Archive for the ‘DadCentric’ Category

Paternity Leave for Professional Athletes or Why Boomer Esiason Can Suck It

I cannot think of many reasons to listen to Boomer Esiason. He is your classic ex-football player turned sports announcer that has nothing new to say about anything. He is a stereotype, and a poor man’s Phil Simms.

Today he was on the radio sharing old thoughts about old topics, and he joined a New York host that isn’t named Howard Stern in bashing Daniel Murphy, a second baseman for the New York Mets, that used his right to take paternity leave after the birth of his son.

Esiason suggested that the couple should have scheduled a Caesarian-section so as not to miss the first few games of the season, and also because Esiason is a total idiot.

I was going to write a whole post about it, but it turns out I don’t have to. I have written it before, when another guy that gets paid to talk about games openly criticized a player for making a similar choice, that of family over baseball, which doesn’t seem like it should be a choice at all.

In the spirit of sports pundits having nothing new to talk about I have shared my original post (DadCentric, 2011) below. Enjoy my anger.

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Telling the Men From the Boys of Summer

“In Game 2, Colby Lewis is scheduled to start after missing his last regular turn in the rotation because—I’m not making this up—his wife, Jenny, was giving birth in California. To the couple’s second child … If it was a first child, maybe. But a second child causing a player to miss a game? Ludicrous.” – Richie Whitt of the Dallas Observer

It is rare, to the point of utter amazement, in these volatile times to find someone that reaches a level of asshole capable of separating them so clearly from the pack. Richie Whitt is on top of his game.

Whitt is slamming the decision of Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis to utilize a new rule in MLB which allows players to take 24 to 72 hours of paternity leave, in order to be present during the birth of his daughter.

The birth of his daughter.

And to make sure that we understood exactly what Whitt meant when he chastised a man for choosing family OVER A GAME he followed his original quote with this gem:

“I don’t care if Lewis is a good dad. If I wanted to root for a team of great role models, I’d renew my season tickets to watch the deacons at my Sunday church. I want—always have, always will—the Rangers to win.

“If the Rangers lose the AL West by one game—and if it can be reasonably concluded that Lewis missing that start contributed to them missing the playoffs—I’ll be pissed.”

All of which makes me think that Richie Whitt must be a very special kind of fucking idiot.

We all say stupid things. Hell, some of us make a living out of it. However, it’s only a matter of time before one is held accountable for said stupidity, and Whitt may want to start painting pictures with the humble brush while he is still on this side of a paycheck.

Granted, I’m not one to suggest a person should be punished for speaking their mind (or what passes for it), but to put the weight of a franchise, of a city, on the shoulders of father and his baby girl? That’s so incredibly ignorant that it borders on awesome. No, I’m not calling for his job, or even a boycott of whatever dribble it is that he gets paid to publish, but I would like everyone to point at him and laugh. Loudly.

Kids, don’t feed the buffoon.

We live at a crossroads in America, where stereotypes, gender roles, and all kinds of thought fueled with hate are being shattered and remolded for the better. Colby Lewis did what any decent man should do, make every possible attempt to be present for his family when they need him. It’s a no-brainer.

Therein lies the rub about crossroads, for every right decision or Ralph Macchio guitar solo, there is a devil or two hanging around waiting to knock you for it. It’s time to pay the devil his due.

I’m speaking metaphorically here.

Someday Colby Lewis is going to be an ex-baseball player, and he may regret certain errors or pitches, or be proud of this stat or that game. However, the best decision he will ever make in a Rangers uniform is already behind him. It won’t show up in the box score, and it won’t earn him any awards, but it is a far better mark of a man than any earned run average could ever hope to be.

Something tells me that Richie Whitt has no idea what I’m talking about.

baseball

UPDATED: Boomer Esiason issued a public apology to Murphy and his wife on the show this morning, and while it was the right thing to do I can’t help but wonder why he skirted the issue of men taking paternity leave. He acknowledged that he was wrong to bring the Murphy family into a public conversation, and that the March of Dimes had reiterated their mission statement about healthy pregnancies, but refrained from commenting on his stance. Still, it’s something like progress.

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Po-tate-o, Po-taut-o

starbucks, cafe, kids, sign, humor, construction, funny, parents, parenting

“Look at that dumb fuck, Daddy,” said my 3-year-old from his car seat.

“Where?” I asked. There were quite a few around us, he could have been talking about any of them.

“The white one,” he continued.

That narrowed it down. There was only one that fit that description.

“That dumb fuck sure is dirty,” he said. “Why is that dumb fuck so dirty?”

I considered my options. Carefully.

“Some are dirtier than others,” I replied. “It comes with the territory.”

We were sitting outside Starbucks waiting for my wife. We were passing the time the way men tend to do, talking about our feelings, scratching what itches, and cursing a little—some of us more than others.

“Do you like dumb fucks, Daddy?” he asked. It had an added air of the rhetorical.

“I don’t like being too close to them,” I answered. “They are pretty fun to watch, though.”

My wife returned with our coffee and took a seat in the car.

“Mommy, did you see all the dumb fucks?” he asked.

I knew that she had.

“Honey,” she said with a straight face. “They are called dump trucks.”

“Dumb fucks,” he repeated.

“Exactly,” I told him, and we sipped our coffee as he watched the last one rumble past.

_____________

Do you like parenting with humor and the talking with the kids? Then check out The Parents’ Phrase Book and have some fun for a change.

parenting, parent, humor, how to, advice, talk to kids, children, kids, parents, parenting, whit honea, book, dad, father,
About this post: With the closure of DadCentric I have been moving some of my favorite posts to Honea Express. This post was first published in 2009 and has the honor of being DadCentric’s most read article of all time, which is saying something. Also, I read it at Dad 2.0 in 2013 while “opening” for Brené Brown. So there’s that.

Photo: Todd Huffman via Flickr

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A Mother’s Arms Are Made of Tenderness and Children Sleep Soundly in Them

hot, chocolate, coco, cocoaHeat, as an extreme, exists only in a relative sense. It is the hottest thing they have ever known and therefore it is the hottest thing that anyone has ever known. I tell them that it is not, that my coffee is actually hotter, but that does not soothe them, it only makes them question my sanity as they slowly dare a second sip of their lukewarm chocolate.

********

My back hurts. I have been carrying too much for too long. For six weeks I have been living as a single father—a single work-at-home-dad. It has been incredibly hard and surprisingly easy. I am better for it and I am tired and I am badly beaten.

My work has suffered.  My 70 hour work week has been cut to less than forty—compiled from a series of minutes torn apart from neglected deadlines, tucked between goodnight kisses and the taste of warm whiskey across my lips. The clock moves slow and forward.

Chores once shared have become mine alone. All nights are long and lonely. All mornings are early and full of songs and frustration.

I do not believe that I have achieved anything worthy of praise or pity, only reflection. Others face obstacles far greater than mine on a daily basis. They make the most. They do their best. They are stronger than I ever thought I was, and when I sip from my glass the toast is to them.

But this is not their life, it is mine, and while I was prepared and up to the challenge, it was unexpected in both timing and time. From the frying pan to the fire is not a lateral move. The heat is extreme, and it is all relative.

Tomorrow my wife comes home after six weeks sitting at the bedside of her ailing father. Six weeks of tears and whispers and shouts in the night. Six weeks of walking in the shoes of a girl much smaller.

Bedside seats are lessons in love and fear, and the art of turning fond the old memories that weren’t. That is a chapter not yet closed. Those wounds are still open. He will still have a beside in need of sitting, and she will carry her thoughts accordingly. Her back will hurt.

********

They do not expect her. They have grown accustomed to the missing of their mother. Six weeks is a long time gone, and a father doing the best he can is still just one kiss goodnight no matter how much laughter fills the day or how much work is left to the forgotten.

Tomorrow will seem but another day to them, the routine of living with some parts missing. They will be safe and loved and slightly lost. She will be on a plane six weeks delayed and her dreams will be of little boy kisses grown wet with salt and the slightest linger of lukewarm chocolate.

____________________________________

The title of this post is a quote from Victor Hugo.

A version of this post first appeared on DadCentric in 2009 when Tricia’s father was still with us. He survived the fight outlined above and enjoyed his grandchildren for four more years.

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Thoughts That Count

bell, xmas, holiday, christmas, santa, reindeer, polar expressThey are shades of me. They are living, breathing, and bittersweet memories of an innocence past and an ignorance lost. There is Christmas in their hearts, and they keep it always.

Bells—they ring.  Songs—they sing. I watch them in their revelry from a faraway place, floating like fog through their treetops. Their smiles are laced with icing. Their breath is of candy canes and gingerbread. Their hair sparkles with glitter beneath lights strung forever. They know nothing but merry. They know naught but the now. They nestle snug in their beds and they dream in the magic.

I exhale slowly.

Late nights dance with early mornings and I spin like a broken record. The tree is lit and the fireside glows. Holiday albums that used to skip and choose sides now stream endlessly from speakers unseen. Their joy is daunting and their melody haunting. The echoes they leave fall silent like snow.

This is the hole my grandmother left, torn new and asunder. My memories of Christmas are also of her and without the one I cope as I can with the other.

Ghosts of Christmases past linger sweet like whiskey. Ghosts of Christmases future are unknown and fraught with all that that implies. The spirit of Christmas present is complicated. It is both hollow and overflowing. It is both an emptiness in my heart and the means to fill it. It is the most wonderful time of the year, and yet it is the loneliest.

One Christmas my grandmother gave us stockings that she had made out of bits of old jeans and thread and love. They were hung by the chimney with care and varying degrees of style.

This Christmas my grandparents are gone, and family has scattered. Roads have diverged, differences made. There is no chimney to speak of.

But the Christmas of my grandmother still exists. It is a moveable feast, and it finds me as it left me—giving, taking, content, and hungry. I am the same despite all that has changed.

I keep this Christmas the best I know how, and for that my children will remember her always.

_________________

A version of this post first appeared on DadCentric in 2009.

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You Know We’ll Have a Good Time Then

Window I saw my life flash beyond the window. It was brightly lit in shades of a day that once again I was not seizing. There were knees licked green by blades of freshly cut grass and hair grown golden in rays of sun. There were bright blue skies and brighter white clouds and a playful spectrum reflecting from the distant prism of children laughing.

I sat in an office worn gray with worry, lost between what I have done and what I am doing. I sat in an office and watched nothing as it bounced from tree to tree and fell small across the horizon.

The week is long hours and short nights. The boys are things that children should not be—bored, unchallenged, restless, and a nuisance. I am failing here and I know it. My day is filled with attempts at appeasement and endless piles of paperwork. I parent with shortcuts and scenic routes. All roads are long and winding. All detours are distractions.

The weekend is short and wicked. It teases and dances and whispers things I long to hear, and then it sneaks out the backdoor when I close my eyes for just a minute. The weekend is a mistress flirting across the calendar.

Sunday morning finds sighs where smiles should be and excuses where once were excursions. I am tired and there is work left undone. It is too easy to give the boys a task that taxes their time, like the cleaning of their room—a 15 minute project straight as the crow flies, and an all day affair for two little boys with more imagination than work ethic.

So it was that I sat in an office of gray, full of sighs and longing, while my sons stood in a sea of toys and discarded socks. We were all bored. We were all restless. The window was alive and it mocked me.

I leaned against the doorway watching them do the opposite of what I had told them. They froze when they noticed me. This is where the sighs come in. This is where I raise my voice and make mountains out of no hills.

This is where I am tired of failing.

“Let’s do something,” I said.

And we did.

____________________

This post first appeared on DadCentric in 2010, and it’s amazing how little life has changed.

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