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Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
Every time we visit my parents’ house, you take back with you a few souvenirs.
Typically, they are my old Hot Wheels from when I was about your age in the mid 1980s.
You now have so many toy cars that you regularly ask me:
“Daddy, where’d I get this one? It was yours when you was a boy?”
I’ll look over and see an orange paint-chipped Gremlin or Snoopy driving a tow truck (that was before Mater was cool) and reply, “That’s right: Nana and Papa got me that one when I was a boy, like you.”
You are lucky that my parents didn’t give away any of my childhood toys. So each time you visit their house, you can try out and even walk away with anything on display in the 1980s museum I grew up in.
“Hey, that’s a Smurf car!” you so excitedly announced, holding a red car being driven by Smurfette.
I guess you didn’t realize that Smurfs are in their offical comeback phase- that at one time, they were 20 times cooler than they are right now.
You like to take my ’80s cars into school each morning, only to store them in your cubby all day. I take it as a compliment. It’s your way of taking a piece of me with you each day when I can’t be with you.
Sure, it’s been a few decades since I’ve been a boy, but I can totally relate to your excitement about toys- especially ones from the ’80s.
It also subconsciously points to something we share in common: boyhood.
You recognize that I’m an adult, but you understand the concept that I was once a boy who was a lot like you:
I was a boy with an orange Gremlin and a Snoopy tow truck.
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Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
A concept that is going viral right now is that at age 32, according to a poll on Netmums.com, we “turn into our parents.”
The Netmums News Team explains it like this:
“It is at this age when we are most likely to find ourselves echoing our own parents’ phrases or mannerisms…
The grown-up responsibilities of having children, owning a house and having a busy career all contributed to the feeling of becoming more and more like your own parents.”
Fate would have it that I just so happen to be a 32 year-old daddy blogger at the exact moment in history when this concept has gone viral. That’s pretty cool, huh?
So, have I become my parents? Do I echo their phrases and mannerisms? Do I feel more like my own parents because I have a child and own a house and have a busy career, too?
Yes and no.
No, because I feel like they made this parenting thing, as well as the busy career and owning a house thing, seem so worry-free and easy.
In that way, I feel like I haven’t turned into them, though I want to.
Maybe I’m realizing that I am giving myself an extra challenge as a parent because I want this all to seem as easy as I thought it was for my own parents.
As far as how I have definitely turned into my parents, I do admit to using my hands a lot when I talk- which tends to happen when your mother is half Italian.
Basically, my personality comes from my mom. I’ve never really thought about that before… interesting.
And it’s pretty evident to me that I am ultimately a vegan (I mean, I’m living a plant-based lifestyle; which is the more marketable, less offensive term) because it seems like my dad was always teaching me as a kid to question where our food comes from and to relate eating processed foods to getting cancer and diseases.
So it should be no surprise that, as a 32 year-old adult, I now associate Monsanto with the devil and I see GMO foods as the mark of the beast. (That’s a slight exaggeration. Not really.)
I felt so deprived because it seemed I was the only kid I knew who wasn’t allowed to eat white bread or drink soda at his own house except for on very special occasions. (I thank my dad for that now!)
He seemed to always have a distrust of medicine and the FDA, instead teaching me to rely on what was already available in nature to prevent and cure health problems. (Which is exactly what I successfully did with my eczema, severe allergies, and sinus problems!)
Plus, he was always open-minded to the unpopular theories that mainstream society and popular culture often ridiculed or ignored, which I think was fundamental in me becoming a Libertarian, in regards to my political stances.
So yes, at age 32, I’m pretty much a mix of my parents the way I remember them while growing up; which again, wasn’t at all a negative thing.
The question is, will you become me in about 30 years? If so, you’ll basically become your grandparents.
P.S. The pictures of me with my parents, featured above, are from around Christmas 1983, nearly 30 years ago, which is when I was about your age now.
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
Last week when I wrote “My Kid Doesn’t Easily Sleep In The Same Room As Me,” in reference to our recent family vacation, I ended by saying, “I just had to ask myself, ‘What would Clark Griswold do?’”
I think that’s a point worth elaborating on.
There is a lot of behavior of the fictional character, first introduced in the 1983 movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, that I do not wish to replicate.
However, he does possess a quality I very much admire. It’s the fact that, with pride as a husband and father, he ultimately remains optimistic and adventurous on family vacations.
Yeah, that’s not necessarily me right now… but I’m working on it.
I’ve said it before, it’s hard for me to not be in control. It’s how I’m wired.
But on a family vacation, so little is in my control, especially when it comes to your sleeping arrangements. And if you don’t sleep well, I don’t sleep well. Then we’re both really grouchy the next day!
This may sound “out there,” but I have recently started practicing the art of meditation. It’s actually been very helpful to me.
I’ve learned to focus on what I can control versus what I can’t.
Turns out, my attitude and my perception of reality are what I can control the most.
And now, I’m applying my meditation principles in everyday life; not just on family vacations.
I find a quiet moment and place at some point each day and “focus on nothing,” clearing my head of un-dealt with concerns.
Then I pray for wisdom, humility, and grace.
In the process, I realize so much of what I let bother me is actually rooted in fear. It’s ultimately fear that I won’t get to relax and have a peace of mind. It’s fear that I won’t get my way or be happy… or get a break.
But if I accept that a family vacation is not a true vacation, but instead, a concentrated effort to spend time with family without the distraction of work and school, then it’s easier for me to have the right mindset.
It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.
Honestly, this mantra has efficiently helped my attitude as a parent.
I also try to remember this quote attributed to Jim Henson:
“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
This reminds me of an article I read recently about Shawn Achor, known as “Dolphin Dad,” who promotes the idea that kids learn to focus and react the way their parents teach them; including the frequency of laughter and smiling that takes place in a household, as modeled by the parents.
He believes the attributes of successful parenting are demonstrated in dolphins; because they are playful, social, and intelligent. In essence, happier parents make happier kids.
For me, at least, I can’t be happy, especially on a family vacation, if I’m focused on what will make me happy.
I have to think the opposite: What will make everyone else happy? What will it take to lose my ego and therefore lose what limits me? How can I sacrifice to make this trip memorable for everyone, instead of one we will all later wish we could forget?
Plus, I have to remind myself of the words of Clark Griswold: “This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun.”
We’ll be taking a mini family vacation in October. I think I’m actually ready for the challenge now…
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Sunday, June 16th, 2013
2 years, 7 months.
While the writers of 20/20 are still patting themselves on the back for Friday night’s segment, “D Is For Dad And Dumb,” in which the advice for dads for Father’s Day was “don’t be an idiot,” I have meanwhile witnessed a different version of reality.
For this Father’s Day weekend, I have seen Facebook flooded with pictures of my friends’ dads. Despite being on Facebook since 2005, I never remember a Father’s Day so obviously consumed with people celebrating their dads.
In the midst of the “dad traffic” today, I also saw this really cool quote by Reverend Billy Graham:
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Despite the reinforced stereotype in media that dads are as about as respectable as Homer Simpson, most people in my version of the real world identify the concept of dad as an honorable thing.
Not to mention, the dads I know in real life have better things to do than to spend much time or energy worrying about how people outside of their nuclear family view them. (As a daddy blogger, I might personally be an exception?)
The dads I know put their family before their own needs and wants, on a daily basis. And that’s normal. It’s not something they talk about. They just do it.
Whether 20/20 ever gets the courage and/or integrity to address the quiet and sophisticated strength of dads in the real world, I don’t know.
It’s funny. I honestly can’t think of one time growing up that my dad ever did or said anything selfish. He only gave and sacrificed for our family the whole time.
That’s the way I have always thought of him and always will.
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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
I suppose it’s just universal that, as a little boy, you naturally like to try on your daddy’s shoes. I mean, it wasn’t that difficult for me to dig up a picture of myself in 1983, as a 2 year-old, wearing my dad’s boots. (Pictured above.)
You know it’s funny when you’re doing it, yet I can see you really like to imagine what it would be like to be my size.
Last week you turned to me randomly and said, “Daddy, you’re big? You’re big.”
I’m 5′ 9″, but hey, I’ll take the compliment.
This morning as we were all getting ready in Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, you snuck into the closet.
I wasn’t really paying attention; not to mention, I was barely awake, but then I heard you laughing… like you knew you were being a rascal.
Turns out, I was right.
You proudly walked out to Mommy and me in your Sacramento State football player t-shirt, a diaper, and a pair of mommy’s heels.
Oh, and to top it off, you were holding your monster truck.
You were quite the walking contradiction, literally.
There are plenty of times when you are hilarious and don’t know why. Today was not one of those times.
So you are now looking at the new wallpaper on my cell phone. Well done, Son.
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