Zen Buddhist. Emergency Physician. DaD.


Our 3 month old was in the hospital again. She'd been hospitalized most of the time since her birth. The 3 year old was home with me. It was time for ballet practice. I worked the evening before and was moving slowly.  Swinging shifts requires good coffee first thing after the alarm of “hey dad” gets you out of bed. My wife was in the city with the baby. At home in our small town, there was no rescue. We’d been swapping off the kids, acting as single parents in separate locations, rather than with unity as a family. (maybe that also makes you a family)


The plan was eat, get cleaned up, slip on pink leotard and head to ballet. Everything was smooth. My morning routine is not systematic but I eventually get out the door. Soon enough, we were ready to go. Problem. No car keys. Panic ensues. Mind. Mind. Mind. Quickly we construct perceptions and judgement felt as reality. “Ok,” I thought. The kid was playing with the keys while I was in the shower. “She must have hidden them.” Panic again. Inquisition ensues. I was fully armed and ready to initiate a spontaneous time out until the location of the keys was revealed.


Looking in all the great hiding spots of our house, no luck came my way. After 10 minutes of stamping my feet, I decided to run our backpacks out to the car. Right there, in the ignition were the keys. I loosened up. Toddler jacket up. Toddler strapped in her car seat. Ready to go. Leaving keys in the car overnight, with the ignition on, is not useful. The Subaru, the Black Pearl, would not turn over. Pulse up again. Mind turning over. Rough waves on the open seas of my thoughts. Reacting. Planing. Call wife. She’s in boosting. Call mom. She will criticize. Call AAA. They’ll charge. Wait. I’m a member. Find a neighbor. They’re at work. Walk down the street and beg. 


The surfer priest, the coolest neighbor, was blowing leaves. Plug in blower, of course. Getting a jump start from a priest is no imposition. All acts are god’s work. (Right?) One try and the car turned over. A smile again. Things were going my minds way.