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November 16, 2008

Lost and (Partially) Found

Admin note: Although autumn is easily my favorite season of the year, it always brings a bit of the doldrums as far as my competitive side is concerned. This year, my off-season from racing coincides with recuperation from injury, and training has dropped way down the ladder of priorities for a couple of months.

Accordingly, some of the posts you see around here in the near future may be a bit of a departure from your garden-variety athletic blog. I’ve got a couple other ideas up my sleeve for the weeks to come; for today, here’s a snapshot of one of those parenting moments that seem all too fleeting. Sometimes I just like to get these things in print so I’ll remember that they actually happened.


Like most other people, I believe that I was born with my fair share of marbles. But somehow, somewhere on the journey from adolescence to adulthood, I started to misplace them.

I can’t really track the condition to one specific episode, or any particular series of events – although I suspect that having kids played some role in the matter. All I know is that very often, in the course of my day to day activities, I feel like I’ve completely lost my marbles.

I’ve told some variation of this goofy little story to my kids – most often when they’re in the middle of a game of marbles - enough times that the oldest two have become sick of it; it’s just one more silly thing their idiot father does to try and get cheap laughs. My youngest daughter, however, hasn’t quite seen through the fog yet – which makes for some interesting conversations, many of which go something like this:

Me: What are you guys doing?

7-year-old: We’re playing marbles.

Me: Cool.

4-year-old: Yeah – and look at all the pretty marbles I have! (She proceeds to show me all her favorites)

Me: These are great. You know, I used to have a lot of marbles, but then I lost them.

7-year-old: Uh-huh.

4-year-old: Really?

10-year-old: Don’t listen to him. He’s making a joke.

Me: No, I’m serious – I lost my marbles a long time ago.

4-year-old: Where did they go?

Me: I have no idea. But I wish I knew – I’d try to get some of them back.

10-year-old: STOP LISTENING TO HIM!!

It won’t win me any Father of the Year awards to say this … but honestly, that kind of conversation never gets old. I’ll be 70 years old someday, playing marbles with my grandkids, and I’ll probably say something like “Hey - Did your Dad ever tell you about how I lost my marbles? You should ask him sometime – he’d love to talk about it.”

One day last week, a package was waiting for me when I came home from work: a gift from my 4-year-old daughter. It was a piece of construction paper folded up, with something slightly heavy taking up space inside the creases. When I unfolded it, I found the paper had been decorated with a handful of her favorite stickers:

Off to the side of the above picture are the items that rolled out of the paper once it was unfolded:

That’s right … four colorful marbles. It immediately triggered the following exchange:

Me: Wow! Marbles!

4-year-old: Yeah – they’re for you, since you lost yours. I gave you some of mine.

Me: Thank you, sweetie. I love them.

4-year-old: You’re welcome.

So now I have four more marbles than I used to have, courtesy of my youngest daughter. It’s not nearly enough to bring me up to a full supply, but they’re plenty sufficient to keep me happy. The trade-off is a pretty good one, actually; the experience of little moments like this over the course of many years is definitely worth sacrificing a portion of my sanity.

And if I continue to lose my marbles as I creep into old age, I’ll know which kid I can ask to help me replace them.


Makita 11/17/08, 5:38 AM  

I love your parenting stories! As our girls of of similar age, your stories are always close to home. :D

Fe-lady 11/17/08, 5:47 AM  

Sweet story! I love four-five year old wisdom!

Thomas 11/17/08, 6:03 AM  

Oh, that's so sweet.

It's such a shame they get older, isn't it?

Legs and Wings 11/17/08, 7:57 AM  

Kids rock. They are often profound eh.

Deene 11/17/08, 8:14 AM  

aww! i need a four-year old with marble to spare. my 13 yr old hoards her marbles and wants to study in japan.
they grow up too fast.

Backofpack 11/17/08, 8:21 AM  

Donald, you are raising a great kid! I always loved hearing my Dad say the same goofy things to my kids that he said to me. It connects the generations and it's fun!

21stCenturyMom 11/17/08, 9:28 AM  

Somebody wuvs her Daddy. So cute.

209Mike 11/17/08, 10:10 AM  

That's cool Donald. I love these stories.

Rainmaker 11/17/08, 6:41 PM  

Hilarious. Yes, and through the power of the Internet, your grandkids will indeed find this post... ;)

Many...many...many years from now.

And maybe they'll find a few more of your marbles.

Dori 11/17/08, 10:57 PM  

Great story, Donald. :-)

Darrell 11/18/08, 7:07 AM  

Kids are so thoughtful. It seems we lose some of that to as we get older.

The marbles brings up a memory from my own childhood. Our cousins and many of our friends had marbles but we weren't allowed to have them. They were deemed to be too dangerous. Swallowing, tripping or God forbid gambling with them. I don't know but I always had marble envy and still do.

Dave 11/18/08, 2:13 PM  

Donald...the story makes me laugh. Father of two daughters, 2 and 5, and one son age7..they keep me in stitches. My latest blog entry deals with the kids...

David 11/18/08, 6:44 PM  

Ever try stuffing two marbles in your nostrils? That's always good for a laugh too.

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