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First of all, I wanted to wish you all a happy Memorial Day. It’s a weird thing, when you think about it, wishing a “happy” day of remembrance for our fallen soldiers, but we say weird things sometimes in our attempt to cope with the troubling incongruities of our existence.

For those of you mourning the recent loss of a loved one in the service of our country, my heart goes out to you, and I offer my condolences. For those remembering the older wounds of loved ones lost long ago, the pain may have faded somewhat, but I know it never leaves. I hope that you who are grieving take some joy today in recalling the memory and legacy of those you have lost.

I made a video a few years back in observance of the day that I’d like to share with you, because for me at least, it better expresses the sentiment than I can probably do with just words:

Moving on, I wanted to let you know that we are scheduled for an induction tomorrow for baby Skojec #8. Typically, I try to release a new Substack every Tuesday and Thursday, but this week will likely be a bit wonky for obvious reasons, unless I’m really bored at the hospital and they’ve got good WiFi.

It’s been nearly six years since we had our last child, and we’re far enough into our 40s for this to feel pretty surreal. I found myself staring at a box of newborn diapers the other day, trying to wrap my head around how to shift gears back from managing our wild but extremely strong-willed, independent children to the absolute, innocent dependency of a newborn.

We have a four-year-old granddaughter currently staying with us, along with her mom, our oldest, who will be 24 this summer. We’ve got two teens, two tweens, an 8 and a 6-year-old. My lovely wife, who is struggling with this transition at least as much as I am, sent me this the other day:

My response was to the point:

Whatever challenge this may bring, here we are. The pregnancy has gone by in what feels like the blink of an eye, and it’s almost zero hour. We know it’ll be an amazing blessing, we’re just a bit nervous about doing this again.

We know this one is a boy — our fifth son — and the 4D ultrasound shows us that he already looks like his brother Liam, the next-oldest boy:

We have been scrambling to come up with a name. It was always a bit of a process to come up with the right one in the past, but it was so much easier before. Maybe we just need to meet this guy first. For temporary purposes, we’ve been calling him “Grogu” after the Baby Yoda character in The Mandalorian, but that’s not going to wind up on his birth certificate. I promise. I’m a nerd, but not that much of a nerd.

Our 15-year-old daughter, who has a great head on her shoulders and thus, had a key role in our strategy to get through this week in tact, found out one of her best friends tested positive for COVID last Friday, after they spent most of the last week of school together. So she’s in quarantine (we’re not great at this; if it were Ebola, we’d be dead) pending a test just in case. I’ve got comorbidities, and my 88 year old father in law lives with us, but we can’t do the Howard Hughes thing either way. The timing stinks on ice, but it is what it is. Hopefully, it’ll be a negative test.

In any event, last week was a crazy week, but this one will be no different. After the two pieces I wrote about crippled religion went viral, we have lots of new readers here, and I’m sorry to bring you onboard while things are nuts and I’m about to go AWOL, but life doesn’t slow down for any of us.

I want to thank you for all your comments, emails, prayers, and support. I really didn’t expect so many of you to be in the same place I am when it comes to the struggle to keep the faith, and I feel as though I’ve got a whole new community that I’m now a part of.

If you’d be so kind to keep our family in your prayers this week, we’d greatly appreciate it.

Until then, I’ve got ribs on the smoker and I could use another adult beverage. I’ll see you soon.

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