Tag Archives: Family Members

Tips On How Not To Feel Your Age*

by Richard

Yesterday, I talked a bit about how the arrival of a little dude or little dudette in the house was one of the best ways ever to start feeling like a very old dude, indeed. There’s nothing like catering to the whims of a non-sentient, sadistic, psychopathic little bundle of joy to really bring home that you are older than you were yesterday.

Still, there are some things you can do to keep the aging fairy at bay. It’s not going to keep that winged dude away for good, but it will make sure he doesn’t keep hitting you over the head with the old stick quite as soon or quite as often. Let’s get back to the tips.

5) One of the most important things you can do to make sure you feel younger is make sure you get enough sleep each night. Not too much and not too little. Seriously, recent research has linked sleep to combatting obesity, better mental health, a higher exercise efficiency and a whole bunch of other stuff. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your health. Which makes the arrival of the late-night screaming dude so much fun.

6) Speaking of weight. . . Keeping off the pounds is a good way to ensure you see a few more days down the line. Not only will weighing less protect your joints and your back and let you move around better, it also might just protect your brain. Seriously. In addition, one of the best ways to lose weight is exercise. And we know that exercise has benefits that go beyond the physical and into the emotional as well.

7) As you get older, your body begins to need fewer and fewer calories each day to function at optimal efficiency. Every decade or so, your body needs 5 percent fewer calories, or about 100 calories a day. Again, cutting back on the carbs, fat and calories turns out to be a good idea.

8) Finally, remember to keep up with friends and family members. And I don’t mean just sending out the annual brag list of all the little dude’s accomplishments for the past year. Yeah, we know he walked. So did most of the little dudes his age. Call up an old friend and chat about something other than the Center of the Universe. It’ll do you good to remember that not all conversations have to be conducted in baby talk.

Remember, dudes and dudettes, it’s not that you’re only as old as you feel, but having a positive outlook and doing a few simple things can help you feeling younger than you are.*

*unless you’re young and healthy and then we just want you to stay feeling that way, but that’s a bit long for a title (or even trying to include it in the body of the post) so I thought I’d simply leave that bit down here where it wouldn’t get in the way and scare off people who don’t like long blog titles, although that does seem like a pretty remote chance, someone being afraid of a long blog title, or, rather, sort of an overly specific fear.

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Passing The Torch

by Richard

Part of becoming a parent means — hopefully — that you’re doing a little bit of growing up.

And, yes, I can feel like a bit of a hypocrite when I write that. After all, am I not the person with a huge comic-book collection, someone who still loves to read books marketed to young adults and kids, who enjoys headed off to see the latest animated Pixar masterpiece? Why, yes. Yes, I am.

Still. Still.

I find that I do mean what I said in the opening there. Just because I enjoy things designed for younger dudes and dudettes, doesn’t mean I’m still a child, only that my brain can still see things from a child-ish perspective. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Anyway, yes. Growing up.

You can move go to college. Move out of the house in which you grew up. Decide to move to a different state without actually consulting your parents. Take a new job if you want. All of those, you can do. But it’s only when you become a father or a mother that you really feel the weight of the torch passing from your parents to you, feel the weight of the mantle of adulthood settling onto your shoulders.

Suddenly you’re responsible for another life — a little life with no particular skills or abilities of its own that is relying on your good judgement to ensure its safety and allow it to begin growing into a fun, loving, useful member of society.

And I’ve found recently that feeling only multiplies when a parent passes away.

When my grandfather died, I found that — without knowing how I’d been chosen — I’d taken over one of his most important family functions. No, it wasn’t being the grumpy person who limped around family gatherings. It was, somehow, up to me to make up silly nicknames for new family members and then use them until they stuck. Right, Boo?

Now, with my Mom dead as well, I can already feel part of her family function falling on me. Keeping the family together, always in touch with basically everyone she’s ever met? That’s my sister. Telling the same family stories, over and over and over and over? Yeah, that one seems to be mine.

Which is, you know, a pretty good thing. Right in my wheelhouse, really. Almost as if Mom were preparing me to take on her role without either of us knowing it. I think she picked well. Like Mom’s, my stories have a tendency to grow in the telling. Like Mom’s (and like a bad chili), my stories have a tendency to repeat themselves. And, like Mom, I love to talk and tell stories. The more reaction from my audience the better.

All of which means, this is a bit of a warning. Buckle your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


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by Richard

When I was growing up in Dallas, I taught her how to swim in our backyard pool. Our families had been friends forever. I went away to college and she grew up, got married and had kids.

This week she buried her youngest son.

The one-car accident occurred when she hit the breaks to avoid a suddenly stopped car ahead of her. Her SUV swerved off the road and crashed. She, her oldest son and her daughter were slightly injured. Her 6-year-old son, who was wearing a lap belt, died on the helicopter that was airlifting him to the hospital.

Her parents were waiting there, at the hospital. Waiting to take custody of their grandchild. Waiting to become the first family members forced to deal with the lifeless body of this once-vibrant, once-laughing young dude.

I never met him, but I kept up with him through Christmas cards, letters, and family gossip. I am the worse for that. We are all the worse for that.

When something like this happens, we all sigh sadly, shake our heads and wonder how the family deals with a tragedy of this magnitude. Let me tell you, no matter what kind of face the family puts on, they deal with it badly. Very, very badly. He was a part of their life. A walking, breathing wonderful and hugging part of their life and he leaves a boy-shaped hole in their hearts that grows bigger with every passing second that goes by without him to fill it.

There really are no words to express the sort of tragedy implicit in this. A child passing before his parents, before his grandparents. Far, far too soon.

I can’t really understand what she’s going through right now. What they all are going through. And, as selfish as it sounds, I hope I never do get that sort of understanding.

What I do know is they are in terrible pain, filled with anger and sadness and inconsolable grief and I wish there was something I could do to ease that pain.

My young dudes never knew him either and keep wondering why I’m hugging them so much these last few days. It’s only natural, I suppose. I want them to know they are loved and treasured and I want to reassure myself that they really are here. And are healthy.

I can only hold her in my thoughts and let her know she is not alone, that there are people who love her and will be there for her and will do anything they can to help.

I might have taught her how to swim, but there are some waters that must be crossed on your own, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

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