Rocky Mountain Low

Fun Fact: My brother and I once drove 6,000 miles in 6 days! We did it so that we could see Alaska, which was the 49th state we had been to at that point. Some of our friends thought we were foolish.

We weren’t, of course. For guys like us, travel is always deeply, inarguably worthwhile.

But something I did the week after our Alaska trip proved them right, in my case, about the foolishness.

It was fall 2002, almost 2 decades ago. I had already been solo road-tripping through the Pacific Northwest, and after Nate joined me for our brief, brotherly Alaska adventure, I continued by myself through British Columbia and a little of Alberta. A bona fide mountain paradise. Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise (see picture below), Kelowna, Revelstoke — each of those words now feel to me like a sacred incantation.

I remember stunningly picturesque hostels in the Canadian Rockies, most memorably one in the town of Squilax. At this rustic hostel, I slept in a converted train caboose, fed a pair of standoffish llamas, exfoliated in a tiny cedar-scented sweat lodge, took an eye-opening polar bear plunge into a wide river under gleaming stars, and watched bright red salmon spawning en masse in that same river the next day.

I have a treasure trove of glistening, blissed-out road-tripping memories from that trip. More than I can keep track of.

But I also have this memory: Waking up in a hostel bed near Lake Louise with dark fog in my brain on a Monday morning, with no earthly memory of how I got there.

I had planted myself at a sports bar in the bustling tourist town of Banff the day before, watching an Eagles game with some Canadian fellow (American) football fans. I don’t remember what I drank, but knowing my 2002 self it was likely bright yellow and vodka-based.

And as sometimes happens when consuming candy-colored alcoholic beverages, at some point I blacked out and stopped making memories of any kind. What kind of conversations did I have during that blackout? Did I make America look bad to the bar-hoppers of Banff? Did I embarrass myself by flirting with someone in my word-slurring state? I’ll never know because those hours are lost to history. Or they were not so much lost as I willingly, eagerly relinquished them.

The ghastly (and frankly criminal) thing I do know is this: Despite my sloshed state, I drove the 25-30 miles up the Icefields Parkway from Banff to my rustic hostel in my ’91 Toyota Corolla. Then I collapsed in a drunken heap on the bed I had paid for earlier, and woke up the next morning with a dull, grinding headache.

I can still picture, even though I can’t remember her name, the warmly maternal middle-aged woman who ran the hostel. I remember regaling her with the anecdote about how I didn’t know how I had gotten back from Banff the night before. I remember telling her this story as if it was an entertaining or even faintly impressive fact about myself.

I had bought into that tenet of frat-boy culture — distilled in Old School and The Hangover and a hundred other frat-boy movies, and toxic in both senses of the word — which says that drinking alcohol is an innately interesting act.

But the hostel-owner woman didn’t find my story remotely interesting, and certainly not impressive. She, being of sane mind and good conscience, was aghast that I had driven my car while blackout drunk. In that moment, she acted as a surrogate for my own warmly protective mom, more than 3,000 miles away. And I vividly remember the woman, in the lobby of that mountain hostel, telling me that the reason my body felt awful was that the alcohol was literal poison coursing through my veins.

I was 22 years old and had grown up being given every possible impression that alcohol was bad. But I had never heard it stated in quite that way before. Alcohol as poison. Poison that needs to leave the body, sometimes by force, before the body can regain its health.

It was another 5 years before I got my head straight and sobered up for good in 2007. But I’ve never forgotten that nurturing and deeply principled woman trying, with solemn and warmly stern wide eyes, to get me to understand that I was willingly poisoning myself.

So many times since that day, I have thought with horror about how easily I could have killed some innocent pedestrian somewhere on that blacked-out road from Banff to Lake Louise. Maybe a fellow starry-eyed wanderer like me who was visiting Lake Louise to drink deep of the staggering wonders of the Canadian Rockies. Or some resident of Alberta just having an ordinary Sunday night. I could have easily ended a life that day. Someone else’s or my own.

I forged a lot of spectacular, epic memories in my 20s. And I somehow dodged a lot of self-inflicted bullets too. I survived my own foolishness. I’m deeply fortunate that I made it from age 21 to age 27 in one piece. I am forever grateful that I lived long enough to find the 3 great loves of my life.

Some would say that I got lucky. Pure dumb luck that kept me from misfortune (or jail). Other people I love would say that I was divinely protected. That God watched over me and kept me alive long enough to finally collect my wits, and my survival instinct, and pursue the life I was meant to live.

I’m not dogmatic on the exact coordinates of that point, because many people who are much better than I am have died young for no good reason. But I’m happy to default to the latter view. Because I do see my life as a gift from God.

But in moments like that one in Banff, I looked the gift horse straight in the mouth. Tempting fate and threatening to return the gift to sender.

I’m so glad that I embrace that gift now. I’m grateful I can be grateful. I am fortunate that I lived to savor all of those unforgettable travel memories, in the jagged mountains of western Canada, the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, the orange canyons of the Southwest, and beyond. The grand tour.

And at 42, I’m fortunate that I can gradually give my kids their own grand tour. So that their mental scrapbook can be as colorful as mine, and overflowing with snapshots.

That is, and will be, my gift to them.

There’s No L (But There’s So Much Noel) in Greyson

Our 5-year-old has an odd, endearing, and exhausting obsession.

I’m out of the loop and don’t know what most kids his age are enamored of in 2022. But I’m guessing the list would include some video games (is Fortnite still a thing?), some Marvel superheroes (I hear that kindergartners go to PG-13 movies now?), and some toys that I’m not aware exist since we don’t have cable and thus don’t keep up with the commercial circuit.

But do you know what our Greyson can’t pry himself away from? What he has loved more than anything else for 3 full months? What consumes much of his play time, both by himself and with his little sister?

Christmas carols. That’s right. Yuletide songs. The first, second, and third noels — along with all the rest.

It’s a genre of music which is quite charming, but which most adults would strongly prefer to be sequestered to a 1-month period. Heck, some people would vote for a 2-week limit due to how these songs ruthlessly pummel our eardrums into cheerfully mandated submission during that period.

But Greyson doesn’t share that sense of restraint. He doesn’t honor holiday boundaries. He’s a Christmas universalist, if you will.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Joy to the World. Deck the Halls. Jingle Bells. O Christmas Tree. O Come All Ye Faithful. O Little Town of Bethlehem. Pretty much all the songs that begin with the old-fashioned word “O,” it O-ccurs to me. (O brother, I know.)

He knows all of those, but he also knows about obscure Christmas songs that neither of his parents (or just about anyone else’s parents) have ever heard. 18th century relics that no one but those seeking a doctorate in this realm (the realms of glory, if you will) would likely be familiar with.

Greyson is basically a graduate student in canonical Yuletide music. Is this offered as a major at any bastions of higher learning? Maybe I should encourage him to submit an application to Yale’s music department. Or to write a thesis, just for fun.

We hear these songs recited dozens of times a day, in Greyson’s sweet little voice. He sings them. He reads them in a spoken-word style. He dissects their verse/chorus structure and notifies us when a song doesn’t seem to have a traditional chorus, or when different songbooks show different numbers of verses. He verbally deconstructs the rhythm and meter, and then reconstructs them in offbeat ways.

He and Violet also like to pretend they’re going to the Christmas songbook store. When it’s closed, they go to a different Christmas songbook store. (It’s apparently a national chain that’s open year-round. Doesn’t seem like a good business model to me, but I’m no venture caplitalist.)

Our little carolers even use these songs as characters in their various stories and imaginings. We’ll hear them in the other room talking about how Hark the Herald is having a birthday party, or Joy to the World is going to Hersheypark. They’ve essentially brought these songs to life. They’re like the Victor (and Violet) Frankenstein of Christmas.

Greyson has always been a boy who is deeply, exquisitely devoted to one fixation at a time. When he was 1½, he had a car or truck in his hand everywhere he went, all the time. He always wanted to read car and truck books, and he had every single type of truck memorized by the time he was 2. When he was 2½, he became obsessed with animals. Every imaginable toy animal or animal book was his prized possession, and he would even carefully read the index at the back of each animal encyclopedia. When he was 3½, birds became his specialty. He devoted himself to learning every imaginable bird, and he grew into a bona fide expert who was known to run the table on avian-themed Jeopardy categories. And now that he’s 5½, his obsession du jour (du year?) is Christmas carols.

I know Hitchcock would warn against this, but… can we maybe invite the birds back?

Because here’s the not-all-that-surprising thing: Christmas carols are exhausting to hear for 3 months straight. For 4 decades I have loved most of the songs Greyson sings. But by about mid-February I started not loving them so much. “Joy to the World” doesn’t bring me quite as much joy as it did in December, sometimes I wish I’d never heard those Angels on High, and I have to admit: I wouldn’t mind silencing “Silent Night.” At least for the next 8 months or so.

But in my better moments, my moments of wider perspective, I remind myself that it’s a gift to have such a sweetly innocent 5-year-old. A peaceful boy who has never witnessed a violent act (other than an occasional predator/prey snack in a nature documentary) and has virtually no aggression in his body. A goofy boy who loves to sing all the high notes and has no concept of trying to be cool or relevant. A boy of simple pleasures who is ambivalent to screens, and obsessed with reading Christmas sheet music.

I have sometimes found myself saying “Greyson, stop looking at your Christmas carols and try to focus on this show! Reading Rainbow is really cool!” I never imagined that my parental struggle would be trying to get my child to watch more television.

So I’ve learned that having a Yuletide-loving 5-year-old is both a blessing and an (admittedly very minor) curse. I know that when he’s 13 and wouldn’t be caught dead singing a Christmas song to himself, I will ache for these simple days when he didn’t have an ounce of jadedness or self-consciousness. And I will ache to hear that adorable little voice singing “Fa la la la la… la la la la.”

So here at 6:59am, I will brace myself for the next round of Away in a Mangers and O Little Town of Bethlehems. Which will invariably bubble out of his mouth once he wakes up in a few minutes, we read our (thankfully non-Christmas-themed) books, and he gets acclimated to the day.

And when he belts out that first bar of Deck the Halls, I will try to be grateful for the simplicity of our kids who never, ever, ever tire of Christmas songs.

It’s almost April, and we all know that singing Christmas songs after January should be a felony.

But you do you, Greyson. And you too, Violet.

I’ll let you both off because you’re minors.

And because I love you both majorly.


Two unforgettable — and deeply forgettable — years ago this week, the world turned inside out and upside down. That week, everyone was sent home from work due to a mysterious, ravenous, globe-trotting virus. A scourge that none of us, other than epidemiologists and historians (and I suppose the very pessimistic), could have imagined being possible.

It was the kind of Outbreak™ I had only known about from Morgan Freeman and Dustin Hoffman. It was the kind of Contagion™ I was only aware of through the pioneering work of Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard. It was the kind of, um, World War Z… well, you get the point.

In other words, it was the sort of large-scale nightmare that always makes people say “It’s like something out of a movie.” An event that makes you realize that those movies are based in actual, non-Hollywood, worst-case scenarios.

And in the context of the modern era, it would be hard to imagine a worse worst-case scenario than Covid. It has proven to be the most deadly pandemic in almost exactly one century, cruelly snatching over 6,000,000 lives (nearly 1,000,000 of those in the United States) and in many ways reshaping life on planet Earth.

The pandemic has been so momentous, shattering, that people talk nostalgically about 2019 as “the before time.” Almost like we have a new B.C./A.D. demarcation. A new “year zero” of sorts.

Even as I write that, I am aware that some will consider it wild hyperbole, while others resonate with this way of framing it. And that stark divergence of sentiment, that polarization, is something I’ve been grappling with since the 3rd or 4th month of the pandemic. Ever since this whole ordeal got politicized. Ever since the national Covid narrative diverged like Frost’s two roads in a wood.

We could have been a unified front. We could have experience something akin to the collective national sentiment (and sacrifice) that prevailed during World War II. Strong, clear leadership on day one could have inspired this collective response to the virus, despite our perennial partisan divides.

But instead, what half of our country experienced in the last 2 years was starkly different from what the other half of our country experienced. We as fellow Americans have had entirely different voices echoing through our echo chambers. As a result, we have not lived through the same pandemic.

It’s difficult for me to understand, but there are millions for whom Covid was always an exaggerated threat. A media-manufactured exercise in fear and government control. Just another flu-like virus which should have never warranted extended quarantine, or remote work, or urgent vaccine drives, or even masks.

Because of this, there are many Americans who didn’t significantly modify their day-to-day lives, unless required to do so. Even as Covid patients filled (and overfilled) the ICUs. Even as Covid deaths hit 6 figures, then doubled and tripled and quadrupled. Even as that number came within shouting distance of the truly ghastly one-million mark, an amount of virus-caused deaths that would have been unthinkable to us at any point since the pandemic of 1918. An unimaginable amount of lost hopes, lost dreams, lost life.

Covid has deeply traumatized medical workers, teachers, retail workers, and everyone who has had direct exposure to either death or the acute risk of their own health. Medical workers and teachers in particular all deserve free PTSD counseling, a doubled income, and warm hugs of solidarity from everyone they know. I can’t begin to imagine what the last 2 years have been like for them.

But on a smaller scale, Covid has traumatized all of us who gazed directly at it and acknowledged its sheer horror. Like millions of others, I carry in my bones — my ordinary-person, not-front-line-anything bones — the terror of seeing the world laid bare. Of being scared for my family. Of trying to protect my vulnerable, 70-something parents from risk. Of trying to protect my kids, including my as-yet-unvaccinated 3-year-old daughter, from risk. Of watching the news in horror, for months on end, for years on end, as the stench of death permeated the landscape.

On some level, I truly envy those who don’t feel similarly shell-shocked. Those who never agreed that this was a quarantine-worthy event. Those who believed the mainstream media was overplaying the severity of Covid, because their stream of the media fed them a far less ominous narrative about the virus.

I would love to not feel notably different than I did in 2019. I would love to have never upended my family’s natural rhythms, our comings and goings. I would love to have never had my darkest parental (and human) fears laid bare by a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Many people will understand implicitly what I mean. But others will shake their heads that I’m a fearful pawn of the fearmongering media.

So what does it mean for us to diverge along these lines? What happens to a country when half of its residents experience an intense mental trauma while the other half doubt that any such trauma needs to exist? How do we all unify and move on after such a chasm-deep fracturing of our lived experience?

I’ll leave those questions unanswered since they linger unanswered in my mind.

What I know is this: Covid is not over. For one, because we could still see more spikes and more variants. But even if we are fortunate enough to be in the endemic last stage of the virus in the United States (and I hope and pray this proves to be the case), Covid is not truly over because we have not properly processed the experience of the last 2 years. We have not united and truly grieved as a nation.

With the eager help of bad-faith (and bad-science) pundits and social-media demagogues, we have cracked ourselves in half, into two separate nations.

I don’t know how we merge back into one.

But if we are to heal from this trauma and move forward, we will have to find a way.

The Last Sane Place on Earth

Out of all the named, street-addressed, people-curated places that you can pin on a Google Map, there are only two that offer me something like pure happiness. Only two that feel uncorrupted.

One of them is that bastion of sanity known as a public library. But that’s an admiring ode for another day. Today my focus is on another pillar of society, another purveyor of the public good.

Plenty of places offer enjoyment in spades. Restaurants, coffee shops, zoos, museums, theaters, and concert halls all bring considerable joy and nourishment — either bodily or otherwise — and they are all vital to our well-being. But they all have something in common that keeps them firmly tethered to the realm of commerce: A profit motive.

Every business owner needs to make money in one way or another, and that is of course all well and good. But there is one place that lies beyond the brow-furrowing pursuits of capitalism. A place where virtually no money is exchanged. A place that does not function to further the interest of its shareholders. A place that exists solely to make life better, and more beautiful, for its “customers.”

It is a place unbounded by four walls. A place without a cash register. A place where the temperature is not carefully controlled with a thermostat.

It is a sanctuary of sorts. A refuge from most of the trappings of civilization. A place with minimal creature comforts, which nonetheless offers tremendous comfort.

That place, as the great Leslie Knope would have blurted out 3 paragraphs ago, is a park.

Parks, be they of the National or the state or the regular-ol’-local-playground variety, are my favorite places in all of human society. The peace and joy I find in parks is something I have tried to put into words for years. Parks bring me something akin to real serenity. And there 3 primary reasons I think this is the case.

First and foremost, green spaces are the best spaces of all the spaces. By definition, at least the one in my dictionary, anything nature offers is better than anything you can find within four walls. Fresh air is better than forced air. Looking up at the sky is better than looking up at a ceiling. Walking on the soft spring-green earth, or the frozen winter-yellow tundra for that matter, is better than walking barefoot on even the softest plush carpet. The outdoor world God designed is better than the indoor one we designed. (Although to be fair, I’m glad to have both.)

Parks are ideal because they offer us nature in all its un-walled, un-ceilinged, un-carpeted glory — tethered to a few basic amenities (benches, pavilions, toilets) that make the experience more convenient.

Parks are tiny pockets of greenery and grandeur where we can get away from the rat race and slow down to a more human pace.

A place where we can hear ourselves breathe again.

The second reason I find serenity in parks is that they bring people together. I am a social being by nature — especially when I’m in nature — and hiking on random trails with the kids, while wonderful in every other way, is not always the best way to encounter other human beings. But visiting a park, especially now that it’s warming up and we’re not the only people enjoying those parks like we were in the dead of January, is a great way to rub shoulders with humanity.

Some of the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed conversations I’ve had in the last few years were with random fellow parents (and fellow people in general) at playgrounds and state parks. I have found that at a park, the fresh air and beautiful green space brings out the best in everyone. It makes us all more inclined to be social, and more filled with positivity.

And you know why? Because nature just makes you feel good. It makes you feel more like yourself. It makes you (or at least it makes me) want to look over at a perfect stranger pushing his child on the next swing and say “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” or “What a nice park this is! Do you live nearby?” or some such un-modern, Mayberry-esque sentiment. And 9 times out of 10, that pleasantry leads to a pleasant exchange which exchanges any disconnectedness I might have felt with a warm sense of harmony with humanity.

The final way that parks are a refreshing escape from the world is the one I alluded to at the beginning. Parks represent the antithesis of commerce, currency, and capitalism itself. Unlike virtually every place you can visit that has a street address, you can enjoy the pleasures of a park without touching your wallet. Or seeing a gaudy advertisement. Or hearing top 40 radio piped from the loud speakers. Or remembering that the modern world is built on people getting other people to buy things from people who are paid to sell those things to people.

Parks are a triumph of pleasure over pragmatism, of beauty over business, of community over commerce. Every park that is commissioned is, in a very real way, a testament to the human spirit. A state park costs money to build and maintain, of course, but (at least here in Pennsylvania, where state parks are free) it extracts exactly no money from those who would like to pass through its entrance gate.  Zero dollars and zero cents. The only thing that comes close to the purity of a park is a library; but even those have late fees! I’ve never paid a late fee at a park. Not once.

For me there is a reassuring tranquility in looking at a pavilion, or a picnic table, or a playground, or a placard explaining some fact about history or nature, and realizing that item was built solely to bring joy or solace or education to the general public. It reminds me of what really matters, underneath all the detritus of our bombed-out, bridge-burnt, bang-for-your-buck civilization.

A park is an oasis, a refuge from the madness and menace and sheer volume level of the modern world. It is a place to appreciate nature, wildlife, God, community, family, solitude. Whatever you need on a given day, a park will offer.

Because a park, as I see it, is a microcosm of life itself.

And parks are where I want to spend my life.

A Reawakening (in 3 Acts)

My mental health can be measured at any given moment, with alarming accuracy, by when I get out of bed.

If I wake up (and actually manage to successfully exit the bed, stage left) at 5 or 5:30, I am likely fueled by clarity and feel like myself. If I stay under the deceptive comfort of my sheets until 6:30 or later, I am likely in an icy mental fog and feel distant from my true self. It’s uncanny how consistently true this is for me.

Well, today is the first day I’ve managed to pry myself out of bed at 5:30 in roughly 75 mornings. My mental windshield has been frozen and fogged up for close to 3 months. And I’m achingly ready to hit the defrost button. For me, hitting that button means doing what I’m doing right now: writing. Writing about fatherhood. Writing about mental health. Writing about anything at all, really.

But I know these things take time. And repetition. So I will try to do it again tomorrow. And I will try to do it again the day after that. And if I manage to wake up early and write 2 or 3 times this week, I’ll consider that a win.

New beginnings don’t begin themselves. You have to put in a good-faith effort. And my leap of that good faith consists of trusting (blindly, it seems at first) that if I let my body step out of that warm bed at 5:00, my mind and heart will step out too.

But on the first day, it feels a bit like stepping off a cliff.

Now it’s 2 days later. I slept through my alarm yesterday, and my body (or really, my mind) told me all about it for the rest of the day. I felt un-lucid and un-awake. Arcade Fire once said “Sleeping is giving in… so lift those heavy eyelids.” Well, I gave in yesterday. And my eyelids felt as heavy as steel curtains all day.

But I did not give in today. So here I am, writing by the glow of my laptop in the pre-dawn darkness. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. It’s a whole lot better than 0 out of the previous 75 groggy, uninspired, wake-up-as-late-as-humanly-possible mornings.

There is an alchemy to the act of writing that triggers my clarity. When I’m in a funk, I wearily tell myself I can’t write right now because I have no clarity. And while that feels true in that moment, here is what’s more true: I have no clarity right now because I’m not writing.

My mind enters hibernation mode when I’m not making any attempt to express my inner monologue or carve out an interior life for myself. Without the act of writing, my creativity, my optimism, and my confidence all gradually shut down. It is alarming to me how stark the emotional swing can be.

The last year is a perfect example. My mental health was good from mid-January 2021 through April. Then it was terrible from May through July, as I’ve blogged extensively about. Then it was good to great from August to early November. And it’s been scattershot at best (although manageable) ever since.

If you look at my blog during the last 13 months, almost the only time I wrote anything was during the “up” months. There are no blog posts documenting, in real time, the weeks and months when I was in a funk. (I only blogged about my depression after it had fully abated.) So during the times when I felt good, the question is: Was I writing because I felt good? Or did I feel good because I was writing? Both are likely true, but I’m inclined to think the latter is more relevant. The mental and physical act of writing always colors my greyscale mind and infuses me with an energetic sense of purpose.

I think back on how joyous and lucid I felt last October when I camped in West Virginia with my college buddies and saw 2 Caspian shows in Massachusetts with Danielle, and it makes me ache. Where did that unencumbered version of me go this winter? Why do the cold, light-starved months almost always seem to erase my true, buoyant self? (And sometimes the summer too.) Where did this Jekyll-and-Hyde mental health cycle originate?

I’m not entirely sure. What I know is that the gentle clacking of these key strokes in the dawn’s early light — which has now appeared outside the previously darkened window — has always been, and will continue to be, the soundtrack of my emergence.

In my last blog post, from back in mid-December, I talked about the Dylan Thomas line “Do not go gently into that good night,” and how I was determined not to do so.

Well, I did. I let the dark days of December and January get the best of me once again.

But every new day, as well as every new March, is a chance to turn it all around.

So I will wake up in the darkness.

And I will write.

Now it’s Saturday, and I woke up with my early alarm for the 3rd time in 4 days. This, I must say, is a promising development. Inertia has been my prevailing feeling (or un-feeling) since November. So it’s a deep relief to feel — dare I say it? — a bit of momentum. Only time will tell if I can sustain it.

Having 90 minutes to myself before the kids wake up is vital to my well-being, and spending a good portion of that time writing down my thoughts affirms my sense of identity. Which is something that a parent can easily lose in the deafening grind of raising young kids.

Yesterday, when I woke up early, felt almost the exact opposite of the day before, when I slept in. I took the kids outside both days, but yesterday I felt calm, confident, and patient as a dad. The day before, I felt scattered and impatient and stuck in the cramped confines of my head. Establishing my sense of self in the early morning made all the difference for the rest of the day.

We ended up spending the entire afternoon yesterday at Codorus State Park. The kids, who are impervious to boredom and fussing when they’re outside, played endlessly on a half-decent playground and were thrilled to discover a yurt. They climbed on some big logs, sang lots of songs, and made up goofy stories. We left only when the daylight started to fade and the kids got a little chilly in the late winter twilight.

As for me, I let the day slowly unfold, without hurrying or forcing anything. The simple wonders of nature and a nearly-forgotten sense of clarity combined to make the afternoon playful and serene. It was the most enjoyable 6 hours I’ve had in quite a while.

Mental health is a vast spectrum of light and darkness. I have lived in every color of that spectrum in the last few years, from radiant joy to shadowy depression. And at this moment, I feel ready to let the light back in to my murky, fogged-up, winterized soul.

So I will set my alarm for 5:00 each day. I will fiercely resist the deadening lure of the snooze button. I will grab the morning by the scruff of the neck. I will stand up and carve out the day rather than sitting back and letting it carve me up.

The Saturday morning sun just came up, and it’s time to rouse the kids from their slumber.

After an hour alone with my thoughts (and a keyboard), I feel like myself.

So I’m ready for Greyson and Violet to be awake again.

Because I finally feel awake again.