Somewhere in the Middle

Life happens somewhere in the middle. It’s not at the apex moment of achievement, and thankfully it’s not at the lowest point of tragedy. But it happens somewhere in the middle.

I woke up this morning around 5. My son was already up getting ready to travel with UAB Marching Blazers for a ballgame in Mississippi. He marched with the band last year also. But last year because of Covid, they only marched to their seats in Legion Field. They were not allowed on the field, but continued to play in the stands and support their team and the University. This year, they are back in uniform and in a new stadium. But this morning, the Marching Blazers were in a knapsack on my son’s back, along with an extra bottle of water, some throat lozenges, and some snacks for the trip.

Last year, and I don’t think this will embarrass him, he was a bit trepidatious about driving into Birmingham for practice. Now he zips all over. In fact, he’s driving over early as a part of a service fraternity that is preparing things for the rest of the band to arrive.

We tiptoed quietly this morning because Mother is still at my house. About three weeks ago, she stumbled at home and injured her knee and broke her foot. So for the last several weeks he has stayed with me. Either one of the kids or I have been here with her the whole time. For the first week, she was in a lot of discomfort. But that has subsided. Her foot is healing, and she’s getting more mobile. She’ll be here another week at least, however. Still, she’s much more herself and hilarious without trying. And those of you who know my mother understand what I mean. But right now, she is sleeping.

My little girl is asleep too, except she’s not a little girl anymore, and she’s quick to remind me. But when she’s tired like she was last night, she still curls up on the couch beside her daddy. The kitchen is nice and clean this morning because her stress relief from homework is housework. So every night, I pray that her teachers give her lots of homework. (Let’s not tell her that.)

As the sun comes up, I’ll drink my Metamucil and track my son’s progress toward UAB. When he arrives in the next few minutes, I’ll go back to bed for a while. And then I’ll get up and do something mundane and thank God for life in the middle.

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Stephen W. B. Rizzo

I am a Christian who is flawed but forgiven. I am a father who is blessed beyond measure with two amazing children. I am an educator who is fortunate to get paid for doing what he loves. I am a writer, a budding photographer, and a musician who really needs to practice more.

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