Monthly Archives: February 2021

A Word for 2021

Hey everyone: I know it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted anything, but that’s not because there’s nothing going on. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a global pandemic that’s been doing on, and I’ve thought about blogging about it so you guys don’t think I just popped on here like

But in the end I just decided that there was enough out there about COVID-19 and adding more to it wasn’t going to help or hurt anything, so I decided to spend the time just hunkering down with the family and trying to navigate the new terrain just like everyone else. But I’ve also struggled with feeling generally uninspired about this blog…I didn’t feel anything creative to write about. Sure, there’s lots of good stuff happening and I could absolutely write about that but every time I tried it just felt blah. I even entertained the idea of just eventually letting this thing ride off into the sunset.

But recently someone mentioned to me that they looked up this blog and saw so much good stuff, and it reminded me of how much sharing this story has helped people…and I’m reminded about being that guy who needed that when we found out about Nolan’s diagnosis. And I’m also reminded how I’m always telling my kids to look for ways to help others, and this is a great way for me to be an example of that…I hope. So I’m going to do my best to keep this thing going, as long as it’s helping someone out there! So without further ado, let’s kick this thing off:

There’s been a lot of stuff going on with Nolan and I’ll try to post about those updates in other entries, but as we start 2021 with lots of uncertainty, I wanted to share one particular thing that has stuck out to me. Entertaining my 3 boys is challenging under normal circumstances, so adding a pandemic and modified stay-at-home orders doesn’t help. But one night I really gave it an effort – armed with some painter’s tape and construction paper, I made up a game off the top of my head in our downstairs hallway. I wish I took a picture of it, but I didn’t, so this heinous drawing will have to suffice:

So this stroke of brilliance (LOL) doesn’t have a name and I made up the rules as I went. But basically I had the kids take turns at the start box, then they would jump on the numbers in order until they reached the “Hall of Knowledge,” where I would be standing, ready to give them a math- or science-related question for them to answer before allowing them to jump back in descending order. It was a great way to get their wiggles out while giving them a tiny bit of school review while on holiday break.

There were lots of laughs and the kids enjoyed a good 2 rounds of the game before it was obvious they wanted to know what was next. So here’s where it got straight-up silly: I wrapped painter’s tape around their heads (sticky side out) and balled up some paper and put it in the Hall of Knowledge. The goal was (with my help) make a human wheelbarrow and walk to each number in order before getting to the Hall of Knowledge and only using your head to pick up a paper ball before turning around and coming back. If you don’t know what a human wheelbarrow is, it’s this:

This led to all sorts of hilarity and laughter as my oldest and youngest went, but the whole time I was trying to figure out how I was going to accomplish the human wheelbarrow with Nolan. First of all, he’s short, but I figured my back would survive a round or two. I was mostly worried about Nolan’s arm strength – he has some weakness in his arms and hands that we’ve been working on and all I could think was that he was going to fall flat on his face and hurt himself and/or melt down into crying and screaming. Yeah, I kinda immediately went worst-case scenario there. But to his credit, Nolan was really excited to get going, so he put his hands on the ground and I took a deep breath and pulled up his feet.

What happened next was incredible. This kid walked – on his hands – to each number without stopping and went all the way back. The whole time he was singing the theme song to Gravity Falls (a show we’ve been binging lately) to himself and saying, “The Gravity Falls song gives me confidence….I can do this…I can do this!” AND HE FREAKIN’ DID IT! I gotta tell you, that little kid motivated me so much, that if he told me to run through a wall, I would’ve done it.

Listen…I know 2020 absolutely sucked for a lot of people for a number of reasons. It was scary and frustrating and crazy and weird. I know COVID-19 has ruined a lot of celebrations, holidays, activities, and get-togethers. But Nolan’s effort to do the human wheelbarrow taught me something….and it’s that the one thing COVID can’t kill is HOPE. It can get better and I really believe it will. The vaccines are coming and I do think at some point this year will turn itself around. So keep your head up. Make it one more day. Then make it the next day. And the day after that, and on and on. One foot in front of the other. In the meantime, and always, remember Nolan’s words: “I can do this!” And so can you. Let’s make it a great 2021, everyone!