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Interrupting the Shame Tape

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As I almost hit that deer earlier this fall, my oldest son screamed from the back seat. It was a baby-like squeal similar to other sounds he makes. This is done for no articulated reason. I sense he is wishing to remain a child and cute in addition to trying to be funny.

Because he has a prefrontal cortex more closely resembling a cat than an adult human, he makes poor decisions about what is appropriate for his age and what might be humorous. The cuteness has dissolved into a blend of pre-adolescent awkwardness and obnoxiousness.

He has developed the habit of growling, hissing, cooing like a baby, or my favorite—doing all three at once. To say that it annoys me is to say that I need air to breathe. I am desperate for the day he finally stops, and I fear it will never come. And, no, I won’t miss it when it’s gone just like I still don’t miss the diaper stage or the tantrum stage.

Inappropriate Behavior All of this may explain, though not justify, why on that…

To Hear One More Laugh

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We buried my grandmother in July. The photo above is my last of her. I took it to show family members who needed to know she was feeling better on this particular day. These final weeks were spent in the hospital — well over a month of needles and meds and ups and downs. On this day, I happened to be up on the 3rd floor with her, and so my dad, ever her companion, took the chance to stretch his legs. On his return, he brought back coffee for each of us. Meema was so happy about it; nonetheless, I didn't put this photo in her slide show at the funeral. When someone has suffered a chronic illness like congenital heart disease, you don't want to show them at their worst. Now, after over a month, I don't know if it is her at her worst. Perhaps it is her best. The pain and the discomfort at the end made her so mad, and sometimes not like her usual self, but in this photo, her hair may be sticking out a bit, but I can see the beginnings of a smile as…

Everyday Habits

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A few days ago, we almost hit a deer. That's pretty common on country roads, but this time I felt it was a closer call than others. This deer emerged from our left side, and it seemed inevitable we would collide as it leaped across the highway. In a rare moment of good instinctual driving, I steered into the opposite lane and pumped on the brakes. It turned out to be the correct choice. We just missed the deer by two or three feet. If I had not swerved and hit the brakes, we would have crashed for sure.

Driving in All the Wrong Ways Frankly, as a new driver all those years ago I was just plain bad at driving, plus I was not responsible for keeping everything up to date. My dad loves to tell about the time he was teaching me to drive a stick shift on a country road, and I ran over a culvert. In addition, in my teens and early twenties, innumerable officers pulled me over for such offenses as an illegal u-turn, outdated stickers, suspicion of drunk driving…