Monday, December 26, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Sometimes the sun sets just so… and you revel in the idea that you’ve got it all figured out...
And then you take your daughter outside for a mild autumn afternoon dressed like a stuffed sausage prepared to battle an arctic chill.
It's then that you remember how you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. Even after adjusting for her, all it takes is one look to confirm the notion.
And then you remember just how small you are in the realm of it all, and that the only thing to do is to focus on the untamed, uncontrollable beauty in your life, in your child, and in that sunset…
And revel in how it is just so…
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
For the past several years, this has always been an incredibly arduous month for innumerable reasons. This time around though, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to put a November in the books…
As a result of the chaos of this past month, we’ve missed putting up quite a few unforgettable moments here - most notably Halloween – quite possibly my favorite holiday of the year. So without further ado…
When I was growing up in Upstate New York, it wasn’t unheard of to have your costume covered by a winter jacket as you walked around on Halloween night, collecting candy and dodging snowflakes. Apparently, Loreli will be able to say the same thing…
While the late October snowstorm may have devastated our trees, our tolerance, our power, and our plans, there remained an indescribable joy to be found in seeing a daughter’s look of complete wonderment upon her first taste of winter wonderland.
To have to turn such freshly attuned attention from the heaven-bound magic of snow to the craziness of costume cannot be easy, but Loreli made the transition as smooth as possible…
Say hello to our very own Chicken Little.
After all, this whole ordeal started with Loreli’s first glimpse of a snowfall… so I would expect nothing less than to have her running around, fire in her eyes, begging the world to believe that the sky is indeed falling.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
There have been a million reasons as to why my voice has been missing here for the past month… however, there is one reason that has left me no choice but to cry aloud, if just for this moment.
Because of time and distance, because of circumstance and solitude, I’ve seen a number of friends fade over the past decade. It has been my fault as much as anyone else’s for these detachments, and many times I simply count on the possibility to rekindle those relationships in the future… but the older I get, the more I seem to realize that the souls under my own roof - those within my grasp that I can hold ever so tightly as to feel their breath - they are the ones I will always rely on to get by… I count on them to help me survive these most trying of days. They are my sanity, my levity, my gravity. They have been, and always will be, the sustenance to my heart, my dreams… my everything. Above all else, they remain. They remind me what truly matters.
Under this roof, my wife and my child serve as the inspiration for my every breath. However, over the years, we’ve surrounded ourselves as a little family with the loving presence of a few other faces, who became not only friends, but also family members – one longer than all of the others. For nearly as long as I have known my wife, I’ve been accompanied on adventures by what was at first just a sweet little kitten we named Prelude… over time he quickly grew to be a charming pet, and he endured as the dearest of friends.
Yesterday, I lost him as well.
I feel more broken than I have in a long time... I realize an ode to a pet, however loving, may never be well-received, but I have lost a friend of the truest kind - one who did nothing but listen and love - and it's left me in pieces.
When I think of him, I’m torn apart knowing this was my decision. I’m torn apart remembering him trying to bury his face and hide as much of himself as he could in my wife’s arms just moments before. I’m torn apart thinking how I much I tried to convince him at his very final moment that that my arms were the safest place to be…
There is no need for reassuring words that this was the right thing to do, that this was best for all of us, or that on the horizon lay a better place for him or brighter times for me.
There is no need to remind me that it’s only because life is worth it, that we suffer so when the lights dim for good…
After all, our time is short, and it would be best spent holding on to those that remain… ever so tightly.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It was a perfect fall day. Crisp air. Blue sky. Perfect. It felt so good to be outside.
While we were there, Riley did the typical dog stuff. Lots of running, tail wagging, and butt sniffing—all with a giant grin on his silly dog face. He also greeted all of the people at the park. In fact, it started to seem like he was more interested in the people than the dogs, an unusual course of action for our active puppy. He even came whenever I called him, an even more unusual action for Riley. We began to realize that he really is all grown up - that his puppiness has waned and, in its stead, is lots of… dogginess.
Adding Loreli to our mixed up pack—comprised of 2 cats, 2 turtles, and 2 years ago, Riles Barkley himself—has been a big transition for all of us. For Riley, though, it’s meant a total shift of our attention, and he’s handled it pretty well. Much to Jeremy’s dismay, Riley eagerly tries to lick Loreli’s slobbery chin, her tasty toes, and her irresistible ear lobes. When we’re on the floor together, Riley sits right by her side and watches her. I think he’s almost as amazed with her as we are. He even leaves her toys alone. Not a single stuffed animal or rattle has been chewed…yet.
I’m happy that Loreli will be able to grow up with Riley by her side, and I’m pretty sure he’s happy about it too.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I don’t think I’ve ever been a morning person… Why would anyone enjoy bypassing those sweet moments of sleep that linger when your dreams are in high gear?
I knew that when our little one arrived, sleeping in would become passé, but I’ll be honest that I still try to stretch out those sunrise winks as long as possible…
However… it’s become family routine in this household that Daddy leads the morning show, while Mommy runs the matinee. And then at sunset, we share the ooh’s and aah’s over the goo’s and gah’s for those precious few moment before bedtime.
Unfortunately, that means I miss out on seeing her face light up when Mommy arrives to rescue her from daycare, the smiles when she realizes she’s finally home, and so on…
However… those moments in our mornings are amazing.
When I finally wake up and come back to reality each daybreak, I can always count on Loreli to have been gently placed in our bed next to me by her Mommy – we each do our own stretching routine, and then turn our heads to lock eyes and revel in the day to come. She gives off the littlest giggle.
I may never be a morning person, but I do love being a morning Daddy.
“Mommy, I’d like another milkshake please.”
“If we must, dear.”
Once I started chuckling, my husband did too. We were the jerks in the room that night, the ones who ruined an otherwise peaceful moment.
Now that I’m the awestruck mother of an incredibly adorable four month old, that idea of a special mother-daughter communication line doesn’t seem so funny.
I’ll admit that it’s taken me awhile to see my daughter as her own person and not just an extension of myself. And, in fact, I’m still working on it. Before she made her debut in this world we had already gotten to know each other pretty well. I knew what times of day made her restless. I knew when she had the hiccups. I could feel her jump when a loud noise scared her. I protected my belly from the cold, from strangers, and from discomfort. And once she was born, she was mine. All mine. I guess she was my husband’s too, but whatever.
In those first few weeks, Loreli and I spent just about every minute together. She was always with me, just like before, only now she was in my arms. I could gaze into those baby blues and soak up her gummy smiles. I had total control over her environment. Too hot? How about a little AC? A dirty diaper? No problem. Hungry? I’m your woman. You get the picture. Yes, the summer was tiring, but it was also filled with the most amazing moments of my life.
But now it’s autumn. Now I don’t have nearly as many of those moments. I’m not in control of her life like I used to be. I’m forced to have faith in others for her safety, for her comfort, for her happiness. I’m forced to see her as her own person, and, if there’s anything positive for me about this whole daycare experience, it’s the realization that my independent little four month old and I will always share a bond that is inseparable, no matter how many miles are in between us.
It may not be as shiny as a silver line, but that’s okay… Thanks to our little one, I’ve got more than enough light in my life.
Friday, October 14, 2011
It’s not easy… this whole “being a working parent” thing.
I suppose it’s the norm now - to have your young child in daycare for a large part of the week, but it sucks. It really sucks.
It creates unreasonable animosity and jealousy – towards the daycare itself for taking half of your paycheck, towards those who are lucky enough to not have to deal with such pain, towards the past generations that found it unacceptable, towards anything and everything. Those feelings fester and feel as though not a single person could understand or relate...
Sometimes when I’m at work, I think to myself that all I want in life is more time spent with the most important person in the world.
I make it through the day by realizing that the work I do provides for her wants and needs.
I often hear myself telling my wife that we’re doing this for her, so that we can put food in her belly and diapers on bottom, but sometimes it’s hard enough just to convince myself.
I know that you could take every possession I have, that I could be completely broke tomorrow, and that I would still do whatever it took to keep my daughter safe and happy.
But the reality is that one day soon she’s going to ask me for a new dolly… a new outfit… a new puppy… a new experience… And just four months in, I already know I don’t want to ever look into those ocean blue eyes and respond with disappointment. And so I keep moving on.
Every moment I spend driving away from the daycare building biting my lip, sitting at my desk listening to someone else’s petty problem, holding the phone slightly away from my ear as my boss yells, I just keep thinking of those eyes. And that smile. And how it feels when I hold her ever so close.
It’s not easy… this whole “life” thing.
But so long as I can stay lost in those eyes… I’ll keep moving on.
In late December of last year, I started keeping an old-fashioned journal to communicate how I felt to the littlest person I could possibly imagine. In my mind, she was very tiny and quite charming. She wore a fancy tiara and knew kung fu. She had beautiful eyes and was good at keeping secrets. She had been living in my wife’s belly for a few months.
My wife and I ended up writing to her through that journal every night until one day she actually showed up. She screamed, I cried, and we’ve all been awake since that point. From then until now, I’ve stayed pretty busy scrubbing nipples, singing songs about poopie, and folding ridiculously small clothes.
The idea to move on from the journal to this blog was inspired by our dear friend Jeni (check out her own beautiful story at youandmeandellab.blogspot.com), along with the idea of eternal embarrassment and eventual delight for our lovely and lively daughter, Loreli.
Though we want nothing more than to have this read by the world, truth be told… this is here for her. Just like everything is, at least in my mind (where you’re all wearing top hats as you read this)…