Never Just Another Day

Today the boys went to school. I worked a full day. I ran an errand and bought shiny things at the grocery store. I took the dog out, brought the dog in, took the dog out. I got the mail, opened packages. I talked on the phone, sent email, cussed at my email, tweeted, looked at Facebook, said a prayer for a friend paying her last respects to her grandmother today, read blog posts, and clicked through the Internet. I made a snack for the boys. I made dinner. I got us to soccer on time. I read while one kid practiced, and the other kid read his own book. I debated stopping for an iced latte, but the fall weather arrived sometime midday, leaving no desire for anything iced.

And then we stopped.

At the fire department.

I don’t like when he works on 9/11, but it happens. So we stopped. Just in time to help wash trucks.

Helping Daddy

I joked with the other firefighters. I snapped photos. I decided I should have the boys wash the house since they didn’t argue or whine once while they washed those trucks. We laughed.

Washing Trucks

And then I heard the flag snapping in the breeze. The flag, half mast.

Half Mast

We stopped to see him—my husband, their dad—but we stopped to be part of our family for just a few minutes this evening. Our bigger family, bigger than just the four of us. Our fire family: the one that extends beyond our home, beyond our department, beyond our state. The one that weeps today, still, and always for the 343.

We laughed tonight as the boys washed trucks, set off sirens. We laughed because we’re free to do so. We remembered just by being together.

And then I got to take the kids home, read them two books we always read on this day…

Fireboat and September Roses
Fireboat and September Roses

…and then I answered their questions. Each year, they ask more and more questions. Each year, I answer them as best I can, with as much age appropriate information as I can. They told me what they learned in school today. I told them the new things I learned this year. They asked me for the first time where I was that day, and I told them I was at college. And then I tucked them in, finished the laundry, straightened the kitchen, sat down, and exhaled.

Today will never be just another day, but we move through it as best we can each and every year.


52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with Football

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with Football

Football season is back.

And by football season, I refer not to the NFL or college or even high school football. I don’t actually even mean Pee-Wee or whatever we call little kid league football, because nope.

I mean football in our yard.

The boys really seem to like football. I mean, who wouldn’t? First of all, there’s a ball. Then there’s all kinds of tackling, and what’s more fun than tackling people, especially your brother. I also understand why they like the high school football team. You’ve got that whole Friday Night Lights thing, literally, with the lights and the cheering and the autumnal air and the feel of Friday night football in Midwestern America.

I get it.

Then there’s that thing that we do, that thing I don’t agree with, where we revere our high school football players. Not really our soccer players or our baseball players or our cross country runners any other team or individual sport and their players. We send the football players and their cheerleaders to local preschools, into elementary classrooms. We present them as these gods among men.

And then we let them get away with things. Steubenville was not the first nor the last high school to (attempt to) try to cover up what their football players did. And that’s why we get college players and then NFL players who feel invincible, like the rules don’t apply to them. It’s how we get coaches that feel as though they’re above the rules, that they can do what they want with other people, other human beings.

Football makes me uneasy anymore.

But not in my yard.

In my yard, it’s about two brothers tackling each other, about throwing the ball, about running as fast as you can to the other side of the back yard. It’s about time together with their dad, with their mom behind the camera sometimes and sometimes throwing a pass for them to catch. It’s about the summer slowly fading into fall, the evenings getting a bit shorter each night. It’s about spending as much time as we can outside, together. Brothers. Family. Us.


Icebreaker Base Layers