Friday, October 26, 2012


Our lovely caring son Jack has the makings of a top-notch counter-sniper team: incredible patience, an eagle eye, memory like an elephant and a bias of un-hesitating action. To wit:

Ol' Santa has been busy around the 'Boro, running hither and yon, directing her elves in all manner of ways to prepare for the coming of Christmas morn. In her sly way, she makes passing suggestions like "Wouldn't you like some galoshes from Santa, Jack?," hardly hesitating to hear the reply but busily moving on to other more pressing matters. It's hard to believe he even notices, though his eyes go briefly wide with excitement - maybe just a seed has been planted. He goes back to whatever near-mishap is close at hand, hardly missing a beat.

But remember he does. Oh yes - he remembers well.

One of Santa's well-meaning but non-detail-oriented elves put said galoshes way up on the top of the dresser, presumably out of sight of peering 3-year olds and their pack of smaller siblings. Said elf did not anticipate that Jack would climb up and stand on top of his bed to make sure the regularly-appearing items on top of his dresser were undisturbed. And then, faithful readers, comes the pitter-patter of little soon-to-be-clad-in-yellow-rubber feet:

"Mommy!!! Santa came early and brought my galoshes! Come see!!"

Silence. Bewilderment. Chagrin. Sniper in the open. Compromised.

"Umm, hey big guy.. I talked to Santa the other day and he was having trouble finding your size, but I found some at the store so I went and got you some. Want to go ahead and try them on?"

Back to the drawing board.

Ol' MacDonald Has a Brain Spider

These kids crack me up...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Waxing Gibbous

I feel full. Or rather, I feel like my life is getting full. There are days when I am so torn between all of the emotions, events, demands, obligations, and opportunities of life that I just can't decide which direction to turn next. Driving home tonight, after a little over 15 hours at the office trying to finalize a summary judgment brief, I just could not help thinking about all of these things, and dozens more that I can't recall. Now, half past midnight, I am drawn to a simple text editor, trying to empty out some of the thoughts in my head so that it is just a little less full, and maybe then I can sleep.

Full of love. My life is full of love, more than I feel like I can appreciate. I am floored by how sincere, and sweet, and loving my children are. How honest, and devoted, and caring my wife is. How quickly our lives have gone from one to two to five to full. All day long I kept opening this picture - taken a few weeks ago of all five of us, just a snapshot of a glimmer of fun, nothing like the real thing - but I probably opened it 5 or six times, just to stare at it a few minutes and recharge.

Too full of myself. I was working like a dog today to get this assignment finished, and all three of us stayed at the office until 11:30, until it was done. There should be a sense of relief, of accomplishment - but there's not, because tomorrow or the next day or the next week it is the same old routine. I need to just back off and not try to do so much, because I know it is wearing me thin just as much as it wears on the rest of my family. Doc especially, who bears the brunt of my absence or distraction. And the kids - Jack especially - who are starting to realize when one of us is gone.

I recalled driving home how much fun it is to play in the waves at the beach, when you re comfortable in the water and know that a big one will come every now and then that you aren't quite ready for, but you just roll with it and pop back up the first chance you get. But there are times, when it really catches you off balance, and then before you get back up the next one rolls in, bigger than it looks, and for a little bit you take a good pounding until that set is over. But before it is over, before you say Hey, maybe I should go sit on the sand for a bit - you start to get hear that little voice of panic saying How many more times am I going to get knocked down? I didn't realize a wave could pound you that hard against the sand. When you are on top and catching the crest, its a lot of fun - but if you get caught off guard in a big set, well - it will wear you out. Makes you stop for a minute and think Maybe I'm not in charge here, there's a lot of power out there that I didn't fully appreciate.

Full of loss; full of grief; full of regret. Bob Millikan, a good friend and great role model, passed away earlier this month. Bob taught me to row, came to our wedding, wrote me a recommendation for law school and a handwritten letter when jack was born. "Long battle with a chronic disease" was the line - but when that happens, you wonder Could I have been a better friend? Spent a little more time staying in touch? Noah Pippin has been on my mind a lot this summer as well. Noah was one of our Marines in 1/5. Incredibly bright, remarkable person, he wandered off into the Montana wilderness in 2010 and his remains were discovered earlier this month. He knew what he was doing - I think. Maybe he saw a beauty in it that I see hints of but just cannot quite come to terms with. Unlike Bob, he was likely not a person I would have seen again. For some reason I still miss his presence in the world.

I feel like I am entering the fullness of my life, that I should stop and take more than just a sip of the depth of beauty and love and loss and sadness that surrounds us all. And at the same time, knocked over by wave after wave, drinking becomes a concern very secondary to just drawing another breath whenever you get the chance.

Full of hope. I pray that I will always be full of hope. There is so much potential in life, so much capacity in each of us, for love and happiness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The red pill

A good friend of mine recently had her first baby and sent me an email today thanking me for being so excited for her, as if it was an emotion I mustered up on her behalf to keep her afloat.  She is very much still in the post-partum, sleep-deprived haze of a first-born one-month-old and will get to a point when she realizes that I actually really do want to hear about how she managed to get all the way to the grocery store and back without any vomit on her shirt, but it got me thinking about why it is I cannot help but get so giddy over my friends' offspring.

Perhaps it's because I know what they have in store.  

Tonight, when I got home late from my meeting and went back into the kids room to kiss them goodnight, they were still awake. You'd have thought Elmo himself wearing a sweater of Hot n' Nows just walked in
their room by the expressions on their faces. We laid on the bed for over an hour and I was told about the unhealthy but obvious man-dinner Daddy provided (which Matilda will neither confirm nor deny but from what I could gather consisted of roasted flour tortillas that puffed up into "balloons," purple mac n cheese, and "so so much milk my belly sloshed in a bad way.")  I was also informed that Jackson is no longer a fan of cats, which is why Caroline was meowing and hissing periodically, and that putting one's nose in one's bottom is a bad idea. 

Becoming a parent is like choosing the red pill. You are suddenly thrown into a reality that anyone still in the fabricated reality of the Matrix cannot possibly understand or appreciate. It is overwhelmingly exciting to have a good friend cross over, if for no other reason than to commiserate on how incredibly inept our children can make us feel.  It doesn't hurt to share in their hilarious approach to the world, either.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


He has been welcomed with a genuine love I could not have known was possible by such little people.