Archive for the ‘The Wonder of Me’ Category
You’ll find it in the “Parenting” section of your local bookstore, but I’ve seen it listed as self-help and spiritual, too. Everything has a label, and my book is no different. After all, how do we know how to judge a thing unless we know the context upon which said thing is to be judged? We like to compare our words to our actions and contrast our thoughts against apples, oranges, and the next big thing. We are those that deem things worthy.
That being the case, I fear The Parents’ Phrase Book is on the wrong shelf. It isn’t a parenting book.
Yes, I said it. And yes, technically, it is a parenting book, in that it was created in hopes of helping parents communicate openly and effectively with their children, but I like to think that it is bigger than that. The Parents’ Phrase Book was written as a love letter to empathy and imagination, the comfort of self, the appreciation of others, and the wonder of wonder. It is about striving to be the best person that each of us could ever wish to be, to celebrate the differences between us and to make a difference when a difference is needed. It is an ode to love and ceaseless encouragement for ourselves, our children, and those around us.
Perhaps it aims too high and leans too far toward quixotic attempts and idealistic implementation; but if we are set on being better shouldn’t we reach for those aspirations that are hardest to reach, rather than settle for those already within our grasp? Shouldn’t we search for inspiration while always hoping to inspire?
I like to think so.
Which leads to the question, who am I to offer suggestions on parenting and life? What the hell do I know?
I know what not to do, the things I wish I did, and those I long to achieve. I know hope and regret, and the gray between. I know what I have done wrong, and I trust that sharing it will help people, myself included, avoid such mistakes, or at least provide some assurance that such mishaps may be overcome, learned from, and built upon. I know what makes me happy. That is why I have written this book, and that is why it is as open as only a book can be—let us be better to ourselves and more excellent to each other.
It’s like Wyld Stallyns, but with less Keanu.
The Parents’ Phrase Book is perfect for parents, but it is also great for non-parents and anyone else that has ever talked to another human being. It is for the future in the nicest way possible.
I wrote it for you, specifically.
They say it is a rare disease, but it feels more like a common condition, as in my plans are in constant flux depending on the condition thereof. It has to do with my stomach and the deterioration of the muscles in my esophagus. It has to do with coughing and choking, and going to bed each night convinced that it will be the very last time I ever do so.
I cannot sleep, and when I do I wake up in sudden panics, covered in the remains of the day and a gasp for breath like so many fish out of water. My wife makes me sleep in the guest room. I am exhausted.
It is not life-threatening, but it is life-restrictive. I cannot keep most meals down and I am in a constant tango with dehydration. Every ounce out I put two back in, and then we dip. Then we dance.
The past few months have been spent in various layers of mourning—one death after another, paired by book sales that should be better, a new job built heavy on promise, my only current source of income repackaged as “an exciting new opportunity” that no longer provides said income, sporadic fitness training that my body can’t handle, a home gutted of wall and floor thanks to water damage, and the tubes, the doctors, the procedures.
I have had my insides stretched by balloons and pumped full of Botox. I have had my insides land quickly upon my lap while sitting on the highway with no shoulders there to speak of.
Life of late has been one punch in the gut after another against a gut that punches back. I do not know if it makes me stronger, but it makes me think that I would like to be. It makes me appreciate the strength I feel around me.
I am fully aware that this is not the most adversity that one can face, in fact, it pales in comparison, but it is my adversity, and I am doing my best to own it.
I am doing my best to keep it down.
If you have ever seen me speak publicly on the topic of fatherhood then you probably noticed, just before you demanded your money back, that I am an emotional guy. In fact, my heart is tattooed on my sleeve, where the heart is actually an apple with my boys’ first initials carved into it, and the sleeve is actually my arm.
There’s a story there, but that’s a different post.
The good people at Philips Norelco (you may recall their kind contributions during Movember) invited me to work with them (despite this video) on a campaign showcasing the New Face of Dad — or in this case, five tired old guys with faces. It’s all relative.
I was joined at the virtual hip with Jim from Bobblehead Dad, Clay from Dad Labs, Jon from Blurbomat, and Seth from The Didactic Pirate, and each of us was asked to film a video explaining what it feels like being a dad.
That’s right, feelings.
You can guess where it goes from there. They say there is no crying in baseball, but dad blogging? You bet.
The videos will be released on Thursday, June 14 with a Twitter Party from 8-9 pm EST. I’ll be there with the other New Faces of Dad (it’s like an old boy band), and so should you. Use the hashtag #NewFaceOfDad and let your face be heard — at least 140 characters of it.
I hope you can join us.
If you want to talk about your feelings on fatherhood, please do so in the comments below. Crying is totally allowed.
A very special thanks to Philips Norelco and new faces everywhere. I am being compensated for this campaign.
Blogging is all about ebbs, flows, and being too busy to maintain one’s personal space. It happens. I’m sure you are over it.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing anything of substance — I have. I’m just writing a limited supply of substance, so I have to put it where the paycheck is.
To that end, I would be thrilled if you took the time to read the posts below:
“I’m not even sure that I would want my kids to be popular. Yes, I want them to be liked by their peers and to have good friends, but there are a lot of trappings to popularity that I would rather they not deal with. First world problems? Maybe — but, and I’m painting with the stereotype brush here, I wouldn’t want them to feel that they had to be something that they are not. I want them to be, first and foremost, comfortable in their own skin. I’m basing a lot of this on Glee and various Disney Channel movies, so forgive me if my grasp of stereotypes is a little rusty.”
“What happens is that a sweet, sensitive boy becomes a monster. He yells and screams at those that play with him or those that tell him it is time to stop. He talks in quick, sharp daggers of hateful speech and he whines when we mention it. It is ugly.”
“The right for all people, in this case, all tax-paying citizens of the United States, to marry the person of their choosing is such an obvious thing that to fight against it is well beyond the bounds of politics and commonsense. To suggest otherwise is to declare an ignorance of history and to put oneself squarely on the wrong side of it.”
“…for every single note was a child’s wish, grown from whispers and wandering thought, written down with careful hand, and tied somewhat gingerly to the hopes of the wild.”
There are a lot of other things to do on the Internet, and I appreciate you taking the time to read the words that I fling on it. Also, I would like to thank BlogHer for naming me one of their 2012 Voices of the Year. The post that made it happen is “When Stuffed Animals Die.”