Posts Tagged ‘ childhood ’

A Front Row Seat For The Train Show (1000th Dadabase Post)

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

I always wondered where my 1000th Dadabase post would land.

Well, this is it. Completely random and unplanned, this one is about your love for trains and how you got a “front row seat” for a real train.

Our family drove to my hometown of Fort Payne, AL for Memorial Day for your cousin Calla’s 3rd birthday.

While there, you asked if we could all go the park.

As Nonna pushed you on the swing and Papa pushed Calla, we heard a that famous thunderous roar, as the train whistle tooted.

“Jack! The train is coming! Let’s go see it right now! Come on, run!” I announced.

Needless to say, we might as well have been right there in the presence of Elmo; because you were in such awe of the majesty of this Norfolk Southern train passing in front of you as Nonna held you.

I can only imagine what was going through your head.

Until that day, you had never seen a moving train so close up; only from our car, but even then, it wasn’t nearly as close as this train was.

You have spent countless hours over the past couple of years meticulously crawling around the carpet, pushing your Thomas the Train and Chuggington trains on their plastic tracks.

I have watched you day after day as you have carefully lined up each train so perfectly; matching up “line leader’s” train with the appropriately color matching coal cart.

This is something you’ve always been very serious about. So to see the real thing, it was more than a big deal to you.

I’m glad I was able to witness you seeing your first real live train.

While it may not be some epic letter to you in this 1000th Dadabase post, I think it does properly symbolize what’s important to you as a 3 year-old boy: family and trains.





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Classic Childhood Memory: Riding On A Grocery Shopping Cart

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

My main role when our family goes grocery shopping is to distract/entertain/keep you from knocking over the fruit stands.

Fortunately tonight, we had just come back from the Monster Jam truck show and you were occupied as long as I could keep helping you find new places to crash your toy monster trucks into each other.

As we finally were checking out at Whole Foods, you instinctly grabbed on to the end of the grocery shopping cart, as if it were understood you wanted to ride out to the car while the helpful Whole Foods staff member pushed you.

This is not something you had ever seen before- like I said, it was simply an instinct.

After gaining a quick nod of approval from me, Emily, the girl who eagerly and kindly helped us take the groceries out to the car, began pushing you out to the parking lot as Mommy and I escorted you.

That is a classic childhood memory that every kid should have. Emily, the Whole Foods girl, was very cool about it.

As you can see from the photo collage (above) I made of the event, you loved it!

Just yesterday I wrote to you about how there were certain freedoms that I got to enjoy as a child, that you won’t be able to.

Well, fortunately, riding on the end of a shopping cart was not mentioned.

The way I see it, it’s your right, as an American little boy, to enjoy riding on a shopping cart.

It’s a right of passage.

I feel as your daddy, it’s sort of my responsibility to help set the backdrop for these little adventures.

Granted, you can’t wander around the neighborhood aimlessly like I did back in the 1980s… but you can ride a shopping cart like I did back in the 1980s.

At least there’s that!





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The Joy Of Wandering Around Aimlessly As A Kid

Friday, March 14th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This week I happened to read a really cool article that is going viral right now, called “Things I Did As A Kid (But My Kids Won’t)“,  by Amber Dusick.

She explains how parents born in the 1980s, such as myself, were basically the last generation of children to enjoy no seat belts, no helmets, no childproofing, flying attempts, (certain) playground equipment, sledding, and freedom.

What I see that all 7 of the things have in common is that they all are related to safety.

In other words, if I raised you by the same standards of safety that were okay in 198os in the mountains of Alabama when and where I grew up, I would be considered (by some, at least) as a bad parent.

That sounds weird to say because in no way is it to discredit the parents who raised Generation Y; it’s just that things are a lot different now.

Out of the 7 things that Amber Dusick describes in her article, the one that jumps out to me as the most valuable is… freedom:

“Perhaps the most striking contrast is the freedom I remember having. I’d eat breakfast and then leave.

I’d wander around. Aimlessly. Sometimes with neighborhood kids and sometimes alone. I’d cross our creek with homemade bridges. And catch turtles without ever hearing of the word Salmonella.

I’d put roller skates on and skate down sidewalks. And stop myself by crashing into a bush, just before the street.

I never stopped to eat lunch. Because I remember being out all day long. Only to be called in for dinner when it was getting dark.

My kids? Yeah, right. At least not until they are older. Like thirty.”

During my own childhood, I had the privilege of riding my bike, as well as my moped, through nearby neighborhoods. I explored the woods with my friends. I went around shooting my BB gun at power poles and metal fences.

I totally know what the author means when she refers to wandering around aimlessly as a kid. I loved doing that!

Almost seems almost like taboo now.

I want you to be able to have the kind of adventurous boyhood I had, and you will, just in a different format… somehow.

We’ll have to make a few changes, but we’ll find a way to make it work.

Even then, it’s hard to imagine you ever wandering around in the woods like I did. Double standard, I know.





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Why My Son Doesn’t Get Hurt In Front Of Me

Monday, June 17th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning I accidentally bumped your head as I was getting you out of my car.

Not just a slight graze, but it was the kind of hit that would cause the world “BAM!” or “THUD!” to appear in the air, like on the 1960′s Batman TV series.

Your response?

About 3 seconds later, you nonchalantly scratched your head, as if you might have felt a piece of fuzz in your hair or something.

But it was like you were confused, more than anything.

Under normal circumstances, youwould have been crying pretty hard and it would have been a big dramatic ordeal.

But I guess when I use the phrase “under normal circumstances,” I’m referring to Mommy being present.

Like magic, you basically feel no pain or discomfort when it’s just you and me.

I don’t believe that’s because you’re trying to impress me by showing me how tough you are. After all, I need no convincing of that. I am very aware of how thick your Croatian skull is.

Instead, I believe it’s because you instinctively aren’t seeking my physical comfort. Quite the opposite, you test me physically. You love to wrestle me; even if during the process you pretend to hate it.

Of course the obvious flip side to this is how different you act “under normal circumstances.” With Mommy in the room, you can barely stub your toe on the carpet, then yell, “Owie!” On cue, Mommy is authentically concerned.

With me, you don’t even bother.

But more importantly, like I said, your brain evidently doesn’t even process pain or discomfort when it’s just you and me. You’re so much lower maintenance during “Daddy only” time. Ya know that?

It’s interesting how quickly you can turn on and off the “Mommy switch.”






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5 Ways Super Mario Bros. Symbolizes Fatherhood

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

14 months.

It’s funny how a quirky Japanese video game about an Italian plumber who busts bricks by jumping up and hitting them with his fist ever became a phenomenal hit in American culture.

Yet, I don’t know any dad around my age who wasn’t greatly psychologically affected by this unquestionably weird game known as Super Mario Bros. for “regular” Nintendo.

In fact, I have good reason to believe that modern day fatherhood can be easily represented through this nostalgic part of our childhood; which in essence, has become part of our manhood as well.

1. We are constantly working hard to earn money. Sure, it’s more convenient when you have the ability to jump 6 stories high to collect gold coins which are magically floating in the air, but just the same: We as dads are constantly reminded about the need to provide for our family.

2. We have to be strong and not let it show to the world when we are in pain. Mario was able to smash bricks with his fist (and his head?) yet he never bled nor showed any sign of injury. Sure, it’s important we share with our wives what’s really going on inside. But for everyone else, it’s culturally important for us to not go around expressing our concerns about financially providing for our families.

3. We must commit to our decisions and responsibilities. The first Super Mario Bros. was the only one where you couldn’t move back to the previous screen; only forward. Similarly, we as men and dads are dedicated to our families; not looking back to easier days, but instead to the challenges ahead.

4. We continue learning new lessons in fatherhood, therefore passing to the next level. In the way that Mario had to jump as high as he could on the flagpole to complete the level, sometimes we gracefully pass (jumping to the top of the pole) while often we barely get by (landing at the very bottom of the pole).

5. We become accustomed to disappointments, but continue our mission. Fatherhood is full of those “Thank you Mario but our princess is in another castle!” moments. I often feel that the times I figure out how to solve the current puzzle regarding how to get my son to go to sleep or convince him to eat a certain food or something like that, he figures out that I figured him out. Then he finds a new way to challenge me.

I could really go for one of those mushrooms right now. It’s be pretty cool to truly become “Super Dad” where I actually knew what I was doing.

If nothing else,  I’d love to be able to change the burned out headlight on my 2004 Honda Element without ruining the bulb. Who knew that the natural oils from your fingers can actually ruin those stupid things? I think the last time I changed a headlight was on a 1988 Ford Bronco II.

Guess I’m still living in The Eighties.

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