My wife Wen and I have five children… I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. Two boys and three girls ranging in ages from twenty one to ten. I joke that it seemed like a good idea at the time, but we’ve truly been blessed with some amazing kids. Same two parents, five completely different children. There have been days where I’ve been tempted to sell one or more of them to the circus, but for the most part we truly do enjoy our children. Even better, OTHER PEOPLE enjoy our children.
Our second son recently scored a job at one of our favorite hang outs on the island, and he’s a perfect fit. Everyone there would tell you so. For the first month of his employment, we contemplated starting a drinking game. This game consisted of two parts. First, we would have to take a drink every time someone said “I didn’t know Bryce was your son.” Second, we’d have to take a drink every time someone said “I love that kid!” The sheer number of times those phrases were spoken in quick succession caused us to seriously reconsider and our livers were in full agreement.
Our children are often invited to spend the night with friends, some of which have talked of adoption. To be honest, while we’ve done a few things things right in raising our kids, thanks in large part to the good childhoods we’ve both experienced, but we’ve done an equal number of things wrong. I often comment that our kids turned out pretty good in spite of having us a parents.
I heard a message a while ago in which the pastor referred a number of times to God as being “fair and just.” I really liked most of what he had to say, but there was that one word that kept snagging in my mind each time. FAIR. Now, with five kids, you might think that I’d be a big advocate of what is fair… you’d be very wrong. Ask any of my kids what fair is and they will immediately respond with a phrase they’ve heard me say for as long as any of them can remember, “fair is where you get cotton candy.” I will be the first to jump up in opposition to the the word fair. It instantly brings to mind a bratty little turd who wants a toy that belongs to one of my children and a parent, who in the interest of quieting down the little turd says something like, “you should share that toy, it’s only fair.” Does that make me a pessimist? I’d like to consider myself more of a realist. While I do believe that there is a way that things OUGHT to be, and I’m doing my darndest to make those things a reality, I’m also acutely aware that sometimes things happen that suck. Life just isn’t fair.
Now, at the risk of continuing down a path that only gets darker, I’d like to explore the flip side of this argument.
Way back in 1998, I had the fortune to stumble across a man that to this day I consider to be one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. A chance (if you believe in that sort of thing) email exchange turned out to be the beginning of a friendship that has spanned nearly seventeen years. There have been so many other equally unexpected things that have happened in those years that it deserves a post of it’s own, so I’m only going to focus on the most recent.
I received an email a few weeks ago from a new friend, and possibly a twin brother from another mother, Daniel, who is the vice chancellor at The Wizard Academy. (you’re going to have to wait for the aforementioned post for a proper explanation.) A paraphrase of the email basically said, “Roy and I were talking about you and Wen the other day and we’ve decided it’s been too long since we’ve seen you and we need to remedy that.” The culmination of our conversations over the past month have resulted in an amazingly generous offer that will find Wen and me in the foothills of Austin for eight days in October. We are giddy with the thoughts of rekindling friendships which span a decade and stretch from border to border, and even spill out into the Great White North.
I’ve got my mandolin ready to travel and once again have been reminded that sometimes life isn’t fair.
Sometimes it’s far better than that!