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My List
Time Out 8-23-23
Dennis D. Cruz

When my oldest son was born nearly eight years ago, the number one thing I would hear from folks was “Cherish these moments while you can” or “They grow up so quick”. When he was in kindergarten (which seems like yesterday) people would tell me “It won’t be long before he is graduating”. The truth is, my reply would be “Oh I know” and would not give it another thought. I now have two children, my youngest is two.

It is hard to believe. We only get 24 hours in the day, and we try to make the most of them. The problem is we are creatures of habit and plan out our days. The days are a blur. Between the morning rush of getting our kids ready for school, work, errands, picking up kids from school, cooking dinner, working on homework, getting them ready for bed; there really is not enough time in the day for anything else. At least that was my outlook. I have learned to squeeze in that extra time as much as possible.

My oldest son and I love listening to country music (more so older country music). One day on my way to work I was listening to Y2Country on Sirius XM Radio and the Toby Keith song “My List” came on. If you are not familiar with it, it is worth a listen. It is about a man who has a busy schedule and writes down all the tasks he must complete. He later changes things up on his list for the more important things to do with his time, like spending time with his family and embracing nature and other miracles around us.

Later that week I rearranged my “list” and really began soaking in the experience and opportunity that I have. This past summer my wife and I took the boys to Patterson for the annual Apricot Fiesta. I grew up in Patterson and would attend it every year in my youth. They have vendors, a parade, live music, tons of food, fireworks and more. My oldest loves going to the midway area where they have carnival games and rides. His absolute favorites are the bungee jump and the water ball roller. The bungee jump is where they harness you in and have you jump on a trampoline. The water ball roller is where you sit in an inflatable ball (imagine a hamster ball) and they push you into the water where you then run and roll around in the ball in the water. It took me back to my childhood. Watching him do this I took more pictures than usual because I really wanted to capture his happiness.

In the spring of 2020; while the country was on lockdown for COVID, he and I also began playing with my old wrestling figures. They were from the 1980’s and include Hulk Hogan, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant and more. He was hooked and began watching the old-time wrestling. My youngest son took a liking to them as well and now plays with them every day.

Seeing my kids play with the wrestlers, or Nintendo, or watching old cartoons or television shows that I used to watch as a kid and hearing them laugh at the same jokes that I used to is a great feeling. They will not be young forever and I truly realize that. I want to create a scrapbook for both of my boys so that when they look back (and when I look back, too) it takes them to a happy time as well.


Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.