Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

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On the Eve of Independence

August 15, 2012

I have found myself saying, “I can’t believe how fast time has gone” more and more these past five years of being a parent. Almost to the point where I know I am annoying other people because I am annoying myself. But the truth is, it has gone fast. Tomorrow my first child… my little girl… my sweetie… is going to kindergarten.

Addi has given me the greatest gift I could have ever been given, the opportunity to be a father to a daughter. I’ve had to learn patience, how to remove a “piggy holder” without pulling hair, change a diaper, cry and not feel unmanly, love deeper than I ever have, and to understand and embrace change.

It is that last one that gets us all. It hits us deep. Our little ones aren’t so little. They aren’t so dependent. They are growing up and in a fast way.

It all hit me tonight. Maybe I internalized it, maybe I tried to avoid it, but it is here. As a parent none of us are really prepared, how could you? Until you have been through 12 weeks of sleep deprivation, spit up, mustard poop, crying (from all involved), when does the belly button fall off, and any other first time parent stresses, as a civilization we would have died off long ago if this thing came with a pre-test.

Those first 12 weeks of her life seem so distant now. She has changed, I have changed, our family has changed, our lives have changed.

Addi, I know you’ll do well, not just in kindergarten, but in life. Your sense of humor, your compassion, your competitiveness, your kind heart, your smile, will all serve you well. I have had the privilege of seeing you grow as a helpless infant into a classy and fabulous five year old who has helped her old man understand the importance and priority of things in life. You have given me an even greater love and respect for my parents, your mother, your brother, my sister, our entire family and friends, and that what we do in life means nothing, if we aren’t living for something greater than our own self.

When you get on the steps of that bus tomorrow and we wave as you head off on your next journey, don’t forget the thousands of amazing steps we have already taken in your first five years together. I only wish with every step you take, I could hold your hand, because it is so damn hard to let go.

I’m proud of you. I adore you. I love you Addi.
Dad

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One love

April 19, 2011

My son turned one today and I am amazed at how fast the year has gone. This time last year, my wife went into labor, we believe, due to the smoked ribs my friend Tad made for us the night before. Jill headed home and I stayed for drinks. It didn’t hit me until the next day that it was the last time it would just be my wife, daughter, and me at our home.

Since the first time I saw his face until now he obviously has changed. He started out with jet-black greasy hair to now stick straight blonde hair like his mother. He is almost walking and is showing signs of his dad’s impatience, temper, and sense of humor (especially bathroom jokes.) And as he has changed, I am constantly changing and learning lessons too.

Just this past weekend, we had a baby shower for a fraternity brother and his wife expecting a son themselves here soon. And upon arriving at the party, hugs, handshakes, and hi-fives gave way to conversations, laughing, and advice for the new parents. I love those guys. They are really more family than friends, and we pick up quickly from the last time we saw each other, even if it was a year ago. So Cam, lesson one that I have learned is you will never be alone, never be lost, and never without a smile with great friends.

After the party we all went back and got our kids and brought them together at the expecting parents house. What a torturous thing to do for two people waiting to have their first child…fill their house with six kids all under the age of five. (No turning back now, Mr. and Mrs. Benson.) Within five minutes our daughters and sons were playing, laughing, and having a good time with each other. And for some, they just met. Our kids know no prejudice; they don’t care about money, religion, or politics. The girls like big girl shoes and candy necklaces, the boys popping balloons with their mouths and throwing things. Cam, lesson number two. Be open, honest, and respectful to each person you meet.  Don’t ever lose the gift of seeing people for what we really are…people.

And yesterday we had our big first birthday party. Family and friends joined us and watched as Cam decorated himself in cake and blue frosting. All the while, he just laughed, half-naked and all. Cam, here comes lesson three. Never take yourself too serious. I sure as hell don’t. I’m not perfect and never will be. That doesn’t stop me from trying to be great, rather knowing that mistakes are part of the game makes the score easier to tolerate when we don’t win. Keep smiling and give it all you have.

And the last lesson goes without saying. Your dad loves you and always will. You’ll never know how strong that love is until you have kids of your own; so for now trust me and thank you. Thank you for being my little man.

Happy birthday son.

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What the hell happened to my life?

October 28, 2010

It hit me the other day as I was watching my three-year old daughter at dance class, where in the world did my life go?

I seriously felt like I woke up from a coma, aged to 34, had two kids, a house, pets, and was at least happy to not be balding. I remember my mom telling me to wait until I had kids and then I’d know what it was like to have life move fast. It’s not that I didn’t believe her, it’s just I didn’t fully understand the truth in that statement.

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and there are so many great lines in that movie, yet one has always stuck out to me. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

In college I was able to realize this. My last semester I remember taking time in my fraternity to just watch the crowds, the parties, the pranks, the environment, and all of the things that I knew I had taken for granted and let it soak in. I could slow things down enough to go from participant to spectator and back again. Even at my wedding eight years ago I slipped to the back corner of the reception hall and simply viewed my life in action. I was able to recognize I would never be with that same group of people, at the same time, in the same moment, ever again.

And now, I can’t seem to find the time in the heat of the moment to slow things down. When I write, it obviously gives me time to reflect. When I get to work after dropping the kids off it is on my mind. But in general, I have let Ferris down. In a fast-paced life that only seems to be further accelerating I haven’t been taking a look around.

So maybe I should heed the advice of John Keating (Robin Williams) in another great 80’s movie, Dead Poets Society, “But If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe — hear it? — Carpe, Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

 

Maybe instead of looking around I just need to lean in and listen…

 

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5 things that have changed since I had kids

September 29, 2010

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe how much your life changes after you have children. Honestly there are too many to count, but here are some that stick out to me.

Abercrombie now makes me feel dirty…and old
Ok, I used to DJ a little. I love music and sometimes I still like cranking something up in my car, sans kids of course. But I can’t even hear myself think because how loud the music is in the store, not that I actually go into the store. Hell, all Abercrombie is to me any more is an annoyance on my way down to Gymboree. This is proof to me that teens can hear high pitch noises that adults can’t. How else do they communicate? Also, I’m over the 682-foot nudie dude photos pasted throughout the store. Pull up your pants, I mean your underwear, homie.

I wish I could remember what I did with my memory
OK, I’m guilty. I don’t know how many times I get to work and wonder how I got there. This was funny in college when I was drinking and couldn’t figure out why I had someone’s shoes on in the morning or how I was now the owner of a 1991 Second Place Water Polo trophy, but now, sober, at 34? I’m sure this has nothing to do with having two kids under three and random sleeping and eating patterns. Ok, sorry, I lost my train of thought, what are we talking about?

I can’t listen to rap any more
I have a daughter. I have a 2 Live Crew CD. I have a daughter. I USED to have a 2 Live Crew CD.

Friday Night Lights…are out by 10:30
I used to think it was funny to watch my parents fall asleep watching TV as I was headed out for the evening. Wow, I joined the club a lot sooner than I thought I would.

I know the BRAT diet
Diarrhea used to be a great excuse to miss class, work, or any other event that outweighed the embarrassment for falsely telling someone you had the quick-step, Big D, or whatever you call it. Now the D word is something more serious, so serious the world created an acronym to alleviate the condition. And to think, the first time I heard it I thought it stood for Be Right At The-toliet.

So how has your life changed?