Posts Tagged ‘ the meaning of life ’

Family: A Witness To The Best And Worst Parts Of Life

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

I wish I could think of a more clever title than that, but that’s the best way to summarize how I see it.

If only it was as easy as two people falling in love and having babies and it all automatically working out after that…

Like marriage, maintaining a positively functioning family is hard work. It’s an investment.

Our lives spent together as a family are enriched because we accept the challenges and mysteries of everyday life together. But being a family doesn’t magically fix things.

The way I see it, a strong family must be built and nurtured. I can’t expect to be completely fulfilled by you and Mommmy.

That would be putting way too much pressure and responsibility on both of you. In the same way, I can’t make your life perfect and complete simply because I’m part of your family.

Being part of a family means agreeing to go through the worst parts of life together with the same passion and acceptance as we do the best parts.

It’s a priviledge, a responsibility, and a blessing.

I don’t mean to seem so fatalistic or gloomy about it, but I do believe that love is long suffering. I believe that’s part of what a family’s love is all about. Yet, I believe that same love is also kind.

And that it doesn’t envy; that it doesn’t parade itself. It’s not puffed up;  it doesn’t behave rudely. It doesn’t seek after a selfish agenda.

I believe love is not provoked and doesn’t think evil or rejoice in iniquity, but instead, in truth.

The way I see it, our family’s love must bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

And I believe love never fails.

Yes, that’s easier to say than to live out on a daily and lifelong basis. I know.

Because love is not automatic or easy. It’s a choice.

Maybe it’s too naive to aim for perfect love in our family, but I do know that perfect love drives out fear.

I can’t expect things just to work out for us because we are a family. I have to be the kind of love I want to receive in our family.

To me, this is what real love is actually about. It’s a little too real sometimes.





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The Cliche About Loving Being An Exhausted Parent

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday night as I scrolled through friends’ Facebook status updates in an effort to find anything controversial and/or weird, or therefore interesting, amidst pictures of Instagrammed feet propped up to convince everyone that person is truly relaxing and enjoying life Kenny Chesney style, I came across this status update by a fellow dad:

“You know you’re old when you spend Friday night with your family looking at floor tiles at Lowe’s… and you love it!”

Dozens of “likes” were won.

Somehow it sort of reminds me of Chris Rock’s line at the end of the movie What To Expect When You’re Expecting:

“We love being dads! When I was young, I used to think I was happy – but now I know I’m happy. Exhausted, but happy.”

It’s basically this idea that the rewards of parenting make up for the lack of sanity, peacefulness, and sleep I traded in.

This may be blasphemy to say in a parenting blog post, but, it’s not worth it…

What I mean is, I don’t think it’s fair or legitimate to say that the “rewards” of parenting “make up” for all the sacrifices involved.

Yes, I absolutely love being your dad, but it’s not something I would do for any amount of money; because no amount of money would be “worth it” to me. My price tag would be so expensive I wouldn’t receive anywhere near my asking price.

Being a dad is something I live for. I am wired to want to make all necessary sacrifices for you. And yes, it’s true: Nothing else I’ve ever experienced has brought me a better sense of meaning in my life.

But can you really put a value on life itself? I say you can’t. And when I think of “life itself,” I think of you.

I think of random little things you surprise me with every day; things that probably wouldn’t be that interesting if I told them to anyone else.

Like how you recently turned the CD sleeve to the newest Dave Matthews Band album into a new children’s storybook, which you read in a falsetto voice:

“Hey! Wake up everybody! Time to eat your oatmeal… The man wakes up in the box. Hey, where’s my bed? The bird wakes up on the lawn? He looks for food? He eats the Cheerios. The milk is yucky.”

To me, that’s brilliant. It’s moments like that you give me which are so subtle and hilarious and awesome… and priceless.

But not rewarding. Because I don’t see being a parent as a rewarding thing; I see it as life itself.






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How My 2 And A Half Year-Old Sees A Rainbow

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning we drove the first half of the way to school in the rain, but the skies began to clear by the second half.

As they did, I announced, “Jack! Look, in the sky! It’s a rainbow! Do you see it?”

You looked through the windshield, asking, “Where? Where?” but not understanding what you were actually looking for.

Finally, you looked above the green I-65 South sign and finally saw what I did.

“I see yellow choo-choo, Daddy!”

That sounds pretty random when I tell it, but I have to consider: You’ve never seen a rainbow until today.

To you, it was a yellow train chugging across the sky.

Despite my 29 and a half year head start into life, I still am fascinated by rainbows; as you obviously are too.

Actually, it’s pretty hard to look up in the sky and see a rainbow and not at least think, “Cool, a rainbow.”

A rainbow is a universal sign of hope, I assume.

I have to assume that as hard as life can be, a person has to see a rainbow and consider that there is hope beyond what we see. For you, I would have to think that life is already more like that already.

You haven’t failed in life, yet.

You haven’t been legitimately disappointed about anything.

You haven’t regretted anything in your past.

You haven’t only wished you would have known sooner.

Hopefully, that’s where I come in. I want you to learn from my mistakes. Sure, you’ll make plenty of your own mistakes; that’s part of life.

But I want to help fast forward you through the learning curve of life.

It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but there are clues of hope embedded into everyday life, if we know what to look for.




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What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Thursday on the drive to school, I popped in one of my favorite CD’s ever, Mat Kearney’s Young Love.

In a random and successful effort to find a new way to entertain you, I handed over the jewel case with the lyrics; which instantly became a storybook to you.

While I’ve heard every one of those songs at least 273 times, a phrase from the very first song, “Hey Mama,” caught my attention:

“What are you doing for the rest of your life?”

It’s such an understated question. Naturally, though, the answer is simple:

You and Mommy. In other words, whatever I am doing for the rest of my life, it revolves around the two of you.

Granted, I had obviously given plenty of prior thought of spending the rest of my life with Mommy nearly five years ago when we got married.

But as for you, I hadn’t truly consciously put you in that same category; at least not since you were a newborn.

No matter what my calender says, your name is on every day for the rest of my life. There will never be a day that you don’t consume my thoughts.

It’s one of those things that every dad-to-be dwells on. I can remember now, how for the months leading up to your birth, I would constantly think about how you would forever change my life.

I would think about how my existence in this world would now cause a ripple effect which would be undeniable- simply because I was responsible in bringing you into this world, and more importantly, because the way I would raise you would make who you would become; for better or for worse.

So yeah, I haven’t given too much thought about that in the past nearly two and a half years. I’ve had so many other dad-related thoughts to consume my mind since then.

And that just goes to show you… you’re what I’m doing for the rest of my life.





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Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science

Friday, January 18th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

As I sat across from you and Mommy last Sunday morning for breakfast at The Perch in Nashville, I had an epiphany for the first time since you were born:

“I am happy about my life.”

Since you arrived, Mommy and I have overcome dual unemployment; two moves; one of our cars breaking down in the middle of the 2nd move; buying a new car; the ceiling of our living room caving in; you having a febrile seizure; me almost losing my job last summer; to finally where we are today:


A state of normalcy where I can finally exhale.

I don’t think most dads’ lives were as chaotic as mine when their first child was born, so perhaps I had a late start in getting to the point of coming to the realization of how happy I am about my life … as a parent.

Today as I was listening to my favorite radio station, WAY-FM, I learned about an article in USA Today called, “Are Parents Happier? Dads May Be, But Not Mom, Singles.

I read the article which refers to new research in the journal Psychological Science and I get it; at least in my own head. No one needs to explain to me why research would show that dads are happier than single men, single women, and moms.

Here’s my explanation, as spot-on or dead-wrong as it may be:

I’ve never heard a man say, “All I’ve ever wanted was to be a dad.” Yet, I’ve definitely heard many (if not most?) women say that, in regards to becoming a parent.

While I obviously don’t speak for all or most men, I myself never longed to be a father; I just always knew I would be one.

For me, becoming a dad was something as predictable as getting a job, getting married, and getting old.

I only had generic expectations in regards to being a dad. What I didn’t have were dreamed-about expectations about how complete and meaningful my life would seem once you got here.

But that’s the thing. Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of meaning my life gained once I became a dad two years ago.

It’s like I finally mattered to the universe. Because now I matter to you.





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