Sunday, December 15th, 2013
I feel like there’s this stereotype about fathers, that especially as they get older, they tend to have less of an open door policy with their sons.
And I get it.
By the time the two are both grown men, there’s almost this unspoken rule that the two can’t or shouldn’t talk to each other about serious stuff, involving the need for jpersonal advice… because they’re both grown men.
However, that’s the very reason they should depend on each other in that way.
For me personally, I can’t just talk to any guy friend about certain stuff.
My heart is very guarded. I know that may seem out of character for me, being that I appear to spill my guts out in these letters to you. But there’s a whole lot I keep private.
Rabbit trail here, but as I’m nearing my H.R. certification exam on January 11th, I’m planning to start focusing more time on writing songs again (which is why I moved to Nashville in the first place) because soon I won’t have to spend all my free time (which isn’t much) on studying. I can begin easing my way back into my forsaken hobby of creating music.
One of the songs I’m working on contains this line:
“I am a skeleton with meat on my bones/I walk around with secrets nobody knows.”
I think a lot of men feel that way. I think that’s why classic superheroes are so popular. Batman is the example that comes to my mind, immediately. In a way, superheroes compensate their own personal failures, fears, and insecurities by leading and helping others. It’s a great escape and a perfect distraction.
Yet still, they have received an emotional scar at some point in life that characterizes, and in some ways, defines who they are.
I can relate. I have an emotional scar or two. And I would actually be surprised to meet a man who didn’t feel that way about himself. It’s for that very reason it’s important you’ve always got other men to depend on, emotionally… or psychologically, or whatever you want to call it.
It’s not that I don’t trust other men, but it does take a lot to make myself that emotionally vulnerable. It’s easier just to keep it inside and try to sort it out myself, a lot of the time.
I’m realizing I’ve got more to say about this than I realized, so let me put a bookmark right here. Go grab yourself a glass of water, then come back and read the rest of this letter.
To be continued…
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Thursday, December 12th, 2013
When our family saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular this past weekend, it reminded me of a deep thought that I feel often goes “unthought of.”
At the very end of the show, a short essay called “A Solitary Life” by Dr. James Allan Francis was read to the audience, right after The Living Nativity scene.
I won’t quote the whole thing here, but the last few lines of it really stood out to me:
“Two thousand years have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed and all the parliments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life.’”
It’s pretty fascinating to me that if Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be, which is the Son of God and the predicted Messiah of the prophecies in the Old Testament, then He was simply the most famous and influencial deceiver to have ever lived on the earth.
That means He’s fooled millions of people in the past couple thousand years. That means, back in His day, he caused quite a political uproar over… nothing. In that case, it was all just a hoax.
As C.S. Lewis famously put it, Jesus is either “lunatic, liar, or Lord.”
But again, if He was simply a crazy man or false prophet, He’s the most famous and influential one there’s ever been, to simply have been just a man.
Or, Jesus really is who He said He is, and He’s still the most famous and influential man who has ever lived.
This is the same man who this time of year is better known as the baby born in Bethlehem.
Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote “8 Non-Religious Reasons To Take Your Kids To Church,” in which I closed by stating my thoughts on the choice to live a life based on faith in Jesus:
The way I look at it; even if at the end of my life I was wrong about God this entire time and when we die, we just die and that’s it, I still wouldn’t regret having believed. Because if nothing else, I had a sense of hope amidst all of life’s uncertainties.
Throughout all the traditional Santa and reindeer stuff we enjoy this time of year, I’m still distracted by the Jesus part of Christmas.
If Christmas was simply about candy canes and snowmen, and still managed to be this big of a deal to everyone, I would really be questioning why we celebrate it.
But I know the basis of this holiday season is deeper than that, and even more than just “the spirit of giving.” It still comes down to a baby in a manger who went on to live the most famous and influential life… ever.
And as I raise you to believe in Him, if He was really just a liar or a lunatic instead, I guess that makes me one of those things too.
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
In the midst of all the fun holiday traditions our family has participated in so far this season, like going on a couple of hay rides and driving around to check out Christmas lights, one thing we haven’t done this year is officially go visit Santa and let you get your picture made with him.
Last Saturday when we saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, we could have easily walked from the Grand Ole Opry to the nearly adjoining Opry Mills Mall and got your picture taken (for free) with Santa, at the Bass Pro Shop.
I just looked it up in my dadabase of The Dadabase, and almost exactly a year ago I wrote you a letter called “The Obligatory Facebook Picture Of Your Kid With Santa.”
Interestingly enough, I ended it with this proclamation:
“So here it is; this is the obligatory picture of you with Santa that I shared on Facebook. You may not remember it happening. Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back at Bass Pro Shop again for your Santa picture next year.”
Mommy and I asked you several times during the past couple of weeks if you wanted to go get your picture made with Santa again.
Each time, you calmly muttered no.
I figure, why push the issue? So don’t worry about it, kid. We don’t have to go.
My assessment of the situation is this: You’re equally fascinated with Santa Claus as much as you are terrified by him. I think that’s pretty normal for a 3 year-old boy. Santa is exciting (and safe) from a distance, in other words.
You don’t want to sit on his lap, yet you think he’s really cool and keep asking me if he (and the Rockettes) are going to give you a gift for Christmas.
Actually, I should be thanking you. You saved me a trip to the mall during the Christmas holidays!
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Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
As much as I would love to take you to your first movie in a theatre, I still don’t believe the time is right.
However, you proved to officially be ready to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes, at The Grand Ole Opry here in Nashville.
Turns out, our friends at GoGo Squeez arranged for our family to go see the show. (After all, by now you’re sort of a poster child for them- considering typically anytime I take a picture of you eating a meal, there’s always a GoGo Squeez pouch visible in the shot.)
Leading up to us going, though, I just wasn’t positive you’d have the attention span to sit still long enough for us to stay the whole time, no matter how “spectacular” the event was. I gave you 30 minutes, tops. Fortunately, my doubts proved to be wrong.
And might I say, not only did you last the entire 2 hour show, but you showed off your potty training skills as well. For the 25 minute drive there from our house and back were no problems. There was a 15 minute intermission during the show- Mommy just took you to go potty and everything went well.
Seriously, I can’t get over how cool it is that you’re like… serious about not wearing diapers anymore. Wow. It’s like the end of an era.
Not that either of us will miss diapers!
During the show, you were pretty much glued to the screen, I mean stage.
I asked you afterwards what your favorite part of the show was; you quickly responded, “The bears!” I’m still trying to figure out what’s going through your head regarding what appeared to be a stage full of dancing, mutant bears… pandas included.
Your jaw dropped when you saw them during the Santa’s Workshop scene.
And you loved the live camels during the Living Nativity. As well as the 3D snowball fight. Not to mention, Santa Claus himself.
There was one part where the stage was filled with doznes of Santas, but you recognized right away that the “real” Santa had disappeared. During the whole song, you were quite distraught: “Where’d the big Santa go? Is he coming back?”
I also laughed out loud when the The Living Nativity scene began, after you saw the camels, recognizing the scene from your children’s Bible that Mommy reads you at bed time, you shouted out with excitement, “Is Jesus coming?!”
Our family had so much fun. With all the running around we usually have to do on the weekends for errands that we don’t have time for on the weekdays, it feels like we seldom get to take time just to go out and simply do something fun for our family.
For me, it was a proud family moment and activity. Plus, even though I moved to Nashville 8 years ago, it was my first time to go to the Grand Ole Opry! (What a shame that it took this long, huh?)
And again, it confirms for me: You can handle the travel to and from an event like this, at age 3, sans the diapers.
This parenting thing is starting to really get fun these days.
Disclaimer: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular mentioned in this story was provided courtesy of GoGo Squeez.
Photo credit for “on stage” photos: MSG Entertainment.
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Monday, December 9th, 2013
With Christmas being about two weeks away, Mommy and I decided it was time we should get a Christmas tree for our family. So we did what I assume most American families were doing yesterday afternoon- we drove over to Lowe’s to find the cheapest option on the clearance rack.
It wasn’t until we had already got there that I realized you had brought your giant Easter Bunny with you.
Seriously, how did you get that thing past me? I honestly didn’t even notice. And evidently Mommy wasn’t too thrown off by it either because I never heard her bring it up in conversation.
Okay, I think I actually need to meditate on that fact for a minute… Somehow, you got the idea that it would be logical, appropriate, and/or helpful to bring a giant yellow Easter Bunnythat is nearly as big as you are.
And most importantly, I didn’t even notice.
As for me, that could be the end of this story, because that is pretty awesome.
We ended up finding a nice Rosemary tree, 15 inches tall, for $3.75. When the manager noticed that we were interested, he gave us a proposal:
“Would your family like two trees this year? I’ll sell them to you for $1.50 each?”
I suppose he was making a proactive effort to clear the shelf space, so I didn’t hesitate to accept his offer.
As I was loading them both in our car to head back home, you announced urgently, “I need to go potty!”
Mommy took over loading the trees while I ran you to the restroom inside Lowe’s, chanting this mantra to you the whole time: “Jack, keep holdin’ it, keep holdin’ it! Don’t go yet!”
You thought it was funny. What I didn’t realize is that apparently you have much greater bladder control than I give you credit for.
Needless to say, you didn’t get your “big boy underwear” wet. With my assitance, you went in the big potty in the Lowe’s restroom.
While that may not seem like so big of a deal, it does mark the first time that I’ve ever been the one to take you potty in public, since you started wearing your big boy underwear.
It was pretty cool for me to be a part of.
Well, what can I say? Our family bought two Rosemary (Christmas) trees:
One for the living room and one for the kitchen counter. Because that’s normal.
And the Easter Bunny helped.
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