One child in Detroit, working.
Another, in New York City, working.
And their Dad,
tethered to gadgets,
and to them,
And here it comes…
One child in Detroit, working.
To curl up with children and a good book has long been one of the great civilizing practices of domestic life, an almost magical means of cultivating warm fellow feeling, shared in-jokes and a common cultural understanding. Harvard professor Maria Tatar has written of its origins in medieval fireside storytelling, “before print and electronic media supplied nighttime entertainments.”
Certainly in the modern era there is something quaint about a grown-up and a child or two sitting in a silence broken only by the sound of a single human voice. Yet how cozy, how impossibly lovely it is! Unlike tech devices, which atomize the family by drawing each member into his own virtual reality, great stories pull people of different ages toward one another, emotionally and physically. When my children were small, I would often read with my eldest daughter tucked in by my side, the boy draped like a panther half across my shoulders and half across the back of the sofa, a tiny daughter on either knee, and the baby in my lap. If we happened to be on one of our cycles through “Treasure Island,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling classic, my husband would come to listen, too, and stretch out on the floor in his suit and tie and shush the children when they started to act out the exciting bits.
“We let down our guard when someone we love is reading us a story,” Ms. DiCamillo says. “We exist together in a little patch of warmth and light.”
[…] The room is dark,
and the light is on her (Dr. Wendy Fried’s) face.
I see her eyes, moving around,
like she’s panicking.
I felt the blood draining out of my face.
My lips got cold.
“I’m so sorry, Eleni,” she said. […]
I barely got my words out, asking,
“What do you mean?”
She came over and she held my hand. […]
~ Eleni Michailidis
Read entire article here: A Silent Delivery Room
Photography: Eric Rose
Scott Addington writes, “As is often the case, my purpose became clearly evident after I had stopped looking for it. On October 11, 1995, my daughter was born. Beginning with that moment, there has never been the slightest doubt regarding the purpose and source of meaning in my life. Being a father is the most meaningful and rewarding pursuit a man could ever hope to experience.”
~ David Brooks, Hearts Broken Open
We’re on the 8:01 a.m. train to Grand Central.
Eric is seated across from me.
His head is leaning against the window.
His eyes are closed.
His body is swaying with the slow turns of the track.
I look. I take a long look. And I’m rolling back 17 years.
He’s clutching his Mother’s right hand, scooching to keep up, his oversized blue backpack bounces up and down. Mom let’s go of his hand. He looks back. His lower lip is quivering. His arm reaches back for his Mother while his Kindergarten teacher welcomes him into the building.
And so, here we are. Father and Son are commuting to Manhattan. Day 1 of Son’s first paying job.
I take inventory. From bottom up.
He’s wearing his Dad’s hand-me-down black, plain-toe oxford shoes. 45 minutes earlier he asks: “Do I need to polish my shoes?” College student with a 3.95 GPA is looking down at the dust and scuff marks. He doesn’t bother looking at Dad. 21 years of co-habitation and 21 years of absorbing sharp nips and tucks of Patriarchal coaching, instinct tells him that it’s a bad decision. Dad grabs the shoes and cleans them up. “Can I borrow your socks Dad.” “Take what you need.” [Read more…]
Excerpts from “Tapping Your Inner Wolf” by Carl Safina:
[…] If you watch wolves, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that perhaps no two species are more alike behaviorally than wolves and humans. Living as we do in families, we can easily recognize the social structures and status quests in wolf packs. No wonder Native Americans recognized in wolves a sibling spirit.
The similarities between male wolves and male humans can be quite striking. Males of very few other species help procure food year-round for the entire family, assist in raising their young to full maturity and defend their packs year-round against others of their species who threaten their safety. Male wolves appear to stick more with that program than their human counterparts do.
Biologists used to consider the alpha male the undisputed boss. But now they recognize two hierarchies at work in wolf packs — one for the males, the other for the females.
Doug Smith, the biologist who is the project leader for the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project, said the females “do most of the decision making” for the pack, including where to travel, when to rest and when to hunt. The matriarch’s personality can set the tone for the whole pack, Dr. Smith said.
Or, as Mr. McIntyre put it: “It’s the alpha female who really runs the show.”
Clearly, our alpha male stereotype could use a corrective makeover. Men can learn a thing or two from real wolves: less snarl, more quiet confidence, leading by example, faithful devotion in the care and defense of families, respect for females and a sharing of responsibilities. That’s really what wolfing up should mean.
May 28th. Days short of June, yet solar heaters are blowing. 84° F, and steamy.
Sidewalks are teeming with tourists.
Mid afternoon Manhattan traffic is locked bumper to bumper, snaking up Sixth Avenue.
I skipped breakfast, had a meager lunch, and I’m longing for a sugar fix. Chocolate. Now.
Waze estimates 25 min to get uptown to the office.
My Thumbs are on the keyboard.
Should it be ‘Hi’ or ‘Hi!’? I’m not feeling ‘Hi!’ I’m not a ‘Hi!’ type. I’m more like a “Hello” or a “Hi” guy. Or maybe it’s ‘hi’. “hi’ makes me approachable, less prickly. Yet, it’s hard to alter the brand, callus layered on callus. ‘Hi!’ would be inauthentic or soft, and both just won’t do. Dad’s the tough guy. There’s an image to uphold. A Brand to burnish.
Would have preferred ‘Hi Daddy!’ But ! is good. She’s happy to hear from me.
DK: I’ll be in your building in 30 min. I’ll buy you coffee. Me, a warm chocolate chip cookie.
RK: Can’t Dad. I’m in the middle of something.
Paul Kalanithi, MD, was a Stanford neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer in his mid-30s. Here’s an excerpt:
[…] Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed. […]
That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.
~ Paul Kalanithi, Stanford University neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi, died on March 9, 2015 at the age of 37
Don’t miss the entire article in the Washington Post: Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time
Thank you Elizabeth.
WEDNESDAY. 9:30 PM.
600 miles away, Son sits in his dorm room.
(Technology. A Miracle)
Eric: Hi Dad.
Dad: Hi Eric.
Dad: When’s your interview?
Eric: Friday at 8 am.
Dad adjusts his grip on the iPad to get a better look at Son.
Eric: What are you doing?
Dad: Take your cap off.
Dad: Take it off.
Eric: Why? (Here he comes. Here he comes.)
Dad: I’m only going to ask you one more time. [Read more…]