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Celebrating With Napoleon-Dynamite-Soul-Train-Solid-Gold Dances on Cloudy Days

15 Jul

So I stood there with my chocolate cupcake and chocolate frosting stopping time. Thinking about a day filed with tropical fish, jelly fish, penguins and sharks thinking about the seven years this amazing person has been in my life, mixed in with the eight-year anniversary of an awesome person leaving.

My daughter’s 7th birthday and my Dad’s passing.

It’s not a fun thing to feel a twinge of sadness on a day marked for happiness. It helped to remember that he liked to celebrate life on birthdays. My Dad enjoyed the sweetness of chocolate cake and frosting. He battled depression, but enjoyed laughing and feeling good. He didn’t like sadness and wanted to feel good, so he did what he could to make that happen. And that hard. He had his ups and downs, but he tried and succeeded on most days. Any chance at smiling he took it.

And so … on my daughter’s 7th birthday I did just that.

Any chance for smile and I took it.

Turning seven … that was something to smile about. The adventures of this little Ninja Warrior take me beyond smiles and go deep into laughter. She’s been the Rainbow Brite of my life during cloudy days.

On the last day of being six she mastered the blue and green water slides at the pool and cannon-balled her way to the 4 1/2 feet section of the pool.

“You don’t need to catch me,” she says.

On the last day of being six I didn’t catch her. But on the first day of being seven, I gave her the squishiest hug and the funkiest dance as we listened to the Beatles sing Today is Your Birthday.

I celebrated her contagious laughter and her impromptu Napoleon-Dynamite-Soul-Train-Solid-Gold Dancer caliber happy dances after something good happens to her. I celebrated the awesome softball player she grew into. I celebrated the love she has for art, painting, drawing, coloring, and anything in the Bob Ross world. I celebrated her love for Multi-Grain Cheerios as her favorite breakfast meal, Mortadella and Salami sandwiches as her favorite snack, and black beans any time of day. I celebrate her enjoyment of baking cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, and laugh when she doesn’t want to eat them and just taste the frosting. I celebrated her adventurous spirit and willingness to give any kind of rollercoaster a try, as long as she meets the height requirement. I celebrated her love for hugs, that part I think was passed down to her from my Dad. I celebrated her love for the If You Give A Mouse a Cookie series of books and TV show. I celebrated her for being a caring sister who loves her brother so much that sometimes she bursts his personal space bubble. I celebrate her for being smart, strong, and sensitive at the same time. I celebrated her love for penguins at the aquarium and her first time touching baby sharks.

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We celebrated turning seven with a Napoleon-Dynamite-Soul-Train-Solid-Gold Dancer caliber happy dance and that made any twinge of sadness disappear. I laughed and felt joy and I knew if my Dad was watching that day he would be cracking up too and feeling joy. His spirit still lives in me and in his granddaughter.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

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Mixed Tape Moments

6 Jul

I’m getting the hang of these moments … you know the ones you want to capture … like an awesome mixed tape. I found me some this week, just hanging out with my kids and going on our little day adventures.

I’ve made it a habit to stop time and just appreciate the little moment on the couch during movie night, or reading the newest title from the library, or laying in bed in the dark and just feeling the cool side of the pillow on my face and being thankful for the comfort it brings me.

With everyone I know having so much success in their life, and having all the dots connect, I’ve learned not to pay attention to their race or their place in it. I’m happy for them, but I’ve finally learned that I’m running on a different course, so I shouldn’t feel less because my I’m still walking the trail, while they’re at the finish line. I learned to pick up the moments. And I learned that everyday has some, I just have to remember to catch them. That’s what’s gonna mess me up. Paying attention to others and not catching my own moments can spiral into a crappy day.

But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

Just this week I caught one. Hanging out in the Great Outdoors and I just looked up and caught it. I snapped the shot and thought … yeah … this moment deserves it’s own mixed tape.

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I looked up from the cave and it just stood there.

The possibility.

The twists and turns of the day. The moment where everything can get sidetracked or move a step in the right direction. It stood there. The possibility.

The someday.

That someday was caught, and I caught it. Someday thoughts are what make memorable moments. Someday thoughts are the springboards of dreams. Someday moments light a fire under you so that you can start chasing it, and then it no longer becomes someday because you catch up to it and it becomes today.

The someday I found. I captured it.

I marked it with a picture on my broken down iPhone 0 and remembered. I may not have the house. I may not have the corner office with an assistant outside my door. I may not have pictures posted on a Facebook feed detailing the awesomeness of my universe and all its adventures. But I got the substance of a good life, the kind that deserves a mixed tape.

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

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A New Discovery

24 Jun

All or Nothing.

It sat there on my list for a while and then in the middle of a Thursday night I decided to hit the play button.

Remarkable.

The amount of intensity, drive, and humility surprised me. I heard of it, but had never watched it before. The All Blacks changed everything.

The Haka alone is a mesmerizing part of their tradition. A moment of connecting to their past, to their culture, and to their present The Haka is a hallmark of New Zealand rugby.

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The All Blacks performing The Haka

And the thing is they don’t do it for the cameras, or for the show, they do it for themselves, as a way to connect and prepare for the battle that is about to take place. I appreciated the connection and tradition.

I had no idea what rugby was about, but this series schooled me.

As far as sports documentaries go, this one changed my perspective. Rugby is a brutal sport, asking athletes to be warriors on the field, yet demanding that teamwork , heart, and unity be at the top of the list. What’s best for the team is a mentality that drives them all. Talented and humble. These are values I try to instill in my son and values I found among the All Blacks Rugby team from New Zealand.

Now I know there are rugby teams all over the world and they may share these values as well, but it was something about the All Blacks that drew me in. Just as the championship eras of the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Yankees, the All Blacks seem to have  fierce following across New Zealand and the globe.

And I’ve just discovered them.

Now it wasn’t so much their domination of the sport, but the added down to Earth characteristic of these players and their heart that stood out. They’re there to win, no doubt about that, but what drives them is not letting their teammates down, not letting their families down. The unselfish play is necessary.

I wish they had more of that value present in other sports. I mean I know there are a lot of unselfish players out there in every sport, but the light rarely shines on them. It’s given to the players with flash. The click-bait.

I appreciated that talent, hard work, perseverance and team unity were central to this series. That even though it is an extremely intense, physically and mentally demanding sport, that character and team matter most. It’s give it your all. Leave it out there on the field. With The All Blacks it really is All or Nothing. There’s no in-between because you only got one shot to wear the jersey on game day.

I’ve only just scratched the surface and can’t wait what else I discover.

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

 

 

 

Alternate Universes with The Wire on Father’s Day

17 Jun

I haven’t been able to perfect the superpower of fending off jackasses with magic bracelets or a golden lasso. I’m not on the Wonder Woman level yet.

But I get plenty of practice without asking.

I knew Father’s Day was going to be hard, but it was a rough one today. On all levels from the early morning, until the moment I started typing this post. It’s been a day I wish would end. And the sad thing is I actually practiced some positive thinking and positive vibes this morning, but the universe sent me different energy.

Apparently I needed to brush up on those superhero skills. But instead all I felt was anger, frustration, and emotional exhaustion.

Random strangers being complete jackasses at the cemetery, the cemetery of all places! I thought at the very least since we’re all grieving people would respect the sanctity of the cemetery. But instead it ended up in a cage match battle of words with a no-holds-barred level of intensity and aggression. Then on top of that, people close to you just say the ugliest things that bring you down, knowing full well that this is a tough day.  I mean it’s no wonder we’re distant, friendship suffering and all. The toxic level is so high that I just can’t go through that again and I’m on the verge of just giving up on them.

All this negative energy and nastiness leaves me feeling teary-eyed about all the ugliness I went through today. I mean, I’m too old for this crap.

And of course, the worst part … it’s Father’s Day and I know that my day would have been completely different if my pops were here. I know it. I’m stuck in an alternate universe and have to keep figuring out how this ride is gonna end up without him here. I guess it’s the unfinished life and all the missed opportunities that really bother me. That feeling always increases on holidays like this.

In an effort to keep him around this week, I had a Season I and Season II binge-watching session of The Wire just to remember  what it was like hanging out with him, his commentary on Omar, McNulty, and Lester. I still think about him often, but days like this, my thoughts are extra heavy. You see about eight years ago on Father’s Day was the last time we spoke. I mean I talked to him every day in the hospital when I was on night shift, but Father’s Day was the last time we had a conversation.

It wasn’t a life talk, or lessons he had yet to teach me, or anything like that. It was about how he was feeling. And about The World Cup, that’s something that really had him excited. His prediction and his favorite teams. He had me record some games, so he could catch up when he got out. It was a to-be-continued conversation, really. Not a good-bye, more like a see you later. You see I didn’t think he was gonna die, I just didn’t. Not my Dad. But he did. So I was left with about a month-long of one-sided late-night conversations. Him listening to me, but not being able to respond. Those were the heartfelt life talks, for sure. So much was said, and I was glad I said it. And the thing is, I never wondered whether or not he heard me, I knew he heard me as I held his hand night after night.

And so I find it so difficult to get passed these days without him by side. I have no regrets because I told him everything I needed to, but I definitely wish he was still here. I wouldn’t need superhero power training and all, to fend off bad guys at the cemetery if he were around.

But he’s not.

So I keep things that he enjoyed close by and I hear his voice when I can … and so now I’m off to dreamland to dream a dream I hope he is in. Maybe we’re having a cup of coffee and talking about life, me drinking tea of course, him with his coffee, black two sugars. Or maybe we’re just watching the The Wire. I’ll let you know how it pans out.

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Happy Father’s Day everyone.

Buen Camino …

 

 

 

Hugs and Moments of Silence

10 Jun

He never knew who Michael Jordan was, but learned more about him this week.

You see, my son had to once again learn a life lesson, but this time it came through the world of sports.

Now not everyone is a superstar, but everyone has something to bring to the table. Some are offense, some defense. Everyone thrives in a different environment. But hearts can be broken no matter what side of the ball you’re on.

He loves hockey and baseball, and does really well in both. In fact, he often practices during the off-season, and while the big selection process took place this week, he’d been practicing his drills, skating, and watching videos online.

He was ready. He felt ready. He took the ice, just like Andre Agassi would take the court. A monster on defense. Now as a parent, I know many inflate their kids’ achievements and spread it on pretty thick. However, I know my kid. I know he’s not Wayne Gretzky  … he’s still a work in progress. But he falls in the upper levels of the spectrum there. So when he was not selected to the top shelf team and was chosen for what was considered the JV Squad, it was a serious burn. His spirit deflated, and his confidence crushed. He had worked so hard.

It was difficult to watch  …

I had to step up my parent game. This was when I needed my cape and superpowers in tact.

Keeping your head up when disappointment punches you in the stomach is hard. I’ve felt it plenty of times in life, so I knew what he was going through. I put my arm around his shoulder and we just sat there for a minute.

I had to bust out my best Friday Night Lights Coach Taylor Speech. But I waited until we  left.

I’m proud of you. I think you gave it everything you had and I saw it. Your old coach saw it. You saw it yourself. You walked off the ice knowing you had no regrets. And that’s how it should always be no matter what. You’re  a good hockey player.  And you’re an even more amazing person. Sometimes we just have to work a little harder because people don’t see what we see. They missed it. You know who Michael Jordan is, right? …”

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Everyone had this amazing picture made into a poster up on their wall … I was still  Magic Johnson fan. Always. But for the purposes of this story I needed Jordan.

 

We sat on the bench, outside the pizza place, for a little while longer. He listened to Jordan’s origin story, and how when he was a kid he got cut from the team. He wasn’t even picked. But that didn’t stop him from making a monster comeback. He knew they had missed it.

There wasn’t much to say after that. Sometimes as a parent, I’ve learned that hugging works well during moments of silence.

Buen Camino my friends …

Finding A Way

3 Jun

It wasn’t intentional but it happened anyway. I stepped away for a minute.

Apparently I’d been carrying a heavy emotional workload and was unaware of this burden. It was emotionally draining and produced an unexpected writing sabbatical.

The last week of school happened and emotions were fully charged in everyone’s hearts.  Some fifth-grade moms in tears, some fourth-grade moms with emotional anxiety of what was to come next May. I overheard countless conversations about how these moms didn’t know how they were going to handle their kids graduating from elementary school, how their kids turned 10 this year and how fast that decade passed. This realization hit them as the school-year came to an end.

But this wasn’t something that made me sad.

The year hadn’t gone by fast at all. Our family had the power to stop time when life was good, with gratitude talks at night and notes in The Jar of Awesome. We also found a way to move ahead when life was crappy and things didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. The year moved at just the right roller-coaster speed.

But I was happy the school year had ended.

While it was an amazing year of triumph, growth, energy, and awesomeness for my daughter, it was a time of heartbreak, rough edges, disappointment, and life lessons for my son. This year was the most difficult for him and we haven’t even gotten to middle school.

That seemed to worry me.

I was happy for my daughter, but sad for my son. A tough spot to be in for a parent, but I imagine not the first time I’d be feeling this exact feeling. I imagine it happens often for parents. The ups and downs of family life.

And I know we’re supposed to go with the flow, but in truth I was relieved when the year ended. I was glad that my son didn’t have to deal with the harshness of friends who were no longer his friends, of eating alone during lunch because he didn’t know any of the kids in his new class, of kids who friends with him when they were in the same class, but who turned into acquaintances that sometimes said hello and sometimes didn’t because they no longer sat at the same table, or because he was into sports and they were into video games, or of being with a teacher who didn’t see his potential and wasn’t as inspirational as Stand and Deliver, but he still managed to find a way to get good grades make it to the end of the year.

The thing was he seemed all right. These social difficulties didn’t dent his spirit, as he’s always been independent. I’ve always tried to tell him not to follow the crowd, but to follow what makes him happy whether it lines up with what’s popular or not. He often played sports at lunch and got along well with the underclassmen. It was just difficult to see him have to find a way to get through the year instead of it just being a good year. It was the finding the way part … I thought that would happen when he was much older, but this lesson came early.

The year ended and relief set in and I had to take a moment.

As a parent I tend to worry a lot about what’s going on with my kid, is he doing all right, what happens at recess, how’s it going in science, why is this kid not your buddy anymore, how’s it going in class. All these questions pop up when I think about him, but when I was going to school, I don’t remember thinking any of these things myself as a student. I just went to school. I learned. I played tetherball and basketball. I studied. I don’t remember wanting to be cool or worrying about playing by myself. I always just played. I found a way to make it through school.

I had to remind myself of that. I had to remember that he’s a strong kid and that sometimes I worry more than I should about the ups and downs. And although there were times when chocolate ice cream and hugs needed to be there after school, most of the time fourth grade was all right. It wasn’t a spectacular year, but it was all right. He found a way, we found a way.

This year will still mark a decade of his life, but just part of it, the part filled with love of science and math, of playing America Ninja Warrior, soccer, and basketball at recess, of eating alone at lunch sometimes and being O.K. with it, of working on more book reports and oral presentations than any other class but being great at it, of knowing enjoying board games and Pokemon cards, of trips to the beach on Sundays, of watching Wild Kratts, Animal Planet, America Ninja Warrior, Star Wars, and Forged in Fire with his sister, of Boys Scouts, hockey games and baseball practice, of still letting me hug him before school and giving him my blessing, and of him charging me and hugging me tight everyday after school.

As we reached a milestone I was reminded of his innocence and resilience, of his heart and of his strength. As life didn’t turn out the way we expected this year, he found a way, (well together we found a way) turn things around. Hope you’re finding your way …

 

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

What Matters Most

16 May

I’m not gonna lie … While everyone smiled and said things were good or great with enthusiasm and shared happy faces on social media, it was just all right for me.

Not a 24-hour marathon of spectacular. But I did have moments, and at the end of the day, when other people had tried to bring me down during the day, or made backhanded comments, or strangers were just rude, irritating, or projecting their negative attitude onto me, I still was able to remember those feel-good moments.

I settled in for the night and realized it wasn’t really a failure of a day, if I had moments like these.

You see most Mother’s Days are supposed to be stress free. They’re the one day you’re not supposed to do stuff. No dishes. No chores. No stress. All day something good, to know … Hey … I know what you do is hard and you’re appreciated. And at the end of the day when I found the cool side of my pillow, I realized the most important people in my life gave me moments like that, so it didn’t matter what other people said or did. My kids gave me something genuine and I stopped long enough to realize it, and that felt good.

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In the midst of things not falling into place this weekend and it not being a Facebook worthy adventure (even though I don’t post anything on there to begin with) I was grateful for the bowl of awesome Honey Nut Cheerios that was fixed up for me by my Nick Jr. Squad here. I was thankful for the cards created out of paper and crayon, written in their best fourth and first-grade writing. I was happy to see the ceramic purple and turquoise uneven masterpieces that melted my heart. I was glad it stopped sprinkling and the sun came out just as we got to the baseball field, just in time to enjoy Plan B and watch the players take the field.

These were the moments that I thought about at night. They might have seemed small to other people but turned out to be Big Time for me. I hope moms out there were able to find something in their day to hold onto, even if it was just one thing. It’s hard to find it sometimes, especially when you’re surrounded by everyone’s spectacular, amazing adventures caught online.

But don’t worry about what you see out there, sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes it’s just for show. It’s all flash and no substance. Thinking about what you’re grateful for and finding the moments that made you smile or pause throughout the day will be what fills you up. It will be what matters most, and what you remember.

So Buen Camino my friends! I hope all the moms out there had a good weekend.

 

 

Alternate Universes

7 May

It’s interesting, once you get older you realize the standards you set way back in your younger years may have softened, and sometimes circumstances of life set them in stone. Standards of what kind of life you wanted, what you would tolerate in relationships, what you would do once you had that corner office, what kind of parent you would be, what your Plan A would be, all these expectations of yourself sit on your shoulders.

I thought about all these expectations and standards recently, after hearing an interview with former Duke basketball player Jay Williams. Now I was a big Duke fan and I remember seeing him play ball back in the day, but sort of lost track of him after the NBA and then saw him pop out as a commentator. I didn’t realize what had happened in between.

You see his life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would, circumstances changed the standards in his life. A motorcycle accident, on a motorcycle he wasn’t supposed to be riding in the first place, changed everything. An alternate future existed. Plan A was no longer in effect and there never was a Plan B. There was no plan for something like this.

But he found one.

It was a long road I imagine, having everything taken away from you. A choice you made contributed to that and now you were faced with picking up your life and starting over again.

In the interview Williams began talking about expectations and life and how angry and embarrassed he was that it had all been taken away. He’s in a better place now and has come to peace with where he is and feels that this was where he’s supposed to because had it not turned out that way, he would have just been another ball player that succumbs to the temptations of most professional players careers.

But what I found amazing was how he changed his perspective on standards. I mean I guess he had no choice, but how is that that you do that? How do you wrap your brain around the fact that you will no longer be able to meet the standards you set for yourself? How do you change the blueprints when the building is already built? People who you thought were your friends abandon you and you found yourself betraying your “I will never allow this to happen to me,” scenario. You fall into the never say never it happened to you club.

Williams talked about all this happening to him and says that he eventually turned the corner. He found acceptance of his new situation through a spiritual journey. He flipped the switch.

Then I wondered, could I do that if I had to?

And then remembered I already had.

You see my future was taken from me, one of my futures and I had to accept something I did not want to because I had no choice. But I wasn’t driving a motorcycle. Just a sports injury that had taken me down my senior year, the year that was supposed to be Big Woman on Campus. I went through this terrible depression at the time. I mean I didn’t even know what it was and I didn’t have a label for it, and no one seemed to understand it, but I felt like the person I was supposed to be was gone. The person I saw myself as, my future, my Plan A was nonexistent. I would have to live by a new set of standards and I didn’t know how to do that. People didn’t seem to understand why I was feeling the way I did. Most of them dismissed me, told me to get over it. But I found it difficult getting over the one outlet that made me feel successful, the one thing that I identified with, the one thing that made me believe in myself, the one outlet where other people saw me the way I saw myself.

It was a long time before I could find the lesson in that one. I don’t think it happened until college and then I found another outlet that made me feel that way I found something intrinsic that helped me flipped the switch. It wasn’t a spiritual journey or relationship that made me turn the corner. It was knowing that so much time had passed and I was still standing, and that somehow on a daily basis I found the 2.0 version of myself.

Time, pain, and humor.

After hearing the Williams interview I was reminded of this struggle and of the standards and of where I thought I would be, and how life was supposed to look. I don’t know if I would have been here at this moment writing this story in the alternate universe, but the experiences along the way made for a roller-coaster journey that I’m still learning from.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Discovering Family Table Stories

25 Apr

It was a booklovers epic weekend, and I was lucky enough to catch some good stories.

Walking from tent to tent and under the realization that IT was possible was inspiring. All kinds of authors with stories to share, and I was among them. Poetry slams, murals, art demonstrations, book signings, and guest lectures yielded creative nooks and crannies for everyone to absorb.

All this positive energy continued to hold its grasp on me all weekend long. I didn’t get a chance to catch a couple of the journalist or novelists as the kids wanted to explore their own lively storytellers. But I did enjoy the humor and honesty of Mike Epps’s journey. My favorite however, were the stories I discovered on the cooking stage.

The Smollett Family featured some of the recipes from their book The Family Table. The intertwining of food, stories, and family made me want to join in at their table. I had never heard of them before, but was glad to have experienced their story. It was a fun peek into the lives of these siblings and the importance of  how food played a role in keeping the bonds of family stronger.

Stories were the backdrop to every dish, like the oyster po’boys and how that dish reminded them of New Oreleans and their family roots. How every dish they learned to cook originated from the times spent with their mama in the kitchen, and the love she gave them.

It wasn’t happiness I was seeing, but joy. I had forgotten what joy looked like in the kitchen because it’s been a madhouse rush for me for a long time during meal times. But seeing this helped me remember to find time to slow down, maybe not every day, but definitely on weekends.

I enjoyed seeing the stories, laughter, and love come through their recipes. I thought … I hope my kids think of me like that. I hope they remember their favorite dishes, aromas, tastes and the stories that came with them. I hope they feel that way — that stories and food go hand in hand, that stories bind you at the Family table.

I was hoping …

One day at a time … one day at time.

I’ll find out in 20 years.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

How The Story Ended

18 Apr

It ended the way it was supposed to.

You see, when I got there, I took a moment. During the morning rush, chaos of leaving my kids, driving through traffic, and feeling overwhelmed and nervous with emotions, I stopped and took a moment. During the whole process of rising to the top, I took a moment when I saw the poster and I had it.

I had the something-bigger-than-myself emotion running through me. I had the gratitude and humility of the amazing kindness shown to me by my supporters who contributed to my cause. They helped me raise over $1000 for the American Lung Association in honor of my father, and they helped impact someone else’s life.

I had my dad’s spirit watching over me, knowing I haven’t forgotten him, knowing that he’s part of the reason I am who I am.

As the race began, I had the why in my heart and it helped my get through the how.

You see, there’s something that’s always certain about this race. It’s NOT easy. It never is, no matter how hard I train. It tests every muscle in my legs. It doesn’t make it easier to know what’s coming. I was still anxious and nervous. But I looked up to the sky and knew the reason why. So, I turned on the music, heard Los Polifaceticos bust out Camaron Pelao and took the first step. But never fear La Chona was track #3 and Footloose was on the horizon.

Then, right there on the eighth floor was a randomly placed poster of my father, there he was smiling, sitting next to me and my sister, with the title Why We Climb. There were posters of a lot of loved ones on the way to the top, and it tugged at my heart. The Rocky Balboa spirit surged.

 

As I climbed, my breathing slowed down and my legs felt heavy, my body became acutely aware of the claustrophobic dynamics and inner architectural workings of staircases. Once again, they appeared to lack the free-flowing breeze of the outdoors, which apparently is extremely necessary to oxygenate my muscles. My Randy Macho Man Savage strength was severely tested by the time I hit the 14th floor and I knew … I knewwwwwwwwwwwwww I’d be using that CVS three-dollar coupon for a tube of BenGay and that ice packs would be my knees’ best friends. No amount of pre-or-post stretching would have helped. By the time I reached the 31st floor my calves were not happy. They were intensely screaming profanity at me … in Spanish. There were a lot of people feeling that wrath as I passed some of them on the stairs resting, sitting, hunched over, drinking water, or in need of an oxygen mask.

But I never stopped.

I kept my Dad on my mind, and in my heart, and when I saw floor 61, I sprinted up the stairs like Usain Bolt until I saw the sunlight and reached the roof.

I made it to the top … 15 minutes, 28 seconds.

15 minutes and 28 seconds of intensity, of hard work, of sweat, of emotion, of heart, and of will. 15 minutes and 28 seconds of honoring a man that sacrificed so much for me.

Buen Camino my friends!