Get BACK To It…

Boys, I was having a rough go of it, for a couple of weeks. Catching any sort of illness when you have Diabetes always has a different share of complications and issues than it would for a non-Diabetic, and this illness was no exception. This is about as much complaining about being sick as I’m going do, but one point that sticks out is that I haven’t had a decent workout in almost two weeks.

Enter: kids’ birthday party! My son Nathan has reached an age where he’s been getting invited out to birthday parties for the past year or two. Given the state of the world and how many people believe everything has to be bigger than life to be worth remembering, we haven’t been attending simple at-home parties with cake and presents. There’s been a Dino-bounce party, involving an indoor bouncy house gym and a couple of waterpark parties, were the family books a room at a local hotel and let’s the kids free range all over a water park with slides and fountains.

The first one of these that we attended, my wife was pregnant with our second child and didn’t partake of the watery fun. Last Saturday, we attended the second of these water-themed kids’ parties and it had a long water slide that required climbing three stories of steps to reach the top. As our infant son is only four months old, he stays with my wife, so she once again couldn’t partake of our watery fun. This means that I was left running along the deck, climbing all those steps and riding down a high-speed water slide for almost two hours with my hyperactive 5-year old.

Now, just to be clear… It was loads of fun! I mean, who DOESN’T enjoy water slides? Probably some people, but my point is that I lost count of the number of laps I swam and the number of steps I climbed, making for a wicked overall workout. The following day revealed the tell-tale tightness in my legs that usually accompanies a workout, especially since I haven’t done anything in almost two weeks. But it also accompanied something that I haven’t had much experience with: back pain.

According to an article written in WebMD, lower back pain before the age of 50 is often the result of sitting for long periods of time, which puts an increased amount of stress on the discs in your back. This is something I can easily admit to, considering my writing, reading and movie-watching habits of late. The article goes on to say that “Strength-training and cardio exercise are both helpful.” This is because it can strengthen the pertinent muscle groups and increase blood flow, which can reduce the pressure and help with the ache. (https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/common-pains-of-age#1)

There are a lot of other reasons why your back may ache. As most of you are likely aware, muscle tissue is elastic. As years pass, your muscle groups lose that elasticity and you may lose some cushioning in your spine. When coupled with secondary conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis or infections, it can easily result in back back. In my case, I’m inclined to believe that I simply pulled my back muscles as a result of overexerting myself in a short period of time after sitting like a lazy lump, blowing my nose over the past ten days.

Your back is your body’s entire support system, so it’s important not to ignore lasting pain and to take good care of it. As with most things related to the body, the first line of defence is to get plenty of good physical exercise and drink plenty of fluids. keep your core and the related muscle groups strong, and this will go a long way to preventing those annoying twinges in your back. ☯

Do You Think They Had Diabetes On The Enterprise?

Ahh, Star Trek… So many fond memories on so many lazy Sundays during my childhood… I remember laying on the couch on Sundays, watching the adventures of Captain Kirk, Captain of the starship Enterprise, guiding his ship through the cosmos and meeting all kinds of different life forms. And green women… We must not forget the green women!

I’m referring to the original series, of course, that aired in 1966. As I write this, I realize how I’ve just aged myself horribly but when I ask someone nowadays if they’ve ever seen Star Trek, I’m usually met with “What, the one with Chris Pine?” Disappointing. I no longer want to live on this planet, anymore. But on a serious note, Star Trek spawned over half a dozen television series and tons of fantastic movies, some of which have given us a glimpse into the future of technology. I’m sure we can all remember Captain Picard on Star Trek TNG, using those thin touch-pads to write his logs and reports. This was well before the advent of the iPad.

When seeing all that technology and how it’s applied in the medical context, it makes me curious just how disease-free the Star Trek universe actually is. I’ve seen them heal people who were on the brink of death, infected by alien viruses and there’s virtually no mention of disease throughout any of the series, with the exception of a few one-in-a-million incidents. It makes one wonder: Did they cure Type-1 Diabetes in the Star Trek universe?

A Star Trek medical tricorder. Yes, I’m a nerd!

For as long as I’ve had Diabetes, I’ve been hearing how “close” we are to a cure. Back in 1982 when I was first diagnosed, they predicted that we were only about 20 years away from a cure. Here we are 37 years later, and I ain’t hearin’ no cure! It seems that about every five years, they come out with something that “could” potentially be a cure, but nothing ever sticks. It probably doesn’t help that there are a lot of “cure Diabetes” books and articles out there, but they generally refer to Type-2 Diabetes, which is a whole different ballgame (And the effects of Type-2 can be reversed but not necessarily cured).

There have been a lot of promising treatments in recent decades. Different things, such as islet cell or beta cell transplantation, whole gene sequencing and even immune system manipulation have been examined and attempted. The prospect of a true pancreas transplantation has been toyed with, as well. Unfortunately, because it has to do with the immune system and the body’s beta cells, the average ability to be independent of insulin injections is only 60% after five years.

There was even talk about a preventative vaccine that could prevent the onset of Type-1 Diabetes, and was due to start human trials back in 2018. I haven’t heard much in the way of updates on the progress of this vaccine in the past two years, but if successful it would go a long way towards eliminating Type-1 Diabetes. It’ll suck for those of us who already HAVE it, but at least it would guarantee that the next generations to come won’t have to put up with injections, testing and the many complications associated to Type-1 Diabetes. I can almost hear all the anti-vaxxers grinding their teeth in opposition…

So, there you have it. I’m still hearing that magic “20 years” being thrown around when I research potential cures and timelines. But who knows what treatments and possibilities may emerge in the decades to come? By the time we reach the Star Trek age of the future, Diabetes may be a thing of the past. It sure would be nice if all it took was the gentle hiss of a hypospray against my neck and have the doctor say, “There you go, you’re healed!” In the meantime, it’s a classic case of hurry up and wait. ☯

It Isn’t About What You’ve Done, But What You’ll Move On To…

Recent events and seeing old friends has had me feeling nostalgic lately. Despite my best efforts to try and keep myself going, the reality is that time affects us all. And what one is capable of at one point in life may not be what we’re capable of in the years to follow.

I’m reminded of a point in my martial arts training from almost fifteen years ago. I had reached brown belt and somehow I had hit a slump. My techniques weren’t quite as crisp, my kicks felt laborious and my energy just wasn’t there as it used to be. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I was only in my mid-20’s and had been training more than consistently.

It reached a point where it was starting to affect my mood and my perspective of karate. This is not a good thing when you’ve made karate a permanent part of your life. I started dragging ass and getting down about the whole thing, until Sensei sat me down and snapped me out of it. He explained that everyone has low points and everyone hits a slump time and again. The important part is to keep pushing and working through it. Otherwise, that slump will take you over if you lie down and let it happen.

When you’re on top, it feels as though you’re floating on air!

Eventually, I pushed through whatever was holding me back and went on to black belt. And it’s a good thing I did. If I hadn’t pushed and continued on, I might have missed out on a lot of the great things that followed. And that’s the important lesson: no matter what difficulties you may be facing in the here and now, your perseverance will help you to get through it and be receptive to the positive things to come.

Float on air all you want… 3 miles in 21 minutes is exhausting shit!

I’ve spent my entire life pushing hard to achieve my goals. Even in the face of life-altering difficulties, no self-respecting person can/should do otherwise. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and never stop fighting. If you give your best effort, once the smoke clears, there can only be warm sunrises and better things on the horizon. Stay strong! ☯

A Blast From The Past

I had the opportunity to visit with an old friend, two days ago. We hadn’t seen each other in over ten years and it was a good time. We parted ways, all the way back in 2009 and although we’ve managed to stay in touch to a certain degree, being scattered across the country makes it a bit difficult to get together for Sunday tea!

My friend and I, back in 2009

My friend was in town for only a few days and reached out to me unexpectedly. We agreed to meet for dinner, had some beers and reminisced about the “good ‘ol days.” We both commented about the fact that despite the amount of time that’s passed, it almost felt as though it was ten years ago and we had never left. It brought up a conversation about brotherhood, and what it truly means.

We often go through life looking straight ahead and pushing towards building our future. This isn’t a bad thing, but for most of us, we tend to forget the people we’ve met along the way. Time and distance plays a hell of a role on who we stay in touch with, and how connected we stay with them. Sometimes it’s nice to stop for a moment and reconnect.

My friend and I, two nights ago!

Although we were both amazed at the effect that ten years has had on both of us, we were able to recognize that we were still the same guys, inside.

In light of the life-altering difficulties I’ve been going through for the past two years, I’ve been blessed with some great people who have lent their support and belief in me. On the home front, I’ve been lucky enough to have my wife who supports and believes in me. My two sons who, despite being a destructive force to be reckoned with in our household, lend an aspect of pride (and entertainment) to my life. Last but not least, my friends. And since you’ll likely be reading this, you know who you are!

You can’t live in the past. This, I’ve said before. But it’s always a good thing to occasionally take a look back to remember where you come from. And to remember who you are. In the right circumstances, it just may give you the added little boost you need to fight your way through your difficulties. ☯

A Shitty Thing To Write About…

Alright, let’s get serious for a moment and talk about crap! I mean the literal kind. I often write that Diabetes can and often does, affect many systems throughout the body. There are plenty of common ailments that are caused or aggravated by T1D, including vision issues and heart disease. But people are rarely aware of one of the most crappy systems affected by Diabetes: Your gut!

First of all, there are some basic steps that you can take in order to help improve your overall gut health. This includes drinking plenty of fluids and ingesting a proper amount of dietary fibre. What is the proper amount? Well, according to a post by HealthLine.com, for an average adult consuming a 2,000 calorie a day diet, “the daily value for fibre is 25 grams per day […]”

There are plenty of ways for you to get that amount easily, within the span of a day. For example, a cup of prune juice has about 2.6 grams of fibre, the same as an average-sized banana. Another option that packs a bit stronger of a wallop is bran. Raw oat bran packs 15 grams of dietary fibre in every 100 grams of the stuff, making it super easy to get your recommended daily intake by eating it in muffin form or even in a bowl with some milk, instead of your everyday Froot Loop addiction!

In my household, baby spinach is a fan-favourite, even for my picky 5-year old. Baby spinach is a healthy green and packs 2.4 grams of fibre in a raw, 100-gram serving. I usually sneak it into Nathan’s wraps and he calls it “leaf”. he doesn’t love the idea that it’s there, but he wolfs down the food nonetheless. Many vegetables will provide a decent amount of dietary fibre.

If you’re looking for a little something “extra” to help that fibre content along, there are plenty of fibre supplements that you can find at your local pharmacy. They come in capsule form, gummies and even some lovely wafers that you can fool your child into believing are cookies. And there’s always the run-of-the-mill fibre powders that you can add to a glass of water.

The next item of importance is to drink plenty of water. Drinking plenty of water will help to prevent dehydration (d-uh!), which can lead to diarrhea and continued stomach and bowel issues. Since Diabetes has this nasty habit of affecting the body’s nervous system, damaged nerves in your gut can lead to ugly complications such as Gastroparesis and Diabetic Enteropathy. In the interest of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I’ll just let all of you Google those two conditions. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Having Diabetes is crappy enough on its own (see what I did there?) without adding to the pile, so be sure to pay attention and listen to your gut. It can help you to ensure you don’t get in shit! (Man, I’ve got a ton of these!) ☯

A Bit Of Darkness Mixed With Your Light

“The Good Deeds A Man Has Done Before Defend Him.”

– J. Robert Oppenheimer, Theoretical Physicist and Father of the Atomic Bomb

What causes good people to do bad things? Seriously, we would like to think that the average person walking down the street could be depended upon to always do what’s right and not to perform any intentional action that may cause suffering in others. Makes sense, right? If you’re a good person, why would you do or say anything that may damage or harm another person’s life and/or livelihood? Unfortunately, it’s a lot more common than you think and I see it almost every day.

I’m reminded of a story I read, some time ago. Although the story is a bit different than how I’ll recount it, the lesson is the same. Here we go…

You get off work during a hot summer day and join a coworker at a local bistro for a cold beer after your shift. The sun is out, the weather is beautiful and you decide to sit on the patio so that you and your colleague can enjoy your drink in the warm weather. As you sit down, you’re about to take a sip of that wonderful golden brew, intending to enjoy it to the fullest. Suddenly, a bird flies overhead and drops a shit right into your beer mug. You put the mug down and stare in disbelief as a singular glob of bird shit sits floating on the surface of your beer.

Now, if your friends are anything like mine, your colleague would be laughing his or her ass off at that moment and likely snapping photos for social media or to share around the office. But I digress…

Ask yourself an honest question: Do you get a napkin or a spoon, and scoop the bird shit off the top of your beer and drink the rest? Or do you consider the entire beer spoiled because of that one, tiny drop floating just on the surface? Do you acknowledge that the rest of the beer is fine? Or do you consider the entire drink tainted and destroyed by the one percent that is touched by a negative, outside influence?

“I Believe That Unarmed Truth And Unconditional Love Will Have The Final Word In Reality. This Is Why Right, Temporarily Defeated, Is Stronger Than Evil Triumphant.”

– Martin Luther King

This is comparable to what I’ve been facing over the past two years. I’ve always been the kind of person who prides himself on working hard. I’ve always pushed myself beyond the expectations of society and others and often, beyond my own expectations. I’ve sacrificed and given up more than I can remember and I’ve always felt as though I’ve done the right thing. And despite building over ten years of dedicated, committed effort towards a solid career, someone came along and dropped a shit right in my beer mug!

I would be inclined to believe that most people would throw away the beer. Maybe there are some individuals who would look past the one spoiled aspect and rectify the situation in order to enjoy the rest of it. For the most part, I think we can all agree we’d throw out the beer. I know I would. And comparatively, that person’s actions have now tainted and damaged the past ten years of hard work and effort I’ve given to my career. To the point where most who see it, would throw my career away much like that beer.

So why would this person do this bad thing? For the most part, I believe that a lot of it stems from the societal condition that the world has developed, where people feel the need to come out on top in a “you versus me” environment. Although there may be nothing to inherently gain or lose from your bad action, the prospect of taking the other person down as a matter of personal principle is a bad thing, even if you seem able to rationalize it in your mind.

I read an article in Psychology Today, where the writer shared some information he received from Craig Johnson, a leadership ethicist. Johnson explained during a conference that there are many reasons behind why good people do bad things and the assertion that “people believe we are more moral than we actually are […]” include such things as “the ends justify the means”, meaning that’s it’s okay to do a bad thing if it elicits a positive result. Another method is by devaluing the victim you create. This is the phenomenon where the person thinks, “They deserved it” as a justification for their bad actions. I’ve only provided a couple of examples, but the article goes on with further examples and can be read here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201411/the-science-why-good-people-do-bad-things

At the end of the day, unless you’ve taken or ended someone’s life, it’s never to late to make amends. You can step forward and repair the damage you’ve caused and try to make your little slice of the world a more positive place. The idea is NOT to cause more suffering in yourself or the world. My personal battle continues, and I can only hope that when the smoke clears I can carry on with my chosen career and continue to help people. After all, even though someone dropped a shit in my mug, there can always be another beer! ☯

Winds Of Change

I’m exhausted. I haven’t written a post this late in the day, in a very long time. Time and circumstances, am I right? Here’s the thing: the wind doesn’t bring change. It simply changes where it roams. Kind of like the old Heraclitus saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.”

Time and circumstances change all of us. No matter what we believe, we all go through change. Sometimes without even noticing it. It can be for the better or for the worse, depending on your perspective. I’ve come to realize that I’ve changed a great deal in the past decade. I have. I’ve changed. And not all of it is good, but the important thing is I’m pushing towards making those changes work in my favour. Survival means adapting, right? And as I’ve often said, life doesn’t care about one’s plan.

Think about life a bit like a meal. Depending on where you plan on dining, you may have a menu to choose from. But no matter what you order, you may not get the dish you wanted. It sucks, especially if you had to wait a long time for it. And you may have gotten to the point where the location is closing in a few minutes and there’s no longer time to replace the dish for the one you chose. You have a choice to make: Do you refuse to eat, potentially causing further hunger or starvation? Or do you make the best of a bad situation and take the time to enjoy the dish that’s in front of you, despite the fact it isn’t what you chose?

I’m reaching with all the metaphors here, but the point is that we can plan and want all we want in life. But the end result may not be what we expected. It’s up to us whether we choose to make the best of it or allow ourselves to starve in the face of our stubborn refusal to move forward.

As a character from one of my favourite animated series once said, “Life is a banquet, and death is dessert.” If this is true, I guess it’s a good thing I have Diabetes and have to avoid sweets… ☯

You Can’t Use Crosshairs When It Comes To Fat

Everybody is different. I’ve preached that often enough in this blog, but it’s an important detail considering the topic of today’s post. The reality is that a diet that works well for one person may not be as effective for another. There are a number of reasons behind this including metabolism, lifestyle, body type and a bunch more… The same can be said for workouts. Even though doing 30 minutes of fast, pulse-racing cardio may be the ideal workout for one person to reach their goals, the next person may require weights, or some other form of fitness that you may not even consider. This is why losing weight can be so difficult for some, but easy for others.

Fat is a particular beast, because the accumulation and loss relates directly to your metabolism, your genetics and the diet and fitness regiment you follow. Contrary to popular opinion, you can’t focus WHERE you burn fat. That means all those late-night infomercials where the dude and his girlfriend are randomly standing by a pool and both of them could crush walnuts with their abs because of this ONE machine they do for a few minutes a day? Impossible.

You CAN’T choose from which area of the body you’ll burn fat. You CAN choose to increase muscle mass in specific areas. That’s the difference most people don’t understand. If you perform hundreds of crunches a day, your abdominals will become developed and strong. No doubt about it. But there’s no guarantee that it will burn fat around your gut.

According to a post by HealthLine.com, “[…] one study in 24 people who only completed exercises targeting the abdominals for six weeks found no reduction in belly fat.” Further, the article goes on to say, “Another study that followed 40 overweight and obese women for 12 weeks found that resistance training of the abdominals had no effect in belly fat loss […]”

There have been plenty of other studies, most with the same result. Here’s the article, if you want to give it a glance: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/targeted-weight-loss#section3

Your body stores fat as a spare source of energy. Targeting one specific area of the body not only won’t guarantee trimming that area’s fat, studies have shown it’s unlikely. Generally speaking, the only way to burn fat is a combination of intense physical conditioning combined with a proper diet that ensures your getting good, healthy calories.

It’s not all bad news; you can still burn fat, you just can’t focus where it’ll melt first. Toning down will be pretty much universal and consistent throughout your body. Fat burning and proper body toning is especially important for Type-1 Diabetics. ☯

Let The Hate Flow Through You…

Anger is insidious. And it tends to feed on itself. Anyone who knows me, is aware that I have a bit of anger sitting in a deep well inside my gut (I can almost hear my wife upstairs, nodding her head vigorously). I take great pains not to let that anger get the best of me or direct it at others. Why would I? There are so many ways to productively deal with one’s anger, there’s no “reasonable” cause to direct it at another human being.

I was running errands yesterday morning, as I usually do. One of my stops included getting fuel for the family vehicle, which I had been planning on doing for the past couple of days. When I finished paying for my fuel, I exited the gas station onto a four-lane boulevard that ran west to east. The boulevard had a centre lane that allows for turning left or right, which is a common street layout at various locations throughout the city.

My vehicle was placed within the median lane without blocking any traffic, and I was watching the east-bound traffic for an opening to pull into the main driving lane. An approaching pickup truck signaled and moved over to its right, leaving me with an opening to pull into the lane. I merged into the lane and was greeted with the loud sound of a blaring vehicle horn.

I looked to my right and found a black pickup truck (not the one that changed lanes) pull up next to me and the male driver started gesturing and yelling at me. I couldn’t see my own face, of course. But I imagine I had a look of confusion mixed with indignation at being harassed by a random stranger. I wasn’t sure what had happened, and I can confirm I hadn’t even seen this truck when I checked before pulling out. But suddenly, he was right there!

I pulled into the left turning lane, as my intention had been to head North on the cross street. He pulled up next to me in the next lane and lowered his window. Despite my better judgement and the fact I probably shouldn’t have, I lowered my window as well. Here’s the exchange:

Angry Driver: “What the fuck is your problem, shit-head? You’re not supposed to pull out of the gas station there!”

ME: “Of course, I can. That median lane is for turning either direction. Always has been. I saw the truck switching lanes to let me in and I took the opening.”

AD: “He moved right because he was turning right, shit-head! I have the right of way and you pulled right in front of me! What the fuck is wrong with you???”

This was a strange occurrence. It wasn’t the aspect of cutting the guy off that bothered me. I can totally admit that I might have cut him off. But this felt like a role reversal. Usually, I find myself being the one who gets angry and frustrated at other drivers. Although, true to form with the population of this city, the worst one ever faces is the actual vehicle horn. Actual interactions generally don’t happen unless a collision occurs.

AD: “What kind of shit-head are you? Do you not know how to drive…?

I offered an apology, uncertain as to whether is sounded sincere or not, and tried to explain that I hadn’t seen him. He continued to call me a shit-head and swear at me, so I raised my window and let it go. I guess he’s the kind of guy who finds an offensive name he enjoys and uses it, ad nauseam. I was somewhat taken aback by the level of anger and aggression he was using against me for something so trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Did I cut him off? Maybe. I’m even ready to say probably. But there’s no rational reason to chase someone down and start swearing and name-calling because of it. I get angry. My wife can confirm her level of entertainment she gets at hearing me grumble and swear when we’re dealing with traffic. But she can also confirm that following someone to yell, argue and call them names is well beyond even MY anger. I mean, come on!

Folks, life is too short. Things will make you angry. Things will make you frustrated. That’s a part of life. The idea is not to try NOT to be angry; the idea is to find a productive way to vent that anger. And most certainly not pass it on to others. Let’s think about it for a moment. What has this guy accomplished with how he treated me, yesterday? Did he solve the problem? Did it take it back? Of course not. All it did was stoke the flames of his anger further. He probably drove on to his destination with a knot of angst in his gut and hatred for a person he doesn’t even know. I continued on to my destination stressed, confused and harassed without even being aware that I had done something wrong. As Elsa from Frozen once said, let it go… ☯

A Touch Of Innocence For Your Morning

We tend to lose parts of ourselves as we grow older. Adulthood and responsibility have the tendency of destroying certain instincts that most of us are inherently born with. These instincts are a result of a long evolutionary process of over generations. For example, how is it that my 4-month old son knows to smile when he sees me? And seems to recognize a smile as a sign of happiness and familiarity? Sure, part of it involves imitating his mother and father, but a smile is a recognizable facial expression that is used across the entire world, regardless of race, background or language.

The same can be said for dreaming, imagination and curiosity. These aspects are very prominent when we’re born and through childhood, but they slowly disappear as the crushing responsibility of daily life takes over. There’s a perfect example of this phenomenon, which I experienced this morning. Enter: my son Nathan.

Today is a school day for Nathan (it’s Friday, d-uh!) so I turned on his bedroom light at 7 a.m. and told him he needed to get up. Despite getting to bed almost twelve hours previously, he looked at me and frowned around two red, blood-shot eyes that spoke volumes since his vocabulary lacked the words he wanted to express in that very moment.

I went to work preparing his lunch and backpack and trying to get some caffeine into my system as I move about. Contrary to the process that’s usually necessary on school days, he emerged from his bedrooms a mere five minutes later, fully clothed. I asked what he wanted for breakfast and he declined to eat anything. I should’ve listened to him, because my second suggestion produced a response of frustration usually reserved when you can’t find a parking space when you’re ten minutes late for an appointment.

He expressed his desire to watch cartoons for a few minutes before leaving and, in the interest of my sanity, I accommodated him. He curled up in our home office under a blanket and started watching an episode of Paw Patrol for the bazilionth time! My recent illness had me dealing with a wave of nausea, so I couldn’t be bothered trying to argue with a 5-year old. Despite knowing that it’s a school day, he doesn’t choose to acknowledge that some urgency is required during the morning. That’s apparently a problem for adults.

Once the car was started, backpack and coffee mug loaded, I called out that it was time to go. A very frustrated Nathan came up the stairs and told me, in no uncertain terms, that I should come down to the office to get him as opposed to yelling out for him. My response was to get his damn outerwear and boots on.

As he’s sitting on the steps of the landing, slipping his boots on, his eyes suddenly light up and he says, “Look, Daddy! A spider…” I look down at the step and I see a small water drop sized insect on it’s back. I only see six legs, so I explain to him that it’s not a spider. He taps it and the legs move. His excitement grows exponentially as he realizes it isn’t dead. Getting his ski pants and boots on have been completely forgotten.

I try to steer him back on course, but his excitement becomes mixed with concern as he tells me we need to help the bug turn over so it doesn’t die. I look at the time and sigh audibly. The son of a Buddhist wants to help preserve a life. I can’t really fault him for that, can I?

I tell him to keep getting dressed and I’ll take care of the bug. I push the bug gently until it manages to flip over. Turns out, it was a lady bug (At least I hope it was. That’s what it looked like. What am I, an entomologist???”) It starts crawling away. Nathan has his ski pants almost to his waist and his boots on. Time is burning away on bus pickup and now he’s worried about the bug getting off the landing. “We need to put her outside…”

I calmly explain that it’s winter and that the snow will kill the lady bug. Better to let her make her way off the landing herself as she can walk on vertical surfaces. I manage to get him to finish getting his ski pants on and his coat gets around his shoulders and almost zipped up when he stops and kneels down to watch the ladybug walking around.

“Dude, you’re killing me! Get your stuff on! We gotta go!” He hustles into the rest of his coat and I use the term “hustle” sarcastically, and makes his way out to the family vehicle. I bring him to the bus stop and wait patiently as Nathan turns on his seat warmer and puts the radio on a station playing music. After a few minutes of silence, he tells me I need to check on the ladybug when I get home (it was gone, BTW).

He walked to the bus, gave me his customary goodbye hug and stepped up into the bus and started his day. As the bus pulled away, it dawned on me that Nathan spent the better part of his entire time at home this morning, observing, getting excited and showing concern for a tiny, insignificant insect that I hadn’t even noticed was there until he pointed it out. It fascinated him and made him curious about life and his surroundings. But daily life required me to stifle that instinct in the interest of getting him to school. And that’s what life does to you.

Childhood is a strange time in a person’s life. We spend the first two to three years trying to encourage kids to speak and walk, followed by the next decade telling them to shut up and stop running around the house. Then the following ten years WISHING they’d talk to us. All the while, their ability to appreciate the small things and be fascinated with life slowly dwindles out of them until they become the typical, socially acceptable adult that keeps their “eyes on the prize”.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a step back and just stare at the clouds. We’re all born with the ability for imagination, so why would we ever stop using it? Some of the greatest ideas in the history of humankind were the result of imagination and dreaming. Take some time to slow down and smell the roses. No matter how much kids can be frustrating, sometimes they get it right. ☯