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In Ten Years

In Ten Years

As I reacted to the natural call of my offspring (“DAD!”) for the 1,528th time this weekend, I recognized that I was starting to sound annoyed in my responses. Annoyed. Annoyed with what? Being needed? Loved? Not alone?

Overall I consider myself to be a pretty good dad. But every once in a while I stop and see myself as being a complete ass. I allow my ever evolving, busy life to cloud my judgement and get in the way of valuing what’s really important. It’s the moments when I’m in the middle of something personal or maybe working from home (which I’m remarkably fortunate to be able to do from timeIMG_8576 to time), maybe typing an e-mail, that the adolescent piranha that can be my children, all seem to peck away at my aura simultaneously each with their own specific need, ie.”DAD can you make me a snack,” “Dad, my computer won’t work,” “Dad,where’s the remote?,”  “Dad I’m bored,” “DAD!, blankety blank didn’t flush,” “dad have you seen my … oh there it is.”

I’ve at times asked them to give me a minute so I can focus on the task in front of me assuring them that I’ll be with them in a minute. By the tenth time, I know I can come off somewhat rudely. Something about the same question being asked ten times within five minutes will cause that.

Yet, it’s those moments when I get made at myself for reacting that way. Because the truth is; in another ten years, I’ll miss the beckoning. I’ll long for just one, “DADDDD?!!!” And wish to God one of them would need me to find the brush their sister took without asking.

Remember, the days with our kids are limited. Embrace every moment, answer every question and once in a while, let the rest of the world wait and be the dad!

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in choices, Uncategorized

 

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Common Sense Jart Legislation!

It still amazes me that after a number of children and adults were injured by these little suckers, they were banned by our government. No regulations or restrictions on purchasing. Went straight to an all out ban on the sale of any kind. In fact, it was proclaimedlawn-darts-substitute-1 in legislation that all existing Jarts should be destroyed.

Conversely, a far larger number of children have been injured or killed playing with a firearm and it turns into a huge heated debate and battle over “rights” when you even consider any kind of discussion on the topic of establishing sensible guidelines and regulations to provide some sense of safety.

I’ve thrown a Jart and fired a shotgun. Both are pretty dangerous in their own right. Both are also fine if handled correctly and sensibly in the proper setting. (Throwing a Jart straight up in the air during a family picnic when I was seven was obviously in poor judgement).

One is banned and deemed unfit for human use (without so much as one mass Jarting) while the other continues to flourish despite daily reports of harmful outcomes. Doesn’t that seem a bit out of whack and speak to the overtly political and financially charged nature of the topic. Could it be, regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, that we as a society continually allow our egos and fears to cloud our ability to reason and judge appropriately?

I mean come on:

  • Kids ends up in hospital with head / brain injuries from Jart = Banned Toy
  • Kids end up in hospitals or graves after accidentally shooting themselves or a playmate = Decades long debate and billions of dollars spent supporting each side of an argument on firearm regulations

Both scenarios seem like unreasonably extreme reactions.(I personally dread the day I’m arrested for the Jart I have concealed under my bed to protect my family from intruders.) Surely somewhere in the middle is a common sense solution. (For both Jarts AND firearms)

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Be The Dad

Be The Dad

I received a few messages from several of you asking, “Where’d you go?”, “You haven’t posted in a while, you ok?,” and the simple answer is, all good. I’ve started no fewer than twenty new posts that for one reason or another I didn’t finish. I think that once I found myself repeating myself from posts a few years old I started to wonder what was next. What messages could I provide and what topics could I cover that I had yet to delve into?

To that end, for the past six months I’ve contemplated where I’m going with this blog. It’s been over five years since I started writing and the experience has been amazing. But I’ve always believed that everything must evolve. So where was I headed? What was next?

Then last week I found myself heading to Buffalo to say goodbye to my own father who had just turned 93 and had been suffering from dementia. The decease was in its final stages 12400442_10154457866442908_1873714818408639097_nand by the time I’d hit the road he had entered hospice and had stopped taking nutrients. During the 12 hour drive I thought a lot about my father and my experiences with him. I also considered my own life as a dad. And I thought about all of you. And I thought about stories I’d read about kids who didn’t have a father figure growing up for one reason or another.

The underlying thought I kept coming back to was the fact that my dad was there. Right or wrong, good or bad, brilliant or misguided, my dad was there. He wasn’t the kind of dad who came to track meets or came to see my band play. But he was there as a father. He was an influential part of my life and there was no question … he was the dad. He was a foundation and a rock for me to build my character and self image upon.

That, as it turned out, was the inspiration I was looking for. Along with encouraging readers to stay positive and to focus on the kids, I wanted to start encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Be that rock. Be that foundation. Kids desperately need a father figure. They need that guidance. A single mom can fill a lot of roles, but I’m a firm believer that every boy needs a strong fatherly influence to help him build his character and self image. And every young lady should have the opportunity to grow up with a strong understanding male influence who will provide her with a reference of how she should be treated by men.

And so, in the coming weeks I hope to start a new video blog encouraging men to “Be the Dad.” Even if it’s not your own kid, be the dad to someone you know doesn’t have one. Be the positive, be the root. Growing up I had several father figures. Along with my father I had brothers-in-law who were like big brothers and each of them influenced me in different ways. I would not be the same person I am without their guidance and time.

I know your situation may make it harder than some, but know that every moment you spend on your son or daughter is pure gold. Every text of encouragement. Every call. Every visit. Every second you have with them is invaluable. Sometimes all it is is a mindset. Visualize yourself as “The Dad!” Remind yourself, “I’m the dad!” Because you are. And it’s a gift like none other.

I said goodbye to my dad last week. There will be characteristics of his that I will carry with me and pass down to my own kids of course. But the one thing that I’ll always remember is, he took his role as father very seriously. He was there. Always. And I’ll always thank him for that.

And so moving forward, I hope to encourage each and every one of you to, if nothing else, “Be the Dad.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Pace Yourself

Those who stop by here regularly likely know that I’m an avid runner. It’s been a part of my regimen since I was probably seven. I think what started it was my sister telling me I should be a runner because runners have small butts. But whatever the reason, it stuck and now nearing fifty, it has helped keep me relatively healthy and mentally stable.

One thing I learned from running was the value of pacing myself. I remember one particular track meet my freshman year of college where this point was very well illustrated. We were running the 1500 meter on an indoor track which adds up to about 7 1/2 laps. When the gun went off one runner from a visiting school just took off at full speed. I mean the rest12038670_10154254531642908_511981866436531684_o of us looked at each other and were like, “He knows it’s a mile right?” By the end of the first lap he was sailing off well in front of the pack. By the fourth lap, he was on the infield holding his hamstring screaming in agony.

I pictured that guy this morning as I was making school lunches. If you think of each year like a mile of a marathon, I’m on mile five. And let me tell you, some days I think I may have come out of the gate a bit too fast because I’m already suckin’ wind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the run and for the most part the pace feels pretty good. But man, every once in a while I get a parenting cramp.

As divorced dads, we all pat ourselves on the back from time to time. We make dinners, do laundry, help a kid through a school project, coach a soccer game, make it to every recital, have good heart to heart talks, drive kids all over kingdom come for school events and
playdates, make dinners, do laundry; wait I lost myself for a second. What was I talking about? Oh yeah. “GO DAD!” Parents know it’s a lot. And some days just getting the kids to school on time feels like a victory lap is in order. But know this; it’s a long, freaking, run.

If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know those first few miles you’re like, “This is EASY! Not sure what all the fuss was about!” Then at mile 21 you’re on the curb puking your guts out while your left calf muscle keeps involuntarily flexing. That’s parenting. Every mile the breathing becomes more labored. The hills get steeper. The sun beats down a little harder. And your legs get a little heavier.

So pace yourself. Stop at every gatorade station you can find. And hell, walk a few hundred yards from time to time if you need to. It’s OK if your pace fluctuates from mile to mile. Not every lunch has to include all five food groups. Not every breakfast has to be eggs, sausage, toast and juice. Sometimes a pop-tart is OK. Trust me, they’ll live even if every once in a while their socks don’t match.

 

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Is The Tide Turning?

“Hot damn!” I honestly yelled this out loud when I saw this commercial for Tide featuring a dad dealing with three messy kids. Three messy daughters no less! This guy is my freakin’ hero! So is the ad executive who pushed this concept through.

It may seem trivial to some. But seeing dads represented as the ones doing the house work and taking care of the kids is something we need more of. Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.05.46 PMWe aren’t all helpless beer chugging, ESPN addicts who can’t figure out how to start a washing machine. We know how to cook, we know how to clean toilets and fold laundry. We create household budgets, make school lunches, compare prices, iron, make beds, know our way around a vacuum (and empty it when it’s full). We know what a dryer sheet is for and yes, we have opinions about laundry detergent. OK, we lose socks. But hey, we’re not perfect … yet.

None-the-less. Anything that presents fathers managing the day to day of raising our kids is a huge plus and helps counter all of the negative stereotypes. Yes, dead beat dads exist. But look around any aisle at the grocery store and you’ll see more and more dads with two kids in the cart and a third in tow comparing prices of pancake mix and choosing the best tomatoes.

So my hats off to Tide. Keep em’ comin’! Next let’s see a divorced dad cooking a chicken dinner and ensuring he and his kids sit down at the dinner table together! (A boy can dream.)

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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