My mother died about three months after my second son Samson was born. She never met him. He did see her once. On Facetime. She was dying in a hospital bed. He was cooing in a crib. He smiled really big for her. She died the next morning.

I’ve written about my boys not knowing my mother before. Here. Why am I writing about it again? Fine question, reader.

Family friend Donna visited last week. She flew from Minneapolis to spend some time with us. This is something of a tradition. The pandemic interrupted Donna’s regular visits. But she’s vaccinated and so are we. And we continue to be cautious with the boys who won’t be vaccinated until who knows when.

I first met Donna when I was thirteen. She’s my friend Nick’s mom. I can’t tell you the number of times I stayed over for dinner at her and her husband Paul’s house. Or the number of times I spent the night. And woke them both up because Nick and I were howling at the Nintendo. Or at each other. Paul and Donna were an important part of my childhood. Smart and caring adults. They’ve remained an important part of my life as I’ve gotten older. And balder. And grayer. So having Donna come to stay is a comfort.

I’m sad that my boys don’t know my mother. I’m grateful they’ve got Donna.


The boys are a handful. And I’m in the middle of helping to open an improv theatre. And work continues to pile up even though it is summer vacation. Still, Donna’s visit was welcome. It’s so nice to spend time with somebody who has known me for nearly thirty years. To be with family.

Katie and I have been in Central Pennsylvania for about six years. That’s a long time. We came out here just before Samson was born. We didn’t know a soul. No family. No friends. Nobody.

We’ve made a go of it. Found community in different places. The aforementioned improv theatre. A church. My colleagues. We’ve found people. Regardless, we still are without family here.

I’m sad we can’t drop the boys at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Or invite the cousins over. God knows I wish we could drive to Como Park to see my Aunt Polly. My mother’s sister is an angel. Walking into Polly’s house feels like walking into my childhood. Hearing my dad’s voice on the phone feels much the same way. It’s sad to me that we don’t have more access to those things.

So that’s part of why Donna’s visits matter to me. I don’t have much in the way of family left. And so I’m grateful for the family I do have. Thankful my boys get to participate in a little of that.


I’m proud of the life we’ve created out here. I love this little family of mine. And there’s all sorts of dysfunction that I left behind in Minnesota when we moved out here. Read the book linked above for more detail. So don’t get me wrong. I’m surprised to be so blessed with such a wonderful wife. Two beautiful (and loud) boys. I love them fiercely. And I never thought I’d have this kind of family. Sometimes I pinch myself.

But it is also nice to be around extended family. People who know me from way back. Before I was balding. Or graying. Or getting older and poochier and saggier and whateverier. And it is good to share that with my own children.

So nothing too deep this week, kind reader. Just another little homage to family friend Donna and her welcome visit. So glad we can return to something of that routine after this last year of isolation.

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