Your son or daughter is having a birthday next week? Well, my twins are. I've been hesitant to mention it because a child's birthday party amid a coronavirus "shelter in place" order would be frowned up by the governor and most of my neighbors. Explaining the need to cancel or postpone a birthday party to a 5-year-old, let alone two, can be both difficult and fruitless. Your child may not understand the why, but if you're in a situation like mine you owe it to him or her to try. Delaying such an event, even in the light of the current social isolation thing, actually may be harder than … [Read more...]
I sit watching my daughter struggle to put her shoes on. Why must she always pick the most difficult shoes to put on when we are in a hurry? “I can do it myself, Daddy!” Yes, you can do it yourself, but it will take forever and once forever is finally over, I will be horribly late for my meeting at school. Just let me put the damn shoes on for you so we can get out of the house! “Take your time, dear," I say, "I know you can do it.” I continue to work on deep breathing. I continue reminding myself that this very moment will be forgotten in time and life will continue. I have … [Read more...]
On the day this piece will be published, I’ll turn 40. I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and, wait for it, a post-vasectomy 4-month-old.
Yeah, it’s been that kind of year.
Or maybe it’s just been that kind of life?
I have no career. I have published zero novels, and despite having spent tens of thousands of dollars on college, I have zero college degrees. As far as banks are concerned, I own nothing. As far history is concerned, I’ve accomplished nothing.
The words of recently deceased, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison had a huge impact on my life —first as a student, then as a parent. In graduate school, much of my research focused on her powerful novels — especially Beloved — that explored slavery and its aftermath. Later, as a stay-at-home dad, I saw her appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and once again her words hit me hard. During that appearance, Morrison captured the nature of a parent's unconditional love: “It’s interesting to see when a kid walks in a room, your child or anybody else’s child, does your face light up? That’s … [Read more...]
Like most Americans, I experienced the trauma of September 11, 2001, through my television. My wife, 1-year-old daughter Lauren, and I had just moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area, and I was a stay-at-home dad. That morning I was in my living room while Lauren watched a children’s show. Our landline phone rang, and my brother-in-law said: “Turn on the news.” I changed the channel over Lauren’s protest. Smoke billowed out of the first tower. Watching a national tragedy unfold in the presence of a 1-year-old made an already surreal experience even more bizarre. I was unsure what to do … [Read more...]