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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Do Overs


JamesBrown
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Okay, my Warders and Guests. Here's an opportunity for reflection, confession, and direction.

 

Describe a day in your life that you'd like to re-live, knowing what you do now.

 

I'll begin...

 

When my son was about eight years old, he had been pestering me to take him to Chuck-E-Cheese. For those who don't know, Chuck-E-Cheese is an establishment created by arcade game designers who figured out they can make more money getting people to feed quarters to their games rather than sell them. So they invented an entertainment complex filled with arcade games, cranes, ball pits, animatronic mice singing show tunes--all things to make eight-year-old kids deliriously giddy. 

 

I personally don't care for the place--it's expensive, serves mediocre pizza, is noisy--but I'm not an eight-year-old kid, am I. So I relented and took my son. I forced him to eat a half a piece of pizza, then shoved some game tokens in his hand and told him to go away. Meanwhile, I parked myself in a corner booth and buried my nose in a book--a WoT novel, if memory serves.

 

I kept one eye on my son, and he didn't seem to be having the fun fun FUN that he thought he would have. He'd been to Chuck-E-Cheese before with friends his age, at a birthday party, say, and during those times he ran around with a permanent grin. But this time, with only himself for company, he seemed low-key. He was reluctant to plunk down his finite supply of tokens on games he didn't know, and of course 'competitive' games like air hockey and skeeball are no fun played alone. So he wandered around from one area to another, watching other kids shriek and shout, but he was merely an observer. Meanwhile, his old man is planted in a booth, tight-lipped with frustration and wishing he was anywhere else. After about an hour, he finally worked through his allotted tokens, and we went home. 

 

Absolutely shameful, no?

 

So that's a day that I would relive, and I would leave the damn book at home. I would divvy up the tokens between the two of us, and I would play with my son the way a father is supposed to. If he was undecided how to spend his tokens, I would give subtle pushes of direction--"Let's try this one! How about giving that one a go?" 

 

Years later I apologized to my son for neglecting my parental duties like that, and he said he didn't remember that day at all. So I suppose I should be grateful for that. But I missed the chance to form a father-son bond with him that he should remember. 

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For me, it's not a day as much as a decision. If I could have a do over on one decision it would be to send my son to live with his dad. I thought dad could help him learn to deal with all the "guy" hormones that were flooding his system better than I could. I didn't realize that dad was still the abusive jerk I divorced. I don't know why I didn't. It's perfectly obvious now. Isn't hindsight 20/20?

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The last Sunday we went to visit my mom at the old age home. We realised she was sick, but we didn't realise how serious it was. We arranged for the doctor to see her the next day (Monday), but in hind sight we should have loaded her in the car and taken her straight to hospital. She would probably still have died, but at least she wouldn't have been in such agony for so long.

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Mine would be my freshman year of college.  I had been home for a week, and it was the day before I was to fly back up to Washington and Lee.  And I that night I went out to PARTAY, even though my flight left in the early morning.  

 

I hadn't been in good shape for a long time, either--I kind of lost it after Katrina and it took me many years to come back--but the morning after I had flown from New Orleans to Charlotte, and was sitting in a chair at a Starbucks sipping some coffee.  And next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital with my aunt and uncle, (who live in Charlotte), by my side.  I'd had my first seizure and it had been a full one. 

 

If I could relive it, I'd have made the night before a quiet one.  

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