Monday, June 29, 2015

Four


Four

Four years has gone by so fast. Four years ago was one of the best most amazing days of my life, my daughter was born. I frankly do not remember the last four years, they have been a crazy and fun ride. She does not know it yet, well maybe she does, but I am fully wrapped up in this little girl. She just owns me completely. She is a little chip of my wife, so similar to her it's beautiful. Never in my life did I think I would love brushing a girls hair, especially really curly hair. But every time I do, I take care to enjoy it, for I know one day she will not want Daddy to brush her hair.Another significant event today was Jenn and my "Joe" plant, a Gardenia, popped the first flower in years today. Jenn has made it a point to take off for the kids birthdays, and spend a nice day with just them, no Dad or siblings. I do normally get a lunchtime stopover though. It's like our little Joe knew his sister would be in my office today to see the pretty flower. Lot's of crazy ups and downs when you start a family, and days like today make you appreciate them all. Love you kiddo.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Get On The Coaster


The kids went on their first little roller coaster this past weekend. It was a really fun experience. C$ couldn't wait to get on, and Dub was neutral. Once they walked inside the fenced area for the ride, lil' red freaked out, pushing away and screaming. I snapped her in the seat anyway. We definitely looked like parents of the year. The pic above is just before the ride started. One lap around the track and C$ cracked a smile, two laps, she was all in for the ride! Dub sort of never peeped, and just held on for the ride, bearing his head down.

Post ride, red did not want to get off, and Dub was sort of done. He wasn't scared, but one spin was enough for him. C$ went on two more rides on the coaster. Mostly because we had to go, and had tickets to burn, but she was ear to ear smiles. The shear childish joy on her face was on of the most sweet moments a parent can witness. To see your kid go from freak out tears, to loving the ride was really fun. Jenn and I could not stop laughing and smiling at each other. Our little angel was out there enjoying the heck out of her day, and we loved every second.

The analog is pretty clear to my life. The cliché is "life is a roller coaster." How true. As you age, you inevitably have more to lose, more you care for, more responsibilities outside your own, more people that rely on you. Stepping on and off the roller coaster becomes a much more measured step. 

I do not want to lose the ability to step onto the big bad roller coaster, step off the firm ground of comfort and certainty. I want to help other do the same. Whether you take one trip on a new ride, or want to go round and round, my kids taught a valuable lesson. Life will be up and down, and round and round. It is OK to be afraid to get on a new ride, it is OK to get off a ride you don't like. Just make sure as you choose your path, you look down at your feet and know if you have been standing too long.


Friday, April 03, 2015

One Tiny Strip At A Time


My boy received some gifts in the mail from his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. It was fun watching a 2 yo open the wrapping paper, one tiny individual strip at a time. He was totally focused on the end goal, some new swag, but he would not tear big chunks off the packages. His sis was dying to help, she wanted to jump in and rip stuff open, but we let him work in his own methodical way. Lots of laughs.

Right now I have a lot of irons in the fire, at work, in volunteer life and at home. I can allow myself to be overwhelmed by intense activity at times. I sleep poorly, tend to be a bit edgy and have a difficult time unplugging my brain. Years of dealing with hectic projects, with intense bursts of pressure, and I still get wound up the same way. Not sure why I am wired this way, but it is something I wish I could control better. I am fairly good at checking out when I am home, but the last few weeks has been tough to say the least.

I think I need to follow the example from my son. Take my work, and peel away one strip at a time. Make some checklists, check off completed items, allow myself to see the progress, instead of the volume of tasks still ahead. Like Dub, who got to his cool new blocks eventually, I will endeavor today to peel away a few strips, and set next week up for much smoother success.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exerpt From The Alchemist


“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Friday, February 13, 2015

Would you be my best friend?


I was listening to a Marvel Comics podcast the other day and this particular episode featured the singer of a current rock band called Yellowcard. I have heard their name, but couldn't pick a Yellowcard song out of a lineup if I had too. The singer was a pretty interesting guy, and was a fun listen, so I thought I should check out their music. While I was at the Library with my daughter over the weekend, I randomly picked up the 2012 Yellowcard album called Southern Air, a totally arbitrary pick. None of my normal deep research, over thinking and careful selection of music, just a quick grab.

Driving into work yesterday, I popped the album on, and gave it a listen. My first impression is it was squeaky clean, highly produced pop-rock from the 2000's that I really do not care for. I almost turned it off for my normal podcasts or depressing Cleveland sports radio. But this time, I said, no I will listen to the entire album once. I do believe that albums are meant to be listened to in their entirety, not picked apart as singles. As I was nearing the end, gladly in my mind, a song called Ten came on. (The lyrics to the song are included at the end of my post for reference)

This song hit me hard, I was in tears for the entire track. You see Valentine's Day is one of the worst days of the year for me. This is the day my wife gave birth to our first child Joseph, a day he didn't survive. I said hello and goodbye to my boy on Valentine's Day. The song is about the loss of a child, before you ever had the time to become friends, drive to school or watch Star Wars together in your PJ's. The song questions if you would be best friends, the song questions what would have been. Over the last five years since Joe's birth, the intense daily pain has faded away, and the joyous days I have with our two children have definitely taken over. But we still have moments from time to time, when the feelings flood back. It takes only the comment "I had a Joe moment" between my wife and I and we know the day was tough. This was one of those moments. To randomly find my way to this song, just two days before my son's birthday is a blessing. Even though sad, moments like this cause me to truly treasure my family and all the blessings. I would not be who I am today without all the experiences of my life, good and bad. I will never understand the pain parents have to go through losing a child, but talking and writing about it helps me. 

Joe is a part of my life, and no Valentine's Day will ever be the same. I miss him and wish I could have built a pillow fort together, made him laugh, read him some comics, watched Star Wars in our PJ's or just be his friend. Luckily, I have two beautiful kids to do all these things with and more. Not everyone gets that chance. And I know Joe looks over their little shoulders like a guardian angel, After all, I pray he does every single day. One day I will get to meet him, and hopefully I lived a life that he's proud to call me his best friend, and maybe tell his friends he thinks I'm cool...OK that might be a stretch.

I love you buddy.

Ten by Yellowcard

I found out in the fall. I've been gone
On the road for a year
She said,
"Honey, I've got real bad news" and
Then there were just tears
And we would never be the same again
Since then I've often wondered
What you might have been like
How it would have felt to hold you,
Would you have my eyes?
Don't you think we would've been best friends?

You would be ten and I'd be
Driving you to school
You would tell all your friends
That you thought I was cool
And you would have
All the love in my heart
Yeah, you would have
All the love in my heart

We were twenty-two years young then
Breaking rules all around
We were
Moving in that first apartment
It felt like it was never gonna end
Both so lost and crazy
We were young so we ran
Now I live in a dream where I am
Holding your little hands
I never got to meet you, my best friend

You would be ten and I'd be
Driving you to school
You would tell all your friends
That you thought I was cool
You would be out in the sun
Until it was gone
You would be watching Star Wars
With your PJ's on
And you would have
All the love in my heart
Yeah, you would have
All the love in my heart

Don't you think we would have been best friends?

You would be ten and I'd be
Driving you to school
You would tell all your friends
That you thought I was cool
You would be out in the sun
Until it was gone
You would be watching Star Wars
With your PJ's on
You would be playing tunes on
On your first guitar
You would be harmony to
Every single part of me
And you have
All the love in my heart
Yeah, you would have
All the love in my heart

Friday, January 23, 2015

Going Wholly Fast


A couple weeks ago we bought our last gallon of whole milk. This may seem fairly uneventful on the surface, but it was a big moment. Our boy hit his second birthday and he no longer drinks the whole, he will drink what the family drinks now. The cliche that your kids grow up too fast is an absolute truth. I do feel we spent so much less time on the boy, when we had just C$, we focused entirely on her. He has always had a sister to compete with. So far he adores his sister, and always wants to be around her, sometimes to her dismay. "Daddy, he's touching me!" "Daddy, he has my dolly!" "Daddy, he won't get out of my room!"

I know these moments won't stop, and as the kids age, they will grow stronger, but I want to enjoy each and every step along the way. I do not want to let the heat of the moment between these two get in the way. Every age with the kids has been the best age.

Not having to buy two types of milk is great, The kids growing up so fast is not great. The journey along the way is not one I would pass up!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Paint



New paint transforms rooms into a new living space, an dwelling and a whole new fresh perspective. I am luck my wife loves to paint. Like Christmas decorations, I do not like putting them up, but love the result. I don't like to paint, but a freshly painted room is great. 

Recently, we (she) painted a couple rooms to move the kids up a size in room space. The reaction from the kids was just awesome. My daughter kept screaming "IT'S AWESOME" and started making snow angels on the open space. Watching how much she loved the room simply because it had a new color and her stuff in there made my day. Similarly, when the boy hit his room, he was immediately the owner, he ran around inside, pointed at everything and laid down to enjoy the carpet and took it all in. The whimsy of children is one of the best things to watch.

The turn of a new year is like an opportunity to paint a room. You have an old color, dirty walls, some dents and don't like to even look at the old room. Much like ourselves, we have a couple more pounds, gotten away from eating well and have not been on our normal track for a couple months likely. Then comes the dreaded New Years Resolution! I think you should scrap the resolution, and instead do a new years re-painting. After-all you are the same person, a room is a room. Pick some new colors, and try them out. After a while you may not like the color, just try a new one, find what you like. Do not get stuck in the rut of a resolution, failing the resolution, and giving up. Maybe your new plan will last all year, maybe it won't, but just remember you are not stuck with any healthy choice you make. Maybe you will eat better, stop smoking, call friends more, read a few books, walk in the park, write in a journal this year. Just know if you do not succeed or follow through, you can just re-apply some new "paint" and move on. Who knows, maybe in 2015 you will be running around yelling "IT"S AWESOME" and really surprise yourself.