Category Archives: Parenting

A Debt of Gratitude

Miss me? Don’t answer that. Instead, say a prayer or two for me. I could use them right now. But enough about me…

A few weeks back a friend of mine was going out of town for a week. He posed a request to me. 

“Could you pet sit for us?”

I didn’t even honestly know he had a pet.

He doesn’t.

His little girl has a bunny rabbit. My motto is, if it doesn’t jump into your lap showing the affection of a hyper caffeinated child, it ain’t a pet. Also, if the slightest noise can cause it to have a heart attack and die, you might want to consider a dog. 

But we had a bunny when I was a kid. OK, we had about ten bunnies over the years. After Mom accidentally cooked Thumper I would have thought we’d learned our lesson. More on that later. 

Lepus: Latin for messed up.

Maybe it was the way he asked. He seemed genuinely embarrassed. He’s a pretty manly guy – the kind who exudes confidence that he could take on anybody in a brawl he’s that well built. To observe  this jacked dude lower his head and almost whisper the question “Think you could, um, take care of my daughter’s rabbit while we’re gone?” was quite comical. If it were up to him and he had zero regard for his little girl’s blatant admiration of her old man I think he’d let the critter starve. 

But I have a little girl too. More to the point I have a friend and here he was asking me a favor. 

Of course I said yes. And I meant it. The fact that I’m only writing about it now indicates how it truly was nothing to me because I was just helping a friend and fellow dad. 

And Fluffy and I had some good times. For a week straight I’d drive over, let myself in, watch some Cinemax, toss some hay at the rabbit, drink their wine, and leave. After five days I realized they don’t have cable and don’t drink. Once we got that straightened out I stated going next door where I encountered an emmaciated bunny. Also Cinemax has some weird titles. Fluffy and I frolicked together in the yard. I read him a few bedtime stories. Wilt Chamberlain: My Story seems to be a favorite. Every night without fail as I was putting the book down Fluffy would roll his eyes and say “Eh, I’ve got better numbers” before crawling into my lap and saying “I love you Daddy! and drifting off to sleep in my arms. 

Tonight I stopped by my friend’s house for a few minutes. It’s nice to catch up. We live a few minutes apart but see each other very sporadically. As I was on my way out the door he handed me a paper bag. “Just a little thank you for taking care of the furry little guy.” How did my brother Paul enter into this?

It was a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, and a big one at that! It was totally unnecessary but I accepted with great delight. He then added the compliment that he could tell I’ve been working out. Before you get all “that’s weird” on me, know that this man has borne the brunt of my insane desire to get in as good shape as he is for years. That compliment was very much appreciated. 

So, children, learn this lesson. When a friend asks a favor always say yes. Who knows? There might just be gin in it. And if you’re lucky you might just have a good friend who knows you like gin (and who understands how insecure you are about your body compared to his). 


Dental Sprite Skeptic


This girl’s going to be the death of me.  I haven’t pondered what “drastic measures” means but I’ll get there.

Rebuilding America

My son made this.

It’s a 3D puzzle of the US Capitol that my wife brought him when she came home from the DC area after a trip last weekend.  He worked on it every day after school.

Considering he’s only 7 it’s pretty impressive.  Yes, she and I helped him with some of the really intricate, tiny parts.  Still, he did most of the work.

I’m quite impressed.

Now I’m just waiting for him to run for president.  If he can build all this by himself, imagine how well he could deal with the real Congress.


Keeping Score

My daughter…  Gotta’ love her.  Well, I gotta’ love her anyway.  But if you knew her, you’d adore her almost as much as me.  Let me explain.

Let me first explain the special bond we share.

I was at a friend’s house for dinner earlier.  He has two little boys but no girls.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love having a son.  If I didn’t have my boy, who else would get my craziness?  Who else would I have as an ally when the women of the house align against us.  No, it’s awesome being a dad to a son.  Even though I know I have a heavy responsibility in just teaching him how to be a man when I’m not sure I’ve got that down myself; I love bonding with him.  We understand each other in a way that no other two people can.  And yeah, there’s something awesome knowing that I had a part in creating this little person who will perhaps one day pass on my genes, who will carry forth a strength I didn’t know I had, who will be for another a physical sign of God’s paternity.  Wow.

But my daughter is something else.  She and I were destined to be bonded from the day she was born on my birthday…  at the same exact time of day as me.  That’s spooky.  But true.  There’s something tender and beautiful about having a daughter when you’re a guy.  They soften you.  They make you realize how powerful you are by their daintiness.  They force you to realize that what brute force you have was put into you by God for the express purpose of taking care of them.  You get to be for them the perfect man, the image of the man they want to marry.  And more than that, you get to be superman for them.  You don’t even have to do anything special.  You’re automatically their hero.  I’ve never been anyone’s hero so it’s kind of awesome.

I love noticing all the quirks my kids have.  While I am extraordinarily proud of my son for going out for the local basketball league and sticking with it despite lack of decent coaching and an uncertainty of how to play the game I have to mention something about his sister and her cheering him on.

Yesterday was his last game, or so we thought.  It was a playoff game in the morning.  He’s 7.  What kind of playoffs do you have exactly.  We went to the game assuming something.  Since they had only one two games in the regular season they couldn’t possibly do that well in the playoffs.  Don’t misunderstand me.  Of course I want my son to win.  It’s just that winning that game would mean we’d all have to be back at 5PM for the second round.  And really, 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon kind of breaks up the day now doesn’t it?  To our great surprise they won.  Rats.

So we all returned to the YMCA at 5.  “Honey,” I asked my wife, “isn’t that other team the kids who beat them last time 44-4?”  “Sure is,” she replied.  OK.  A quick four quarters and we’re done for the season.

What was funny though was how my daughter and I got into supporting the little guy.  “Daddy,” she asked, “are they going to win?”  I knew they likely would not but didn’t want to dampen her sense of hope.  “Probably not sweetheart,” I said.  Oh, I guess I did just that.  “Seriously, little lady,” I said, “your brother is having fun right now.  That’s what matters.  Maybe we should have some fun too!”  And that’s when I taught her the wave.

OK, so we were the only two people in the stands doing the wave but it was so funny.  She laughed every time I jumped up with my arms in the air and then she’d do the same thing.  We also got on the floor and did a dance for her brother.  I’m sure he was mortified.

In the end, I think she learned more from me about basketball than he did.  Except about the score.  There are some things even a dad can’t help with…

“The other team,” she said, “has either 22 or 55 points.”

That’s right little girl.  Sometimes digital numbers confuse Daddy too.


Another Day Without Mommy

What a morning, what a day!

Here’s the rundown…

Started out with an awesome breakfast made by… wait for it… Daddy!

Basketball Noir…

Then in this order,

  • basketball practice
  • basketball game
  • music theory classes
  • house cleaning
  • 19 minutes of hardcore kettlebell
  • trip to the movie with the kids
  • dinner at Chick-fil-a

Then it was time for more Lenten exercises.  These basically involve a Scripture reading and the rosary.

At the end of the day I had the kids in bed for the third consecutive night at an amazingly reasonable hour.  A friend came over for a few dozen drinks.  Ever the gracious house I offered wheat thins and onion dip.  Actually, it was good to catch up and I enjoyed myself very much.


Fatty Visits the Dentist

Last night when I got home from Parent-Teacher Conferences I was delighted to discover that the bodyfat calipers I had ordered a few days earlier had finally arrived!

And then I spent about thirty minutes trying to figure out how to use the damn things properly.

Here’s the result.  Apparently I have about 14.5% bodyfat.  OK.  I’m not too disappointed.  I thought I was at 25.  But I’m not thrilled either.  I’ve got a bit of work to do.  I understand from trainer that 10 and under is where I need to be in order to see the kind of results I’m looking for.  4.5% might not seem like a lot but believe me, it’s going to take forever.  Forget about trying to get down to trainer’s 4% (you read that right).  I think we can put that in the category of “never gonna’ happen”.

This morning I was treated to a dentist appointment.  Yay.

Dentist assured me he was going to try to save the tooth.  I went in expecting a root canal (had them before, they’re not that bad); but, true to his word, he only had to crown it.

The lighting in the dental suite suits my skin tone.

Spent the rest of the day resting for a bit (I had off today), getting the kiddos, playing on the playground with them, taking daughter to a girls club meeting, picking her up, and then carrying out day 3 of our Lenten exercises.

Unlike the exercises I do to try to look not-fat, these are good for the soul.

Top it off with a homemade tuna melt on wheat bread and we’ll call it a day.

See, honey, I can take care of things when you’re away.


Dear Daughter, Don’t Ever Change.

My dear baby girl, my precious daughter, I have a request for you.  Please, don’t ever, EVER change on me.

Oh I know it’s inevitable and you’re going to grow up.  But that’s not what I mean.  You did something today that just made me realize how beautiful you are, how blessed I am, and how wonderful God is.  It’s the kind of thing that a father takes note of and files in his brain in the “cherish” department.  It was just a moment between us.  No one else was around.  It speaks of your personality in all its glory.  It speaks, I guess, a little about how we’re raising you.

But most of all, it speaks of that tender and private bond that a daddy shares with his little girl.

Private, that is, until I blog about it.  Oh well.  Sue me.

What’d you do?

I was in the middle of watching the Superbowl.  You were not.

You had gone into my bedroom to watch a movie.  At least that’s what I thought you were doing.

Getting up for a quick bathroom break, I stumbled into my bedroom to see the most adorable thing.

You, dear one, were sitting on my bed, fully be-decked in a princess dress, sprawled across the foot of the bed, crayons in hand, scribbling on a piece of paper.

You looked up as if to see who was interrupting your artistic endeavor.

I glanced at you to realize that you had so much make-up on your face you looked like a raccoon.

And then… we both burst out laughing.

I think in that moment we just knew that something funny and special was taking place.  You see, sweetheart, you aren’t very good at applying make up.  Then again, you’re only six.  I give you lots of credit for trying though.  However, Daddy thinks you’re beautiful and don’t need make up.  But I have no problem with it.  If you could only have seen your face.  I guess you didn’t have to since you saw mine and my reaction.

The drawing?  You were making a card for your teacher.  It was beautiful, like you.  It was also thoughtful.  She hadn’t been your teacher until after Christmas and you wanted to make sure she got a Christmas card so you had drawn a tree.  You asked me to write the lyrics to “O Tannenbaum” on the back, which I did.

And then I gave the prettiest little girl in the world a big kiss.  Fortunately, your make up didn’t smear.

I hope when you get older you’re just as thoughtful, just as sweet, just as beautiful, and just as funny.

Sweetheart, don’t ever change.  Daddy loves you just the way you are.