Losing the Grinch: When I Became a Who

The GrinchI have a personal Grinch.  I have never met him, but I know he is out there; and he knows I’m out there as well. We are connected, we share a history.  And it is not a history I would have chosen for myself… obviously.

No one wants to be a Who

When my son (my first born) was only a month old, we stayed at my parents’ house for Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we raced home, looking forward to sharing our first Christmas as parents of a perfect and beautiful baby.

I first realized that something was wrong when I pulled into the driveway. Something was off. The air around me was different. A sickening feeling suddenly tightened my stomach.  Once I was out of the car, I quickly surmised the awful truth of the situation. I told my wife to stay in the car with the baby and the dog.

I asked her to call 9-1-1.

Our house was broken into on Christmas Eve and our first Christmas as parents was forever ruined. Continue reading

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The Historical Resonance of Turning Two

With a baby...Sentimentality runs thick in my family. It has always been that way, carrying on that tradition from my parents to me. And when a holiday or family event arrives at our door, the past always arrives with it, shaking the snow off its boots, an escapable addition at the table.

Every Christmas tree is compared to a past tree, every gathering being a moment to remember those no longer there, and birthdays are always tainted with the feeling of a time gone that will never return.

This is not a bad thing.

In a way it adds to my family’s experiences along this mortal coil, since we view time and moments in such a special light. So at any event, look for me with the video camera trying to chase something down that can’t be chased down; the elusive kernel of a pure, real instant.

Every giggle, every dance, every story of my kids, I want to capture it, knowing that someday, with my sentimentality sitting beside me on the couch I will want to view it again… and again… and again…

That time that is just about to slip away. Continue reading

Upon The Ground: Breathing Lessons

A new short story from my collection Upon The Ground is available via the literary Web site, Green Spot Blue. This is the sixth story from the collection (You can read the other stories via the links on the Upon The Ground page on this site).

This week’s story is entitled “Breathing Lessons.” You can read it here. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the story.

“Breathing Lessons”

She has asthma. And sometimes it could get really bad. Especially when she was very nervous and scared. When she was a little girl, bullies would tease her because of it. They would watch her face turn blue and laugh when she started making wheezing noises through her throat. Then she would start to hyperventilate and once she even passed out from the excitement. She remembers waking up later in the nurses’ office with a cold rag held to her head.

But all that was so long ago and now it was very rare when it would get that bad. The last experience she had with it that bad was during her wedding. She remembers vividly the old feelings running through her mind as she tried to keep standing on her feet.  “Try to keep calm. You’ll be fine,” she said in her mind throughout the ceremony. She could feel the attention bearing down on her. His hand reached out at just the right moment….

“He did this to me,” Stacy said as she rubbed her enlarged stomach. “This is all his fault.”

She sighed. That was a lie. She wanted to have the child. He felt it was too soon, but he didn’t argue the point. So really it wasn’t all his fault. It was her decision. Well, it was her choice. She just forgot to worry about the pain aspect of it and what that would do to her nerves.

“I have too much time to think,” she said to herself. Her doctor ordered her to stay in bed (she felt something that didn’t feel right) and she had as many days as it would take of not moving to look forward.

You can check out the rest of the story here. Thank you for reading!

Nine Thoughts On Turning One

Today, my daughter turns one.

It may seem selfish, but my kids’ birthdays always become a moment of reflection for me. They are milestones and milestones usually have that impact on a person, no matter if they want it or not. Yet, as first years go, this one seemed to speed past, leaving a soul wondering where all of the time went and why it had to go by so fast.  Here are nine of my initial thoughts on her birthday and the last year…

1. I have heard that many say when your babies age, it makes a parent feel older. That has yet to be the case for me. Maybe I have a touch of the Peter Pan/young at heart thing going you see in the movies, but having kids has made me reclaim bits and pieces of my own youth. I wear brightly colored shoes now, I know all about superheroes, and I can read Fox in Socks incredibly fast. To be honest, I like being this guy, I like being a dad. In a way, it is a gift my kids gave to me… If that doesn’t sound too Hallmarky. Continue reading

Introducing Your Child to Jazz- Some Recommendations

Green Spot Blue has printed a new article by me.  This one is about jazz and how to introduce your child to some of the great artist and records.  Here is an excerpt from the beginning…

As parents we all want the best for our kids, and our plans are filled with the best intentions.  Many times this relates to music and our desire for our kids to know more than just what is on the pop stations. Some parents may try to listen to classical more, but for me I have always chosen jazz. Jazz, above all other music genres, seems to me to sing of creativity, the thrill of thinking outside the box. Songs are filled with experimentations, expressions. You feel love more, you feel pain more. There is a story there that surpasses any you may hear in the lyrics of a country song.

The problem is that many times when we parents sit back and look at our own musical choices, we can’t help but feel guilty. Usually it is the same artists, the same albums; we return to the comfort of what we like the most, not realizing that our child is hearing the same thing again… and again… and again….

Well, for the parent that wants to introduce their child to America’s great original artform, might I recommend 7 classical jazz albums to share with the family. Consider this an opportunity to lose The Wiggles, this is an introduction to jazz.

You can read the rest of the article, as well as the recommendations here.