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There’s a Onesie in the Rescue Pack

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In September, 2001 I was just five months into my initiation to the fraternity called fatherhood.  Like millions of Americans, I watched live as the the second plane crashed into that tower, and I knew instantly…that our lives would never be the same.  In the months following the  attack on our country, being a father took on a completely new meaning for me.

For starters, I reevaluated my faith and my commitment to God.  I recommitted my life to Christ and vowed to raise my family in the shadow of His Word.  Quite literally, a life-altering turn for me that continues to have ripple effects as I see my children growing closer to Jesus as they navigate their own faith walk.

On a lighter note, I began preparing our family for survival during and after an emergency.  There’s a saying in the emergency services field, that really is sound advice with many life applications.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

This was back in the days when SD was still a toddler navigating preschool.  She was really into the cartoon “Go Diego Go”, and our favorite character was (and still is if you asked me today) “Rescue Pack”.

Diego Rescue Pack

Diego’s Rescue Pack

Able to change into anything Diego needed at any given moment…”a parasail or kayake…a zipline, a snowboard…whatever you need“, Rescue Pack had our back.  So it seemed logical explaining to a 4-year old toddler that the backpack I was setting up as our emergency “go-bag” was our “Rescue Pack”.  And so it’s been called ever since, even as it grows into multiple bags to accommodate a growing family.

I knew it’d been a while since I’d updated it, but I hadn’t realized it’d been this long…

boys, not babies anymore

Back when they fit in the palm of my hand

Yes…the last time I opened the bag packed with extra changes of clothing for every member of the family, you both apparently were able to fit in Onesies.  Arguably, I could hold you one-handed back then.  What a nostalgic afternoon last week held for your mother and me as we looked through that bag.

You’re both growing so fast that it’s all I can do to hold on to and embrace each moment as it comes.  Because one moment lends to another and another.  The moments in your lives are coming and going so fast.

There’s a duality to the mind of a parent that I pray you are able to experience one day.  In my mind, you will always be my little men, just learning to walk as you climb up onto my lap to rest your body on my chest for an afternoon nap.  At the very same time, I’m able to see you as the men you will become…boldly and courageously living out your faith as men of God with careers, wives, and children of your own.  It’s that duality that allows me to love you in the moment…while raising you to become the men God is calling you to be.  There will always be the dad in me who misses those days when I could hold you in the palm of my hand…and there will always be the dad in me who anxiously awaits the man you will become. The challenge is striving daily to recognize you for who you are now…young men navigating a world unlike the one I experienced at your age…and to not take one second for granted.

Really, this was just a fun opportunity to look back and write you to simply tell you that I love you…more and more every moment I am blessed to be in your lives.

Love,

Dad

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Underwear Man is Dressed for Church

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One of my resident superheroes, “Underwear Man”, dressed for the battlefront…which this morning is, apparently, church.

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A hero’s hero, Underwear Man is able to leap a tall ottoman in a single bound. Able to stop speeding bullets (hey, those Nerf guns shoot pretty hard and fast nowadays). Faster than a loco…well he’s pretty fast, let’s just leave it at that. 🙂

Superpowers and technology include the Tornado Punch, Chameleon Camo (a.k.a. Wall Power – “for blending in with the wall”), Cool Cloaking (a.k.a. Invisibility), Karate Kick (pronounced Kay-Rah-Tee) and the Glue Gun (you know…to stick the bad guys to the wall). His kryptonite is…




Woah up there hoss! You didn’t really think I’d tell you that did you? Come on now, I can’t be giving away all his secrets…the enemy is, after all, lurking in the shadows just waiting to strike. Speaking of the enemy…
20140803-082943-30583329.jpgIs there evil afoot? Danger on the horizon? Trouble around the corner? Nah…just trying to remember if the underwear is clean or dirty.

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“Oh yeah, it’s clean!” Victory!

Underwear Man…tirelessly defending the world from the bad monkey in the attic. Oh, and raccoons…he keeps us safe from raccoons too. And evil lions…don’t forget all the evil lions he’s saved us from. Oh, and elephants. Yeah, definitely the elephants too.

Thanks for all you do Underwear Man. You rock!

Love,

Dad

You Deserve A Better Happy Birthday

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SI,

You came up to the firehouse so we could celebrate your 5th birthday together. As a family. I wish we had taken pictures. I regret that…because I so dearly want to look back on today some day and see a smile on your face at some point during your visit.

I’m sorry that halfway through your birthday dinner I had to leave for a house fire up the street. I didn’t want to go any more than you wanted me to leave. But I’m glad you stayed and waited for me to get back.

I enjoyed watching you open your presents. The smile on your face always brings one to mine. And that laugh…I simply love and adore your laughter, buddy. I enjoyed singing happy birthday to you and eating ice cream cake with you. I’m sorry that halfway through building your new Lego plane I had to leave again, this time for a car accident. I’ve been looking forward to building that together with you since your mom and I bought it last week. I like hanging out with you…doing stuff together. Leaving in the middle of that time together hurt me.

But I’m glad you stayed and waited for me. It was comforting to feel you hug my leg as soon as I jumped out of the fire truck, even over my bulky turnout pants. That feeling was…indescribable. And one I will cherish forever. You didn’t see it, but I cried a little then. And I’m crying now as I type this. Because you deserve better.

I’m so sorry that this job I once loved with every fiber of my being has cost so much. I’m sorry it has left you waiting for me to be present in your life. I’m sorry that I’ve had to put strangers above you on days like today. Your birthday means so stinking much to me, and I love you so, so very much son. So much so that tears are uncontrollably running down my face as I type this…I’m sobbing like a baby, and I’m powerless to stop it. You cannot begin to imagine the depth of my love for you, your siblings and your mother. I pray that you can forgive me for days like today and not hold them against me. And that one day you will also feel the same kind of love, with children of your own. When you do, I pray you’ve chosen a career that doesn’t find you missing the important days in their lives…days like today…leaving you feeling like I do now.

I’m so sorry son. I hope and pray you had an awesome birthday, despite my absence. You certainly deserve it. You deserve better.

Love,

Dad

A Walk Down the Aisle

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I quite honestly don’t know where the time has gone.  Each year seems to pass by so much more quickly than the last, and it’s all I can do to keep up.  It just doesn’t seem right that it’s gone this fast…like it was just yesterday we walked down the aisle together.  It’s been a wild ride indeed…and I wouldn’t change it if I could.

Adoption Day, Daughter Date,

Sixteen months old on Adoption Day on April 15, 2001 vs.
14 years old on a Daddy/Daughter Date Night in March 2014.

You amaze me every day, and I just don’t tell you that enough.  You’re beautiful inside and out.  From a hole in the heart  to a young lady on the edge of high school who is still silly and fun with a sense of wonder and awe that inspire.  I loved you the day I first met you in the hospital as a baby, and I love you more now.  Happy Adoption Day baby girl.

Love,

Dad

Dating Number Two

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Dinner and bowling…
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Some arcade games followed by ice cream…
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And lots and lots of silliness…
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It was a good night bud. We need to hang out together more often. I love you, and will remember tonight for a long time.

Love,

Dad

Bowling Bubba

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It was a good first date night Bubba. You’re one super cool dude and a lot of fun to hang out with. Looking forward to doing this again soon.

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Love,

Dad

I Can’t Call My #3

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Some days I just want to call her.  And then I realize that even though she’s still #3 on my phone’s speed dial, it just can’t happen.  There is no  speed dial that will connect me with her now.

There will come a day when you’re grown and out on your own that you wake up and want to call your mom, but get wrapped up in the business of your day.  You’ll put it off, and then before you know it months will have gone by without having heard her voice.  Don’t be that guy.  Don’t do to your mom what I did to mine.  She has always been, is now, and will always be your greatest fan and there for you whenever you need her.  Even if it’s just to hear her voice.  Don’t wake up one day wishing you could call her but knowing you can’t because she’s gone.  Well over a full year after her passing, she remains the top commenter on this blog.  She always had my back.  Always.

This woman right here…your granny…she loved each of you, with so much passion that I just can’t even write about it…there. are. no. words.  If ever there was an example of what “All In” looked like, it was her love for you.  I’m saddened to the point of tears as I write this, knowing how much of her life you missed.  She always had your back.  Always.

Mom

Mom & SD in March 2008

Mom

Mom with NE and SI in November 2009

mom

I Miss You Mom

I miss you mom.  That is all.

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