Growing Beyond Me

You ever wonder, wait, and hope for your kids to achieve a particular milestone? Then once they reach the milestone you realize you’re not so sure that you really want them there. Ultimately, you are left wondering what’s next.

Well earlier today, I did a guest post for my blogger friend Tatiana over at where I explored this topic of children moving on and how it brings both happiness and sadness. To read the article, click the link.


A Terrible Club

While at first, the reports came out saying the terror in Boston today may have been related to some sort of electrical explosion, I did not believe it.   For those of us who live or have lived in New York, Mumbai, London, Madrid, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv (or any city in Israel), Baghdad (or any city in Iraq) or Kabul (or any city in Afghanistan) etc. the news was not necessary.  We know terror exists. We have felt its ugly rotten shattering affects.

My 9/11 experience was almost mundane compared to most.  No need for all the specifics. I was a couple of miles from the terror. My wife (fiancé at the time) and I walked back from Midtown Manhattan to the neighborhood we lived in, the Upper West Side. The streets were teeming.  Everyone simply wanted to be home – hoping to find safety in their familiar surroundings. As my wife and I walked, every tall building felt like a potential landmine. To say it was a tense walk home is an understatement.

On that beautiful September day and those immediately following, I experienced a profound change. A naiveté and sense of ease were gone. There was a war a going on and though I never signed up, or had a gun, or was part of a battalion, I was on the battlefield. I will forever see the world differently.

There is evil in the world. That evil needs to be rooted out. We may not always be comfortable with how it is done, and it may not always be handled how we would prefer. Yet, it must be handled by any means necessary and those who do the work should be appreciated.

There are three people dead so far, including an 8 year boy. There are 138 people injured. Yet, there is a whole city that is affected and many more.  I mourn those who are lost. I pray for the families who feel a personal loss. On this beautiful April day, many more people have also lost their innocence. I am deeply sorry that they have joined this uneasy fraternity.

The Parent I Was Never Going To Be

Today, I am fortunate to have another guest post. My guest is Joyce, from Relax and Float Downstream. I’ve been following Joyce’s blog for months now. Her topics range greatly though there is typically a Southern flavor to her posts. I find a certain humility and honesty in her writing and appreciate these qualities very much. She calls ‘em like she sees ‘em.

In real life, Joyce is a Connecticut native who has lived many years in Florida.  She is a forty-something married mother of two, university advisor, and jazz geek.  In her free time she enjoys cooking complicated dishes, watching old movies, and exercising.

Here’s Joyce on the parent she is as compared to the parent she thought she was going to be.

A little over seven years ago, I was not a parent.  My childless status did little to disabuse me of some notions I had regarding parenthood.  In fact, some might argue, my childlessness encouraged grandiose absurdities pertaining to appropriate parenting.  It’s just that way, isn’t it?  You simply can’t know until you’re in it, and then when you are, no words you can say can adequately relate the experience to those on the other side.

I’ve been thinking lately of my most laughable pre-parenting assertions as much as the interceding seven parent years will allow me to access that part of my brain.  (Parent years, you know, are like dog years, but more accelerated.  I now have a mind like Swiss cheese.)

The pacifier, for instance.  I had witnessed too many children, many in my own family, going about their day with a plug in their mouths.  Don’t get them started on it, I reasoned, and they won’t ever need it.  Popping a pacifier in your baby’s mouth is lazy parenting, I thought.

I was nearly allowed to get away with this line of reasoning as Nolan, my first child, had no use whatsoever for any pacifier that was ever offered to him (by other people, of course.)  It was later, after I had Mia, that I came to understand why a parent might possibly feel compelled to offer their child a pacifier.  At two weeks of age, this easy-going angel began crying profusely every evening and no amount of walking, rocking, or nursing would bring her peace.  Those cries could only be soothed by, you guessed it, a pacifier.

Picture courtesy of GoogleCalm Baby

Picture courtesy of Google
           Calm Baby

I’m told the most effective method for weaning from the pacifier is to cut a small hole in the tip, rendering the thing ineffective for sucking.  I did that once, and handed it to my trusting daughter who promptly spat it out.  “Oh no,” she cried in despair, “my paci is broken!”    And turned to me to fix it.  Which I did, by giving her a new paci.  My new goal is to have her weaned by the time she turns three.

Three years of age happens to be the goal we had set for potty training our son.  And potty training our son is another one of those things I was certain that I had in the bag.  You just commit to teaching them, I thought, and they are trained.  It’s simple.  Ha!

My son resisted every attempt to teach him to use the toilet for two years.  When we left him pants- and diaper-free for easier access, he tinkled all over the house like a puppy.  It was our great fortune that he became fully potty trained when he was nearly four years old, mere months before our baby arrived.  I learned that training does not happen on the parent’s schedule, but the child’s.

Another notion that went out the window was my opposition to video games for young children. Instead, I attempt to convince myself and others that the quick reflexes of my son, the Super Mario champion, are a direct result of his devotion to gaming.  And healthy meals, too…let’s forget that I ever believed that the majority of meals my children would consume would be healthy, considering the times that their main course has consisted of Velveeta mac-n-cheese.  And letting a child sleep with us?  I am no longer opposed to this, as I wake up each morning with an additional guest in my bed.

Many things I thought I knew do not fit in my world now.  What’s up is down and what’s down is up.  I’ve never lived by the seat of my pants so much in all my life, and I have decided to like it.  For every video game or frozen pizza dinner, we have an outing at the library or a soccer game in the yard.  We may watch a lot of cartoons, but we also have read many story books.  The best I can do for now is to try to inject enough of the good to outweigh the not-so-good, and to believe that all will balance out in the end.  Which may not be good enough for some, but it’s good enough for us – and we are the only ones I’m trying to please.




To The Bench

The Old Days

Flashback to August of 2001. My fiancé and I are trying to decide which towels we should register for. There were those with stripes, those with patterns, those with multiple colors, and those plain ones that were extra thick.

What did I think my excited bride wanted to know. Well, I had told her twenty minutes prior that I preferred the plain ones that were extra thick. However, now I did not care.  I fell to my knees and shrieked, “If you love me, you’ll pick a towel, and we will leave.”

My enthusiasm for selecting household items for our registery had been nearly as high as my fiancé’s when we began at Macys six hours prior. However, now here in Bed Bath and Beyond, I was spent and simply wanted my day to end.

The Shopper

So, my wife makes the decisions regarding our household items. However, I do play a role.

Let me explain. Let’s say we need new sheets.

My wife will scour the internet. She is a sight to see when she does this. While she stares at the screen, she does not blink and her brow is furrowed. She is in her element, and it is best not to interrupt her. Believe me when I tell you: Don’t Interrupt! I speak from experience. Anyway, she painstainkingly reviews details of each potential purchase with much of her focus being on product reviews.  She will find a few options and then email them to me for my opinion.

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Then I will offer my opinion. Sometimes she will select the item I favored and other times she won’t. I question her about this, but she always has a reason for her selection whether I agree with it or not.

Ultimately, I like my wife’s taste, so I normally go with the flow.

The Latest Household Item

“A what?” I had my wife repeat the latest household item that she felt we needed.

“A bench.” Is that sports related? I was very excited but not quite clear why we needed a bench. Was she taking the timeout thing a little too literally?

“No, no, no” she explained, “a bench goes in a mud room.”

“A mud room? What’s a mud room?”

“You know? When you first come into a house?”

“Oh. But we don’t have a mud room.”

“You don’t need a mud room to have a bench. The bench is to put stuff on.”

“Like a table?”

“No,” she laughed. She looked at me as if I were a Neanderthal. “I’ll just send you some and you can see them. Don’t worry about it.”


Well, we went through the process described above, and I rejected them. I still did not see the need. My wife was not deterred. She ordered a bench. A few days later when nothing came, I asked her about it. “Oh no,” she told me, “I canceled that.” The need for the bunch, seemingly canceled as well. Well, it came up again a few months later but still no purchase.  For nearly a year, my wife has been going through phases where she was and was not convinced we needed a bench.

Finally, she ordered a bench, put it together, and it now stands in our entranceway.

And I hate it! For many reasons. It looks like a television stand. It is another thing to put stuff on (I believe in closets and like things put in them and out of site). And I am afraid I will be in a rush one day and trip it over ala Dick Van Dyke going over the ottoman (click below).

I told my wife how I feel. She doesn’t care. “Get used to it,” were her instructions. I grumbled and the bench stays. Maybe, I should have dropped to my knees and shrieked, “If you love me, you’ll send it back.” Nah, at this point, she may pick the household item. Damn I’ve been sent to the bench!