Hops for Hope 17: Final Wrap Up

Even though Hops for Hope 17 ended over three weeks ago, life has been even more chaotic than normal. Whereas our baseline of disorganized chaos is about a category three, the last 21 days or so have been a category five.

The mundane weekly tasks, such as lawn maintenance, have been sorely neglected which my mom is often wont to remind me of at every turn, including in the middle of a text message discussion about what to name my sister’s fish:

Unfortunately, tallying the totals from Hops for Hope 17 was yet another task left undone… until now. 

I am pleased to report that this year we raised … drum roll … $16,915.  That is about $3,000 more than we raised last year, so while I must confess I was a little disappointed in this year’s grand total, we are trending upward. 

And most importantly, we were able to do this while being – I didn’t think this was possible – even more unorganized and fucked up than we were last year.

But we were on the receiving end of a great deal of generosity from many people who volunteered to help us and un-fuck our utter lack of planning and organizarion and even more people who made the time to donate and show up.

Seeing how good people can be is probably my favorite part of putting on this event. And this thing has legs. Hops for Hope 18: watch the fuck out.

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Cougar in Heaven

Dear Allison,

Today you would have been 45 years young. Were you still with us, I would have likely gifted you a cheetah-skinned mini skirt and given you other such cougar-themed paraphernalia. I know I started making those jokes back when you turned 40, about three years before you left us. My apologies but, as you know, being the son of Reuben genetically predisposes me to repeat the same jokes ad nauseum.

Things here in our Earthly realm are crazy as always. When people lose loved ones, it’s popular to say things like “not a day goes by where I don’t think about you,” or something else to that effect.  

My thoughts are all over the place: The latest dick joke… Imagining in vivid detail taking away the oxygen of the latest fat, fucking, lazy, need-to-exit-the-gene-pool sack of shit that parks in the handicapped spot at Kohl’s school… giggling while deciding who will be the lucky next recipient of my “solar eclipse” dick pic …. experiencing truly numbing anxiety worrying about the prospect of horrible things befalling my children and other loved ones.

All this is to say that sometimes I am a fucking mess. And I would be lying if I said that not a day goes by where I don’t think of you. Because, as you can see, I think of really stupid shit a lot. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss you terribly. 

And I do think about you a lot. We all toasted you at the beach a few weeks ago after we stole a bottle of your favorite red wine from mom and dad who have stockpiled 1,439 cases of it. 

I of course think about you every time I interact with your kids. Ellie is so mature and talented, and she continues to amaze me. (She just got her fucking drivers license by the way!) Last time I saw Tripp, I had kind of an “oh shit” moment after I had an adult conversation with him, at least to the extent that I am capable of having an adult conversation.  They are also both kind souls which, despite their many other notable accomplishments, I know you would be most proud of.

I think about how proud you would be of Amelia and Kohl. Amelia, her resting bitch faces aside, is a truly intelligent, sweet bringer of pure joy.  I am having the time of my life watching her grow up. Kohl continues to grow in his own, miraculous way.  Today, he swatted away a golden retriever that was kissing his face which he has never done before and said “hi” to Sarah more clearly than he ever has. I love those two fuckers on a level I never thought possible.

But I think you know all of these things. 

I have never been religious but my biggest hope is that you now exist on a plane in which you not only know all these things but you know what is in our minds and hearts.

So the next time I feel down, the next time I lay in bed at 4 a.m. with no desire to face the day, I am going to think of you and lean on you. Lift me up as you so often did when you were here.

I love you Eye-shy.  Happy 45th.

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My little B is THREE


Three years ago, you joined this crazy party.  I remember holding you in the Heisman pose minutes after your arrival and asking the nurse for a picture. 

“About how many of these per week do you typically take?” I asked her.

“This is the first one,” she replied with a tone that made it clear she was of the opinion that I was a jack ass.

I remember getting some alone time with you while they were sewing your mom up.

“Seven layers, bitch!” your mom would yell at me a few weeks later when I lamented how long it was taking for her to recover. (The “seven layers” referred to the seven layers of tissue the doctors apparently had to cut through to get to you).

When we had our alone time, I just stared in amazement at your beautiful face and tried to decide whether you looked more like an Amelia or a Harper. 

A few weeks prior, your mom and I had looked up the meanings of both. Words and phrases like “industrious” and “hard working” were associated with Amelia. I recall  the phrase “free spirited” being used in association with Harper. Therefore naming you Harper, I suggested, would increase your chances of becoming a stripper or a hooker. 

And so it was that you became Amelia Ann Chrestman.  Your arrival here was in stark contrast to your brother’s tumultuous beginnings.

I have already written my thoughts to you on the circumstances you find yourself in, being in this crazy ass family. I live with a near constant worry that you will one day have the perception that because we sometimes have to spend more time with your brother because of his challenges that we love you any less.  I worry that when we pull stunts like we are this weekend — by having a two-day fundraiser for kids like Kohl on YOUR birthday — you will get your feelings hurt.

I hope that in being sensitive to these things, I find ways to show you  how much I love you and how much you mean to me. That’s why, even though today is day two of our fundraiser, we will find ways to make today all about you too. That’s why tomorrow, your Pop has agreed to dress up like a merman for your mermaid party.

So, young Amelia, although you are unimpressed with Mickey Mouse.

Even though you are unimpressed with the Cookie Monster.

My sincere hope is that you are never similarly unimpressed with me.

I love you so much it literally gives me butterlies. It warms my soul. I love you more than words can express.

Happy Birthday, my little lady.

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