August 29, 2011

Relationship Building

I take you from your mother as the sun begins to set in the West. Your brother and sister are in bed and now it is your turn.

I have a bottle of the finest milk, freshly pumped from your mother, and I have the iPod docking station gently streaming lullabies. I carry you into the room and sit on the bed and position you in my arms. I marvel at your eyes and cheeks and as we gaze into each others eyes, I am reminded just how much I love you. I smile and, this is new, you smile back. Your smile swells my heart and I hold you closer and kiss your soft, downy head.

At this point, as the room darkens and the music softly fills the room, I pick up the bottle and get ready to begin our bedtime routine in earnest. You are not yet aware that this is about to transpire. I can tell because you haven’t begun your part of the routine yet. But I know it’s coming.

I smile and bring the bottle to your tiny lips, ready to feed you into a restful slumber. It is then that I see the look of recognition in your eyes. You realize that it’s bed time and, as if on cue, you begin your part of the routine…


Ah, yes. It wouldn’t be bedtime if we didn’t play the “Let’s scream in Daddy’s arms until I fall asleep” routine.

August 14, 2011


I don’t know Jennifer.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t hurt for her.

Sometime this week I became aware that a family had been torn apart by the sudden death of a husband.  A father.  A friend.  I became aware because a friend shared a wish that we all make Mikey’s favorite pie and share it with our loved ones.  Don’t take things for granted, was the message.  Cherish your family and what you have right now because you never know when it will be taken from you.

And so we did.  Late Friday night I  bought the ingredients and prepared the pie on Saturday morning as Swee’Pea helped with quality control, tasting bits and pieces as we went along.  I made the pie for “dessert night” which is usually Friday in our  house but was serendipitously switched to Saturday because I had to work late on Friday.

And as we sat around the table last night, eating our delicious Peanut Butter Pie, I explained to Swee’Pea and TheMonk that we were eating this pie in honor of Mikey.  I explained that I didn’t know Mikey but it was my understanding that he would want us to eat his favorite dessert and come a little closer as a family.  We talked about death and how Mikey was watching over us and how my father, who died when I was six, was looking over us too.  And what was left unspoken was that I too could die at any time.  I addressed this unspoken fear by telling them that I love them very much and even if I died, I would be there for them whenever they needed me.  As tears welled up in my eyes, I told them how much I loved them and that no matter what, I would be there.  Just as I know Mikey will be for his family.

It was a good reminder for me.  As hard as I try to live in the moment and embrace what life has to offer me, too often I get caught up in someone else’s anger or frustration or hurt or whatever.  I know that life’s too short to carry petty anger in our hearts and I try my best to let it pass through me and let the love remain.  I don’t always succeed.

But today, as we eat leftover pie and enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I’m left to ponder this again.  I know I’m lucky and that my family is lucky because we still have each other – even when we annoy the hell out of each other.  We have each other to lean on and to love and hold close.  It’s something I didn’t have as a kid and something Jennifer and her family don’t have now either.

I pray for peace in the heart of Jennifer and her family.  I pray for peace in the heart of mine as well.  Life’s too short.  I think I’ll have some more pie.

August 8, 2011

TheMonk, Sacagawea and Tooth Fairy Fraud

I am sitting at my desk at work plotting the next great initiative at work that will propel my staff to certain greatness when I receive a text message from my wife.  It reads: “TheMonk lost another tooth at school.  He swallowed it.”

My first reaction is, “Again?!”  Because, you see, TheMonk lost a tooth just last week that he accidentally swallowed while eating.  It was then we determined that the tooth fairy knows when he loses teeth and the fact that the tooth was nestled in his belly would not prevent him from reaping the precious bounty of Tooth Fairy goodness.

My second reaction is, “He had a loose tooth?”  I seriously had no idea.  I mean, the kid has lost so many teeth that the Tooth Fairy has begun making himself a snack after every visit.  TheMonk’s lost so many teeth that if he stands just right, he whistles in the wind.  I just didn’t think the kid had any more teeth left to lose.

Upon my arrival after work, I inspect TheMonk’s mouth.  I see the big gaping hole that used to be his two front teeth that have been missing since this time last year when he had them unceremoniously pulled after a run-in with a piece of playground equipment.  What I don’t see is evidence that a tooth has recently left his mouth.  I point this out to TheMonk and he insists that he lost a tooth and that his friend Amelia confirmed there was blood in his mouth.  I am unconvinced.

The gap doesn’t seem any bigger than it did before.  The teeth on either side look symmetrical.  In a court of law I feel I could win this case.  But in a court of 6-year-olds who have told their entire class that they have lost a tooth and have taken home the “tooth bag” (a perfectly mean extra homework project that any kid gets when he or she loses a tooth in TheMonk’s class) to much acclaim, it is impossible to say otherwise.  It is clear that the Tooth Fairy will be dishing out another Sacagawea $1 coin this evening.

Maybe he did lose a tooth.  I’m no dentist and the kid loses teeth faster than I lose readers.  But I don’t think he did.  And I have this sneaking suspicion that he’s perpetrating the biggest fraud known to child-kind: Putting one over on the Tooth Fairy to make a quick buck.

I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed.

(Okay, I’m totally proud.)


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