Archive for May, 2011

Bad Angel

May 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I asked Benjamin why he wasn’t listening to me this evening, and he thought about it a moment before he said, “Well, the bad angel talks too fast, before the good angel can tell me what to do.”


Getting Lawyered by a 5-Year Old

May 17, 2011 Leave a comment

With Ben’s last report card, we made a deal with him.  We told him that if he improved his scores in a couple of areas (listening, being neat, coloring inside the lines, etc) we would bring him to Dorney Park soon after school ended.  Apparently, at the time we made the deal, he had forgotten that we already told him that we would try to go some time this summer (as did I).

Well, the other day, we drove past the park and Ben asked when we are going.  I reminded him of the deal we made.  He thought about it a moment and said, “But you had already said we could go before that.”

Unsure of what I did say, I told him, no, that he needed a better report card to go (in all honesty, we are going one way or the other, but he doesn’t need to know that).  He thought for a few minutes before replying, “No, I am pretty sure you said we could go before I got my report card.”

Again, I said, “No.”  This went on for a little while, before he finally cited exactly where and what we were doing the moment I said we could go, as well as my exact words.  Unable to argue that, and knowing when I have been beat, I told him that if he gets a good report card, we can go twice.

Boy, are we in trouble as he gets older.

More Angry Birds…and a Cockroach

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The boys have nearly the whole collection of plush Angry Birds, with the only one missing being the green one.  At some point, we discovered that in June, some more Angry Bird products would be released.  All facts that are basically irrelevant to this story, because, like many of our conversations around here, they usually end in very different places than they begin…strange places.

Benjamin asked, “Daddy, what month is the new Angry Birds stuff coming?”

I responded, “June.”

“When is June?”

“Only about three weeks away.”

“What is a week?”

“A week is seven days, Sunday through Saturday.”

“A week is seven days?”


“So, a cockroach can survive a week without it’s head?”


On the way home from school, Benjamin asked me a complicated question that, on first pondering, didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  So, I spent a moment trying to figure it out and noticed that Benjamin was oddly silent.  He usually isn’t patient for answers and will keep repeating the question without pause until we respond.  So, after another moment or two, I finally said to Ben, “Buddy, I just don’t understand what you are asking.”

He responded immediately, “Yeah, I don’t understand it either.  I think I really confused myself this time.”

Giddy Relief

I believe in moral absolutes.  One death does not justify another.  Ten deaths does not justify another.  Three-thousand deaths does not justify one.  As a Christian and a Catholic, I do not believe in taking a life for the sake of justice.  There is no eye for an eye in my book.

So, you can imagine my dilemma when I found my self weeping tears of joy last night at the news that not only was Osama bin Laden dead, but that a brave American made him that way.   And I am not ashamed about it.  Perhaps one day I will feel guilt for the happiness I felt.  Perhaps one day I will be moved enough to confess what must be a sin.  Perhaps, one day, I will feel shame for rejoicing.  But, I don’t think so, because it isn’t that simple.

I’ve had 24 hours to reflect on it now and I’ve had plenty of time to absorb the various inputs from the media.  I’ve talked to my wife about his death.  I’ve talked to my mom.  I’ve talked to friends.  I’ve carefully read long strings of post on Facebook from friends and strangers alike (sometime, I feel that Facebook give one of the most honest reflections of who people are and what they are feeling).

And I have played with my sons.  I’ve talked to them about school and I’ve watched a little TV with them.  We had a meal together and we have laughed.  I have tucked them into their beds and surrounded them with the blankets and stuffed animals and their Angry Birds.  And, I came to the realization that they are safer today than they were last week.

I like to think that I am honest in my writing and in this blog, I do my best to not “make up” or exaggerate dramatic situations for drama’s sake.  So, I honestly believe, that after reflecting on my sons, my family and my friends, the tears of joy I wept last night were not out of rejoicing for an act of vengeance or even an act of justice.  They were tears of joy for the fact that the very face of evil that we have know for nearly a decade, has been removed from this world and, because of that, the things that are the most important to me in this life are that much more safe today, than they were yesterday.

Oh, I know that in some ways, we may be in more danger and I know that things won’t go back to the way they were on September 10, 2001.  As one friend of mine put it today, you cut off one head and two more grow back.  However, in spite of knowing that, I feel safer today.  I feel like 10 years of tension has finally been let go.

There was something more in my tears last night than joy.  My initial reaction to the news was a sort of breathlessness and I could almost feel myself convulse.  It was a sense of relief that my body was finally giving in to.  It was a sense of relief that I had no idea that I needed for the bulk of the last ten years.  And, I became absolutely giddy about it.

Fear is a horribly powerful entity and sometimes, you don’t know you are living in it’s darkness until it is gone.

My sons, lately, partly as a result of playing Angry Birds (have I mentioned that they are obsessed with it) and partly because of them make more observations about the world around them, have asked a lot of questions about “bad guys”.  They talk about how soldiers and policemen get them and, they have even asked if bad guys are real.  Well, this morning, as I was listening to the coverage on the radio in the car, Benjamin asked me what they were talking about.

It felt good to tell them, “Some brave American soldiers got a very bad guy, last night.”

“How bad?” they asked.

“The very worst,” I told them.  And they smiled.