Sunday, September 14, 2014


Perhaps you've noticed, although you're not really supposed to, that I am in a transitional place around here on my porch of the internet.  Thus far, I have been comfortable telling the boy's story with few filters and emotional edits.  I wanted to never seem mean.  Yes, I have teased and kidded, even cajoled a bit, but never to be mean.   I've attempted to paint mostly the strengths and the characteristics that I felt would be remembered sweetly, truly.

Well, uh, so...  I can't seem to find a way to say this with even a little grace; poetry is rarely used to describe the cruelty – too harsh, maybe – the meanness of humans to humans, not war or poverty or injustice, addressing that is not for today, but just plain everyday meanness.

Listen, truth is, I am afraid that some mean, shallow, attention-needing child is going to find these posts someday and use them to make fun of Nick or Zack.

I don't see a way completely around it other than closing down shop, which I don't want to do.  I try to stay under the radar and have no desire to go viral, which seems to not mean viral in the sense that it spreads everywhere but rather that your words and good intentions are attacked with the twin viruses of hate and stupidity.  I offer few opinions really, and, well, dammit... I have tried to pour all the tenderness, love, honor and respect I could dig out of myself onto these pages.

I have cherished, am cherishing, them with this. Others are not always going to see it that way.  A jealous boy or a lonely boy or a pretty girl or a jealous girl might find these words and images and fold them around, twist them, trim them, disrespect them, and use them to hurt the very soul of the child I am trying to celebrate here.  That's messed up.

Of course the boys know that I do this, they've seen some posts and know I write about them and other stuff.  I have told them, promised them, that I will never say anything mean about them, or embarrassing.  I will try not to go too far past the point where something I share might someday hurt them.

However, that point is difficult pin down.

Have I gone too far if I post this simple sentence I found on a sheet of notepaper Zack tossed in the trash?  I mean, it was in the trash.  Should I have not done that?

It says: "My family supports me in everything I do no matter what."  Maybe it is alright to show his well constructed sentence here, but do I cross a line when I say that knowing he knows that touches me deeply in a place where words fail?  Perhaps...

Is there a time when an evil clown drawing is no longer hilarious but borders on creepy?  Maybe his future employer or spouse shouldn't be privy to this.

It's not too bad, really, although the dead dolly looking thing is weirding me out.  (Should I have not said that?  Was it pithy, snarky?)  How long can I continue to show Nick's misspells before it becomes, well, enough?  I don't want anyone to construe that I was making fun of him at all.  Simply stated, I have a genetic mutation that somehow turns misspellings into a playful, quirky word game.  "Confetty" is, for some reason inexplicable, hilarious to me.  Not because of the mistake made, but because of the marvelous creativity shown in the very making of it.

Do I cross a point in time, now and, irrevocably ahead of me, where this won't seem worth mentioning because it shows how peculiar a little boy named Zack can be?

That's probably fine, but what if I were to show a close-up of this little guy and then make-up a long imagined story of his past and his people and his heritage?

Yeah, I'm not... but that's a helluva hat.  But, had I, would I have gone too far?  Would I have revealed my own strangeness and silliness and plain weirdness at the expense of a boy who just wants a "normal" dad?  I am beginning to think it might, you'll notice I didn't mention the story of Steve and his heroic defense of his native home, high in the hills of a Land called The Rounders...

Should I not share here the marvelous madness of Nick's math pages?  The assignment was to find words that, spelled correctly, added up to one-dollar-and-nine-cents using each letter's numerical equivalent.  Can you imagine an exercise any farther away in his mind?  

Perhaps I go to far when I mention how proud I was as I watched him figure out a word and a strategy to add it all up.  The satisfaction I saw on his face, the joy it gave me... should I not speak of that?  One of the words is disjointed, I find that particularly funny.

Should I avoid speaking of snuggles and kisses and squeezes and taps and smacks, pats and secret handshakes?

Sometimes, when Nick comes in with the dawn to tell me he is up, he lays his head on my chest, face down, a sort of face hug, I stoke his head trying to physically remember the shape of it.  Maybe I can go with that, but... What if I mention two secrets I also know about the face hug?  I know he inhales deeply as he presses against me.  I have seen him do it with his favorite stuffed animals, and shirts, and a certain pillow that came from an ER room that smells of courage and pain and continuity.  I also know that I did the same thing.  The power of smells, the permanence of taste, has greatly influenced the way I see the world.  Does that reveal too much?

Other mornings, this morning as a point of reference, Zack came in and laid down gently next to me.  I pulled the cover up and he quietly murmured thanks.  We shared a joke and a handshake and told a little story.  It seems fine to tell that, but, what about the sense I had that this could be the last time he will do this with me though he's done it since before he can remember?  Should I leave out the tired, threadbare, stuffed and restuffed, stained, tan bear called Bear-bear and how we was the great hero of the Watermelon Wars and coincidentally invented soccer, unfortunately originally played with watermelons.  Does that leave Zack open to misguided ridicule?

Here is the hard truth:  I think it might.

Tenderness and truth and love are of deep significance but speaking of them, remembering them, living them, leads to a vulnerability that should not be underestimated.  I'm cool with that, I know I seem flaky and emotional and odd.  But, should I expose the pure, simple vulnerabilities of these boys-who-will-be-men to the winds of the days to come?

Probably not...

Here's my plan.  I want to tell more stories of my own childhood, but, I'll be telling their childhood through it.  It is all one childhood.  I've mentioned that before but it keeps just pounding me with its  significance.  The telling little details, the hurts and scrapes and brokenness, can be mine, but the story can be ours.

I'm working out the details.

It'll be a slow transition.

 From Marci's  "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"I am very good with vocabulary.
I can use all sorts of words.
I am just very bad at spelling."

(how very astoot of him)

That deserves some confetty...

Listen, things aren't really gonna change too much around here.  Honestly, I wanted to remind myself to be careful here.  I wanted you to hear it.  Thanks for listening and, as always, thanks for coming around.


  1. I love the honesty of the emotion and expression of your love for your boys. They are so blessed to have you as their father.

  2. I look forward to the new posts.
    However, I believe you may be over thinking some of these 'issues.'

  3. "The telling little details, the hurts and scrapes and brokenness, can be mine, but the story can be ours." I love that. I'll definitely be sticking around for the transition.

  4. You could always take references to your own name out of the blog and give them nicknames throughout. I blog anonymously(ish), but not to the point that no one could find out who I or my kids are, but that only the most dedicated psychos can do so. If someone chooses to ridicule my children based on my writing then I'll try to realize the effort it took for them to do so and remind myself that someone who wanted that badly to hurt them would have found a way and I'll sleep easy if the best thing they can find on the internet to harm them are the loving words and thoughts of their father. Then I'll begin my campaign to destroy that poor soul... I am a PI by trade after all.

  5. I imagine that one day my girls will be embarrassed by everything I do. I will never stop writing for them the history I never had myself. I will, however, remain ever aware of their safety and sensibilities. I am already veering more toward insight and introspection and less of today my daughter did this. Thanks for writing this post- it feels like maybe a pledge we should all consider making.

  6. There are boundaries in blogging. The stories I used to tell when my son was three are not the stories I tell now when he is on the verge of 14. I think it is fair for me to see he and my daughter have some ownership about what is shared about them.
    I never stopped writing I just adjusted what I write about and how I do it.

  7. Bill:

    As others have said here, if the most embarrassing thing that someone can find on the internet about your boys is their father's kind, caring, and poetic words, they will be truly lucky (and internet savvy).

    Moreover, while having a blog about them may be something they find mildly embarrassing during their teenage years, I can only imagine that it will become something that symbolizes just how much their dad clearly loves them and supports them as they enter their true adulthood. Blog on.

  8. Hey Bill...

    This is wonderful. And foreboding. There is another transition coming, one in which you have yet less ability to influence. One that is scary and necessary. One that they are programmed to initiate and you are obligated to resist. And make no mistake, all your concerns will likely surface over the next decade or so. There's no telling which, but some of them will become battlegrounds. They have to. It's how a bond so powerful as the one you have built and will build, even through the collateral damage that at times will feel like the primary objective, survives the onslaught of adolescence. But the reality that will survive if everyone can stay together through the hormonal storm, is the reality you've documented here of a family that loves each other unabashedly and unashamedly. I say keep your sensibilities and push through. Eventually this will be the mos precious gift you can give them.

  9. I think about this sort of transition as well. I don't feel as though I'm on the verge of anything I'll regret, but I often think about what my blog and writing can/should/will evolve into, and when I want to plunge in to new territory. I can admit that I often find myself writing something for my audience instead of myself or family, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I find myself often pondering new, fresh methods of expression that don't require cashing in on my daughter's antics to get engagement. I think it's worth thinking about. Like you, I've been considering focusing more on my own life with my kids making cameo appearances, rather than the other way around. I think Brian Sorrell is a great example to me in that respect.

  10. I worry about the effect that it'll have on my kids as well, but more around what'll happen when they try to get a job 8 years from now and someone Googles them and ends up finding bathtub pictures or the funny stuff they did in 1st grade. One thing I did was change their names whenever I write about them on the blog. It's certainly not a cure, but should help a little. Certainly this has given me a few things to think about.