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Saturday, April 20th, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
Sharing a birthday with Adolf Hitler typically means I expect bad things to happen on or around April 20th: The Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine school shooting, and this week, the Boston Marathon bombing.
Today on my 32nd birthday, I find comfort in knowing that both of the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing were caught and captured.
On the lighter side of things, for my birthday today… I’m trying to think of a… more masculine… way to say it…
Mommy took me on a much needed clothes shopping spree!
Half the clothes in my closet were from before I met Mommy in 2006, while the other half were bought nearly 5 years ago when we got married. A lot of my clothes are either worn out, out of style, or simply sloppy and baggy.
I let Mommy be my guide, picking out what looks good on me, not what I think looks good on me. Left to my own demise, I would end up picking out clothes that were all blue, and of course, baggy and sloppy.
As for you, some friends from our church watched you in their home. This marks the first time ever in your 2 years and 5 months of existence that we’ve had anyone other than family watch you while you were awake.
Needless to say, it went very well. They sent me the picture above while were Mommy and I were at Old Navy.
Granted, you were pretty psyched about the whole event to begin with. You could barely contain yourself as we unbuckled you from your car seat to take you into their home:
“Hi Nelda, look: I brought my purple truck!”
By the time we picked you up about 2 and a half hours later, we found you kicked back on the recliner with Stan, Nelda’s husband, watching the NASCAR race.
So I would say your first babysitting experience by a non-family member, while you were awake, went quite well.
As a treat for you, we brought you home some Thomas the Train “big boy” underwear.
Hint, hint… don’t you want to start going potty so you can wear them the right way, instead of on your head?
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Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
You are the product of two Millennial (or Generation Y) parents.
Both Mommy and I were born a few months apart in 1981, the year that began our generation. The way we will parent you will be different as compared to how it would have been if we were part of the generation that ended just a few months before we were born; Generation X was born roughly between 1964 to 1980.
As the sort of first-born of my generation, I am constantly trying to figure out what makes us different from previous generations. After all, people say that Millennials were the first children not to rebel against their parents. That’s pretty weird…
An article published about a year ago in The New York Times referenced your parents’ generation as the “post-emotion generation… no anger, no edge, no ego.”
On the surface, it may appear that we are sheltered, narcissistic, jaded by the polar extremes of American politics, motivated by recognition more than money, obsessed with green living, and easily inspired by social justice issues.
I’ll be honest- it wouldn’t be a stretch for someone to describe me in any of those ways. Actually, I wonder how else I appear as a stereotype to other generations of parents.
In fact, I’m so curious about the traits of my generation, especially as they relate to being parents, I have decided to pinpoint 5 token traits of Generation Y parents:
1. They give their own kids either extremely classic or extremely original names. For every Jack there is now a Brody and for every Sarah there is now a Hadley. Millennial parents tend not to name their kids the popular names of their own generation, like Chris and Matt for boys, and Amanda and Jennifer for girls.
2. They want their kids to be, or at least seem, unique. That’s part of the explanation for some of the bizarre baby names popping up these days. Millennials were raised to believe they were special; evidently more special than every other child of The Eighties who was told that. Now, Generation Y parents subconsciously still wish this extra dose of uniqueness on their own kids.
3. Millennial parents are overly self-aware of their parenting style. Everybody’s watching, all the time, thanks the social media outlets and blogs we plug into on a daily basis. We make sure no one can ever question if we’re involved enough in our kids’ lives. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not to spank? To helicopter parent or not to helicopter parent? Those are the questions.
4. Facebook replaces the necessary phone call update and proud wallet pictures of our kids. There’s no real need for us as parents to pick up the phone and update our friends and family on what our kids are doing, nor is there reason those people should be desperately curious to see new pictures of our kids: There’s a constantly updated flow of that on Facebook every day.
5. They are really into what their kids eat. Back in the 1980s, processed food was king. Now, the awareness of disease, cancer, and obesity has caused parents to actually question what “natural and artificial flavor” means. Trust me on this, you don’t want to know. There’s a reason food companies keep those ingredients a mystery.
So there you have it, son. Hopefully I’ve taught you a thing or two about why your parents and your friends’ parents are so quirky…I mean, “special and unique.”
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Thursday, August 11th, 2011
There have been more than a few people who were surprised when they learned that I am not married to a girl in her early 20′s; instead I am only three months older than she is. Today, my wife Jill turns 30 years old.
We were both born in 1981, graduated high school in 1999, and had our first child in 2010. Not only is my wife my best friend, but we have experienced the same amount of living. In 2007 when we started dating, our timelines became one as we have shared our lives together ever since.
For our first dance at our wedding reception in 2008, we actually had two songs played back to back: “Everything” by Michael Buble was a more natural, understandable selection, which represented our “normal” sides. But we felt the need to also include a song that represented our mutual quirkiness, too. So we chose the weirdly beautiful, “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds.
In “The Luckiest,” Ben Folds explores the idea of the importance of a shared timeline, answering the idea of what life would be like had the love of his life not been born in the right year:
“What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?”
I imagine the statistical chances of the two of us being born in the same basic era of time, as opposed to decades or centuries apart. Instead, we were born in the same year and did find each other.
Jill and I have this plan to die naturally in our sleep while holding hands when we are 80 years old. Sure, we realize we have zero control over the previous sentence ever becoming true, but it’s how we’d like to think our shared love comes to an earthly end.
Speaking of, “The Luckiest” also addresses this issue:
“Next door there’s an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep.
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away.
I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way to tell you that I know we belong.”
The two of us are normal enough to play Michael Buble at our wedding reception for our first dance, but we’re also off-beat enough to play a Ben Folds song that talks about the “luckiness” of being born in the same time era, as well as, dying near the same time in old age.
I’m aware of my natural ability to be weird and abstract. But somehow that worked for me and my wife chose to spend her life with me. To quote Ben Folds one last time:
“I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you… I am the luckiest.”
Happy Birthday Jill!
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1981, 1999, 30 years old, 30th birthday, Ben Folds, daddy blog, marriage, Michael Buble, The Luckiest, wife | Categories:
Growing Up, Nostalgia, People, Storytelling
Thursday, July 21st, 2011
If you are around age 30 and are a mom or dad, then you likely fall into one of three categories: A) You had your first child while I was in college; B) You had your first child while I was still single and establishing my career; or C) You had your first child around the same time I did. So your oldest child is either around ten years old, five years old, or is still an infant. And yet you’re still about my age.
While living in Alabama from March 28th until last Friday, I worked with Mandy Wilhite-New, a girl I grew up and graduated high school with. A while back we were talking to each other about our kids and she pointed out the fact that it’s often difficult to relate to her similar aged friends who have infants and toddlers. Mandy and her husband have both a 10 year old and a 6 year old. It was ten years ago, back when the first Shrek movie was still in theaters, that she was experiencing what I am now. Yet Mandy and I are both 30.
I’ve heard it said that compared to 30 years ago, today’s younger adults are more dependent on their parents both financially and emotionally. In other words, our own parents had to “become adults” more quickly than we did. So in theory, even though by a calendar’s standards I am 30, compared to this point in my own parents’ lives, I’m more like 22 or 23.
So while I got to travel the world and take my time in settling down and getting married, I don’t have the abundant parenting experience that 30 year old parents with a 10 year old have. It’s also safe to bet that I don’t have the same level of maturity, in certain senses, because in theory, I am a younger, less experienced adult. I have more growing up to do and more humbling experiences to encounter.
The bottom line is that becoming a parent has a lot to do with adult maturity. That’s obviously not to say that adults who never had children or are unable to do so are less mature; not at all. But the undeniable fact is that becoming a parent changes you into someone else. Becoming a parent is a disciplining process that has no other comparison.
Once you produce and care for human offspring, you will undoubtedly be removed of much selfishness and self-pride. And no caring parent is immune to this fact. No parent has a baby that feeds himself, changes himself, entertains himself, pays for himself, and takes care of himself. (Or “herself” as the case may be.) So there’s your dose of irony for today: Nothing makes an adult out of a person like a baby does.
Today is a Lucky Book Giveaway Day! In the vein of “removing selfishness while serving others,” the featured book this time around is “Lead. Serve. Love.” If you are too busy for some daily inspirational reading but still would like to somehow fit in a bit of motivation to start out or finish off your day, then this book will be perfect for you. You can read plenty of reviews of the book here. (Its average rating was 4.5 out of 5 stars.)
To the first five readers who leave a comment saying they want it, I’ll have the book mailed to your house. Include your mailing address in the comment itself or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Within an hour or so of this post being published, I got my 5 winners for the book. Hint: When I give away books here on The Dadabase, it’s always on Thursday nights around 8PM Central Time. But not every Thursday…
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1981, 30 year old parents, baby, Class of 1999, daddy blog, free book, inspirational reading, Lead Serve Love, parenting, Shrek | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Spirituality, Story Bucket, Storytelling
Saturday, June 25th, 2011
My wife and I have a catch phrase in our house: “millionaire mindset.” Whether we are discussing an unnecessary purchase or are patting ourselves on the back for money we cleverly saved somehow, we speak our code word to each other.
It’s our way of reminding ourselves that in order to be successful with what we have been given and blessed with, we have to think with the mindset of a frugal millionaire who worked hard for his fortune. It’s not that we are trying to become millionaires, but it sure won’t hurt if we are wise in our spending; and more importantly in our savings.
So we are not ashamed to use store brand products, to buy used stuff for our son off of Amazon.com or Ebay, and to make our own baby food for him. We keep in mind that while name brand products tend to impress people, they are counter-productive when it comes to financially prospering in the long run. Having a child makes you reconsider your spending habits as well as your saving habits. After all, our son starts college in less than 18 years from now!
There was a time when bigger and flashier was better, when it seemed most people refused to buy store brand products; right down to their hand soap and kitchen table condiments (like it matters that your bottle of mustard says “Kroger” instead of “Hunt’s”.)
I think it’s safe to say that the modern cultural movement is now towards simplicity. We, as a nation, are learning the meaning of “living within our means” and not consuming more than we actually need; that credit cards are the devil and that frequenting all-you-can-eat buffets are an invitation to onset Diabetes.
We get it now that money isn’t everything- and more importantly, that it in theory it’s a waste of time to spend our entire lives chasing more money, only to find that by the time we retire there may be nothing left for our own social security. Money is simply a necessary evil, as far as I’m concerned.
My wife has said several times since we’ve been married, “I could never be a millionaire because I wouldn’t know what to do with the money- I would end up giving it all away.” Exactly. Because no one person can legitimately spend anywhere near a million dollars within a reasonable amount of time, without giving a good portion of it away. Sure, it can be invested, but ultimately, it’s a matter of asking what the end goal is in investing that money. I personally just don’t see much of a point in investing in a bigger lifestyle only to encounter more overhead.
Who knows, though? Maybe all it would take is a million dollars to prove me wrong. I doubt it though. I prefer a laid-back, low maintenance lifestyle. I don’t like extra noise even if I’m wearing the most expensive ear plugs.
I’m sure part of the reason my wife and I have this generational mindset is because we were both born in 1981; the crossroads between Generation X and Generation Y. We were told our whole lives that money isn’t everything, but being happy is. So we believed it. And I guess we always will.
Free buzz cut courtesy of my wife… priceless.
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1981, baby, becoming a millionaire, born in 1981, culture, dad, fatherhood, finances, financial stress, Generation X, Generation Y, millionaire, money, name brand, parenting, spending habits, store brand | Categories:
Home Life, Must Read, Storytelling