Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

Summer 2013: Day 1

The entire school year was one giant morning of reluctance. The boys were gently coaxed, bribed, hugged, and threatened to get their sleep-filled bodies out of bed. Sometimes there was singing. It seldom came easy. They resisted daily, and resistance was futile.

Summer began, officially, the moment we walked off of campus, but that was just half a day still tinged with classroom hues and boy’s room smells. The real kickoff started this morning, and it started early.

My name, or what passes for it, echoed through the open window, blended with the jazz that caught it, and landed somewhere between my coffee and the keyboard.

“Daddy,” he said again.

I walked to the deck and looked down upon adventure. It was still socked in by gentle hills stretching with the morning, rolling their coat of marine layer forever from the sea. In the midst stood a boy, and he was ready for anything.

“Good morning, Daddy,” he said. “Do you want to play with me?”

Summer Day 1

 

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The Tide is High

malibu

This post is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, and it is fantastic. All opinions, specifically those that suggest anything on this site is “fantastic” belong to me. 

The last few days of the school year are spent upon the necessities of social contracts. For instance, each yearbook requires a binding signature wherein the student hereby promises to maintain who they are, i.e., to “stay cool,” for the duration of time agreed upon by the school board and, to a lesser extent, the solstice. Also, ice cream socials.

The time unfolds quickly.

Summer is just days away and the plans to seize it are upon us. Our contracts stipulate much in the way of it being awesome. This is the now and we are living in it.

Shoes will officially become optional, and the house will smell of sunscreen. The wardrobe of summer is fun and comfortable. It is in constant need of washing.

atticus-beach
zane-beach

I have two young sons and they are as different as both kinds of music. One is meticulous in his hygiene (this, unfortunately, does not carry over into his bedroom), and the other not so much. My theory on this is that the former is prone to assessing situations, whereas the latter is more apt to dive right in. Diving in, as you may have guessed, can get kind of messy (possible exceptions include swimming pools and freshly sanitized ball pits).

Needless to say, the laundry basket is weighted heavily in one direction and it grows more lopsided by the hour. Sometimes you just have to lean in to keep life from tipping over. Sometimes you let it make its mess and then clean it up accordingly. We keep an ample supply of hugs around in the event of an emergency (like a sudden need for hugs).

My summer is anchored in the same port as the rest of my year. Only now my days are hotter, and there is a better chance of the sun still being up when I walk away from my desk. My feet are always bare.

The boys will float around me, sometimes speeding by on sudden swells, and others only treading water. All waves lead to the sand, and they will ebb and flow with each breath of the tide.

When the day is done it will be hard to tell the sweat from the sea. It is all a lingering lick of salt, and the sun has a schedule to keep. The sun does not know from summer.

We know. We have been expecting it.

boys-ocean

______________________

Procter & Gamble, the parent company of Tide and Downy, has provided me the opportunity to share my spin on the “dad’s way” of parenting, and you’re reading it. My dad’s way of parenting is well-documented in these pages, and it consists mainly of working hard and playing harder. I do a lot of laundry.

The thing is, a lot of dads do their share of cleaning up, and that isn’t always reflected in ad campaigns. Procter & Gamble think it is time for that to change, and I couldn’t agree more.

 

Hits home, right?

- This month, Tide and Downy are celebrating the unique way that each dad does things
- Everyone has a story about what makes their dad uniquely him.  Tell us your story using the hashtag #DadsWay on Twitter
- For every tweet sent out with #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will donate $1 to the National Fatherhood Initiative

Comments are nice, too.

father and son at beach

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Don’t Worry, You Aren’t Missing Anything

People often ask me what it is I like to do in my free time. To which I say, mind your own freaking business. If I wanted you to know about it I would put it on the blog. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. But probably not Google Plus.

But then it dawned on me that I do not have a moment of free time, hence my inability to answer. Sure, some might say that writing a blog post is “free time” and I get that, but I’m just taking a break from writing something for money. That’s a job, people. Some smoke on their breaks, I blog. Also, pornography.

Basically, I wanted to touch base with you, the reader(s), and let each and every single one one of you know that I truly appreciate your kindness in what was (and continues to be) a very tough time for us. But we’re making due and getting by, and the good (deity of your choice) willing, maybe we’ll win a few games.

I’ve been keeping busy. Limey Yank Productions is a full-time job without all the hassle of benefits or paychecks, and I’ve been posting random bits of parenting woes and whoas all over the designated play area of the Internet. I’m also trying something new: humor. It’s like funny.

My wife is enjoying her new job, the boys like their new school (the youngest started kindergarten last week!) and the dogs seem happy to be happy. I don’t know what the hell the cats are up to.

And in the meantime life is bits of love and leisure wrapped tightly between inboxes and deadlines. We spend our days working and our nights trying to catch up. The boys bounce barefoot from beach to branch, leaving a trail of sand-covered Magnolias in their wake.  The days fly by us like we’re standing still, but we are moving fast in all directions.

The wind is a chorus of whispers and promise. Free time is but a kite in the distance.

 

____________

Thank you for reading.

And here are the links I couldn’t fit into the paragraphs above. You’re welcome:

Atticus and the Lion King 3D Premiere (video)

Public schools outlawing peanuts

Disney’s D23 Expo recaps, Day 1 and Day 2

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And Children Get Older Too

The sound was children laughing. The distance was measured in steps. There was skipping and screaming, and toys thrown asunder—the usual suspects of happiness that have lovingly littered our small street for the past two years.

“But there is something missing,” said the neighbor.

I said nothing and watched the children run by us. They took the hill with confidence, a blur of open mouths and hair blown by the wind. Between them flickered empty spaces of sunlight where my boys used to be.

I said nothing and watched the birds fly overhead. The clouds were low and pulled further down by greedy trees with nothing better to do. The mist fell across my cheeks, cool and sticky. It saved me the trouble of crying. The house just stood there with a blank look across its face, its door wide open in disbelief. Inside it was nothing but boxes, echoes, and the ghost of a home slowly dying.

The children ran back up the hill, a pack chasing after laughter. Our eyes met as they passed me by, and for a moment the world fell silent. I could read the writing on their wall, the smiles upon their faces. They were happy, but they knew it too, for they had left the spaces.

 

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California Dreamin’

I was fairly stationary as a child. I lived in the same house until college. Then I lived in the same area for another ten years. I was never more than 40 minutes away from anyone, friend, family or foe. Not that I had any foes, but I did have a love for alliteration.

I met my wife, and on a whim we hit the road. Once the moving started we couldn’t stop — kind of like dancing, except with less alcohol. My wife and I dropped pins all over the left side of the map. We were up, down and then up again. We had U-Haul on speed dial. Our last stop found us just outside of Seattle.

There are things here that we love. There are friendly people, incredible neighbors, wonderful summers, scenic beauty in every direction, fantastic schools and a sense of community that I haven’t known since my childhood. We live in a quaint town where roots are deep and well-watered. It is a perfect setting in which to raise a family.

But there are things that are dark and press against us, and the silver lining has become harder and harder to find within them. The clouds stretch from the sea to the summer, and their constant soaking leaves a layer of cold tucked tight between skin and bone. There will never be enough logs upon the fire.

Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes, literally with the seasons, but with each ebb it grows slower, and every flow seems more fond of shadows than sunlight.  Sadness grows like mold in the corners of our happy household.

The children do not go through bouts of depression, but rather sit beside them and grow restless and frustrated. They do not want to go outside into the cold and the rain, but they would enjoy it if we took them there.  The trips are few and far between. The children suffer secondhand, which is full of shame and lacking in justice.

We have tried to compensate with manufactured light, an overextended calendar and daily supplements, but all it has done is make us face the truth. It is time to pay heed to Harry Nilsson and go where the weather suits our clothes. It is time for sailing on a summer breeze.

Come June, when we are done with school and leases, we will follow our footsteps back to the sands of California. There is where opportunity awaits, and with it a warmth to bask in. Our running is equal parts to and from.

The leaving is bittersweet, and it packs a heavy heart, but the journey should find us nearly healed and the arrival somewhat lighter.

The ocean stretches from July to forever. We are the stones that skip across it.

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