More or Les
“Life from an average guy’s perspective” is how Les O’Dell describes his weekly humor column appearing in a growing number of newspapers. Often published as “More or Les,” the column offers unique insight on topics ranging from dog people to waiting room televisions and magical phrases sure to entertain. Readers say that they see themselves in Les’ stories. Editors like the 600-word offerings because they are written in a style that is crisp, clean and professional. Enjoy one of Les’ latest columns below and read some of his favorites by clicking the “Columns” heading above. Also, make sure to check your local newspaper for the latest “More or Les. “For more information on how to include “More or Les” in your newspaper, send an email to email@example.com
Featured column: X Man
I have started writing this column many times over the last three years, but never finished it until now. Through dozens of failed attempts, the opening line has always been the same:
“The X-Man went home today.”
X-Man is the nickname that I hung on my family’s latest foster child since he first came to us, just ten days after he was born. The nickname comes from his given name of Xavier and has — along with “Zay-Zay” and simply “X” — been one of the ways we’ve referred to the little guy who stole our hearts from the first moment those little brown eyes looked up at us.
Well, actually, it was a little bit later. X actually arrived at our home at dusk in the middle of a spring power outage, so we really couldn’t see him and he really couldn’t look up at us until the electricity came back on, but when it did, he immediately lit up our lives and hearts just like the lights that brightened the room.
Despite the immediate attachment all of us — my wife, me and our two biological teenagers — had for X, we knew sooner or later he might be going back home. It’s a constant thought of all foster parents that the children we come to love may at some point be moved to a different caregiver or reunited with their families. It had happened to us before, and it was in that vein that I had started this column so many times before with “The X-Man went home today.”
The plan always was to share stories of how the introduction of a new tiny human into a family with two practically grown kids radically changed our lives. There would be tales of diaper changes after nearly two decades of being post-Pampers, midnight feedings and the constant questioning if I was out with my grandson (ouch!).
But more importantly there would be the stories of the honor, privilege and blessings of being there for first steps, first words, miniature hands wrapped around fingers and a tiny baby wrapped around my heart. This column would answer the question “how can you love so deeply a child who isn’t yours?” with a simple, “how could you not?”
I had planned to share how even though X had left our family, he would always be remembered, always be a part of us and always loved, no matter where he was or who he was with. Despite the certain heartache of sending him home, I would share our pledge to foster other children in need and I would urge readers to consider becoming foster families as well.
Yes, I had started this column many, many times, but since he never was sent home by the court system, I never had reason to finish it. Last week, however, that all changed.
After dozens of court hearings over the last three years, months of anxiety, worry and stress, countless meetings with social workers and attorneys and a pile of paperwork that would make even IRS agents shutter, the judge’s gavel came down for the final time in his case
Rather than being sent back or even moved to the care of another foster care provider, however, Xavier left the courtroom that afternoon with a new future, a new last name and a new family — ours. The adoption of our youngest son is complete.
Finally I could finish this column. While the underlying story, thankfully, is different than I ever imagined, the opening sentence is same with just one minor change in wording.
The X-Man came home today.
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