Halloween season always reminds me of the time I dressed as Clifford the Big Red Dog. My children’s school needed an adult volunteer to wear the costume for a reading event. I decided to oblige in part because I like to laugh, and in part because my two young daughters liked the idea. In other words, they had not yet reached the Age of Embarrassment. As children gathered in the gym, I started to suit up in a “secret” adjoining room. The costume was large and heavy, so a few parents helped me with the process. I remember being so amused by one of the instructions on the costume’s interior: … [Read more...]
Grandparents Day, always the first Sunday following Labor Day, was especially poignant for our family this year. My mother is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, and our visits to the nursing home are increasingly difficult as she struggles to remember her children and grandchildren. Her anguish recently came to mind while my daughters and I were, of all things, ziplining through a forest. On many landings a simple warning sign reads: “Always stay attached.” The sign features a figure falling through the air, his harness belt waving aimlessly like a severed umbilical … [Read more...]
When I asked my 12-year-old daughter what she learned at her week-long sleep-away camp last summer, she replied: “Dad, some people pee in lakes.” I loved her nonchalant delivery of such an intriguing detail. I also loved the gender-neutrality of her use of “some people,” which created a bubble of mystery I chose not to burst. As a veteran stay-at-home father, one of my favorite aspects of camping is precisely its gender-neutrality, or at least gender role flexibility. As my extended family plans for another camping experience, I look forward to my daughters, nieces and nephews once again … [Read more...]
Do you have a poster of your family dog? I was asked this unlikely question a while ago by an even more unlikely source: my children’s piano teacher. Let me explain. My two daughters have been taking piano lessons from Susan, a very kind and talented musician, for several years. During this period, Susan has become smitten with our family dog, a Yorkshire Terrier named Benny, in part because he scampers through our kitchen with glee every time she arrives. I realized Susan was love-bitten the day she earnestly implored my wife and me to consider moving to California so handsome Benny … [Read more...]
Had I just used the profit motive for a less-than-fully ethical purpose? If I had a son, would I have gone to such lengths to justify the charity part of his sale?
+ + +“Can we have a lemonade stand?” As parent, you have probably heard this summery question at one time or another. As a stay-at-home dad, I often helped my two daughters with their many stands during their younger years. To teach them about charity, however, I would insist that 50 percent of the profits go to our local food bank. They enjoyed making a little money, and I enjoyed their … [Read more...]