Posts Tagged ‘ family ’

It’s Easy To Take These Moments For Granted

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Thursday night, Mommy went out for coffee with her friend Karen for her official “Mommy’s Night Out” for the month. (I get one too, but it’s called “Daddy’s Night Out” instead, obviously.)

I didn’t mind whatsoever, but I admit since that meant I would be putting you to bed, I sort of needed to speed through the process so I could finish up the dishes and catch up on some other work before Mommy got home.

You wanted me to play trains with you, though we already had our play time. Then you wanted me to read an extra story. And you wanted me sing an extra song after I had already sang you two Christmas carols.

I knew that the more time I spent upstairs with you, the less time I’d have to get my work done before Mommy got home. But then I reminded myself:

It’s easy to take these moments for granted.

You’ll be this age and in this stage… for a limited time only.

That’s one of the reasons I always put your age in years and the month at the top of every letter: to remind myself of how fast you’re growing up.

As hectic as our schedules are, we really don’t get to spend as much quality time as a family as we wish; it’s basically limited to the weekend for the most part.

And as far as exclusive father and son time, that’s even more rare. Sure, I take you to and from school every day, but there’s not much physical interaction there.

So I decided to let the work downstairs delay for a little while. You and me had a tickle fight instead.

It’s interesting how you don’t even put up a fight, other than try to shield yourself with your blanket like a turtle trying to hide in his shell.

Sure, it’s easy to take these moments for granted, but I didn’t this time.

And I still got the dishes done by the time Mommy got home.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Empathy For Dads Who Can’t See Their Kids Everyday

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I think it’s very important for me to make a regular habit of trying to imagine myself in other people’s shoes. That’s an ability called empathy, by the way.

The older I get, the more perspectives I gain, by seeing life through the eyes of those who have had different experiences than me. 

Something I think about sometimes is what it must be like for dads who are not able to see their kids on a daily basis; for whatever reason that may be.

I get to see you everyday. I get to experience life with you- even on those seemingly forgettable days where nothing particularly epic happens. But I am mindful to not take even those days for granted.

However, there a lot of dads who don’t get to see their kids except for certain days of the month.

It’s beyond sad for me to think about that; putting myself in that situation.

Where I work during the day at my H.R. job, I deal mostly with men-  many of which only see their kids on the weekends or every other weekend.

Maybe that’s why I am thinking about this today.

If I am honestly and vulnerably putting myself in their shoes, I see such a devastating version of my life; without you, without Mommy too.

You’re part of me; you’re half of me- literally.

How could I function without seeing half of me everyday; a half of me that needs and desires my certain fatherly influence on a regular basis?

That’s beyond a tragedy when I imagine it personally.

So I don’t take it for granted at all that our family lives in the same house and sees each other each day. 

I am thankful for what our family has- and I definitely don’t take it lightly. Because I make a habit of empathizing with others, the best I can. It puts things into perspective.

 

Love, Daddy

 

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That Annoying Learning Curve Of Love

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It was seven years ago today that Mommy and I stopped simply being friends, when I basically tricked her into going on a date with me to that fateful John Mayer concert.

Since February 5, 2007, we have been together; that day was such a defining moment in my life.

That was seven years ago! We have been married five and a half years; and you’ve been around for the past 3 years and 2 months.

In this moment, as I step back and think about it, I am so not the same person I was seven years ago when Mommy and I went on our first date.

I may have been more optimistic back then, but I definitely was much less experienced in life- therefore, I was much more naïve, by default.

Not only have I changed, but so has Mommy. The two of us have become improved versions of ourselves throughout the character-building exercises of marriage and parenthood.

We are different people than we were on February 5, 2007. The challenging part is always making sure we continue to grow up together, not apart. That’s what real love is about; it doesn’t always come easy or automatic.

Real love has required me to be more sensitive to her needs and less sensitive to mine.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how I took that Ninja Turtle quiz on Spike.com which proved to me what I had already predicted about my personality: I am Leonardo, the aggressive, yet reluctant leader.

But I am confident that, had I taken that quiz seven, or even 5, or 3 years ago, I would have been a Raphael:

“Charming, charismatic, and very good with people… Unfortunately, you’re driven almost primarily by emotion, often to your detriment… It puts you on the defensive a lot.”

My goal these days is to be the calm-assertive leader; to not react so emotionally to emotional situations and to not take things personally… even if that’s how they were meant.

I am learning to be a stronger man. I am learning what empathy means.

If only I knew all this stuff back when I was only 26… man, I could have been so much better of a husband and dad from the beginning, had I only had this mindset since 2007.

But that’s not how it works. Instead, it’s that annoying learning curve of love.

What I am learning is that family is about growing together, which means learning the hard way together about how to become wiser, more improved, and more humbled versions of ourselves; and to earn a better understanding of what love really is:

Being more giving and sharing of myself and being less expecting of those things from others.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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A Thank You Note To God, For Balloons And A Blue Cheetah

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Saturday morning, we hung out with some of your friends from school, at Home Depot. While the project was assembling a wooden race car, you were actually much more excited by the free, endless supply of balloons.

Despite the ongoing “balloon fights” (like a pillow fight) between you (the only boy) and the three girls, there was no crying. Just good clean fun; hitting each other in the face with balloons.

I really enjoyed the show!

Mommy and I let you bring three of the balloons home. Mind you, these are just plain balloons that I blew up myself- no helium.

Later that day, after you woke up from your nap, we bought groceries at Kroger, where Mommy and I have let you get into this (bad?) habit of choosing a new Hot Wheels car each week (hey, it’s just 98 cents).

However, when I let you check out the cars selection, a blue cheetah doll caught your attention instead. Fortunately, it just so happened that this particular blue cheetah was in the wrong section and the tags had been removed.

I took you to the general manager to find out how much it cost, and for you, he agreed to $ 2.99. You must have charmed him, because had it had the price tag on it, it would have cost $14.99.

You still had enough Christmas money to afford it, so you bought it; and boy have you been proud of “Cheety” since then.

So Saturday night, as we were getting ready for dinner, I walked by the coffee table and caught you “writing” (scribbling) on a notepad with a yellow highlighter.

You were quietly “reading” out loud what you were writing:

“Thank you for my balloons and blue cheetah…”.

Once you realized I had heard you, you stopped. I was way too curious not to ask you what was going on.

“Jack, who are you writing that letter to?”

I almost already knew what you were going to say- and I was right:

“God.”

I can’t argue with your logic. If it weren’t for God, we wouldn’t have balloons or blue cheetahs.

Sweet boy you are.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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They Grow Up So… Slowly?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I don’t regularly share pictures of you on Facebook, unattached from daily stories I write about you.

But over the weekend, I did. I just shared three pictures of you on Mommy’s Facebook wall, as she is rarely on Facebook anyway:

In one, you’re smiling with Mommy as you “make soup” with water and spices.

In another, you’re proudly displaying your hilarious monster truck collection. 

And in the third one, you’re using a pizza crust as a mustache. 

Sharing those pictures with Mommy was my way of helping her stay connected with Facebook friends; giving her new material to talk about without her actually having to start the conversation.

As the comments began rolling in, I started seeing a common factor: People were genuinely amazed at how much older you look.

I haven’t noticed it as much because I see you everyday. I’m more aware of changes in your intellectual maturity instead.

So I guess I should take this down as a moment in your life where you magically looked a bit older, all of the sudden.

Your friend Henry’s dad put it this way: “When did Jack turn 7?”

It’s like watching the minute hand of a clock. If you stare at it constantly, you probably won’t really notice it move. But if you turn away for 20 minutes, then return back to it, you see an obvious difference.

As your parent, I see you every day. Since you’ve been alive, there have probably only been 3 or 4 nights where I was out of town and didn’t see you at all for the day.

Something I have noticed here recently is that your hair is obviously more brown now, like your parents’ hair color, than it is blonde.

And I’ve noticed how your nose and lips look just like Mommy’s now, while your chin and brow look a lot like mine.

It’s easy to get distracted in actually raising you everyday that I tend not to see so obviously what everybody else does- those subtle changes are hidden, though they’re right in front of me.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

 

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