Editor's Note: September is Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Awareness Month, designed to honor families who have used these medical facilities and the health professionals who care for the them. My son starts preschool today. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I was sitting in the NICU snuggling his entire tiny body on my chest. My son was a preemie, born at 34 weeks. Those were some really long and tough days for us. My wife felt guilty but it certainly wasn’t her fault. She had a normal, healthy pregnancy. We don’t know why he came early and we’ll probably never know. … [Read more...]
“Thickly Settled.” That’s the road sign that appeared as my wife and I drove around the Massachusetts town where we had just moved our oldest child into her college dormitory. I had never seen such a sign, but my first thought was how “thickly settled” my heavy heart had been all weekend. I knew drop-off would be bittersweet, but the crowded mix of contradictory emotions that had taken up residence in me kept shifting through pride, sadness, joy and fear. Upon second thought, I realized the opposite: my heart was “thickly unsettled.” But I found the metaphor of a family as a … [Read more...]
Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.
-- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom SawyerFor years I had the pleasure of teaching The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I loved following Tom and his adventures and witnessing his foray into young adulthood. The simplicity that … [Read more...]
My oldest son turns 15 this week, which has plenty of implications regarding his teen spirit, but also on my run as a father. I turned 47 a couple of months ago, which, if you carry the one, means I have been a dad for nearly a third of my life. It’s a funny thing, having built my writing career waxing melancholy on the always-closing, finger-smudged window of childhood, and the tenderness thereof, to now engage in conversations with a son nearly as tall as me, and a voice just as deep. His little brother isn’t far behind him. I admit that, in terms of monitoring milestones — the last … [Read more...]
“I am Groot,” is what I should have said, but that’s his line. Instead I said it in my native tongue, and this time with feeling: “You’re being a jackass.” And he was. Still, calling my son names in a fit of anger hadn’t been on my Sunday morning itinerary. Rather, I had planned for it to open like every Sunday does, with Nina Simone playing over cups of coffee, me in an apron and something on the griddle dangerously close to burning. Plan B, apparently, was standing in the doorway of my sons’ shared bedroom, repeating myself in competition with electronics that they weren’t supposed … [Read more...]