A Moment In Time

Little Bastard

As you may know, Connor looks in the trash every morning and counts how many pieces of candy mummy and daddy ate after he went to bed. And then announces the number to everyone while shaking his finger back and forth. Tisk, Tisk.

BUT, little does he know that we ate this many after he went to bed last night but only put 3 wrappers in the trash.  Touche!

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93 Days Dads Daughters Family Life NICU Prematurity

10 Years Ago, Yesterday

Yesterday, 10 years ago, was the worst day of my life.

It was also Ava & Zoe’s 10th birthday which, granted, implores a more thorough explanation before the Facebook mamas schedule an event after “coffee Tuesdays” to have me lynched.

What exactly happened 10 years ago is something that I will endure forever, but that being said, even 10 years later, I continue to live with the consequences of that day.

I had a hard time yesterday; I tried to write about it, I tried to post online about it, and I tried to dig deep and find my patience for the special day.

I fell short of my self-imposed demand of pseudo-perfection.

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Life is hard. Parenting is harder. And when you mix in the challenges that some kids live with each day (of all kinds and extents), it not only affects them, but it can, and often does paralyze the entire family.

At least temporarily.  We find comfort in that “tomorrow is always another day” when we can try again.

The innate problem with that resolve, reluctantly, is that we don’t have an infinite bucket of tomorrows. We can’t just repeatedly chalk it up as a bad day. We have to find strategies and alternatives to help our kids be successful in the things that move all of us – the passions that make us who we are and give us purpose in life. Otherwise, what’s the point?

In particular, Zoe had a rough day yesterday. Her extreme frustration with the mundane and ordinary is hard to comprehend. As a “normally” adjusted adult, it baffles me and in return, my own frustration elevates and nothing constructive comes from our collective meltdown. That doesn’t mean either of our feelings are any less valid, but it does present a problem and requires a gargantuan level of patience for which I do not typically have reserves.

Some believe it’s often best to remove emotion from these situations and approach it more objectively. That often works in business and other aspects of my life but, on a personal level, it goes against the very fabric of my existence. I wear my heart on my shoulder; I make no excuses for it and am grateful for being able to access that part of my soul as I know it’s so very hard for many people.

Emotion, for me, is the *food of life*. It makes us human and to take that away defeats the purpose of connecting to one another, to our world, and most importantly, to ourselves on a higher, more intimate level.

I guess the point is that we cannot mask our emotions or feelings, however absurd others may think they are. Rather, we should own them, understand where they come from, and find ways to embrace and channel that passion into something purposeful and meaningful instead of letting them escalate, unbridled until they become the cog in our lives that keeps us from becoming, *awesome*.

We all need to find ways to to celebrate who we are  even if we don’t know who that is just yet.

For the past 10 years, somewhere in the back of my mind I’ve been trying to play the fit the square peg in a round hole game. I’m learning, albeit excruciatingly slowly, that I need to play a different game altogether.

The game I learned as a kid is not the same game they play. Together, we need to learn, and accept, a lot of things about each other:

  • that the rules are different
  • that there are no rules
  • that they don’t always know the “why”
  • that their feelings don’t have to make sense to me
  • that their feelings don’t have to make sense to them
  • that they want to be happy but sometimes don’t know how
  • that I am the center of their world and that is a gift, not a right
  • that they are never going to be who I thought they should be, or think, or feel
  • that they are their own imperfect versions of themselves
  • that they don’t have to do things my way
  • that they have choices
  • that they are smart, funny, beautiful
  • that ***what they have to say is important***
  • that I have time for them
  • that I will protect them
  • that I am *trying* to help
  • that I need to be more patient
  • that my primary job is to be their Dad and not their friend
  • that I’m not trying to make their lives more difficult but rather make it easier
  • that I don’t understand sometimes
  • that we don’t have to always agree
  • that you don’t always have to understand your feelings
  • that it’s ok to be frustrated
  • that it’s ok to be sad and not really know why
  • that it’s ok to want to be alone sometimes
  • that it’s ok to ask for help
  • that you don’t have to be good at everything
  • that you don’t need to learn how to ride a bike
  • that you are entitled to your own space – physically and emotionally
  • that what you feel is valid, good, and important
  • that Daddy makes mistakes too
  • that you can do anything you want in life
  • and that I’m imperfect and that’s ok too.

Yesterday, 10 years ago, was one of *the best days of my life. In an instant, you gave my life more purpose and meaning than I could have ever imagined. And each and every day since, you have pushed me to think and learn *differently*, love more, and become a better Dad and a better person.

Embrace who you are, own your emotions, and never, ever forget, that you are, and always will be the center of my world.

Happy Birthday.

Uncategorized

Pearl Jam | Fenway Park | August 5th, 2016

Amazing night. Amazing friends. Amazing Music.

Ahhhh, the music.

Setlist:

Setlist Encore #1 Encore #2
1. Release 20. Strangest Tribe 29. Draw the Line (Aerosmith cover)
2. Long Road 21. Society (Jerry Hannan cover) 30. Alive
3. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town 22. Just Breathe 31. I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles cover)
4. Low Light 23. Sleeping by Myself (Eddie Vedder song) 32. Baba O’Riley
5. All Those Yesterdays 24. Wasted Reprise
6. Given to Fly 25. Life Wasted
7. Mind Your Manners 26. State of Love and Trust
8. Why Go 27. Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover)
9. Daughter 28. Corduroy
10. Even Flow
11. Faithfull
12. Grievance
13. I Am Mine
14. Down
15. Black (with Bronson Arroyo)
16. Do the Evolution
17. Masters of War (Bob Dylan cover)
18. I Am a Patriot (Little Steven cover)
19. Porch

A Moment In Time

Hidden Treasures

Tonight, in a very dimly lit living room, I spent many hours sifting through some of my old books for 1st world reasons that aren’t important. I haven’t spent much time with my short bound friends in some time so it was nice to visit for a while.

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The old days of spending endless hours in Northampton and Amherst dusty bookstores and coffee houses is a distant memory but like any powerful memory from our past, there are certain things – smells, sounds, textures, or images – that immediately take us back to those special (or not so special) times.

For me, tonight, it was a freshly opened Walt Whitman; a book that hadn’t been cracked in many, many years.  Immediately, it emitted that nostalgic puff of musty poetry that book lovers cherish and in an instant, I was transported to a time when life was simpler and more reflective.

This particular book had been given to me as a Christmas present by my step-father, John. I had been an English major in college with all the answers and he was an English teacher at St. John’s Prep with an perpetual level of patience for me.  There were times that we would spend hours talking about books and writers or listening to music. I think we both cherished those conversations, those moments which in hindsight are some of the most special of my life.

I opened that book tonight and peered down at the first page.

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I had completely forgotten that he had written that note in the book so many years ago. But almost 22 years later, it moved me.

We lost John in December of 2005 very unexpectedly but for a split second, as I sat in the solace of my book sanctuary, I felt that he was close. That, yes, he *was* proud of me.

I miss him.

I miss our conversations.

I miss sharing our mutual love of music and literature.

But I find comfort knowing that while John will always be like a blade of grass, ‘intricate and fascinating’ in my memories, we can still always meet in a field of grass moving in waves of wind to chat about the demise of authentic rock and the profound loss I feel that he never got to meet all of his grandchildren.

Surely, it’s not the same but it’s just as beautiful, in a different way.

Like he said, ‘It’s good stuff’.

Community

An Open Letter to Georgetown

Nine years ago, my wife Val and I moved to Georgetown with our almost one year old identical twins and yellow lab into the house with the white picket fence and with a naive albeit innocent optimism that this was the beginning of something special.

Little did we know that not only did our lives take on a new and profound purpose with the arrival of our son two years later, but we had in fact embarked on a journey that would ultimately enrich our lives so much more than we had ever expected.

It started with a town.

When your kids are younger and you are new to town, it can sometimes be hard to meet new people and make new friends.  This was certainly a challenge for us as well and those first many years we maintained a few close friends within the confines of our respective neighborhoods.  We were both working full-time and traveling to Boston everyday while trying to raise 3 young kids.  We didn’t sleep.  We didn’t go out.  We did our best to survive a life of semi-controlled chaos.

We didn’t know many people in town and honestly didn’t know much about the town itself either.  But, eventually, when we began to venture out to American Legion Park and any other park in the area to find a few moments of quiet sanity on a park bench while the kids played, we began to recognize faces.  At first, a simple ‘hello’ and then eventually there were playdates and coffee.

Slowly but surely, our circle of friends widened outside the neighborhood.  The kids started school, played sports, joined dance class, cub scouts, girl scouts and an endless stream of Monkey Joe’s birthday parties.  And then the Donohoe 5k.

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The circle expanded and we finally felt we were part of a community that we loved so much.

Today, we continue to be fully entrenched in this town.  We are active with the GEF (Georgetown Education Foundation) and support the PTA and the GAA as much as we can.  We support local businesses and take pride in what this town embodies and the quality of the people that call it home.  We have a wealth of great friends who we count on every day to help keep our sanity and every trip to the park, baseball practice, or community fundraiser is always something we look forward to.

We are invested 110% in Georgetown.  This is where our kids play, learn, and make friends.  These are our streets, our schools, our Fire & Police departments, our selectmen.  These are our parks, our Town Hall, and our soon to be Senior Center.

We care about this town as do you.

On Monday, May 9th, our town will hold elections.  There will be ballot questions that are important to all of us.  Please come out and support this amazing town and community we all share and love.

Your voice matters.  Your opinions matter.  What you have to say is important, valid, and why we are lucky enough to call Georgetown our home.

I’m not as eloquent as Big Papi, but he is right about one thing.

This is our town.  This is your town.

Vote.