Compassion For a Military Man

I was sitting at the dining room table with my father when I said it.

We were playing backgammon while Trudy and our relatives were sitting behind me in the living room, watching television. I could see the steam rising from the cup of tea he had just poured himself. My tongue was still tingling from the single-malt Scotch sitting in front of me. I smiled as I took my turn; I was about to beat my father handily for the second straight game. Then, while my father was getting ready to roll the dice, I blurted it out.

“Tell me some Grandpa stories.”

My father stopped shaking the dice and looked at me. The edges of his lips curved upwards in the slightest hint of a smile.

“I can tell you stories or I can focus on the game. I can’t do both.”

I chuckled and said we should finish playing first. In retrospect, I should have quit while I was ahead and had him tell the stories; he ended up winning the best-of-five series.1 When we had finished, he leaned back in his chair, clasped his fingers in front of him and asked, “What kinds of stories are you looking for?”

I thought for a minute before answering.

“I don’t really know who Grandpa was.”

img_2756

My grandfather holding my father, who apparently was a cute kid.

I knew a lot about my mother’s parents. I knew about their childhoods living in India, their immigration to the United States and their lives as parents and grandparents. I knew a fair amount about my father’s mother, from being born in Mexico and raised there and in Cuba to living in the United States after she got married. I knew that she and my father moved with my grandfather every two years with each new military station assignment. I knew these stories because my grandparents were all still alive and had been able to tell me themselves.

But it occurred to me recently that I knew very little about my father’s father, who passed away when I was very young. I knew he had been a radio andimg_2754communications operator in the Air Force and that he served in North Africa during World War II. I knew one or two stories about him joining the military and about his interactions with his relatives. I knew that anytime I saw Harry Caray on television when I was little, I pointed to the screen and said, “Grandpa!” because they both had white hair and glasses. (This picture of him and my grandmother was obviously taken long before his hair turned white.) And I knew that I had been named for him.2 But that was about it.

I decided that I wanted to know everything. What kind of a husband had he been? Had he been an involved father? How did he get along with other people? What did he do for fun?

“Maybe just start at the beginning?” I suggested.

My father shrugged and pursed his lips. His eyebrows raised slightly as his face took on the expression that I know I make all too often. It’s the face I make whenever I’m about to start a task and I’m not sure how things are going to turn out. It’s the expression that says, “Okay, here goes nothing.”

He began speaking about my grandfather’s life as a young man, from making a living as an ice delivery man to driving his brother from Philadelphia to Tucson. He told me how my grandfather joined the Air Force, made it through basic training and had begun his introductory flight lessons before someone realized he was wearing glasses. That’s why he ended up as a radio operator; military pilots can’t wear corrective lenses. He spoke about his relationship with my grandfather, his memories of the interactions between his parents and the ways my grandfather’s personality changed as he got older.

I was surprised by the conversation. The bits and pieces I had heard about my grandfather previously had been largely positive. My grandfather was, by most accounts, img_2757.jpgfairly well-liked and treated people well. He made decisions rationally and served his country both in times of war and peace. And yet, there were aspects of his personality that were decidedly less so, like his rigidity in terms of his expectations of others or his limitations as a father and husband. I suppose I should not have been shocked to hear that my grandfather had imperfections; he was human, after all. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed but I certainly found myself with some new perspectives about my father and his parents.

That being said, I also don’t regret asking about my grandfather. I asked the questions because I was looking for a stronger connection to my past and I found what I was looking for. Part of growing up is coming to the realization that our parents aren’t invincible beings who have all the answers.3 We all have to come to grips with the knowledge that our parents and grandparents have strengths and weaknesses and that some of their decisions turned out better than others. Our kids will go through the same process with us as they get older. We just have to try to have compassion for those who came before us so that we can understand where they came from. Hopefully, our children will try to find the same compassion when they think about us.


1. He killed me in those games. The second game was a double game; he got all of his pieces off the board before I got any, which means that his victory counted for two games. The tiebreaker was a single game but it really wasn’t close.

2. My grandfather’s name was Hyman, but my father said he never would have forced that on me. Instead, he and my mother named me Aaron, which, in Hebrew, is Aharon. The Hebrew word, har, means “mountain.” Hyman became “high man,” which became “mountain dweller,” which became Aaron.

3. With all due respect to Dennis Green, they might not be who we thought they were.

Advertisements

Coming Back to a Changing Reality

We’re back.

My family and I went on vacation for nine days to Boulder, Colorado and we came home this week. The flights were fairly easy and our car service trips to and from the airports went off with only minor hitches. When we got home, we flew through the unpacking process in record time; we were in the door around 7:00 PM and were fully unpacked by 8:45. After baths, dinner and one major tantrum involving silverware being thrown by one of our children (I won’t say which), both kids were asleep around 9:15. It was obviously later than their usual bedtime but that’s how things go when you’re dealing with airline flights and changing time zones.

I should say, before I go any further: I’m not going to write about the trip itself. I’m not going to go into detail about the party with the cats, dogs, goats and chickens where we somehow met someone who knew us (the second time that happened while we were away). I’m not going to write about the car trip through the winding Rocky Mountains, praying that Eitan would be able to hold his bowels until we reached a clean bathroom. I’m not going to write about the pool or the zoo or the hiking or the sunsets; you can follow me on Instagram for all that. I will write about family, but I have a specific angle in mind which deserves its own post, rather than being forced in here. Oh, and I also won’t write about Eitan shooing me off the ice rink so he could skate by himself (although I may at a later date).

I will, however, write about the fact that there was something about this trip that really seemed to affect Eitan and Shayna.

It’s often difficult for me to put my finger on the exact changes I see in my kids over time. Some of these were pretty obvious, though. Shayna has been walking and running for months already but she really took off while we were away. I saw her climbing into chairs, onto ledges and, of course, up many flights of stairs. Our walks through the zoo and around the lake took a bit longer because we had to wait for Shayna but there is nothing like watching her laugh while she’s running, especially if she thinks she is being chased.

Shayna was talking more, as well. She could already say the names of objects like shoes, fork, spoon, Mimi (her pacifier) and almost all of the Sesame Street characters. Then, on the trip, she began using the word “no.” Trudy and I laughed at first because it was cute to watch her little mouth sound out the word; it was much less cute by the end of the trip when Shayna would scream, “No! No! No!” any time she didn’t get her way. But even if Shayna didn’t add any other specific words to her repertoire on the trip, she still seemed to be communicating more directly and purposefully than she had before.

Eitan also seemed to go through a change, though his was a bit more subtle than Shayna’s. His speech patterns were already well established since he’s older and we were hardly shocked when he was able to jet off on the bicycle we borrowed from our relatives’ neighbors . The shift we saw with Eitan was more closely related to his mannerisms and the way he carried himself. He seemed more self-aware, more confident and… older. He described the concepts he has been learning in school matter-of-factly and was eager to demonstrate his reading, writing and math abilities. He engaged in real conversations and was able to laugh at jokes. Even his posture seemed straighter.

Eitan’s kindergarten teacher told Trudy and me at Meet the Teacher Night that kindergarten brings about the most significant changes in children. She said that kids coming into kindergarten are usually insecure and need considerable guidance as they figure out their next steps. By the end of the year, though, they have developed so many skills, both academically and socially, that they are practically different children. There have been countless times since September when Eitan has done or said things that have stopped us in our tracks. Shayna has had plenty of her own stop-short moments, too, although the situations are obviously different. Each time, Trudy and I just look at each other and ask, “Where did these kids come from?”

I’m not sure if the shifts I saw in our kids during our trip actually happened during the nine days we were in Colorado or if they just seemed starker to me because I finally had enough uninterrupted time to actually be with my family. Trudy seems to be slightly less shocked by our children’s ongoing emotional growth, although I’m not sure if that is really the case or if that’s just what I tell myself since she is around our kids more often than I am. Either way, I’m actually able to spend more time with my family on an ongoing basis than many other working parents with more rigid schedules and less accommodating employers. The problem is that, even if that’s the case, it feels sometimes like my interactions with Eitan and Shayna are happening with different kids from one weekend to the next.

The changes keep on coming; I just have to try to keep up.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

I don’t remember being afraid of the dark.

I’m sure I was; I think all kids are afraid of the dark when they’re young. I know I had a night light in my room when I was little but I don’t remember when I stopped using it. I also don’t remember if the night light was for me or for my younger brother, with whom I shared a room (I’m going with my brother, since I was eight years old at that point). I do, however, remember being creeped out when my family spent a holiday at my aunt’s house and I slept by myself in the study. It wasn’t the dark that scared me; it was the print on the wall of the Mona Lisa with a monkey’s face instead of a woman’s. I was able to laugh at it the next morning when I saw it in the light but first seeing it in the dark had me feeling like it was watching me sleep. Not only that, I almost felt like the monkey was making fun of me with that goofy smile because I was scared of it.

Everything becomes different in the dark. Shadows twist common objects into fearsome creatures and threatening spirits. Kids hear the mundane clinks and whistles of a heater turning on or the creaks of a settling house and think burglars are breaking in. The darkest spaces of the room – under the bed and behind closet doors, for instance – suddenly become entry portals for monsters of all kinds.1 Disney even made a movie about this concept:

The fear of the unknown – even if it is actually “known” during the day – sends kids’ imaginations racing to conjure the scariest and most threatening images possible. We are so reliant on our sense of sight to show us what is real that, when that sense is taken away, our grip on reality is distorted.

I bring all this up because last night I ended up sleeping on the couch again. It’s not because we’re still trying to re-sleep-train Shayna; we stopped bothering with that because we’ll be out of town on vacation for Thanksgiving and Shayna’s sleep patterns are surely going to get thrown out of whack all over again. No, last night I started the night sleeping in my bed and had every intention of staying there until I had to get up for work in the morning.

I was interrupted around 1:30 AM, when Eitan came into our bedroom. He said he had heard a noise and he was “terrified.” He was clearly worked up and Trudy and I know that when Eitan has made up his mind about something, any hint at contradiction triggers a negative reaction. We didn’t want to take the chance that forcing him to go back to bed would result in him waking his sister so we let him stay in our bed. (It should also be noted that this was the third consecutive night he had come in because something had scared him.)

After dozing on and off for about an hour, I finally told Eitan he had to leave. We have a queen-size bed; it’s fine when Trudy and I are the only two people in the bed. It wasn’t even terrible for all three of us when Eitan was little. At some point, though, Eitan turned into a real person who takes up real space, so the three of us together in bed is no longer feasible.2 Eitan protested against going back to bed – he was apparently still “terrified” – but he agreed to my proposal that he and I would spend the rest of the night sleeping on the couch. I gave him a couch cushion for a pillow and took out two extra blankets from our closet. Then I brought my pillow and blanket over and we lay down with our heads near each other in the “L” of our sectional.

As comfortable as our couch is – as I mentioned in the other post about sleep training Shayna – last night’s on-the-spot solution is unsustainable. I’m hoping that the answer to Eitan staying in his room all night will be something simple. Maybe we will need to inspect Eitan’s bedroom with him to identify the shadows before the lights go off or spray his room with “Monster Spray” before he goes to sleep. It may involve teaching him some deep breathing techniques for him to use if he wakes up at night. We’re hesitant to put a night light back in the room because there is light from outside that comes through the window; plus, Shayna sleeps so much better when it’s darker and we definitely do not want to disrupt her sleep. We may have to try a number of different methods and just hope for the best.

Then again, Eitan asked me this morning if I remembered being at his school yesterday and punching a zombie in front of his kindergarten teacher. After assuring him that I had done no such thing, I realized that perhaps the reason for Eitan waking up is not actually because he has been hearing noises in his room or seeing shadows on his walls. It’s possible that our problems may be solved by a simple conversation about weird dreams.


1. Let’s also not forget the bedtime message, “Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

2. I thought that the name I chose for this blog would eventually become obsolete; clearly, that is not yet the case.

The Morning After: Revisited

Tuesday of this week was Election Day, which means that Tuesday was the day last year when Donald Trump was elected President.

I felt a twinge in my stomach as I was going through my Facebook memories that morning. I saw the picture my family took shortly after my wife and I had voted for Hillary. Three of our faces were lit up with the smiles of people who had executed their civic duty 1 and who had played a part in electing the first female Commander-In-Chief (it was only three smiling faces because Shayna just looked like she wanted to go back home).

I remembered feeling a sort of nervous excitement. It wasn’t just that I was part of something bigger than myself, a movement that was going to continue the progress that had been made over the previous eight years. It was the fact that I knew that our country was at a turning point at that moment. Election Day 2016 was going to mark a new chapter in our country’s relatively short lifespan and my family and I were a part of writing the new chapter. Both of my children were going to be able to point to our new leader and see a woman in the highest position of power in our country. My daughter was going to have a new concept of the possibilities available to her and my son was going to be able to understand that women need to be seen as leaders too in order for our country to truly succeed. In my vision, not only had a woman finally reached the “top,” she had done so against an opponent who was unapologetic about using racism and misogyny as core aspects of his political platform. It just couldn’t have gotten much better than that.

Of course, we know that’s not how things turned out.

I processed my feelings about the election results in a blog post the following morning. I wrote a letter to my children begging them not to give up hope about their futures and not to be scared if they saw adults having trouble handling the moment. I reminded them of the strengths they had already begun to demonstrate, even at their young ages, and the fact that they were poised to use those strengths to speak up for their values as they grew older.

On Wednesday, the day after this year’s election, I felt like that hope from 2016 had been justified. It was an off-year election this year, so there weren’t as many major races to watch. I focused mostly on the governors races in Virginia and New Jersey; one state was finishing out the tenure of Chris Christie, the governor who could not have fallen lower in public opinion, and the other had a Republican candidate running on a platform of xenophobia similar to Donald Trump’s from 2016. The Democrats won each election, though, as well as a number of other races where progressive candidates beat opponents trying to push the same agendas of racism and sexism that Trump ran on last year.

Let’s be clear: I’m fully aware that the election results earlier this week will have a relatively small impact with regard to the rest of the country. Democratic governors in two states, one of which has already had a Democratic governor for the past few years, are not going to have much influence on whether or not the federal government decides to slash Medicaid funding as part of a new healthcare bill. They won’t be able to stop a bill that forces middle- and lower-class families to give the government more money in order to replace enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest businessmen and corporations in America. What they will be able to do, however, is ensure that their states continue to move with the times by vetoing bills that discriminate against their citizens or by working to ensure that undocumented Dreamers can remain in the country under DACA.

This year’s election may not have the same wide-ranging influence as the national elections for president or seats in Congress but it was never supposed to. This election was all about the nation’s response to the first year of the Trump presidency. It was about people choosing to speak out against the rhetoric of hate that Trump used to get elected and demonstrating that we are better than that. It was about citizens saying that they were unhappy with the choices that were made last year and that they were not going to allow the same mistakes to be made again.

Last year, I wrote that my children should be hopeful and ready to fight. This year, I get to tell them we took the first steps back in the right direction.


1. The memories also included this exchange:
Me: We did it! We fulfilled our civic duty.
Eitan: Hahaha, Daddy said doody!

Featured image credit: CC0 Creative Commons

Parents Plan and Kids Laugh

I had it all planned out.

I had a great post in mind for this week. It was about how I use logic whenever I can to make decisions and how usually those decisions work out well for me. They sometimes don’t, obviously, because the world is not always a logical place.1 But, most of the time, logic steers me in the right direction.

I was going to write about how parents of young children don’t always get the opportunity to use logic to make decisions. There are certain areas where logic always applies, like keeping toys with little pieces away from babies so they don’t wind up choking or changing one’s approach to a teen in order to create more positive interactions. But there are so many times in parenting – when you find that your son has taken it upon himself to unlock the front door and take his sister trick or treating without telling anyone, for instance – where logic seems to just fly out the window.

I had a perfect scenario to write about too. Eitan had been misbehaving in the morning when he was supposed to be getting ready for school and he had started doing so somewhat frequently. It was fairly typical behavior for his age; Eitan wanted to watch television or he didn’t want to stop playing or he wanted to tie his pants around his head like a bandanna. It was attention-seeking behavior and Eitan was making sure he got what he was looking for, even if it meant he got negative attention instead of positive.

Here’s a quick lesson about the three kinds of attention. Positive attention is just what it sounds like: showing your child that you love them by complimenting them, spending time with them and being affectionate. Negative attention comes up when parents are angry with their children and have to discipline them. The last kind – the worst kind for children – is no attention. Kids need attention in order to feel valued and to develop their identities, just as adults do. If kids feel ignored or neglected, they’re going to start acting out until someone starts paying attention, which is just what Eitan was doing. He was sending me the message that he wanted me to spend less time emptying the dishwasher and preparing his lunch and more time playing with him.

The logical response, as I had planned to write in the original post, was to start making sure that the tasks I had been completing in the morning were done the night before. I started taking showers at night instead of the morning and Trudy and I began preparing Eitan’s lunch every evening, among other things. They were small tasks, of course, but they added up to a significant chunk of time that I was then able to shift from busywork to reading or playing with Eitan.

I was going to write about how well it had worked. I was going to say how nice it was that implementing a logical solution to a problem had yielded immediate results. It was like a light switch had flipped; Eitan suddenly started getting himself together much more quickly in the morning and the arguments seemed to occur much less frequently. On some mornings when I hadn’t finished everything the night before, we saw Eitan’s behavior start to revert back to his previous antics.

I keep referring to what I would have written because today didn’t fit the pattern. I showered last night and my work bag was all together. Trudy got Eitan’s lunch together last night and we ran the dishwasher in advance so I could empty it before bed instead of in the morning. When the kids and I were up this morning, I sat with Eitan for a half hour. We read some of his books and played with a sticker book. The plan had worked to perfection, as I had plenty of time to sit with Eitan and give him positive attention and still get breakfast together before school.

Except it wasn’t perfect. Eitan started goofing off after breakfast; he threw his pajamas up in the air instead of putting them in the laundry and getting dressed. He started taking out toys instead of putting his backpack in the stroller. A request for Eitan to go to the bathroom before leaving for school sent him into hysterics.  The time that could have been spent relaxing together before it was time to leave was instead spent arguing about the fact that we were now running late.

I’m not really angry, of course;2 most of what Eitan was doing was pretty typical behavior for a five-year-old. Kids goof off and they don’t have the same concepts of time or urgency as adults do. At their cores, kids just want to play and be acknowledged and validated; again, just like adults. The frustrating part was that Trudy and I implemented a plan that had worked in the past and executed it pretty well in this instance and it still didn’t work.

It reminded me of the saying that the day a parent becomes an expert at parenting a five-year-old is the day before the child’s sixth birthday. Kids’ personalities are changing every day; they learn so much so quickly that parents just have to do their best to keep up. Parents can – and should – learn from their mistakes and change their approaches as much as they can but it is still difficult to predict results with any sort of accuracy. Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law tends to hold true, especially with young children. If there is any opportunity for children to get into mischief, they are going to find it. Neither Eitan nor Shayna are old enough to pitch yet, but they still manage to throw curveballs at us every day.

 


1. I’m not going to give you examples. You know what I’m talking about.

2. Not anymore, at least. I was pretty annoyed at the time, though.

Sleep Like a Baby? Yeah, Right.

I’ve been sleeping on the couch for almost a week. Not only that, another man has taken my spot in the bed.

I’m not in the proverbial doghouse; I haven’t done anything to make Trudy upset with me, although one of our doormen seems to think I have.1 There’s also nothing wrong with my bed; I’m not on the couch because the mattress has a spring sticking out or anything. The couch is just where I’ve been sleeping recently. It’s actually really comfortable, but, of course, I’d rather be in my bed.

As with so many parenting situations, I have to sleep on the couch because of my children.

Shayna was terribly sick two weeks ago. She was congested, coughed up a storm and had a fever for over a week, which occasionally rose as high as 103 degrees. She saw doctors on four straight days at one point to monitor her temperature, get an x-ray to check for pneumonia and to make sure the rash that suddenly broke out all over her body wasn’t an allergic reaction. The doctors concluded, after ruling out the more serious and terrifying diseases, that she had fallen victim to approximately seventy-five viruses all at once.2

Shayna is fine now. Her fever finally broke (on day eight!) and the rash that made her look like a mutant faded after a couple of days. Her sleep schedule, though, had been thrown completely out of whack because she kept waking up from the coughing. The quickest way to get Shayna back to sleep is usually for Trudy to nurse her, which makes sense when Shayna’s sick and needs the comfort, but is sort of annoying when she’s healthy. Shayna knows how to sleep through the night, so Trudy and I would rather not wake up if we don’t have to. Sometimes Shayna’s sleep patterns get altered, though, so we need to remind her how to go back to sleep without nursing.

That’s where I come in.

I usually get up with Trudy anytime she nurses Shayna at night, in case Eitan starts stirring while we’re in the room or Shayna finishes nursing but doesn’t fall asleep right away. Whenever we’re sleep training her, though, I have to be the only person Shayna sees in the middle of the night. If I come in and close the door behind me then Shayna knows she won’t be nursing. This leads her to start protesting, usually fairly loudly. We would rather not take the chance that Eitan get woken up by her crying so he sleeps on my side of the bed for a few days and I sleep on the couch. That way, Eitan and Trudy don’t get woken up whenever Shayna’s whimpering starts coming through the baby monitor and Trudy saves up a little more energy for dealing with a sick child3 the next day.

The time it takes for Shayna to fall back to sleep varies. It helps that Shayna actually understands instructions now because I can come in to her standing in the crib, tell her to lie down and she usually does it. Or, if I’ve picked her up and she points to the door to say that she wants me to bring her to Mommy, I can say, “No, we’re not going out,” and she leans her head down on my shoulder. Sometimes she puts her head down right away and sometimes she keeps crying for a bit. I was up with Shayna for close to two hours for the first two nights but it was less time after that. She slept straight through last night so we’ll probably give her at least one more night just to make sure. My fingers are crossed.

This is one of those processes that new parents don’t find out about until they’re faced with it. Everyone knows that parents of young children are deprived of sleep, but it usually gets discussed in terms of newborns waking up three or four times each night to eat. Afterward, the discussion becomes all about training the baby to fall asleep (and stay asleep) on his or her own. Countless methods have been developed on the subject, all of which claim to be effective, even though many of them contradict each other. Even with all of that research, however, I don’t remember reading any references to the effects of baby sleep training on the trainers. It seems that the real message here, outside of describing what it’s like to have a sick child and the teamwork needed to survive it, is a tip for expecting parents:

Invest in a comfortable couch. You never know when it’s going to come in handy.


1. I walked in with flowers last Friday and he gave me a wink and a smile. “Flowers for the lady, eh? What’d you do wrong?”

2. Okay, fine, they said it was three or four viruses. But they definitely all came at once and that rash was freaking scary so, for Trudy and me, it might as well have been seventy-five.

3. Or sick children, as things usually work out.

High Stakes

Dear Eitan and Shayna,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

It’s a dangerous pastime, I know,1 but it’s one of the reasons I haven’t published a new post in around three months.

I’ve had a couple of posts that I’ve started and then scrapped. There was the one about it taking a village to raise a child that had to do with the grandmother at the beach club who gave me a suggestion that helped Shayna stop screaming so I could get her to take a nap in her stroller. There was the one about watching Eitan grow over the course of the summer and watching the transitions he made during his first year at summer camp. There were a few about the ways you two interact together, some about our community of friends in our neighborhood and more than a few about the different events in our political sphere.

But I haven’t really finished any of them. I actually started to write a couple of times, but nothing ever felt quite right. My hesitations were due in part to my having trouble fleshing out some of my ideas into a fuller post that actually spoke to people and partially due to sheer exhaustion (it was a busy summer in a number of ways).

The biggest reason, though, was that I had been putting too much pressure on myself.

We live in interesting times.2 Our President is an old man who cares more about maintaining his popularity and his coverage in the media than he does about actually helping the citizens of our country. Dictators on the other side of the planet seem bent on bringing our country to an end and, if they don’t manage to succeed, Mother Nature has gotten so angry about people not paying attention to her that she may just finish the job herself. Americans are at odds with each other about topics like healthcare, tax reform and the fate of people who kneel for the national anthem. I was listening to a podcast recently where the guest, an African-American writer who had just published a piece online about Colin Kaepernick, said that he would so much rather be writing about mundane topics than heavy think-pieces. He said that he felt like he had to write the think-pieces, however, because “the stakes are too high.” The heavy think-pieces were too important for him to pass them up.

That’s what I was doing to myself. I was telling myself that there are too many important things happening in the world today for me to write about such small issues like watching Eitan walking to school with a backpack nearly as big as he is or watching Shayna’s face light up when I open the front door when I come home from work. How could I spend my time writing about telling Eitan off-the-cuff stories about the Star Wars movies at bedtime when anti-Semitism, racism and countless other isms literally threaten people’s lives on a daily basis? I may not have the ongoing readership numbers of a major media company – my monthly views are a fraction of even most parenting blogs, for that matter – but I know that I have a solid number of regular subscribers who look forward to reading what I have to say. I have to imagine that those subscribers – including you, as you’re reading this now – are at least somewhat curious about where I stand on some of these issues which, again, are too impactful for me to just leave them to someone else.

And yet, that’s exactly what I was doing. I didn’t end up writing about Kaepernick or Russia or climate change. I wrote one post about health care reform and that was back when the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was still in the House of Representatives. I left the writing to the “professionals” because I felt too uninformed or inexperienced or just plan tired to work at actually figuring out my thoughts on the issues. I kept feeling like I should be writing about something, though, instead of leaving the blog to go dormant for three months.

As you can see, I finally decided to start up again by getting back to my roots. This all started as a parenting blog and evolved into, for all intents and purposes, a journal of my thoughts and experiences. It is a space for me to offer my thoughts on certain subjects, both for my peers to see today and, hopefully, for the two of you to read in the future. I’ll still end up giving my opinions about some of the heavier issues if I feel like I have something to say but I think, in general, I’m going to be working more with what I know. At some point, you may find yourselves wondering who your father was and what kinds of things affected him on a daily basis; I hope I’ve given you some material to answer some of those questions.

As far as moving forward is concerned, I would like to try to get back into the swing of things. September was a busy month, between changes at work, the start of the new school year and the High Holidays (not to mention the fact that I started the month by burning my foot by stepping on a piece of charcoal).3 That being said, the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot are designed to help us reflect on our lives and look for ways to improve ourselves. This post may be a few weeks late for a “New Years Resolution” but I guess it’s better late than never to make a decision to start writing more consistently.

There certainly is no shortage of material.

Love,

Daddy


1. If you just heard Lefou and Gaston in your head, give yourself a pat on the back.

2. Now there’s an understatement. Also, apparently that phrase being an ancient Chinese curse is actually a myth.

3. Before you scold me for being barefoot while I was barbecuing, let me just say that I was at the beach. Everyone is barefoot at the beach.

Featured image credit: CC0 Creative Commons