It began with a simple question from my oldest daughter, age 4 at the time: “Daddy, what is art?”“Art,” I began, “is something that, well, let me think about that for a moment.”What was art, indeed, I asked myself while continuing the mindless routine of a frantic preschool morning: load the dishwasher, supervise the brushing of teeth, check the backpack, and head out the door.On the way to school, I muttered a few tidbits about art being a way humans change materials like clay or paint into beautiful objects. As with so many adult explanations of abstract concepts, however, the … [Read more...]
I knew the parting had begun when a “playdate” became “hanging out.”
+ + +Have you ever been turned into an audience? That is how my tween daughter, Lindsay, and I started feeling a few years ago when my teen daughter, Lauren, began squabbling with her mother more frequently.During one of their particularly heated exchanges in our upstairs bathroom, Lindsay sat on my bed with me and said, “This is interesting to watch.” With a chuckle and a pass-the-popcorn gesture for me to move over so she could enjoy the show more comfortably, she added: “It’s … [Read more...]
Most distinctive about my father-in-law was that nearly all his speech consisted of short, loud, angry bursts pertaining to food, drink, or the ridiculous salaries of professional athletes.
+ + +Let’s be Frank. No, really, I mean it: Let’s see what it’s like to be a frank man named Frank, who is also my father-in-law. Frank is a hardworking family man, but he often speaks his mind without giving a damn, for which I (sometimes) envy him.It was more than two decades ago when I first met my future wife’s sharply dressed, highly cologned father who … [Read more...]
Much of parenting is an illusion, one that starts with the children’s belief in parents’ omnipotence. + + + When I was in elementary school, my dad was the world’s greatest mechanic. He could fix a flat tire on my bicycle with ease. His strong fingers and hairy forearms would silently maneuver this way and that, projecting an air of competence and security that enveloped me.When I was in middle school, my dad pulled open the “way back” door of our rusty, wood-paneled station wagon and it fell right off our car in the middle of a crowded parking lot. I burned with embarrassment as my … [Read more...]
Let’s begin with a classic riddle: A father and his son go on a hunting trip. Suddenly, their car crashes, the father dies, and the son needs surgery. Medics rush the boy to the hospital, but upon seeing the patient in the emergency room, the trauma surgeon says: “I can’t operate on this boy. He’s my son.” How is that possible?The answer, as most of us would recognize instantly today, is that the surgeon is the boy’s mother. But for years people would wildly speculate as to how the “surgeon” was male — e.g. the father must not have really died, the non-dead father and the surgeon were the … [Read more...]