bentangle

Tag: birthday

The Man Who Knew Too Little

by on Jul.18, 2010, under About Me, philosophy

I’m not getting any younger, and I hope that I’m still trending in the direction of smarter.  In less than 24 hours I’m going to be entering the latter half of my 30’s.  As my dad would put things, today if you rounded my age to the nearest decade, I’d be 30 – tomorrow it would be 40.  While oversimplifying things, it is hard to argue with the logic of it.

In truth, I hardly feel like I’m about to be 35.  But perhaps my mind just likes to let me feel that way.   Most of the signs of my age are things I can live with (I’ll take graying hair over balding) or tolerate (ibuprofen helps at times).  Some are comparative – while I don’t feel like I’ve matured more than a little in the last decade, but if I was anything like some of the 25-year-olds I know 10 years ago, then I’ve come a longer way than I’ve noticed.  I guess that a lot of it is perception.  But so far there are no costs to my age that I can complain about.

Kids help.  While on one hand they certainly can be challenging a lot of the time, the biggest challenge they offer is to your own perceptions of the world and what matters in it.  Before I had kids, even in my 20’s I found myself making efforts to define myself as an individual – both to myself and to others.  Now I know who I am and don’t feel a need to prove it to anyone.  My responsibilities are clear and my resolve is steadfast.  Plus they can make life so much fun.  They have personalities that are so big and bright that I can’t help but be drawn into them like the best show to watch is happening right in my house.

All that said, as I reflect on my time thus far in life I feel the need to question my progress.  Have I done all that I should have done by this point?  Do I know all that I should know?  It is the kind of introspect that leads to no good answers and often just to no good – the kind that leads to mid-life crises (and I can’t really afford a new sports car right now).

But again, perspective helps allay my mind.  I’ve never been one to give in to peer pressure or be all that comparative to or covetous of my neighbors.  And so I can soldier on in the knowledge that I know what I know and I’ve done what I did.  The only thing I can do is keep making the most of my time.  And at the moment I think the best use of such time might be for some sleep and prepare to tackle another opportunity for life experiences in the morning.  If I have any of note, I’ll be sure to let you all know.  In the least, perhaps you might learn from my mistakes.

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Happy Birthday, Cricket!

by on Dec.16, 2009, under family, parenthood

Cricket at play as Alice at the Please Touch Museum

Cricket at play as Alice at the Please Touch Museum

Today my Cricket turned 6 years old.  It is weird to see you becoming a little lady so fast.  It is hard to believe that those days of making you giggle on your bouncer was so long ago.  Now you are in Kindergarten learning to read and write and do math.

We had a party for you this past weekend – we had a bunch of your friends both from school and from our old stomping grounds up near Allentown (your mother was not too happy with me for having beer at the party, but there were as many adults present as kids).  As I sit here writing this the streamers and banners are still hanging in the doorway, only feet from the Christmas tree and the stockings.  Also as I sit here, I can feel the dinner and ice cream from Friendly’s sitting heavy in my stomach.

I have to say that there is no way to impress upon a non-parent the love that a parent has for their child.  I love my wife, I’ve loved others before, and I will always love my parents and my sisters, but none of those compare.  No other love can rival the unconditional love that is so full of hope and eager anticipation, so full of tolerance for anything and everything, so lacking in selfishness that a parent feels for a child – that I feel for you.  Always.

I love the little rituals that we share.  A part of me looks forward to giving you a kiss, a hug, and a very special bug as you leave for the prom, as you graduate from high school and college, as you walk down the aisle.   I love that we can talk about nearly anything, no matter how trivial.  I love to see you see the world through your own eyes – without my particular brand of bias – and see what conclusions you might reach of your own accord.

It is funny to see you interacting with school friends now – and how much of myself I see in you when you do.  I see some of the same shyness that I tended to have with new people, and then the same bawdiness that I tended to have with those with which I was comfortable.  You also have that same tendency to politely argue against things – with your “Well actually …”.  I love that at 6 you can use words like actually, essentially, similar, and dozens of other multisyllabic words that even I didn’t tend to use until much later.

Happy birthday, Cricket.  It is hard to believe that I’m already 1/3 of the way to having to let you go away to college.  There is so much to learn between now and then.  But so far I’m enjoying my lessons.

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From Terrible Twos to Thrilling Threes

by on Oct.13, 2009, under family, parenthood

Today my little Grasshopper turns 3 years old.  Happy birthday, buddy!  It seemed like only yesterday you were barely crawling but trying to climb everything.  Now you are running, jumping and in constant motion (and still trying to climb everything).  You are certainly a combination of me and your mother – at times so happy and mellow, at others ready to kick butts and take names.  You are active (nearly hyperactive at times) as well as cautious and deliberate in your actions.  While I wouldn’t want to pigeon-hole you in any way, you already seem to demonstrate innate talents for sports and performance.  I look forward to continuing to watch you grow and encourage you in the things you want to pursue – no matter what those things are.  You are my boy and I love you and will always be there for you.  Happy third!!

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33 Flavors and Then Some

by on Sep.25, 2009, under family

To my lovely wife on her birthday (yes you):

  1. You are a strict realist – a difficult quality to find these days.
  2. You remind me every day how important it is to express enthusiasm (something I’ve never been good at.
  3. I may not express this often, but you are a shadow in my conscience – I often will hit a gray area at work where I think about how you would handle the situation (then I remove the ass-handing part and do the rest).
  4. You have put up with more of my shit than you deserve.
  5. You understand the difference between emotional response and character.
  6. You don’t put up with nonsense (except the good kind … and some of mine).
  7. You have talents you have yet to cultivate and sharper faculties than you give yourself credit for.
  8. You never forget anything important (except where you put things).
  9. You are the best friend anyone could want – you are great in good times, and even better in bad.
  10. You have an electric smile.
  11. You have eyes that betray more confidence than you believe yourself to possess.
  12. You are independent.
  13. You are dependable.
  14. You are blunt and often sarcastic.
  15. You always know what to say to people.
  16. You could win any argument in which you engage – I have no doubt.
  17. You amaze me with your ability to teach someone something without giving them a single answer.
  18. You also amaze me in your ability to set pasta on fire – it is a rare talent.
  19. You could probably make a Thanksgiving dinner with your eyes closed.
  20. If there was one thing about you that I first fell in love with, it was probably your sense of humor.
  21. You understand that two people can disagree without being at odds (more rare than it should be).
  22. You can curse like a sailor.
  23. You have more tact than anyone I know.
  24. You have a zany streak that I plan to enjoy until we are old and gray.
  25. You don’t care about shoes, designer clothes, or hair products (that’s a good thing).
  26. You have a respectable appreciation for football.
  27. If you decided to go get an office job, I have no doubt you would ace any interview.  But you’d hate working in an office – they are highly unproductive and inefficient places.  You’d go mad.
  28. Because of you, our children are happier, smarter, and more well-rounded than I’d have expected them to be or than I could have accomplished on my own.
  29. You are self-sacrificing (you need to cut back on that, by the way).
  30. I have had and will always have respect for your opinions and wisdom.
  31. No matter how stressed we’ve gotten or divided we’ve found ourselves on issues, I’ve never felt disrespected or unappreciated.
  32. You may recognize that the song I paraphrased for the title of this post is off by one digit, but you are not the type of person to point that out (though I am).
  33. You may refer back to this list every so often to remind yourself of some of these great things about you, but I will never have to – you’ve made an indelible  impression on me and I thank you for it.

There are hundreds of other things that I love about you – many nuances and qualities of your character.  I hope that this short list at least brings a smile to your face on your birthday.  We all miss you at home and hope you enjoy your 33rd without us.

With love from your boob of a husband,

SilentBen

(I hope this is flattering enough that she doesn’t notice that I didn’t get her a gift … yet.)

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

by on Aug.05, 2009, under career, family

Today is my Dad’s 55th 21st birthday! Dad – your gift should either be there already or in transit to arrive tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it.  Below you can see him teaching my daughter the art of using chopsticks (hint – the plastic joint makes them a lot easier).

DSC02435

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