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Once upon a time, many, many years ago, I had a football coach who lined us up in groups and had us run 30 yards downfield to where he'd placed a bunch of baseball bats. Once there, we put the flat end of the barrel on the ground, put our foreheads on the handle end, ran round the bat in circles a dozen or so times and then ran back to where we started.

Or, at least we tried. Typically, we staggered and wandered around all over the place before we made it back and then collapsed.

I'm not sure what the point of that was. Maybe it was to teach us how to operate in chaotic circumstances when we had lost our bearing. More likely, he just thought it was funny to watch us. One thing I do know -- I'm beginning to feel like that all over again.

In the space of roughly 60 days, I'm going to have one child graduate from college and actually start a real-life job, another graduate from high school and start on a real-life college career and a third get married and start on a real-life adult, well, life. And I think I'm going to train to race in the Iditarod because, why the heck not?

OK, scratch the Iditarod thing. But if one more member of my immediate family comes to me in the throes of another life-altering and defining decision, I'm going to react the way most of my teammates and I did when we made it back to the starting point.

And I'm not cleaning that up. Fair warning.

Look, I'm fine with change. I have an entire cup under my sink full of it (OK, wrong change, but moving on). And as far as the upcoming events, well, I've had about 30 years, give or take, to come to terms with the fact that, at one point, all of this stuff was going to take place. It's just that I sort of figured there was going to be little daylight between events to allow me to catch my breath and get my tie pressed.

I am more than thrilled with each and every one of these events, individually and in a group. I mean, the point of this parenting deal was to eventually assist the baby birds in leaving the nest. I just wasn't necessarily prepared for the loss of emotional ballast three of them jumping the figurative ship at one time was going to bring.

In short, I'm happy with the events. I just want the world to stop spinning for a minute.

It's somewhat reassuring, in a "we're all out here, spinning around baseball bats together" way, to note that the Lovely Mrs. Smith and I are not alone in this. While we've kind of stuffed the next few months like a life-changing piñata, all across the area, parents are looking up from their avocado toast (OK, maybe just us on that one, as well) and saying to at least one of their children: "Wait, in a few months you're not going to live here anymore, are you?"

I mean, all this was fine in the abstract. It's just that in real life, the feeling is a cross between relief and pride and the sensation you get when you walk out in the mall parking lot and discover your car is missing.

For years, whatever the jumbled nature of our home life might have been, the constant was the cast of characters in it did not change. Sure, I may have left the odd child at school or the dry cleaner, but by and large, once done with soccer practice and dance recitals and tutoring and the trip to the ER to get a rock removed from a nostril, we were all at home and noses could be counted.

Now, in far shorter order than I had really give much thought to, counting those noses is going to involve quite a bit of local travel and, potentially, a plane ride.

Again, not that any of this is a bad thing. It's just ... disconcerting. Like the feeling you get when you spin around a baseball bat and try to run.

I'm fairly confident The Lovely Mrs. Smith and I will survive this. We're still at the stage where life gives a lot more than it takes away. Odds are good our family will continue to grow, even if that growth may be taking place under multiple roofs.

So I'm excited about all the changes. Really. Looking forward to each and every one of them. It's just ... could we get the world to stop spinning for just a few minutes?

Commentary on 04/28/2017

Print Headline: The spin factor

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