I can feel him

infant,photography,black and white

Mother and Son are texting last night.
Dad is in the Group Message.
Mom jabbering.
Son with monosyllabic responses.
The intermittent bing bing bing signaling the back and forth.
Dad is silent. Observing the exchange from a distance.
Pictures come across from El Salvador. Magic.
There he is. Smiling.

What was he? 7 months old? 9 months?
I’m holding him up by his arm pits.
His little hands gripping mine. Trusting.
Warm water splashing over us.
He bows his head towards my chest to duck the spray.
He whimpers.
I pull him closer.
He rests his head on my shoulder.
He squeezes his hands into little fists and rubs his eyes.
And looks up.
And smiles.
Those eyes. That smile.
I squeeze him tighter.

And feel his skin on my chest. On my fingertips.
And smell the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in his hair.
Hold that moment.
Freeze it.


Somewhere in the future I am remembering today.
   ~ David Berman, From the Charm of 5:30

Photograph: Elena Shumilova via Mme Scherzo


White T-Shirts

photography

We wait for the phone to ring.
Every Sunday.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.

I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I shudder.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.

XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.

Made in Bangladesh.


Image Credit

Blue

gif, photography

gif


Image Credit (Penguins mourning death of their child)

Dear Pudding


Dear Pudding:

As I told your Mom in our wedding vows,
I promise to love you fiercely too.
One day, when you’re a Mother, you’ll know the kind of love that I am talking about.
A love that makes my eyes well up with tears of joy when you simply hug me.
A love that moves me to rise from bed and check on you at three in the morning mostly because I just miss you when you sleep.
A love that makes it hard for me to let go of your hand when you try to balance on something because I know you need to learn from your mistakes.
I promise to look you in the eyes when you come to me with a problem.
I’ll always want to fix it for you right then and there.
I promise to listen as to whether you’ll want a hand or just an ear.
I promise to drop you off at college and when I do, I promise to do my best to contain my excitement for you so that I won’t embarrass you in front of your new friends.
I promise to have a reputation amongst your friends as a Dad that intimidates your boyfriends.
I promise to raise you to be strong and independent.
I promise to cry when I let go of your hand when I let go of your hand at the alter…
…I want you to know that every time when you open the door when I come home from work you’ll see a smile on my face
My arms already open ready to catch you
I’ll always be ready to catch you…


For you, Rachel…


Guess what day it is?

funny, humor,laugh,children,parents,

5:58 pm. Today.

Rachel: Hi Dad!
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: What?
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: DAD! Why are you yelling?
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: OK Dad.  It’s Monday. What’s Up?
Dad: You didn’t return my call last night.
Rachel: I didn’t have time.  I was busy studying for a big test.
Dad: Really?
Rachel: Really.
Dad: GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS?
Rachel: (Silence. She’s been at this show before. Boom coming down)
Dad: Honey, today is PARENTS’ APPRECIATION DAY!
Rachel: What?
Dad: Yes. From 7pm to 10pm, you will appreciate your Parents.
Rachel: (Silence. She’s not sure where this is going but she knows it’s a bad place.)
Dad: I checked our bill during the time you were busy doing homework last night.
Dad: Looks like you had plenty of time to send text messages to your friends.
Rachel: (More silence)
Dad: So, your cell service will be cut off from 7pm to 10pm.
Rachel: OK Dad.
Dad: Love you Honey. Can you hear me now?

 


Image Credit

Dear Kids

parents yelling at kids

Dear Rachel & Eric:

I shared the article below from today’s paper with your Mother.  She’s gloating: “I told you so.” I’m snarling: “This is utter nonsense.”  Mom’s espousing “Let Freedom Reign.” Dad’s fencing is well established and flashing warning signals: “Cross the line, you’ll do the time.”

You three, huddled in your sheltered cocoon, will see the light.

Hang on to this post and drag it out when your children reach adolescence, and ask the following hypothetical (NOT) questions:

  • Rachel, your daughter, three days after acquiring her driver’s license, exits a parking lot without looking in both directions, and piles into an oncoming car – - causing $4,000 damage to your car. Do you blow her a kiss and tell her: “Honey, the best way to deal with this is to get back up on the iron horse.”
  • Eric, if your son backs your car into his friend’s rock wall, shredding the rear of the car, do you tell him: “Son, mistakes happen. Please be sure to take more care next time.”
  • Rachel, your daughter is laying on the couch watching three consecutive episodes of New Jersey Housewives.  You are exhausted from being up early, frazzled from working late and from your commute home – - and you are in the midst of preparing dinner. You ask her to walk the dog three times and she ignores you.  Do you walk up politely and say: “Honey, could you please help me out here?  Or, are you tired from your difficult day at school?
  • Eric, your son is on his second hour of Playstation and has ignored your 2 prior calls for bedtime.  Do you walk up to him, sit down and ask: “Son, could please put down the game, get undressed and go to bed.

Do these stories sound familiar?  Hmmmmm.  Right.

Being a parent, your Parents, has been our greatest blessing.

I can’t wait to watch you shine.

Love,

Dad

P.S. Re: Having children.  Absolutely no need to rush into things.


Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting [Read more...]

Mom vs. Dad

funny, true, parents, children,parenting, son, daughter, mom v dad


Mom’s + Dad’s: Your gems are?


Adapted from 9gag.com

#1 Secret to Parenting

funny-i-like-saying-no-parents-1

funny-I-like-saying-no-parenting-2


Source: ossahumiliata.tumblr.com

Water

photography

Circa 1998.

Miami.

July.

Sundays.

Eric is four. Relentless. “Come on Dad. It’s time to go swimming.” Pulling on my hand. “Come on Dad. Dad, come on!”

The marble floor in the bathroom is cool and smooth on our bare feet. I watch him struggle tugging on his suit. His little white bottom contrasting against his milk chocolate tan lines. He lets out a whimper in frustration as he can’t pull on his swim shirt.

We step outside.

We had lived in Miami for four years. The sweltering summer heat was still a shock. Swallowing up oxygen. Mixing with the heavy pool chlorine…filling nostrils and lungs.

10am. 91F. And there is still August to go.

[Read more...]

She’s coming home…

Lady in Moon Light Illustration

The image has been
a counterweight to darkness.
Pitch Black.
Every Father’s nightmare.
I call it up. The image.
To block. To deflect.
Her sinewy silhouette shimmering against the moonlight.
Waves lapping her toes on the shore line.
Her eyes closed.
Wind gently rustling her hair.
A need to believe.
No.
A longing to feel.
Her at Peace.
That she is safe.
Today.
She’s coming home.


“Parental love, I think, is infinite…Not infinitely good, or infinitely ennobling, or infinitely beautiful. Just infinite…”
~ Adam Gopnik


Anthony Bourdain

black and white

ZIMMERN: …The other day I saw on Eater that someone was saying that they thought you were the next Julia Child.

BOURDAIN: It’s flattering but wrong‑headed. I mean, Julia Child changed the f***ing world. I am not a particle of dust compared to her. I am flattered to even be mentioned in postironic jest in the same paragraph. But to be actually compared? No. Absolutely not. She was such an important figure, a pioneer out there …

BOURDAIN: And I don’t care if my mom approves. … Look, if I’ve learned anything—I wrote Kitchen Confidential because I didn’t think anyone would read it. That was a liberating moment. You know, writing every morning before I went to work with absolute certainty that no one other than a few cooks would read it was a truly liberating place to write a book. That was a lesson I learned in the bone, meaning the instinct to think about what do they want—What do they expect? What do my biggest fans want me to do next? How will they receive it? Who’s watching? Who’s reading?—this is a lethal, lethal instinct. I have to not think that. We all want to be loved, but I’m not going to even ask what people want, because that will … [Read more...]

Let there be light…

child, bicycle, sad, bike, child riding bike, illustration, black and white

5:45am.

I’m in the car off to work.

It’s dark.

It’s cold.

It’s wet.

I’m scanning my playlist to find a match to my mood.  I’m challenged.  Nothing seems to fit.  Nothing that is, except the weather.

Mind pans back ten years. A sunny day in Miami.  A lazy Sunday afternoon.  She loves car rides.  The sun roof is open.  Andrea Bocelli is crooning on the cd player.  We’re crossing the Rickenbacker Causeway.  The City center is on our left.  Biscayne Bay’s shimmering aquamarine blues are on the right.  A warm tropical breeze is gushing through the windows.  I look over and her eyes are closed and her hair is blowing in the wind.  A portrait of youthful bliss.  An indelible image that can be pulled up at will.  [Read more...]

Hi Daddy…

Rachel:   Hi Daddy!

Dad:          Hi Honey.  What’s up?

Rachel:   Daddy, I scored an 88 on a brutal Managerial Accounting Test!

Dad:          Wow, that’s amazing Rachel.  Well done!  I’m proud of you.

Rachel:   OK Daddy.  Just wanted to let you know.  Gotta run.

Self:           “Daddy.”

45 second phone conversation with daughter on car ride home from work.  Priceless.


Image Credit: Thank you abirdeyeview

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Want this…

…NOW!


Source: Thank you creatingaquietmind via vmvj.fri - “Hot chocolate: a delicious hot chocolate in the form of a spoon of solid chocolate.Heat, mix, enjoy!

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Just a few more seconds…that’s all I need.

He arrived late Thursday night.

He looked taller. He looked like he had filled out. It had been less than 60 days. An illusion.

We couldn’t make it to Family Weekend in September. I could sense disappointment. His roommates’ parents showed. They graciously invited him to dinner.

It was a short 4-day week at school this weekend. A trip home before Thanksgiving wasn’t in the budget. Many of his new mates on the floor had planned to head home as they lived within a few hours drive. He didn’t want to make the call. He didn’t have to say it. And he didn’t. He wanted (needed) to come home, even if it was a brief weekend stay. And he could catch up with his sister who was home on break.

Dad and Son engaged in their customary near-monosyllabic dialogue. [Read more...]

Saturday Afternoons are for…

and piping hot tomato soup… :)


Source: Thank you madamescherzo

She’s home.


She arrived Thursday night via Amtrak.  Traveling alone.  Now in her third year at college.  Time flowing like water.

Tall black boots.  Long hair hanging free down her back.  Carrying a black duffle.  Walking with a quiet confidence.  She’s pivoted following the summer internship in Manhattan.  A bridge she’s crossed.  A new found self awareness…I can play.  I can hold my own.  Her grades have popped up, even raising her own eyebrows.

Zeke’s nose recognizes someone familiar in the dark.  Then it hits him.  Rachel!  His entire body writhing with wiggles…he smothers her with kisses. [Read more...]

Yup. Nailed it.

chart - Where's mom - funny - humor


Source: Thank you madamescherzo via tastefullyoffensive

It’s dark out…

this too shall pass - psychology - struggle - worry - quote - quotationEach morning. For 18 years.  It would be early and dark out. I’d silently prepare for work.  I’d shower.  I’d shave.  I’d dress.  I’d grab my briefcase. I’d tip-toe past their rooms. Their doors would be closed.  No need to peer in.  They’re safe.  And in a deep sleep under their comforters.

Today.  I silently prepare for work.  I shower.  I shave.  I dress.  I grab my briefcase.  I walk down the hall.  My heavy footfalls ricochet off the hard wood floors and echo in their rooms. It’s early.

And it’s still dark out.


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Image Source: creatingaquietmind via wordsanctuary

Adulthood…


Yep, that’s about right…


Source: Themetapicture.com

Before you speak to your children, remember…


Now this hit home…


Source: rebeccaalexis via creatingaquietmind

He’s Gone.

The countdown started on Monday.  My first day back from vacation.  Rachel is off to school.  And three days from an empty nest with Eric packing up for his freshman year.  (The short week felt like repeated bouts of getting up quickly from reading on the bed.  Disorientation.  Stabilization.  Disorientation.  Stabilization.  Grab an arm rail pal.  Get a grip.  You can’t slow down the clock.)

The Chariot was packed and ready to depart for the 11-hour journey. (No, the King doesn’t pack. The scope of his competency is narrow and deep…and some would argue not that deep.  Best for him to stay well out of the way of logistics.)

It was impossible to see out of the side windows.  Every square inch of trunk and 1/2 of the back seat was stuffed to the roof top.  Changing lanes was a roll of the dice.  Normal humans would invest in a car-top carrier, rent a van, or borrow something larger…not this Cat.  The $500 expense on top of the college tuition was the tipping point.  So, we jammed it all in and off we went.

The King was sitting in a cubby hole behind the driver’s seat.  (Oh, what delicious irony.  My first memory of Eric was driving him home from the hospital a few days after his birth.  I was driving at far less than the speed limit and slipping glances back to see that he was okay.) 

[Read more...]

The Last Supper.

image I was running the rough math in my head. They have been subjected to over 100,000 “course corrections” during their lifetimes.

Wash your hands. Tie your laces. Look people in the eye. Use a firm handshake. Wipe your face. Keep your voice down. Sit up. Comb your hair. Brush your teeth. Pick up your things. Put on clean clothes. Don’t yell. Get along with your Brother. Get along with your Sister. Say please. Say thank you. Say you are sorry. ENOUGH TV.  Read. Get to sleep. Go to the bathroom before we leave the house. Enough candy. Do your homework.  Plus 1000 others.  And, certainly not all of them delivered with finesse or a light touch. When you are molding a sculpture, some rough chops are necessary. And per the King’s rules, as long as the game is played within the fences and by the house rules, all is good.

[Read more...]

Guest Post: The Final Act of Love

I asked Mimi, my blogger friend, to write a guest post for my blog while I was on vacation.  I have come to value her friendship, her thoughtful comments and her inspiration – as if she was a member of my family.  And now, those of you who don’t follow her, will see why.  Her post below is so beautiful.  So inspiring.  So touching.  Bless you Mimi…you moved me this morning.

By MimiWaiting For The Karma Truck

I’m a sky-gazer.  It makes for some very dramatic tumbles and some slapstick recoveries to a standing position (degree of difficulty depends upon the severity of my clumsiness – but some could qualify as Olympic-level gymnastic floor routines).  This need to look up and out is not folly, it’s my dad.  I’ve been aiming my perspective upwards for nine years.

There’s so much written about father/daughter relationships that I hesitate to even tiptoe around this topic.  I fret that my words will sound cliched and not really offer much to a potentially tired topic.  But, there was nothing tired or trite about the man – and the insistent tapping of rain on the skylights in my kitchen suggests to me that he feels quite confident that there is more to say. [Read more...]

Joker…


ME: 6am.  I cranked up my morning reading and scanned to find Kristin’s new post Play the Tape Through.   Play the Tape Through.  Play the tape through.  Repeating the mantra in my head like a stylus stuck in a groove of a RCA gramophone.  Shrieking again and again.

KRISTIN: “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences… -Dr. Phil.”  It sounds so simple, but most people, myself included, have acted without stopping to play the tape through at one time or another- if not over and over again. Picture having a video tape of all your thoughts and actions and the consequences of those thoughts and actions. It is my guess that a whole lot of people would think twice if they could view the tape before ever acting in the first place.

ME: Roll the tape back.  Way back.  The play ends.  Referees are on high alert…scanning the ice looking for trouble.  Who’s the player who retaliates after the whistle blows?  Who’s the one taking the extra shot?  Who loses control?  Satisfaction for 3 seconds.  Then off to the penalty box.  Some things never change.

[Read more...]

19 years old, but still Daddy’s Girl…

father-daugher 2It started about a week ago.  Rachel asked me to take her into the city.  She was nervous.  She doesn’t know her way around.  She needed to get her paperwork completed and her picture taken for her summer job.  She asked me again, 2 days later.  And then again. (Why does she keep asking me, when I’ve told her that I would do it? She doesn’t think Dad will show.  That’s it.  All those other times.  One excuse or another usually all tied to work. Couldn’t make it.  Something has come up.  I’m busy.  Mom will take you.)

Thursday night.  She asked again.  I glare at her.  She backs up.

Friday morning.  You can see she didn’t get much sleep.  She’s nervous.  She’s dressed.  OMG.  My girl is wearing a suit.  Nicely dressed.  Professional. My eyes well up.  I have to turn away.

We’re waiting for the train.  It’s early.

[Read more...]

Heidi’s Raw Icelandic Black & Whites…


Heidi Bjork is an artist painting watercolor art of passion, love and romance in black and white. Heidi is originally from Kópavogur, Iceland and is now based in Staffordshire, UK.   Heidi’s first children’s book will be published in Iceland in autumn 2012.  Heidi was kind enough to permit me to share her work with you. Check out Heidi’s site at heidibjork.com.  I love her work…


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He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me…

Eric (son) and I concluded our college visits last week.  The May 1 final decision date was banging on the back door.  He has 2 excellent choices.  One close to home.  One a plane ride away.  Son like Father is not long on words…and Son has been close to the vest on the final call.  I roll out of bed in the wee hours of the morning today.  Look at the clock…3:50am.  Flip open my smart phone.  Email from Eric.  A rare occurrence.  I sit down.  I rub the sleep out of my eyes.  I take a deep breath.  And I read.

“So after giving it some thought I have my mind set on W.  Here’s my reasoning:

  1. W is more expensive but W’s school rank is higher than B.
  2. W is more appealing in terms of the small class sizes.
  3. I feel that it would be easier to stand out when applying to med/grad school in a smaller school with a reputation for exceptional academics.
  4. I found the living and food situation at W to be a lot better.  Air conditioned dorms. And I’m GUARANTEED to be on campus.  Which is a short walk to class.
  5. The major drawback to W is the distance from home but I feel the educational experience is superior.  I will just deal with the travel and deal with being further away from home.
  6. I felt a greater sense of community at W, and I warmed very much to the southern hospitality.  So this is my rationale.  I’ve been getting pretty excited at the prospect of going to W the past few days, so I think my mind is made up.

So, it’s done.  Mr. Independent has pulled the trigger without so much as a 10-minute discussion with Mom & Dad.

[Read more...]