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Archive for September, 2011

Progress is Progress, I Guess

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Our house sits at the top of a t-intersection, looking straight down the road that connects with ours.  The bathrooms in our house are in the front with toilets that are right next to the windows.  They look directly down the street so that if the blinds are open, well, the whole world can see whats going on in there.

We’ve been trying to get Matthew to close the door to the bathrooms whenever he goes and usually, he does not.  The other day, he ran into the bathroom and closed the door.  When he came back out, I noticed that the blinds were open.  I said, “Matthew, why did you open the windows when you were going to the potty?”

He looked at me then looked at the bathroom and said, with a lot of confidence, “I closed the door, though.”

Growing Up Sucks

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

For nearly six years, Benjamin had been my little companion on commutes into and from work, everyday…Matthew for more than four years.  I would always drop them off and pick them up from daycare everyday, which accounted for 30 minutes to an hour a day where we would talk about our days, joke and laugh.  (We have had some strange conversations in the past during these rides.) Even when Ben started school last year, it was less than a quarter mile from Matthew’s daycare, so I continued to drop him off.

This year, Ben started in a new school that is the opposite direction of where I had to go, so he started taking the bus.  I hadn’t thought anything about it before, but that first day of heading up to daycare without him really broke my heart.  Even though I had Matt with me, it really made me sad for the rest of the day.  The memories of Ben holding Matthew’s hand during the drive when he was a baby mixed together with their laughter in my head.  I miss them together in the back of my car.

Even Matthew feels it, also.  He often complains that he misses Ben during the car rides and you can see it in his eyes.  However, it is so wonderful to see the joy in their faces when they are reunited at home.  I think it has caused their rough-housing to get more rough and their play times louder, but it is just so sweet to see their love for each other.

Less then a year from now, I’ll be along completely on my commute to work while they take the bus…I’m not sure I will be able to handle that.  Watching them grow up is awesome…but it sucks, as well.

Inside Out

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The other night at dinner, we were joking around with the kids about haircuts.  Andrea asked the boys if they though she should get her hair cut really short and the boys laughed saying, “No!”  So I asked them if I should grow my hair really long, to which they again said, “No!”

So I asked, “Why not?  Will it make me a girl?”

Benjamin said, “No, because you still won’t have an inside-out pee pee!”

Fascinating…I am still shaking my head and still afraid to ask any more questions about that subject!

Empty Sidewalks

September 10, 2011 Leave a comment
There is an image that has been seared in my mind for a decade now.  It is the image of Andrea walking down the sidewalk about a block from our apartment in a suit and high-heels.  I was in my car, coming from behind her.  I was suppose to pick her up from the Plainfield, NJ train station, but was running late, so she decided to walk home.  I went to the station anyway and headed towards home from there with the hopes I would prevent her from having to walk all the way home.  Of course, she got about a block from our house.  I honked my horn, she smiled and I pulled into the driveway.The next vivid memory after that came the following day.  I was walking into the office I was working at and I remember thinking what a beautiful day it was.  I looked up at the crystal blue sky, noticing a plane streaking across it,  and thought how perfect it was and how much I wished I didn’t have to work.  I can still remember what the cars in the parking lot looked like, the shops across the street and the flag hanging on the side of the building.

Those previous two moment would likely have been lost to time had they not been seared into my memory by the next, which came about an hour later and it was a moment that would flash burn backwards in time.  I was sitting in my bosses office when her phone rang.  She answered and I watched as our generations last bit of innocence was wiped away from her face as she and then I would learn about what was happening in New York on that, far from perfect September morning.

The previous day, Andrea was walking home because she had spent the day at a conference in the World Trade Center.  The only reason she wasn’t there on the 11th was because her company didn’t want to spend the money for the full conference.  Even had she gone to the conference that morning, she would have likely been safe.  So, I have often wondered why that memory, the one of her walking home, is the one that I most closely relate with the attacks of September 11.  It’s only been recently, 10 years later, that I think I figured it out.

My wife returned safely from the World Trade Center, unharmed.  Sure, it was about 14 hours before the attacks began, but my mind goes to all the empty sidewalks the next day.  All the husbands and wives and children and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters who looked down the sidewalk hoping that their loved one would come from around the corner and smile at them as they came home from the World Trade Center, and never did.

Lately, Ben has been worried about ghosts, thanks to kids telling stories at school.  We have told him over and over that ghosts aren’t real and that they can’t hurt you.  I wish I completely believed that.
Tomorrow, I plan on hugging my boys more often than I normally do, and I am so glad, that for now, they won’t know why.

Works with Dolphins

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

As I mentioned before, Benjamin has been on a marine mammal kick with a side of pirates, sharks and squids thrown in.  Many conversations that start on dry land where it is safe, end up, somehow, with an epic battle for life and death between a Sperm Whale and Giant Squid.  So, it wasn’t a surprise when a conversation about kindergarten (we decided to have Ben repeat at his new school) ended up in Davy Jones’ Locker.

The other day, I was trying to get Ben excited for school and we were talking about it for a while before he asked, “How many years do I have to go to school?”

“Nine years for elementary school, four years for high school and then college.”

“How many years is college?”

“It depends on what you want to study.  At least four years and then probably more if you still want to be a scientist.”

“What about a Marine Biologist?”

“Yeah, probably a few more years for Marine Biology…where did you learn about Marine Biologists?”

“I don’t know…I think I just figured out that’s what those scientist must be.”

“Oh…Anyway, a friend of mine that I grew up with went to college for Marine Biology.”

“Really?”

“Yup. When he finished school, he worked with whales and dolphins.”

There was a brief pause in the conversation as the wheels in Ben’s head churned on this.  Then he replied, “He went to an office underwater where dolphins and whales work?”

I instantly had an image of my friend in shirt, tie and scuba gear doing paperwork at a desk in a cubicle underwater as a dolphin and killer whale also shuffle papers in adjacent cubicles.  I started to laugh.

Then Ben starts laughing and says, “That was a pretty good joke, wasn’t it, Daddy?”