Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Own Traditions

Kids say the darn-est things.

A few weeks ago your mother said that you asked her a pointed question. You wanted to know why did we always go to someone else's house to spend the holidays. She told you that we like to spend time with our families so that's why we go to see them. A rather simple question, easily answered and we moved on. It was not over though. It was one of those questions that start a snowball effect. It got me to think about the reasons and ways we celebrate holidays in our family.

Family re-defined.

Some times it takes a while to notice how things have changed. It is hard to pinpoint when exactly the change happened and yet you know it has come. I have my own family, let that sink in, my own family. The statement tells me that I have to provide for my girls, that I have to put them before others, that I am responsible for more than just myself. I hadn't really thought about how that affects holidays. For as long as  I could remember we spent Thanksgiving at whoever was cooking, Christmas Eve at my grandmother's and Christmas Day at your aunts. Now we have to start thinking about what "our" traditions will become. Those were your mother's and mine traditions, now time to create some with you.

Impromptu beginnings.

This year was a strange one in the way things happened. Since my mother was traveling during Thanksgiving we started to have a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at her house so that we could enjoy it with her while still being able to have our own Thanksgiving. This allowed us all to get together and still do our own thing. This Christmas Eve we spent it together, just the three of us. It was a far cry to being at my grandmother's along with dozens of other family members. It felt right. The three of us got to spend a lot of quality time together. Plans changed, events got canceled, we didn't go everywhere we were expected, and it was perfect.

From now on.

We are creating our own traditions.One day these traditions will be passed down to your children and their children. I want you to be able to look back at your childhood and warmly remember all the things that we did with joy. Beyond pictures and videos I want you to have real memories with the people that matter most to you. To be able to tell your friends, your kids, your grandchildren how great it was to grow up in our household. We are more than people who happen to live together, we are a family. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

After a Long Day

Too early.

I wake up before you and your mother wake up; I always have. I get to see peace and tranquility in your faces before I head out to make a living. Unfortunately that means that I also don't get to see you when you first wake up in the morning. I miss out on hearing about what just dreamed about or what is the first thought that crosses your mind. Although you like to think that you are nothing like me the way we both are in the mornings says otherwise. Your mother is not a morning person, we on the other hand could talk up a storm before our eyelids fully open. It might not seem like much to some but I feel like I miss out on so much while I am at work.

Long hours.

Depending on the day I might have a lot of free time to think at work or I might not even have time to eat. I miss you dearly when I don't see you! It breaks my heart when I hear that you have been asking about me, saying that you miss me. I wish I could spend my days with you and that work was optional not a necessity. Life requires work. One day you will have to decide and figure out how to balance your family and work life. We work to facilitate life and not live to work. It is a lesson that some people do not learn early enough and spend years amassing material wealth and yet miss out on the priceless moments life has to offer.

The best part.

I love walking into our home and being greeted by my girls as I was yesterday. You latched on to me and would not let go. You were hell bent on having a tea party with me and were not letting go until I had that pink teacup in my hand. As I struggled to get out of my jacket with you clutching to my finger I felt the day's stress melting away. It didn't matter what had happened throughout my day, I was now in a world where worries did not exist. I love playing games with you, especially games that you come up with. Seeing you, interacting with you, listening to you talk, it's all a magical experience. I pray that more of my days end like last night did.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Fatherhood


It is the single most important club that I will ever be a member of. It is a club whose responsibilities are endless, the hours are long, tears are guaranteed, and yet the blessings it brings are priceless. There is nothing in the world like being a father. Nothing. Some see it as something that defines your life, I believe that it is something that brings out the best of who you are. Stay with me and I will explain what I mean by that.

I am a teacher.

I have never been shy about sharing my knowledge with others. I have taught kids to speak Spanish, I have tutored others in Math, I have introduced people to tinkering with their gadgets, I taught song-writing and music-making to a few. I can go on forever about the things I have been lucky to learn and have happily shared with others. Being around me will lead you to learn something, I can't seem to keep my mouth closed for more than a few seconds; whether it is something useful or something you care about it another story.

Being a father has allowed me the opportunity to take everything I know, from my beliefs in a higher power to what the color bands in a resistor mean, and pass it on to the next generation. It makes me feel like a Fortune 500 CEO prepping my successor, teaching my daughter all the tricks of the trade. I get to show you everything that I love and help you discover what will make the wheels in your brain spin out of control. I have found discovery and knowledge to be one of my guilty pleasures and I hope that you can share that love with me.

I am a friend.

I have been lucky throughout my life. I have found people with whom I have shared some great experiences with, people who would take a bullet for me as I would for them. That has become something that is rare to find these days; those 3475 "friends" online just take away from the true meaning of the word. The people who call me a friend will tell you that I am always there for them. I am a ear to listen to their troubles, a mind that will give advice and direction when needed or a shoulder they can lean on.

Although I am your father first and foremost, I am also your friend. That distinction will sure become muddled as you become a teenager and things get more complicated. I want you to know from now that I will always be here for you. I am here to listen to you talk about school, how you enjoy playing with your American Girl doll, or whatever random Disney princess you are pretending to be this week. I will be there to cheer you on in your pursuits, to be the rock that supports you in your every desire and also that belt in case you need to get back on track.

I am a father.

Those words have a certain seriousness to them. I can understand what Obama must have felt the first time he said "I am the President of the United States". It is that first time you say it out loud when it starts to sink in just how important your position is. Raising a child is like leading a country, I have to make some tough choices at times; unpopular decisions. I have to make sure that I don't just think about the next few years when you will be under my care but rather help build the foundation that will guide you when I am no longer sitting in that chair and you have moved on.

Every moment that I spend with you in my life feels monumental. It is as if God has given me the opportunity to play this big role in a movie that is sure to be a Hollywood blockbuster. I worry every day about how I am doing in this role, not for my own sake, but because I know just how important the way I handle my role will be to your story which is yet to be written.