Monday, September 27, 2010

Deja vu all over again

Wednesday evening Gus and I headed over to Prophet Elias, and the second I walked into the "little gym" I got a total rush of deja vu.

I was suddenly transported back to an evening in the late 1970s, with my then sister-in-law, Kelly, standing next to me in the little gym. There I was again, scrawny, insecure, not knowing a soul...and there to become a Boy Scout.

Flash forward 30+ years and it's my turn to be the more secure, confident adult - Gus sticking to me like glue, excited about joining Cub Scouts but displaying more than a little trepidation.

Like me all those years earlier, Gus loved his first night of Scouts. Unlike me, he recognized a friend among the other boys: a kid he knew from Sunday School class.

(And for anyone who doubts the interconnectedness of the Greek community, while chatting with the kid's dad, I discovered he's my cousin Yvonne's nephew!)

But there was one awkward moment: the "Den Mother" - the Scout leader for the youngest boys - asked me if I'd help with the troop. Since parents have to stay with the boys in that age group, I simply could have said "Yes" and left it at that. Instead, I was honest.

I told the woman how I'd be happy to help but the Boy Scouts of America may not allow me to because I am a gay man. I tried to say it with confidence and, well, I guess pride. But right there, in that place, in front of this organization, all my pre-teen insecurities and self doubt came flooding back and I know my voice broke.

She paused for only a second or two before saying, "I don't care. Will you help out?"

Of course I will.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm Baaaaaaaack

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry for my absence. As most of you probably know, shortly after my last posting at the end of July, my Theia Tina was admitted to hospice, where she spent the last few weeks of her life. Balancing my very minor part in caring for Tina, my obligations at work, my role as a dad, and our move to the new house didn't leave much time for this blog.

Last night, after what can only be described in polite circles as an amazingly stressful and hectic work week (see me quoted in the Trib??), Niko and I were walking Gracie and I came to the realization that I need to get back in the blog saddle and more frequently. I need to do this because I've discovered it's incredibly therapeutic for me.

Next week, if you all don't mind, I'll post something in honor of my Theia Tina. It'll be her 40 day mnemosino (memorial service) on 10/3. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm still dealing with my grief at her passing each and every day. Some days are better than others.

But tonight I want to tell you why my kids are better than therapy.

In a 15-minute walk with Gracie, Niko made a week's worth of really intense stress disappear. How?

1. By telling me a story of how there had been a monster living in the canal, but when it rose up, he kicked the crap out of it - karate chopping it in half!;

2. Running to see a dove perched on the ground near the canal, he stopped in his tracks, turning to me and proclaiming, "Daddy! I think it's an American eagle!"; and

3. Seconds later, jumping a good foot straight into the air when the horse three yards behind him neighed. Upon landing, he turned to me laughing and said, "That scared the bejebus out of me!"

And in those exciting moments of a child's life, the stress and anxiety of grown-up life melted away. And unlike Xanex, Cymbalta, Paxil or any other mood enhancing prescription drug, the only side-effect was my laughter!

Look for a new posting early next week. Thanks.