shame to my family).

I will remember moving out of my house, everything in cardboard boxes and plastic bins, stuffed into the largest truck I’ve ever driven – and then the solo cross-country trip in which I got 6 miles to the gallon and took 16 hours to make it 900 miles. I unloaded everything into a storage unit, and flew back to Denver – because I wasn’t finished with Colorado yet.

I will think of Starbucks breakfasts and Chipotle lunches, just because I didn’t have a kitchen anymore.

I will remember my nephew’s faces when we all stayed up way too late playing games that made them laugh uncontrollably. And I will remember rubbing lotion into the 4-year old’s skinny, espresso-colored calves, and him telling me for the tenth time, “I saw a antelope! Outside! I saw it!”

I will think of my final appointment with my beloved and trusted counselor who, when discussing all of the changes I’m going through, reminded me, “Don’t put too much stock in anything you’re thinking or feeling right now,” which made me laugh, because doesn’t she know who I am?! But it secretly felt like permission granted. And when I said, “When I move to Minnesota, no matter what, I just can’t stop hoping,” she shook her finger at me and said in a hushed, urgent voice, “Don’t you dare.”

I will remember the entire year before these last days, a year in which life felt like it was closing in, like I was trapped and constrained, like toothpaste in a tube. And the day I decided to say yes to this opportunity placed in front of me, the day I decided to move to Minnesota, it was like the cap fell off and life squeezed loose.

Today I drive to Minneapolis, for real and for good this time. I’ve sold my house in Denver, and am in the process of buying a new one – but until everything is final, Foxy is staying with my dad in Colorado. Even though it’s temporary, leaving my dog is the hardest thing for me. I anticipate crying all the way to Nebraska.

The days to come are sure to be filled with newness, novelty, and fresh perspective. I am excited, and ready for the change. But as exciting as the first days are, I never want to forget the last days either. Because they’ve been pretty damn rich.

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Don’t Give Up Zion

Friday, June 20th, 2014

My sweet nephew Zion, the ultimate miracle baby (besides Jesus), is now 3-years old. He is humongous and gorgeous and funny and emotional and snuggly (except when he doesn’t want to be snuggly) – and if you’re interested in learning more about this precious boy, you should peruse my brother and sister-in-law’s family blog. For as great of pictures as they take professionally, they are both darn good writers, too.

Zion has been officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and Jeremy and Ashley are fighting to get him placed in a school that will be the best fit for his needs. This is an expensive process, and some of their friends have started a fundraiser site for them. I know that all Parsons people feel weird and uncomfortable asking for help, so please know that this isn’t a demand or an expectation or anything. But I know that so many of you have followed Zion’s story since 2011, and have expressed so much care for this little boy – so I wanted to make you aware of this need, in case you want to pitch in.

DGU_Zion

If you need to have your heartstrings pulled on a bit, just watch this.

I thought we were taking a sweet picture

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

I’m only posting this so I can use the Swords tag again.

Let’s all quit our jobs and move to a commune with our favorite people

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Last week, I took several days off of work to be with these guys:

This week, I’m back in the office.

And I’m having a really hard time with it.

A beautiful maybe

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

“Is it okay for me to jump?” he yelled.

I watched him pump his legs back and forth, swinging higher and higher until he was holding steady at a significant height. He and his brother had formed their own sort of Olympic game, gaining momentum and then jumping from their swings to see who could fly the furthest and “stick the landing.” Up until now, he’d been playing it safe, never risking too much, choosing to jump only from a reasonable altitude.

But now, I could see him wanting to push the boundaries, to go even higher, to let go even when it might feel crazy – and he wanted me to tell him if it was okay.

I watched him, wild eyed and wild haired, 7-years old and still so innocent. School has brought some exposure to the real world, with all of its ugliness and injustice – but mostly, he is unmarked. The thought of anything bad happening to him wrings my heart down the middle like a dishrag.

“I don’t know, buddy. How do you feel about it?”

He kept pumping his legs; he hadn’t lost any height. He looked at his brother swinging next to him, and then back at me. “Is this too high?”

I thought back to that feeling, swinging high, waiting for the perfect moment to leap. How do you ever know when the time is right? And how do you explain that feeling to someone else – all of the little confirmations that lead to the confident risk? I realized that I couldn’t answer the question for him.

“If you feel like you can jump from that high, then you probably can.”

His face flashed fear, courage, and a beautiful maybe. And with one more pump, he let go of the chains and sailed through the air, landing solidly on both feet, fists in the air.

I’ve never seen a smile so big.

Mix and mingle

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Me: “Hey Micah, do you know what D.O.B. stands for? Hint: it’s something they ask you for at the doctor’s office.”

Micah (8): “Oh! Di-O-Betes.”

– – – – – – – –

Mom: “Mix up your soup.”

Tyler (6): “Yeah – mix and mingle in a jinglin’ beat.”

– – – – – – – –

And Zion’s hair is showing early signs of becoming Kid ‘n Play.

– – – – – – – –

This weekend, I’m wishing you laughs in your bellies, peace in your hearts, and as few listens as possible of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

What I made on Sunday

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Today

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

I am climbing Mt. Princeton.

And baby Zion is breathing on his own.

That’s basically all I could ask for on my 29th birthday.

I am super grateful to have made it through the past 12 very difficult months, and summoning as much hope as I can for the year ahead.

Sweet baby Z

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Sweet baby Zion is hanging on and hanging in there.  His condition has shifted so many times and so quickly, it’s hard to know what to say – and I don’t want to say one thing, only to have it change in the next minute.  So watch Jeremy and Ashley’s blog for more “official” news.

What I can tell you is that Zion had surgery yesterday afternoon to have a shunt placed in his brain to drain off fluid – fluid that had been building up and restricting brain growth, fluid that had caused his original crash on Saturday night.  The surgery went well, but as of right now, he is still intubated – a much longer intubation than would have been ideal.  We are hopeful that he will be extubated this morning, because he is uncomfortable and in a lot of pain.

Jeremy and Ashley haven’t left his side, and have the impossibly hard job of entrusting their baby to strangers.  They are low on sleep and high on stress, with every beep of the monitors making them sit up and take notice.  Being a parent requires one’s entire heart – and Zion has theirs. They have been amazing.

In the meantime, and until further notice, I’m in Colorado Springs hanging out with my little chipmunks.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts and texts and emails. This beautiful, tiny baby is so loved, and we continue to entrust him to the One who made him.