As Simple as It Gets

I’d been reading a book on the living room couch with the girls. We’re all miserably sick–snotty, hacky-coughing, bleary-eyed, swollen-faced (pretty image, I know) messes, and we were experiencing just a little window of contentedness before the next round of nose-blowing and tissuing began. Then Quinn threw up all over Saoirse’s book (“It’s ok, Mom. I’m not upset. Quinn just had an accident”). As I was salvaging what pages I could, Quinn somehow managed to grab the handle of the mug sitting on the end table and emptied its (thankfully room-temperature) contents all over herself, the couch, the rug, and a couple of other pieces of furniture. Good times. So I set Quinn, now weeping because she wanted me to hold her, down on a clean part of the carpet and went to grab some towels while SK sat right where she was, happily reading as though the room didn’t reek of a poor man’s coffee shop.  A couple of minutes later found me on my hands and knees blotting Earl Gray out of the (again thankfully…

Okay, Then

When my grandmother passed away this past December, we prepared to take the girls to Maryland for her wake and funeral. Saoirse just happened to have a doctor’s appointment around this time, and I asked her pediatrician for advice on explaining what we were about to do. He told me simply, “You don’t have to explain anything to her. If she asks, just tell her that Grandmom went to heaven.” I remember looking at Saoirse, then back at him. But she’s only three, I told him. Isn’t that sort of an abstract idea for a three-year-old? The good doctor shrugged before he replied: “Isn’t it an abstract idea for any of us?”    Flash-forward to today. We were at Arlington National Cemetery paying a visit to the grave of my dear dad (who’s parked right next to the visitor’s center, by the way. Cannot imagine a more appropriate place for my über-friendly father). Saoirse spotted the powerful Air Force Memorial as we moved through the cemetery. “I remember that!,” she exclaimed, eyeing the soaring spires. &#8220…

Three Years

It was three years ago today, around 4:16 in the morning (yes, 4:16 on 4/16. We really should play that number in the lottery) that my father died in an ICU at Hershey Medical Center here in Pennsylvania. I don’t say “passed away” or “passed on,” or some other tidy little term for the ending of his life, because he didn’t just fade away. He died. Pancreatic cancer got its gnarled, evil hooks into him, and even though he fought it–fought it hard, fought it gracefully, fought it with more strength and class than I can wrap my head around yet–the cancer won. I watched my dad die. I wouldn’t recommend it. It was kind of hard. I miss him. Every day, I miss him. My dad and I butted heads a lot (any of my family reading this right now probably just snorted their agreement), but my gosh, I loved him. He was my go-to guy for books, for talking about writing, for cooking. I remember what a hard time he had when I decided to turn vegetarian at the age…